Propagating Succulent Leaves in Water: The Definitive Guide

Propagating succulent leaves in water is a simple and rewarding process that can be done by anyone, regardless of their gardening experience.

This method involves taking a healthy leaf from a mature succulent plant and placing it in a container of water until it develops roots. Once the roots have formed, the new plant can be transferred to soil and grown into a mature plant.

To begin propagating succulent leaves in water, it is important to choose a healthy leaf from a mature plant. The leaf should be plump and firm, with no signs of damage or disease.

Once you have selected a leaf, remove it from the plant by gently twisting it off at the base. Be sure to leave a small piece of the stem attached to the leaf, as this will help it to root.

After you have selected a healthy leaf, it is time to begin the water propagation process. This involves placing the leaf in a container of water and waiting for it to develop roots.

Propagating Succulent Leaves in Water

The container should be clear, as this will allow you to monitor the progress of the roots. It is also important to change the water every few days to prevent the growth of bacteria and other harmful organisms.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a healthy leaf from a mature succulent plant for propagation
  • Place the leaf in a clear container of water and change the water every few days
  • Once the leaf has developed roots, transfer it to soil and care for it as you would any other succulent plant

Basics of Propagating Succulents

Propagating succulents is a fun and rewarding way to expand your collection of plants. One of the easiest ways to propagate succulents is through stem cuttings.

This method involves taking a small section of the stem from a healthy succulent and allowing it to root and grow into a new plant.

When selecting a stem to propagate, look for a healthy section of the plant with multiple leaves. It’s best to choose a stem that is at least 2-3 inches long to ensure successful propagation.

To take the cutting, use sharp, clean scissors to snip the stem at an angle, just below a leaf node. This will encourage the plant to produce new growth from the node and help the cutting to root more easily.

Once you have your cutting, you can choose to propagate it in water or soil. Water propagation is a popular method because it allows you to watch the roots grow and adjust the water level as needed.

To propagate in water, simply place the stem cutting in a clear glass or jar filled with water, making sure the bottom of the stem is submerged.

It’s important to note that not all succulent species are suitable for water propagation. Some succulents, such as Echeveria and Aeonium, are prone to rotting when exposed to too much moisture, so it’s best to propagate these types of succulents in soil.

Choosing Healthy Leaves for Propagation

When propagating succulent leaves in water, choosing healthy leaves is crucial for the success of the process.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting leaves for propagation:

  • Choose healthy leaves: Select leaves that are plump, firm, and free of any blemishes or signs of damage. Damaged leaves may not be able to propagate successfully and may even introduce disease to the plant.
  • Select mature leaves: Choose leaves that are fully grown and have reached their maximum size. Young leaves may not have enough nutrients stored to successfully propagate.
  • Look for leaves with a stem: Leaves with a stem attached are easier to propagate than those without. The stem provides a place for the roots to grow and helps anchor the plant.
  • Use sharp scissors: When cutting the leaves, use sharp scissors to make a clean cut. A jagged cut can damage the leaf and make it more difficult to propagate.
  • Take multiple cuttings: It’s a good idea to take multiple cuttings in case some do not propagate successfully. This will increase your chances of success and ensure that you have enough plants to work with.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are selecting the healthiest leaves for propagation. With proper care and attention, your succulent leaves should be able to grow into beautiful new plants.

Preparing Succulent for Water Propagation

Here are the steps I follow to prepare my succulent cuttings for water propagation:

Choose a Healthy Succulent Cutting

First, I choose a healthy succulent cutting to propagate. It is important to choose a cutting with no signs of disease or damage.

I usually look for a cutting that has at least two leaves and a stem that is at least two to three inches long.

Allow the Cutting to Callus

After selecting a healthy cutting, I let it sit in a dry and shaded area for a few days to allow the cut end to callus.

This step is crucial as it helps prevent the cutting from rotting in water.

Selecting the Right Container

Next, I choose a container for water propagation. I prefer to use a clear glass jar as it allows me to monitor the progress of the cutting.

