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Ask Nell: Planting Succulent Cuttings

Succulents are easy to propagate & to plant. Planting succulents is a great project for beginning gardeners & kids. See how to do it & the materials needed.

Planting Succulent Cuttings Tips How To Advice

A Youtube viewer requested that I do a video about planting succulent cuttings.  Gadzooks!  I plant enough of them both in containers and in my garden here in Santa Barbara, CA – had I never done a video showing how to plant them?  Time to change that because planting succulent cuttings is really easy.  It’s a great project for beginning gardeners or one to do with kids.

I’ve recently done a post and video on propagating succulent cuttings and after that step is done, then of course you need to plant them.  I always let my cuttings heal off (dry over at the ends) for quite a long period of time before planting.  Some succulents cuttings will show roots and some won’t – no worries, just plant them and the roots will form.

Here’s how I plant succulent cuttings:

When planting succulents in pots or in the garden, it’s essential that the drainage is excellent. The fleshy succulent stems and leaves are full of water and will rot out in a heartbeat if they stay constantly wet.

I always use a mix formulated for cactus and succulents when planting in containers along with my favorite amendment, worm castings.  Actually, sometimes I even throw a handful of the succulent mix (along with the castings and some compost) into the hole when I’m planting cuttings in the garden.


I always have succulent cuttings laying around somewhere!

By the way, I don’t plant cuttings into grow pots if they’re going in the garden. After they’ve healed over, straight in they go.

Succulents don’t mind being crowded so I often plant quite a few of them close together in the garden or in a pot.  I keep them dry for about 5 days and then give them a good watering. To echo the words of the Barefoot Contessa, how easy is that!



I have many succulent containers which sit in my garden – most which have been planted from cuttings.

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  1. hi – is a rubber tree plant considered a succulent? And how would you best take a cutting and plant it? Thanks!

  2. Hi Colette – No, Rubber Trees are not succulents. I’ve always had the best luck with air layering these plants. If you want to do a cutting: take it from the end at an angle, no more than 5-6″ long. Remove the lower leaves & dip the end in rooting hormone if you’d like. Fill a 6″ pot with potting soil & water well. Put the cutting in the pot & tamp it making sure the cutting stays upright & straight. Cover with a plastic bag & wait at least 6 weeks before checking. Keep it in bright light but out of direct sun & out of hot temps. Hope that helps! Nell

  3. Thanks so much Nell! I have a thriving tree in a pot and my son wants cuttings ?? but I wasn’t sure how for this one!

  4. A very informative video. Appreciated! Happy gardening.

  5. Hi Myra Jean – I’m glad you found it informative because that’s my aim! Stay tuned, there’s lot more info coming your way. Happy gardening to you also, Nell

  6. Hai, I want to propogate this succulent with cutting the leaves. I cut the 6 leaves and dry them for 1 month without watering or planting them in soil. but after 1 month there are no roots coming from leaves. all six leaves has bruises and shrink like in that picture. I want to ask whys like that? is my doing is right for propogating the succulent?

    Sorry if my english is not good. I hope you understand. It will great if you help me. thank you very much.

    NT : now is already over 1 month and there are still no roots.

  7. Hi Afrizal – Of course I understand, no worries at all. When I propagate succulents by stem cuttings, I let them heal over (or dry) for at least 3-4 weeks, many times much longer. I only let the leaves heal over for a few days before planting. Sounds like they dried out too long. Depending on what type of succulent it is, it might come back to life. Hope that helps, Nell

  8. I understand how to plant the succulents after your video but not how to water them. I have tried them before and I know I overwatered them. How often do you water?

  9. Hi Nell, Can you tell me why it’s necessary to wait for a cutting to heal over before planting it in soil? I’d always heard you could just put the cutting straight into the soil.

    Thank you for your informative videos!

  10. Hi Sherri – It’s good to let succulent cuttings heal off for at least a week because they’re prone to over watering. The stems & leaves are full of water so by letting them dry & scab it prevents that. Leaves & thin stemmed succulents like String Of Pearls only need to heal off for 2-4 days. All that being said, I’ve planted stems directly in the soil before but haven’t initially watered them for a t least a week. Hope that helps! Nell

  11. Hi Dahlia – First of all, I always use a really light mix like a succulent & cactus mix so the water freely drains out. Succulent cuttings like to stay “moderately moist” until they root so I would suggest misting the soil well instead of actually watering it. Just avoid the foliage & the stems if you can. Depending on your temps, once a week should do it. Like any plants, water less in the cooler, darker months. Hope that helps! Nell

  12. What is the name of the succulent in the very first picture with the red and green flat pads? I just recently acquired one and do not know the requirements for taking care of it. Thank you

  13. Hi Marlies – It’s a Kalanchoe luciae commonly called Paddle Plant, Flapjacks Plant or Desert Cabbage. My grow outdoors but I did a post & video about how to grow 1 as a houseplant. Here’s the link: Hope that helps! Nell

  14. Do you sell leaves or cutting i would be looking for small to bulk to Ireland.
    Joseph Buckley

  15. Hi Joesph –
    I used to sell cuttings but don’t anymore. Etsy, amazon & ebay are places to check out online. Nell

  16. Hi,
    I am considering planting a succulent graden, but am not sure how to prune it. I have noticed that a lot of succulents get leggy and messy looking as they grow, and I am not sure how people keep thiers looking neat and compact. Any insights?
    Thank you!

  17. Hi Kimberley – Some succulents get very leggy over time & some stay compact. When mine start to get too leggy for my taste, I simply prune them, take cuttings, let them heal over & then plant back in the same spot (or give a few away!). I avoid doing it during the cool, rainy season. Nell

  18. can succulent be planted with out roots

  19. Yes they can Denise. Some succulent cuttings I’ve planted never grew roots when they were healing over but did when they were potted up. Nell

  20. Hi, Nell

    Lovely articles.
    I have a question regarding cuttings I took on my recent travels in California, which I would like to plant up now that I’m back in London.
    I put the cuttings in water, which I believe is a wrong thing to do? They’ve been in water for a bout one week. Should I take them out of the water and let them dry out and scab, before planting in soil?
    Or leave them in the water till roots show up, then plan them on?
    Your help would be much appreciated.
    Thank you

  21. Hi Jinuss – Succulents do best rooting in mix. They will root in water but may go into shock when eventually planted in mix. A week isn’t long. I’d take them out, let them completely dry, recut the end, let them heal over (how long depends on the size of the stem) & root them in succulent mix. Nell

  22. If a fire stick succulent looks untidy , can you cut it and where do you prune , because of the sap being poisonous

  23. Hi Patty – Yes, you can cut it. Just wear gloves, cover the cut with a cloth & don’t touch your face or skin. Clean your pruners after the cut. Prune it back to a side or main branch. You can also cut off the top if need be. Nell

  24. I actually got cutting from a bouquet and I now have little babies. But I do not know how big they need to be before I tender them into a pot out of the spaces the rooted in?

  25. Hi Jade – I’m not sure what succulents you have so it’s hard to say. I’ve planted succulents both bigger & smaller. Some succulents root faster than others. I’d say at least 2″ – 3″ tall. Nell

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