Propagating succulents from cuttings

sarahjiJanuary 13, 2009

Hey there,

I've got a bunch of succulent cuttings that I left out for 2 weeks. I'm trying to plant them now.

I have a mixture of cactus potting mix and fine sand ready for them. Should I water them as I plant them? Or at least spray some mist on them for humidity?

Also, since they've been out for long, do you think I should cut off the ends and let them dry up again for a day or two before planting them?

Thanks a lot!

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Sarah,

Sorry, but no, no, no, you're getting ahead of yourself.

To say they're succulents is not enough info. for us to advise on how to plant them. There are many different kinds of succulents & they can take different manner of potting up.

DO NOT use sand, certainly not fine sand which will compact together & likely kill your plants!!!

Go out & buy Perlite (or if you can find it, Pumice) & add it to your Cactus mix abt 1/3 of perlite. This is to make for fast draining mix so the succulents won't rot. Sand will do the opposite, so forget you ever heard that bad advice.

Very broad & general rule of succulents is to pot them up dry & not water until one sees new growth. They won't die of thirst, they hold their own water in their thick stems/leaves. They need roots to take up water, watering them now will encourage rot & death.

Succulents can usually recover from too little moisture, rarely can they do so from too much; that's usually the kiss of death!

No, don't re-trim them. You've let them dry for a good time, they're ready to pot up. Why would you cut them only to start that all over???

Pls. do some reading up on the basics, & if you can post some pix so we can help you better care for your plants.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Hey pirate girl,

Thanks for the advice! I'll look for the perlite or pumice. The cuttings I got are a mixture of succulents and cacti that originally came from cuttings themselves, from my sister's yard in San Diego. I'll post some pics soon. in the meantime, they include:

jade, kalanchoe, some kind of columnar cactus (looks like a cereus, but with few or no spines, christmas cactus, what looks like graptopetalum or sedum, and what look like speckled aloe, some kind of red crassula, and cotyledon (green pig's ear). Some are single leaves; some are clusters (like a little aloe cluster), and others are stems with leaves on them (like the jade plant).

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 1:28AM
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Easiest way using what you have, except for the sand(which you should get rid of). Get a nursery flat, fill about a 1/3 with potting soil slightly moistened and place all your cuttings on the surface. Don't water till you see new growth. Except the cactus, that should go into a pot.

I keep a couple of flats in the back corner and when ever I prune I through the pieces on the surface and forget about them. In a month or 2 there will be new growth, give them a little water and forget again. Another month or so they be ready to pot up. I've got a hundred jade, many kalanchoe, a few echeveria, ceraria, tylecodon and some p.afra all started this way.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 7:39AM
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A small percentage of coarse builder's sand is no good?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 5:09PM
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Builders sand is courser than fine(play type), and small percentage is probably ok. Fine sand packs to sufficing mass when watered if used in large amounts that's why it's best to just avoid it.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 5:58PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

If such a small percentage of sand, why even bother?

Thank you Caudex, certain people just don't seem to want to believe that sand is such a bad idea that it's best avoided to no ill effect whatsoever.

Caudex, while we're here, could you pls. explain/ define "sufficing mass "?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 9:54PM
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Sand when it gets saturated with water compacts and chokes out oxygen from getting to the roots. Also once wet it takes longer to dry out compared to more a aerated medium.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 11:59PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 5:07PM
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