How to Propagate Succulents

Learn the many ways to make more succulents from existing plants

Recognize growth-producing tissue

Most succulents can be propagated vegetatively---via stem cuttings, pulling apart offsets, or rooting leaves. The key is to locate the growth tissue that grows roots. This meristematic tissue is at...

  • bands on stems where leaves once were attached
  • the base of leaves where they attach to stems
  • where damaged tissue is (most obvious on cacti)
  • at the crown, where leaves and roots meet at soil level 

If it's a stem succulent, simply snip off the top few inches, let the raw end heal overnight, and stick the cutting upright in the soil.

Meristem tissue forms roots (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Roots grow into thin air from meristem tissue on this aeonium stem

Jade is among the easiest succulents to propagate, because it's obvious where the meristematic tissue is.

Succulent cuttings (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Jade cuttings. Bands where leaves once were attached are where roots will form.

If you're propagating a succulent from a pup, typical of agaves, dig it up or wiggle it loose.

Agave pups (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Agave pups


What if it's not that easy? 

Some succulents are more of a mystery when it comes to propagation.

For example, lithops (living stones) it possible to take cuttings from those thick, molar-shaped leaves? How about ruffled echeverias...can a solitary rosette be made to offset? And stacked crassulas...what do you do when stems are tightly lined with leaves? 

Even more challenging are succulents that make propagators pull out a power drill, coffee grinder, or tub of roofing gravel---all tools routinely used by nurseryman-grower Aaron Ryan of Petaluma, CA. 

Aaron is down-to-earth in more ways than one. At past Succulent Extravaganzas at Succulent Gardens Nursery, he graciously showed standing-room-only audiences a half dozen ways to propagate a variety of succulents. 

Somehow watching Aaron grind seed pods, guillotine a frilly echeveria, or snip a stacked crassula is soothing. You know those babies are gonna make it. You also know that with Aaron's methods, you'll soon have plenty of new plants to play with. 

How to propagate succulents: Aaron Ryan shows how to take a cutting from a stacked crassula



Find "How to Propagate Succulents" in my books

Designing with Succulents, 2nd ed., pp. 148-154

Succulent Container Gardens, pp. 232-235

Succulents Simplified, pp. 58-61

Impressed by Aaron's teaching skills, I've made several videos that feature him. They're short (4 to 6 min.), fun to watch, and easy to follow.

You can watch them below or find them on my YouTube channelplaylist "Succulent Propagation." 

Want More?

To be notified when I release a new video, subscribe to my YouTube channel. 

Succulent Propagation from Cuttings

Succulent Propagation by Division (Offsets)

Succulent Propagation by Coring to Create Offsets

Succulent Propagation from Leaves

Succulent Propagation by Beheading

Propagating Succulents from Seed, Part One: Dudleyas & Echeverias

Propagating Succulents from Seed, Part Two: Lithops

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Debra's 7 best succulents

In this free PDF exclusively for subscribers to my "Celebrating the Joy of Succulents" newsletter, you'll learn the 7 best easy-care succulents that thrive in pots and landscapes. Whether you're new to growing succulents or an experienced succulent "parent", you'll love these 7 beautiful plants.