It is important to choose a container that is deep enough to submerge the cutting in water.

Add Water to the Container

I fill the container with tap water and let it sit for a few hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can use distilled water instead.

Submerging the Cutting in Water

Once the water has been prepared, I gently place the succulent cutting into the container, making sure that the bottom of the stem is fully submerged in water.

I use a toothpick to prop the cutting up if needed.

Covering the Container

Finally, I cover the container with plastic wrap to create a humid environment for the cutting. This helps prevent the cutting from drying out and promotes root growth.

By following these steps, I have had great success propagating succulent leaves in water.

The Process of Propagating Succulent Leaves By Water Propagation Method

Propagating succulent leaves in water is a simple and effective way to grow new plants.

It is a popular method among gardeners and plant enthusiasts because it is easy to do and requires minimal effort.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to propagate succulent leaves in water.

Step 1: Choose Healthy Leaves

Select healthy leaves from your succulent plant. Make sure they are mature and have no signs of damage or disease. Choose leaves that are plump and firm as they have more chances of propagating successfully.

Step 2: Let the Succulent Leaves Dry

Allow the leaves to dry for a few days until the cut end has formed a callus. This will prevent the leaves from rotting when placed in water.

Place the leaves on a dry surface in a warm and dry location with good air circulation.

Step 3: Place Succulent Leaves in Water

Fill a container with water and place the leaves in it with the cut end down. Make sure the leaves are fully submerged in the water.

You can use a clear glass container to monitor the growth of roots.

Step 4: Change the Water Regularly

Change the water every few days to prevent the growth of bacteria and algae.

This will also provide the leaves with fresh oxygen. Make sure to use room temperature water to avoid shocking the leaves.

Step 5: Wait for Roots to Grow

Over time, the leaves will start to grow roots. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Once the Succulent roots are at least an inch long, you can transfer them to soil. Be patient and avoid disturbing the leaves while they are rooting.

Step 6: Transfer to Soil

Gently remove the leaves from the water and plant them in soil. Make sure the soil is well-draining and has a mix of sand and perlite.

Water the soil lightly and place the plant in a bright, but indirect sunlight. Avoid overwatering and direct sunlight as it can damage the leaves.

It is important to note that not all succulent species can be propagated in water. Some succulents, such as Echeveria, do not root well in water and may require soil propagation. Therefore, research the species of your succulent before propagating it in water.

Additionally, using rooting hormone can help speed up the process of root growth, but it is not necessary. It is always best to let the leaves root naturally without the use of rooting hormone.

Overall, water propagation is a simple and effective method for propagating succulent leaves.

With a little patience, you can grow new plants and expand your succulent collection. It is a great way to propagate succulents without having to buy new plants and is especially useful for those who want to propagate small quantities of succulents.

Transitioning to Soil

After successfully propagating your succulent leaves in water, it’s time to transition them to soil. This can be a delicate process, but with the right steps, your succulent cuttings will thrive in their new home.

First, it’s important to prepare your soil. Succulents prefer well-draining soil, so it’s best to use a specialized succulent or cactus soil.

You can also make your own by mixing regular potting soil with sand or perlite. Make sure the soil is dry before planting your cuttings.

Next, gently remove your cuttings from the water and allow them to dry for a few hours. This will help prevent any damage to the delicate roots that may have formed in the water. If you notice any roots, be careful not to break them off.

Once your cuttings are dry, it’s time to plant them in the soil. Make a small hole in the soil with your finger or a pencil and gently place the cutting in the hole.

Cover the roots with soil, but be careful not to bury the stem too deep. Succulent stems are prone to rot if they are buried too deep in the soil.

After planting, water your cuttings sparingly. Succulents prefer to be slightly underwatered rather than overwatered.

Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. As your cuttings grow, you can gradually increase the amount of water you give them.

Caring for Your New Propagated Succulent

Once your succulent cutting has rooted and grown into a new plant, it’s time to start caring for it properly. Here are some tips to ensure your new plant thrives:


Succulents need plenty of sunlight to grow and thrive. Place your new plant in a sunny location, such as a windowsill that gets direct sunlight for several hours a day.

