Succulents are interesting and sculptural (and I suppose they're trendy too) but what I love most about them is how easy they are to find and care for. Propagating these strange little plants has become a bit of a hobby lately... in fact my collection has grown so large that I've been sharing my cuttings planted in tiny painted terra cotta pots at our market stalls.
A few months ago when my interest in succulents began I posted on how to grow new plants from stem cuttings; it's the method that produces instant gratification and is ideal if you have friends willing to share their plants or if you're not shy about skulking through your neighbour's gardens after dark with a pair of secateurs. However, for those of you with more scruples and the patience to match, you can also propagate succulents from leaf cuttings, and today I'm going to show you how.
Propagating Succulents From Leaf Cuttings
1. Pull a healthy, good-looking leaf from the stem of your chosen succulent. It has to be a 'clean pull' meaning nothing gets left on the stem. (If you get some of the stem that's fine too.) If your leaf rips off just before the stem it will die, so try again.
2. Let your leaf cutting dry out for 1-3 days. Just like with stem cuttings, it's important to let the end of the cutting 'scab over' or it'll absorb too much water and die. If the cutting starts to shrivel up a little that's ok, it's just a sign that it's time to start watering.
3. Set your cuttings on soil. The recipe for the best succulent potting mix is 1 part regular potting mix to 1 part sand. Put some in a bowl (baking trays also work well) and line up your leaf cutting on top of the soil.
4. Water your cuttings. While full grown succulents don't need to be watered more than once a fortnight, cutting do. Once the soil mix feels dry, give it a little drink. I use a spray bottle to avoid saturating the little plants - if you do over-water the leaves will turn orangey-brown and die.
5. New roots and shoots will grow in about 4 weeks. In 2 months you'll be ready to transfer you new baby plants to their own little pots (filled with the same DIY succulent mix) where they'll grow big and strong.