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When you’re propagating succulent leaves watering is a bit different than watering a full plant. In this episode you’ll learn the proper way to water succulent leaves and how to tell if they’re getting too much or too little water.

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This episode is brought to you by Sedum rubrotinctum which is commonly called Pork and Beans or Jelly Beans. It’s a very prolific propagator and you’ll easily be able to grow new succulents from its leaves.

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Question:

Hi! I have a question regarding watering succulent propagations from leaves. I’ve gotten the hang of watering a full-grown succulent, but not so much propagations. As of now, I’ve been spritzing the leaves with water once a day. Most of them love this an have been sprouting roots like crazy, but about 3 out of 20 or so leaves are turning yellow and mushy, which I know is a signal of over watering.

I believe some of those over watered leaves might be goners, which is a shame. Also, I’ve been trying to give them a little break, but then some of the leaves look a little pruny and crinkly which is usually a sign of under watering in full grown succulents, but it may not interfere with the propagating process. Any input would be wonderful!

Answer:

I’m so excited that you’re trying succulent propagation with leaves! The other thing I love is that you’re already making great assumptions and recognizing the signs of what’s going on with your succulents. You clearly know how to identify if your succulent is getting too much or too little water, and that’s awesome!

The tricky thing is, with leaf propagation, those signs don’t necessarily mean that your current actions are causing problems for your succulent leaves. In fact, a lot of succulent leaves just won’t survive – it’s just the nature of plants.

So even if you’re taking perfect care of your succulent leaves, you’re always going to have some that don’t make it. And honestly, it sounds like the ones that are turning yellow and mushy probably weren’t healthy to begin with, so they’re not making it through the propagation process.

Again, like I mentioned, this may not be a sign that you’re actually over watering them right now, but it could be a sign that they got water too quickly after you removed the leaf from the plant.

Some leaves might have calloused over after a couple hours, and for others it might take a couple of days. Even if they’re removed from the same plant, not all of them are going to be exactly the same. That’s the beauty of gardening – there’s always going to be some variations!

You mentioned that the other leaves are doing really well, and honestly, 17 out of 20 propagation leaves is an awesome success rate!

I usually tell people that if you get a 50% success rate, you are doing really well. You are clearly above that mark, so I don’t think you have any need to worry.

Since most of your leaves are doing well with the daily spritzing, I would continue to do that. Like I said, the ones that were yellowing and starting to rot aren’t going to survive, but it may not have been a problem with the watering initially.

Now, even if you’re watering your succulents on a daily basis, you may notice some of the original leaves starting to shrivel, especially after that new rosette forms. This is really normal. The new baby is going to pull baby from the air around it, but it’s also going to pull nutrients and water that’s already stored in the leaf, and that’s going to cause some of the shriveling.

It’s really normal, and just part of the process with leaf propagation.

What’s more odd to me is when you have this beautiful new baby rosette growing, and it still has the large mother leaf attached to it that’s perfectly healthy. As long as that new baby rosette is looking happy and plump, continue watering the way that you have been.

Make sure you’re covering up the roots to help keep them cool and damp. This will continue to give them nutrients from the water.

Succulent leaves can propagate all on their own, without any help from you. But your watering and care can help speed things up and allow your leaves to be more successful in propagating.

Honestly, it sounds like you’re doing really great with your propagation, and I love that you’re paying attention, and are ready and willing to try something new to help your succulents succeed.

As you continue to propagate more succulents from leaves, you’ll probably find that some batches will be more successful than others. If you have a batch that tends to be really over watered, and most of the leaves are yellowing or rotting, that’s probably a sign that you didn’t let them dry out long enough before you started giving them water.

On the other hand, if you have succulent leaves that are all shriveling up before the baby rosette is really established, and the roots are drying out and not staying a nice plump, pink color, you’re probably not giving them enough water to survive.

I have a free ebook that outlines the common problems with leaf propagation. It will give you a visual reference for the things we discussed in this episode, plus more tips for ensuring your leaf propagation goes as smoothly as possible.

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