How to Root a Succulent Leaf
(Published in the December 2016 newsletter, volume 38 number 5, with permission from World of Succulents)
Succulents are plants that survive long periods of drought by storing water in leaves, stems or roots. Their stems or roots become thick and fleshy when retaining water. Most succulents prefer dry conditions and grow well in containers. Succulents come in a variety of shapes and colors and propagate easily through leaf cuttings. Container-grown succulents require little maintenance while adding color and texture to a deck, porch or room.
- Collect a succulent leaf cutting in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Choose a healthy plant with no signs of damage or disease from which to take the cutting. Select a healthy leaf without blemish. Remove the leaf from the plant, breaking it or cutting it off with a knife at the point where the leaf connects with the stem. Place the leaf on a piece of paper, and set it in a dark, dry, well-ventilated room for one to two days to allow it to dry and form callus tissue over the cut end.
- Choose a container for the leaf cutting. Select a container that has drainage holes in the bottom and is at least 10 cm deep. Consider containers in colors and shapes that accentuate the chosen variety of succulent and the space it will be growing in.
- Mix one part potting soil, two parts vermiculite and two parts perlite together to create a well-draining growing medium. Fill the container with the mixture, tamping it down firmly. Leave a 2.5 cm space between the soil surface and the top of the container. Water the soil in the container with a watering can two to three times to ensure it is evenly moist.
- Dip the cut end of the leaf in rooting hormone. Push the cut end of the leaf down into the soil in the container until one-third to one-half of the leaf is buried. Tamp the soil down around the bottom of the leaf to stabilize it.
- Place the container in an area with a constant temperature of 18 degrees Celsius or warmer. Choose an area with bright indirect sunlight. Water the leaf cutting only when the top one-fourth layer of soil becomes dry. Mist the cutting once per day with a spray bottle to increase the humidity level. Watch for new growth to appear four to six weeks after planting, signaling that the plant has established roots.
For more information go to worldofsucculents.com or on Facebook @worldofsucculents.