Be sure to rotate the pot occasionally to ensure all sides of the plant get sunlight.


In addition to sunlight, succulents also need artificial light if they are not getting enough natural light.

Consider using a grow light to supplement the sunlight your plant is getting.


Once your new plant has outgrown its current pot, it’s time to repot it.

Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one, and use a well-draining soil mix formulated specifically for succulents.

Plant Growth

Succulents are slow-growing plants, so don’t be alarmed if your new plant doesn’t seem to be growing quickly.

However, if you notice that your plant is not growing at all, it could be a sign that it’s not getting enough sunlight or water.

Mist and Misting

Succulents don’t need to be misted like other plants, as they are adapted to dry conditions.

However, if you live in a particularly dry climate, you can mist your plant occasionally to increase the humidity around it.


Finally, be sure to water your succulent sparingly. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people make when caring for succulents.

Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering, and be sure to use a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from pooling around the roots.

Common Mistakes on Water Propagation of Succulents and How to Avoid Them


Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes that beginners make when propagating succulents in water.

It’s important to remember that succulents are adapted to survive in arid conditions and store water in their leaves and stems. Therefore, they are prone to root rot if they receive excessive moisture.

To avoid overwatering, make sure you only water your succulent leaves when the soil is completely dry. You can check the moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.

Lack of Drainage

Another common mistake that people make when propagating succulents in water is not providing proper drainage. Without proper drainage, water can accumulate in the container and lead to root rot or fungus.

To avoid this, make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom. If your container doesn’t have drainage holes, you can create them yourself by drilling or punching holes in the bottom.

Using Dirty Water

Using dirty water can introduce pathogens and other harmful substances to your succulent leaves, which can lead to root rot or other issues.

Make sure you use clean, filtered water when propagating your succulent leaves.

Crowding the Container

It’s important to give your succulent leaves enough space to grow and develop roots.

If you crowd too many leaves into one container, they may not have enough room to grow and can become overcrowded.

To avoid this, make sure you use a container that is large enough to accommodate all of your succulent leaves.

You can also use separate containers for each leaf to give them more space to grow.

Not Changing the Water

Finally, it’s important to change the water in your container regularly to prevent the buildup of harmful substances and pathogens. Make sure you change the water every few days to keep it clean and fresh.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can successfully propagate your succulent leaves in water and enjoy a thriving garden.

Additional Tips for Succulent Propagation in Water

Here are some additional tips to help you successfully propagate succulent leaves in water:

  1. Learn as much as you can about the process before starting. The success rate can vary depending on the grower’s knowledge and experience.
  2. Allow the cuttings to callus over before placing them in water. This means leaving them in a dry and shaded area for a few days to form a protective layer and reduce the risk of rot.
  3. Be patient. It can take several weeks or even months for the cuttings to root and start growing. Don’t give up too soon.
  4. Seek inspiration and knowledge from other growers. Join online forums and communities to share your experiences and learn from others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to propagate succulent leaves in water?

Yes, propagating succulent leaves in water is possible. In fact, it is one of the easiest and most popular methods of propagating succulents. Water propagation involves placing the leaves in a container filled with water and waiting for them to grow roots. Once the roots have formed, the leaves can be planted in soil.

How can I propagate succulent leaves in a water bottle?

To propagate succulent leaves in a water bottle, you will need to follow a few simple steps. First, select healthy leaves from your succulent plant. Next, fill a clean water bottle with water and place the leaves in the water, making sure that the bottom of the leaves are submerged. Place the water bottle in a bright, but indirect, location and wait for the roots to form. Once the roots have formed, you can plant the leaves in soil.

Should I propagate succulents in water or soil?

Both water and soil propagation methods can be successful for propagating succulent leaves. However, water propagation is generally considered to be the easier and faster method. Propagating succulent leaves in water allows you to see the roots forming, which can be a fun and educational experience. However, once the roots have formed, it is important to transfer the leaves to soil, as succulents generally prefer to grow in soil.

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