How to Take Cuttings to Clone Succulents

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Succulents without leaf stalks, such as jade, grow from leaf cuttings.
Succulents without leaf stalks, such as jade, grow from leaf cuttings. (Image: Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Asexual plant propagation by cuttings is one method of reproducing a plant as a true genetic replica of another. Although you cannot propagate every type of plant through its cuttings, it is possible to reproduce succulents in this manner. The practice not only lets you increase your plant collection without having to pay for a new one, it also gives you the chance to save a diseased plant by recreating a new specimen from a section of tissue that is still healthy.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat with drainage holes
  • Soilless potting mix
  • Knife
  • Alcohol
  • Rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Stakes as needed

Fill a flat that has drainage holes with soilless potting mix. Alternatively, prepare your own blend with equal parts peat moss and perlite. Moisten the medium uniformly before you plant the cuttings.

Select a sharp knife for the job. Dip the blade in alcohol to sterilize it before taking cuttings.

Locate a point where a leaf stalk sprouts from the plant stem. Cut just below it. Perform this step at the start of the growing season of the succulent plant you have. Take several cuttings in case one doesn't root.

Remove the foliage from the stems, but retain leaf buds.

Dip the cut ends in rooting hormone and plant them in the rooting media you prepared in Step 1.

Slip the flat into a clear plastic bag to retain moisture. Insert stakes in the rooting medium to keep the bag from collapsing, if necessary. Place the cuttings in a well-lit area away from direct sunlight.

Irrigate the succulent cuttings when the potting mix becomes dry 1/4 inch below the surface. A cutting that begins to put out new growth signals it has rooted. Wait for the new roots to reach 1 inch in length to transfer the succulent seedlings to individual pots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Propagate jade, jelly bean and other succulent plants without leaf stalks from leaf cuttings: Break a leaf off the plant and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Insert the leaf one-third of the way into the rooting medium. Do not place the flat in a plastic bag. Keep the soilless medium just damp, irrigating it when it becomes dry 1/4 inch below the surface.

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