I have a sad story to tell. Just over two weeks ago I went to Arizona for a week. I had moved all my succulents outside now that the weather is getting warm. This should have been fine except all the succulent leaves that I was propagating were in the direct sunlight, which I didn’t realize. Sadly, all of the cute little succulents that had started growing died. Those beautiful pink roots turned nasty, shriveled and black. Lesson learned! Don’t put succulent starts outside until they are large enough to grow and be treated like a regular plant!
I do have new leaves that I started when I got back. Those have been outside the whole time and are so so. They may or may not grow but I’m going to keep watering them to give them the benefit of the doubt. You can see them in front of the birdhouse at the end of this post. Also, last week I posted a step by step on propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings. You can find it here. I really think propagating succulents inside works best (from my limited experience). So, three days ago I started a bunch of new leaves. I left them sitting on the window sill for two days and have now laid them out on a nice succulent soil.
I got all three of the bread pans below at Deseret Industries for just a dollar a piece. I thought they would provide plenty of space but it turns out it was a tight fit! I decided to lay out the succulents in a pretty pattern just for fun. This way they look pretty even before those wonderful new little plants start to grow.When I started laying them out I left plenty of space between the leaves but I soon had to fill in all the negative space and even stand some of the leaves up (which still works just fine).
I’ve been reading up a lot more on propagating succulents and I’ve learned a thing or two, along with real life experience :) and experimentation. One thing I learned is that you can use honey as a rooting hormone. While I’ve read (and learned from propagating succulents on my own) that propagating succulents can be successful without a rooting hormone, I figured I’d give honey a try. After all, I already had some on the shelf! Plus it is amazing local honey from my friends the Stembridges who live down the street. You can check out their honey and even order some here.
So in this photo there are three trays of succulents. The middle, long tray has leaves that have been dipped in honey before being laid on the soil. The other two are just the succulent leaves, nothing additional done (other than the drying mentioned above). I’m curious to see if the honey helps, hurts or is the same!
It seems there is a lot of varying information about propagating succulents and I’ve decided that you have to figure out what works for you. Some people recommend putting the leaves in the dirt, others laying them on top. I like laying them on top with the curve facing the dirt so the leaf can get water but isn’t totally buried in the dirt. From the limited success I had before, this seems to be just fine. The biggest thing that I think helps is to let the leaves dry out and callus before you put them on dirt and water them. If they don’t callus they will absorb too much water and die. Also, put the leaves in bright light but not direct sunlight as this will cause them to scorch and die. Cross your fingers that batch 2 1/2 turns out better than batch one did!
I recently published an eBook all about propagating succulents! It covers in depth how to propagate from leaves and from cuttings. Click here for more information or click below to purchase the book.