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Propagating Succulents in Water: Tips & Tricks

Succulents are drought-tolerant plants that store water in their thick leaves and stems. They can be found in an endless array of eye-catching foliage shapes and textures and are relatively low maintenance plants. Propagating succulents is an exciting addition to their unique beauty and easy succulent care routines.

Succulent plants can make a dent in your budget, as they can be quite expensive to purchase.  Creating new plants from cutting by propagating succulents in water costs nothing, is relatively easy to do, and can be a fantastic way of growing your collection of succulent plants.  It also makes it easy to share your new plants with friends and family, spreading kindness and succulent joy.  Check out our guide for propagating succulents in water: tips & tricks when proliferating these striking ornamental garden and houseplant treasures.

Close up of succulent plant.

What does propagating succulents in water mean?

Water propagation is a method of using water as a growth medium for root cuttings from your succulent plants, thereby growing new shoots into their own individual plants.

Acquiring Cuttings  and Steps for Propagating Stems

There are some essential things to consider when cutting away a piece of a succulent plant. These tips will help ensure a healthy base plant as well as success when propagating succulents in water.

Size of the plant

When considering your cutting, it is crucial to assess your main plant for size and maturity. The more mature a succulent plant is, the more tolerant it will be of having a cutting pruned away. You can take a larger piece of the plant away from a more established plant than you would be able to from a smaller plant. Keep that in mind before you snip.

Timing

Spring and summer are the best times to take cuttings from succulent plants.  This is the time of the year when plants are growing most vigorously.  Taking a cutting at this time gives the mother plant its best chance at recovery and overall health.

Succulent plant in glass jar with water.

Tools and Materials

  • Clean and sharp pruning shears or a sharp knife
  • Clear glass jar
  • Distilled water or rainwater
  • A mature succulent plant
  • Cactus and succulent soil mix (optional for secondary planting)
  • Small pots with drainage holes (optional for secondary planting)

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All Natural Potting Mix

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Steps for propagating succulents in water: tips & tricks

Follow these essential steps properly obtain cuttings and start the rooting process of your succulent plants in water.

  1. Locate a healthy growth or an offshoot on your succulent plant.
  2. With your pruning shears, make a quick, clean cut through the base of the desired stem.
  3. Remove the severed piece from the mother plant. This is your cutting.
  4. Remove lower leaves if present on the succulent branch so that one to two inches of the stem is cleared away above the cut.
  5. Allow cuttings to callous for a couple of days. This is an essential tip because otherwise, the cutting will retain too much water and may rot instead of rooting.
  6. Place the calloused end of the cutting in a glass jar with the end only slightly submerged in a jar of distilled water or rainwater.
  • Do not use treated tap water, as chemical additives can inhibit the rooting process.
  • If the succulent cutting is very small, you can cover the jar or glass with plastic wrap and poke holes in the surface and stick the tiny stems through it to hold them in place.
  1. Place the water jar in a spot with lots of indirect sunlight. Use a transparent glass jar so you can watch for rooting, water levels, and water clarity.
  2. Place the container in a bright spot but away from direct sunlight and wait for roots to develop.
  3. Change water every couple of days so that algae doesn’t grow and water doesn’t get cloudy.
  4. Once roots start to grow after three to four weeks, they should be moved to a spot with more direct sunlight. It can take up to 6 weeks for some roots to emerge.

Instead of transplanting the rooted cuttings in a pot with soil mix, you can continue to grow your succulents in water, or they can transplant your succulent into soil and grow your succulents indoors You can also transplant your succulent to grow outdoors in gardens and planters.  If you root a succulent in water and move it to a potting mix, the plant will need time to acclimate to its planting environment.

woman is holding succulent branches.

Recommended Varieties

Some succulent plants are more successful than others when propagating succulents in water: tips & tricks.  Here are some of our succulent variety suggestions that have had the most fruitful outcomes.

  • Wandering Jew
  • Hen and Chicks
  • Echeveria
  • Sempervivum
  • Crassula
  • Aeonium

No matter which succulent varieties that you choose to take a chance with propagating, you’ll have your share of successes and disappointments.  When propagating succulents in water: Tips & Tricks can give you the best opportunity for success on the journey to expanding your indoor and outdoor succulent gardens.  Rooting new plants in water is an exhilarating and rewarding activity and one that will keep you craving new growth prospects on your succulent plants so you can soon propagate even more.


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