How to Plant Succulent Cuttings

A flatlay concept depicts succulent cuttings, terracotta pots, and pruning shears on a brown deck.

 The Spruce / Cori Sears

Overview
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Are your succulents getting a bit unruly? Or are you just hoping to grow your succulent collection? Fortunately, succulents are super easy to propagate from cuttings, and they require very little care once planted. 

Succulent cuttings are used frequently for floral arrangements, wedding bouquets, and even as cake decorations. They have a long life, surviving as cut succulents for weeks without soil which makes them ideal 'living decor'. However, succulent cuttings are not just for show! Plant them and give them a little love, and soon you will have a new succulent plant. The best part is, it costs almost nothing! All you need is some pruning shears (or sharp scissors), soil, and some small pots to plant the cuttings. 

When to Take Succulent Cuttings

Take cuttings from your succulents in the spring or summer months for the best success. While succulent cuttings can technically be taken any time, taking them in when the succulents are in their active growing period will help to ensure that the mother plant recovers from the pruning and that the new succulent has the strength to survive on its own.

How to Find a Good Cutting

If your succulent is growing offshoots or pups, these can be cut off and planted in the same manner as for regular succulent cuttings. Otherwise, look for areas that need pruning or shaping to take a cutting from. Large, established succulents can handle pruning more easily than others and can recover from larger cuttings being taken. Smaller succulents will require smaller cuttings, so keep this in mind.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pruning shears.

Materials

  • Succulent soil.
  • Small pots.
  • Succulent.

Instructions

  1. Take the Cutting

    Taking a cutting from a jade plant with pruning shears.
     The Spruce / Cori Sears

    Find an appropriate spot on your succulent to take the cutting. With your pruning shears, make one swift and even cut through the stem of the succulent to separate a cutting. Ensure that the cutting has about 1" of stem exposed for planting. This may require removing the lower leaves of the cutting.

  2. Let the Cuttings Callous

    Holding a succulent cutting upside down to show the calloused cut end.

    After the cutting has been taken it cannot be planted in soil right away. Set the cutting aside in a dry location for 24 hours to let the ‘injured’ stem of the cutting callous over. After 24 hours, the stem should be healed over and not look ‘wet’ in any areas. The cutting is now ready to be planted.

  3. Plant Cuttings

    A succulent cutting is being planted in a terracotta pot, on a brown deck.
     The Spruce / Cori Sears

    Prepare a small terracotta or plastic pot with a succulent mix or well-draining soil. Poke a small hole in the center of the soil and gently place the stem of the succulent cutting in the hole, firming up the dirt around it. Ensure that the lowest leaf of the cutting is sitting slightly above the soil to avoid rot. 

    Do not water the cutting after planting. Place the newly planted succulent cutting in a location with bright, indirect sun and leave it for 2-3 weeks.

  4. Begin Watering Once Roots Sprout

    A potted jade succulent is being watered by a gold watering can.
     The Spruce / Cori Sears

    Unlike propagating other plants, it is important to wait to water a new succulent cutting until roots have developed. Since succulents do not require a lot of water to begin with, watering a cutting before it has developed roots can quickly result in the cutting rotting under the soil. Don’t worry - succulent cuttings can survive without water for quite a long time!

    After letting the cutting sit for 2-3 weeks, give the top of the cutting a gentle tug to test for roots. If there is any resistance, roots have begun to grow and the cutting can now be watered. Once the cutting has developed roots it may require more frequent watering than regular succulents until it is established. To avoid overwatering, ensure that the top inch of the soil dries out between waterings.

  5. Patience, Patience, Patience!

    A small potted jade plant sits in front of a large terracotta pot, pruning shears are in the background.
     The Spruce / Cori Sears

    Succulent cuttings grow somewhat slowly, so be patient as you care for your new plant. However, within a couple of months of planting, you should begin to notice new growth.

    As succulent cuttings mature, they can be gradually moved back into more intense light - slowly working up to the full sun conditions that most succulents thrive in. Keep in mind that like any succulent, succulent cuttings are easy to kill with too much love. They thrive on neglect and only need light watering once the soil dries out. 

Nearly all succulents propagate easily through cuttings, although some types of succulents (such as furry/hairy succulents) are generally more difficult to propagate than others so the success rate may be lower depending on which type of succulent you are propagating. Nevertheless, propagating succulents is a quick and easy way to create lots of new plants, which is great for expanding your collection or for sharing with friends!