Easy Peezy Leaf Propagation

Easy Peezy Leaf Propagation

Well, now that you have a fist full (read: pocket full, purse full, bra full, etc. as situation dictates ) of leaves, now what?


The fastest way to grow a diverse number of plants ... leaf propagation.

The least expensive way to grow a diverse number of plants ... leaf propagation

The most fulfilling way to grow a diverse number of plants ... leaf propagation

The slowest way to grow a diverse number of plants ... leaf propagation.

 Colorful succulent cuttings

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s propagate!! We should start with the “bad”. The process is slow, and I mean sloooooow. It may take 1-2 years before you have something you would consider a decent or full size. Succulents are not in a hurry! Unlike a sunflower seed that can grow a whopping 8 ft in just one season. A succulent is successful at 1 inch in a full year. Should this discourage you? Of course not!! Believe me you are in it for the long haul with your habit, I mean hobby! Frankly, once you have successful grown a full plant from a mere leaf , world domination sounds like a piece of cake. There is a great joy that comes from successfully navigating leaf propagation.


With slight exceptions like aeoniums, haworthia, agave, lithops, mimicry plants in general, and aloes, the rest of the succulent world will grow from leaves. If you are pruning your plants you will take the leaf where it meets the stem, and gently pull. I prefer to give it a little twist. The leaf usually gives a little snapping sound and that typically gives me a very clean break. If the end that is attached to the stem breaks or has damage, the chance of that leaf being able to produce an offset declines dramatically. That is the end that will send out the roots and plant. You want no damage to that end for best results.

 Succulent leaf propagation 

I have seen fancy contraptions with holes poked in water bottles, small vases with leaves stuck outside of them, elaborate mandal type patterns with leaves sorted and placed on growing medium according to size, everything including a votive candle paying homage to the botany gods to make those little buggers grow. However, you need none of those things! My method is pretty easy and straightforward, it’s called “Live or Die Bitches”.


This patent pending method (I’m kidding, or maybe I’m not) is the key to success because I don’t want you to worry or be disappointed if the leaves don’t all grow, because you will have some that won’t.


Step 1. Once you have your leaves I want you to toss them on a paper plate or a shallow pot with a scant amount of lightweight and fast draining growing medium, in a location that does not get full sun.

Step 2 . You are then going to go make dinner, watch a movie. Go check your other plants. Go to work, if you must. Call your mother, if you are on speaking terms. Set an appointment for a pedicure, your heels are a mess. I am an Olympic napper and highly recommend the sport, you should try out for the team, 20 minutes is a good start. Check your leaves in 7-10 days, or don’t. Checking in two weeks is fine.


I’m sure by now you are like wait, what did I miss?!?!

You want me to leave them alone and ABANDON THEM!?!?

Yes, yes I do. These are not kittens.

Why? Well, that’s how nature does it.


When leaves fall from the mother plant they fall on the soil and in the dappled light of the mother plant they start to grow.


What about misting them!?!? Don’t I have to water them?!?!?


No. The number one way you get those leaves to rot is by getting them wet constantly. Go mist your tropical plants; they like it. With some leaves the more you water them the longer the roots will become but there produce no plant. You just have a rooted leaf and nothing more because you are literally just keeping the leaf alive, the leaf is happy with the situation and gives no additional energy into growing an actual plant.


You CAN water when you finally see a little plant!!

How often? That’s the 10 million dollar question. And the answer is, it depends.

Your climate will determine how much water it needs, the season, if you are indoors or out. But generally if you are watering your full grown plants , you should water your leaf props ( again, that’s what would happen in nature).


Now can you do all those fancy methods? SURE!!! Will you have success with those methods? SURE!!! My method comes from what I have seen from dozens of growers both small and massive. They do not fuss, as a matter of fact some literally have piles just sitting around and they have success in propagating them this way. The key is airflow around the leaves, a lack of moisture to keep them from rotting and bright but not direct light. The other factor is volume, the more leaves you have the more likely the success of some growing.

 Tiny succulent in hand

To continue in the “Live or Die, Bitches” process ideally the mother leaf should be left on the new plant until it is completely dry. It can then be gently twisted off. Your new plant can be then planted in small pots. Remember to keep your plants in a proportional sized pot. That pretty much goes for any size plant as a pot that’s too big may hold moisture too long for one plant to absorb and you are back to the dreaded root rot.


On a final note the easiest way to get into an online argument with stranger is to confess your leaves were picked up from the Lowes garden center floor and you did not ask permission. I’m not certain if this will be the ultimate downfall of civilization as we know it, but I assure you at least a couple hundred people will choose that hill to die on and harass you. If you do it, don’t talk about it!!!

Happy Planting!!



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