An Experiment in Succulent Propagation, Part 2

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

It’s been about a week and my succulent clippings have been out roasting (‘scabbing’) in the sun as suggested by my local nursery. We may be on to something over here! We may be growing little baby succulents by splitting succulents from larger plants, and I’m really excited about that idea (this is all so new to me). What I love about succulents is that the are great for terrariums, planters, set-it-and-forget-it houseplants, centerpieces, pots that don’t get enough light, yards that get too much light, you name it. They can be a little pricey to purchase, but if propagating is as easy as scabbing (for some varieties), this is so neat. You can catch up on part 1 of this little experiment back here just in case you’re just joining us.

This might be the cheapest, easiest solution to something so loved. Maybe. I’m only a week in…

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

I transferred my clippings and leaves to our veggie garden (that’s a bed of cocoa hulls there) and, as instructed – resisting all temptation, didn’t touch them for one whole week. The goal here is to completely heal up the raw ends of each clipping through a process called scabbing, or basically by allowing the stem to blister in the sun.

And blister they did…

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

This process faired very well for my echeveria derenbergil blue (say that three times fast), while the aeonium urbicum sadly shriveled up and disappeared. There must be a more recognizable plant name for these two, but that’s what the little id stick says so I’m sticking with it.

As a reminder, here’s what they looked like prior to being sacrificed for this little test, the sturdier echeveria is on the left, the thinner aeonium on the right:

Succulent Propagating |

I have heard great things about propagating straight from leaves (rather than full stems), I think next time I may try this but without placing in direct sun as suggested. Just to see if they might not turn brown on me.

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

But on with the echeveria. Since this little guy did fairly well and as expected, I moved on to the next step which was to ‘firmly’ plant the scabbed clippings in soil. You might use succulent soil if you’re really spoiling them, I used the soil that was already in my geometric wooden planter (which was mostly soil that was emptied out from the original succulent plants that fill the sparse space – essentially, I suppose, really old succulent soil). Packing the soil around the baby clippings helps the succulent to feel secure and snug so that it can continue to grow upright and release roots right where it is.

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

Gently water and allow it to take in its new surroundings.

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

I added four to this new space (so sad to have lost the other four) and am now patiently waiting to see if they survive and thrive.

Adventures in Succulent Propagating, Part 2 |

I will be back with an update!

Have you ever tried anything like this with any success? I don’t really have a green thumb, but every time I experiment with the garden, the yard, the flower pots… the more and more comfortable I am taking care of (and even growing) an active landscape for our home. I’m starting ridiculously small, but you have to start somewhere. I LOVE that feeling. That feeling of ‘wow! I really accomplished something new today’. (Now I just need more time…)

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  1. says

    I’ve had a lot of luck with pinching overgrown sections from succulents and sticking them directly into soil! As long as the new plant isn’t watered way *too* much, it doesn’t seem to bother them that I didn’t wait for the ends to seal. Also, (probably obvious but took me awhile to realize) the faster growing/more offshoots produced by the original plant, the easier it will be to get the cuttings to survive and thrive. I have several plants that regularly outgrow their pots and get leggy, so I snip the leggy parts off and stick them in additional pots where they root and continue to thrive (unlike some of my slow-growing succulents that aren’t very cooperative when it comes to propagating). The groundcover varieties seems especially tough — I once pinched off a piece from a plant that I loved at a park, carried it around in my purse for a couple weeks, finally planted the battered thing and still have a full plant from it several years later. Good luck!

    • says

      Jennifer, I’m planning on trying the straight planting of succulent clippings this weekend. That would be even more amazing! Especially with the heartier succulents that I think might take well to that. I also sneak clippings from all over :), parks and public places especially. I figure that plant won’t even notice that it’s missing a a few leaves and I might even be helping to prune :). Thank you for the tips!!

  2. says

    So sorry to hear your aeonium didn’t work out, but the rest is looking great! Gardening is as much art as it is science, and sometimes you just have to experiment your way to success. Looking forward to more updates!

    • says

      Oh couldn’t agree more. I’ve learned that it’s all about experimenting! There are so many variables with sun, soil, water, food…

  3. says

    I’m very curious to see how this works. I am terrible with plants, have even managed to kill succulents, which I thought would be more tolerant of my forgetfulness. Good luck! :)

    • says

      Succulents and I are starting to get along, which is great! For me it’s an issue of just remembering to care for them – remember to water, remembering to move certain plants into the sun, etc…


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