Propagating succulents in water: A Step By Step Guide

propagating succulents in water

Propagating succulents in water is great, especially because the plants are among the most productive ones in the world and propagating them is super easy to do. As most succulents have thick and fleshy leaves due to the water they store in them, using water to generate baby succulents, or pups as they are commonly referred to, makes sense. It really is the best way to build up your plant garden without having to buy extra plants. And not only is it easy to do, but you can do it with just the items you have at home.

What Succulents Are Best Propagated in Water?

Research has shown that while some succulents do well while planted in soil, others flourish just on water alone. So, to succeed with propagating succulents in water, try to source fast growing succulents that grow best in water. These can include:

propagating succulents in water

How to Propagate Succulents in Water – Step by Step Guide

For those that are not quite sure what succulent propagation in water is, let us explain… It is a procedure whereby you take a leaf or stem from a succulent, and grow it into another plant using water. It is pretty straightforward, and you can successfully do it even if you are a beginner. Here is a step by step guide that you can use when propagating succulents in water.

1. Get Your Cutting

If you are propagating a succulent in water, you have to start by getting your cutting from the plant; it could be a leaf or stem. When using the latter, snip it carefully from the succulent plant using a knife or pruner that has been washed and disinfected to avoid exposing the new plant to any diseases. If you are going to choose leaves, make sure that they are healthy, without any discoloration or marks. At the same time, do not pick a leaf that is torn, dehydrated, or flat if you want to get the best results.

You should always be extra careful when removing your leaf from the stem. Remember that if you do not detach it together with its base, it will not survive, and your efforts will not bear any fruits… Or in this case, baby succulents.

2. Allow Your Cutting to Dry

Have you already gotten the stem or leaf that you will use when propagating succulents in water? You have to give the cutting time to dry. It may take some days or even a week. When drying your leaf, put it in a warm place where direct sunlight cannot reach it. When the leaf has dried, you will see a scab at the place of detachment from the stem. If the callous is not there, the leaf might die during propagation. If you are using stems, use the same procedure for drying.

After the cutting is dry, you can consider immersing the stem or base in a rooting hormone to increase your chances of success. Even so, it is optional, and your new plant will still grow if you do everything else that is required of you.

3. Put the Cutting in Water

This is the third step to follow when you want to propagate a succulent in water. Take your cutting, place it in a cup that can comfortably accommodate it, and then add some water. When doing so, confirm that the leaf or stem’s end is just above the water’s surface. It is also okay if the cutting’s end is in contact with the water.

4. Place the Cutting in the Sun

After putting your cutting in a cup or vessel of the right size, place it in the sunlight. It doesn’t have to be outside your house. You can pick a spot inside your home that is well-lit, such as a shelf near your window. Keep adding water so that the leaf or stem can get enough of it, and wait for the roots to start growing.

5. Plant Your Cutting

As soon as you notice that the roots have already grown on your cuttings, prepare to plant them. You can first allow them to dry and then plant the leaf or stem in an appropriate potting mix. Keep watering them regularly so that they can become stronger and more rooted. Then, you can reduce the number of times you water the cuttings to once every week. Your succulent may look like it’s struggling when you first plant it in soil, but once it adjusts to it’s new home, it should bounce back and thrive.

Growing succulents

Tips to Help Propagate Succulents in Water

As mentioned above, propagating succulents in water is incredibly easy. Even so, if you are doing it for the first time, you can unknowingly make a mistake or get confused about how a particular activity should be done. You can utilize the tips below to attain the great results you are hoping for.

Choose The Right Vessel

When propagating succulents in water, you have to select the perfect holder to put your cuttings. It could be a cup, a bottle, or even an old jar. It should always be the right fit for your leaf or stem. You do not want your cutting squeezed into a container that is too small for it.

Ensure That the Temperature is Right

If this is the first time that you are propagating a particular succulent in water, you may not know the best temperature for growing the plant. Should you place it in a cold place, or is a little warmth okay? Well, your cutting will grow faster into a new plant when you place it in a warm environment. While it is alright to put it in a sunny location, too much sunlight can end up damaging the leaves or stems.

Water the Plant Well

After you have planted the cutting, you must keep adding the right amount of water. Plants require a lot of moisture when they are starting out, and yet to mature. After you realize your new plant has become more established, you can minimize the amount of water you add.

If you decide to keep your cuttings in water even after they have roots, you have to change the water in the jar after a week or two. Remember, it’s easier for the plant to develop and survive in fresh water.

When propagating succulents in water, there are also a few things that you should avoid to guarantee success. These include:

Propagating Succulents When It Is Freezing

It is not advisable to grow your succulents when it is frosty. During such times, most plants experience only a little growth, and they may even end up becoming permanently stunted. Propagating succulents in water under extremely cold temperatures may deter you from getting the healthy, new plants you want. The cuttings undergo a lot of pressure and are not able to regrow as expected.

Propagating Succulents during Heatwaves

Heatwaves are known for causing major crop failures. That is why you should not think about propagating a succulent when the weather is really hot; the likelihood of failing is high. When you prune your stem or remove your leaf then, it will be introduced to stress very early, and since it requires time to heal, it may not survive due to the harsh climate.

Even so, if you feel that propagating succulents in water is something you must do, you can consider protecting your plant by keeping it indoors, away from the extreme heat outside. Of course, you have to monitor it closely to see to it that everything is going as planned. Also, do not stop watering it severally.

succulents in water

More About Propagating Succulents in Water

  • Types of Rooting Hormones
    As mentioned earlier, you can use a rooting hormone when propagating succulents in water to achieve better results. It can be a powder, liquid, or gel, depending on your preference. You can also use natural rooting hormones such as:
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    Apple cider vinegar is known for a lot of things, including helping in weight loss, improving skin health, and enhancing the heart health of different animals. It is also pretty helpful as a rooting hormone when you want to propagate succulents in water. Only use a little of it, and make sure that you mix it with water. Too much apple cider vinegar can deter the process of rooting, permanently.
  • Honey
    Honey is a great rooting hormone because it has fantastic antibacterial characteristics. To make your rooting agent, start by taking a tablespoon of raw or pure honey and mix it with about two cups of boiled water. Give it some time to cool, and later on, store it in an airtight bottle and keep it in a dark-lit place. Fortunately, your honey rooting hormone can last to up to 14 days. To use it, all you have to do is dip your stem or leaf into it.
  • Cinnamon Powder
    This is another popular natural rooting agent that comes in handy when propagating succulents in water. How should you use it? It is simple. Place your cutting somewhere, like on a table, and sprinkle a little cinnamon powder on it. You can also dip the stem or leaf in the powder if you desire. This rooting hormone also helps to fight fungi-related diseases, and also allows the cuttings to heal faster.


When propagating succulents in water, some of the leaves you used initially may begin to wither, even if you are watering the plant daily. There is no need to panic because it is normal. The cause may be the fact that the new plant is pulling nutrients as well as water that is in the leaf already. Succulents are one of the most hardy and longest living plants, and once it’s adjusted to the soil, it should quickly become established ready to produce new succulent babies.

Propagating succulents in water is one of the most reliable ways to grow new plants. The succulents do not rot because the water does not have the pathogens that are likely to be found in the soil. When growing a succulent in water, feel free to follow the steps outlined in this guide.

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