Leaf Propagation Guide

To start, select the succulent species carefully, some varieties rarely or never grow from just a leaf. This applies to Aeonium, Cotyledon, Agave, Sempervivum, Haworthia and Senecio.

Variegated leaves have next to no chance of producing a variegated plantlet, avoid buying these leaves. They’re often being seen for sale on multiple selling platforms and are a waste of money. A cutting is the minimum you would require to guarantee propagating a variegated plant.

Kalanchoe are another genus that propagate in a variety of different ways unique to them. Some propagate by producing pups on the outer fringes of the leaves, one example of this is Mother of Thousands aka Kalanchoe Daigremontiana.

When removing the leaf make sure it is fully plump and not dehydrated or wrinkled, this ensures the best chance of it propagating. Removal of a leaf is easy most of the time. A gentle wiggle side to side or slight and gentle rotation can help. The growth point quite often is a different colour, normally pink. Be careful not to damage this as the leaf is unlikely to propagate if this happens.

After removal leave leaves flat and wait. Some leaves grow roots first, some pup (small plantlet) first and some produce both together. Generally I leave mine on racks in the greenhouse but not in direct sunlight, they don’t need too much light nor do they need any water at this stage.

If leaf goes translucent, black or withers away dispose of it, it’s failed. Not all leaves are guaranteed to prop, remember this when buying unrooted leaves, it can be money down the drain. When trading, selling or buying leaves I tend to make sure they are showing some signs of progress no matter how slight.

Personally I do not move my leaves until they have a good size pup and roots, or the mother leaf is significantly depleted. At this point I then transfer to celled trays, potted into gritty substrate and begin to sparingly water. My celled trays are in a fairly bright location of the greenhouse.

From this to the final stage is another waiting game, once the mother leaf has shrivelled and the pup is looking like an established plantlet then I move it into a small pot of its own. At this point I move them into bright sunlight with all my other succulents. At this stage I treat them like my adult plants, deep and infrequent watering and plenty of light.

Please be aware that young and forming plantlets can be succeptible to multiple pests, especially the dreaded mealy bugs! Do check under developing leaves (if you can) as they love to hide in tiny gaps! If you do find any mealies spray with isopropyl alcohol.

One slight difference with Adromischus is the mother leaf doesn’t always wither, sometimes it swells and becomes part of the new plantlet that forms. Sometimes this mother leaf can be used again to propagate another plantlet! Sometimes they can root and never produce anything further, in this case it has failed.

The process at times from start to finish can take 2+ years. Sometimes it pays just to buy an established plant to begin with. Personally I enjoy watching and documenting how these plants propagate, it’s a really fun and satisfying thing to do!

I hope this was informative and can help you propagate your succulent leaves successfully!