Succulents have become increasingly popular due to their unique appearance and easy maintenance. These plants are known for their thick, fleshy leaves and stem, which help them to store water in arid environments. They come in various shapes and colors, making them a favorite of many plant enthusiasts. If you’re looking to propagate your succulent collection, you may wonder whether it’s better to propagate succulents in water or soil. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each method.
Is it better to propagate succulents in water or soil?
The best medium for propagating succulents is soil.
If you want to propagate succulent cuttings or leaves, the most effective method is to plant them in soil. Although you could have some success rooting them in water, this approach can be risky as the stems are susceptible to rot. Using a soil medium can increase your chances of success and encourage the development of more robust and healthier roots.
Propagation in Water
Propagation in water is a popular method for propagating many types of plants, including succulents. This method involves placing the cuttings or leaves of a succulent in water and waiting for roots to form before transplanting them into the soil. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of propagating succulents in water:
- Easy to Monitor: When propagating succulents in water, it’s easy to see the progress of the roots. This makes it easy to know when to transplant them into the soil.
- Less Risk of Overwatering: Since succulents are prone to root rot, propagating them in water reduces the risk of overwatering. Water propagation also allows the cuttings to take up water at their own pace.
- More Hygienic: Propagating succulents in water is more hygienic since it reduces the risk of soil-borne diseases.
- Slow Growth: Succulents propagated in water often have slower growth rates than in soil. This is because they don’t have access to the nutrients and minerals in the soil.
- Risk of Shock: Transferring succulents from water to soil can be stressful for the plant and may cause transplant shock.
- Risk of Root Damage: When removing succulent cuttings from water, the delicate roots can be damaged.
Propagation in Soil
This method involves planting the cuttings or leaves of a succulent directly into the soil and waiting for roots to form. It is the method we recommend. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of propagating succulents in soil:
- Faster Growth: Succulents propagated in soil often have faster growth rates than those propagated in water. This is because they have access to the nutrients and minerals found in soil.
- Less Risk of Transplant Shock: When propagating succulents in soil, there is less risk of transplant shock since the plant is already in its final growing medium.
- Stronger Roots: Succulents propagated in soil often have stronger roots than those propagated in water. This is because they have to work harder to find water and nutrients.
- Risk of Overwatering: Succulents are prone to root rot, and propagating them in the soil increases the risk of overwatering.
- More Difficult to Monitor: It can be more difficult to monitor the progress of the roots when propagating succulents in soil.
- Risk of Soil-Borne Diseases: Propagating succulents in the soil increases the risk of soil-borne diseases.
How to root succulent cuttings in soil
The best way to propagate succulent plants is by rooting cuttings in soil. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to root succulent cuttings in soil.
Step 1: Choose the right succulent to propagate
Before you begin, choose the right succulent to propagate. Look for a healthy parent plant with firm, plump leaves or stems. Avoid plants with signs of disease or pests.
Step 2: Gather necessary supplies
To root succulent cuttings in soil, you will need a few supplies:
- A sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears
- A clean, well-draining pot
- Cactus or succulent soil mix
Step 3: Take cuttings
Use a sharp pair of clean scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut at the base of the stem or leaf. Make a clean cut to minimize damage to the parent plant.
Step 4: Apply a rooting hormone
To speed up the rooting process, you can apply rooting hormone to the cut end of the stems or leaves. However, using the rooting hormone is optional and unnecessary if you prefer not to use it.
Step 5: Prepare soil mix
While the cuttings are drying, prepare the soil mix. Use a well-draining cactus or succulent soil mix to prevent the cuttings from rotting. You can also mix in some perlite or sand to increase the drainage ability of the soil.
Step 6: Plant the cuttings
Plant the cuttings in the pot. Make a small hole in the soil and gently insert the cutting into the hole. Be careful not to bury the cutting too deep as this can cause it to rot. The cutting should be planted about an inch deep.
Step 7: Water the cuttings
After planting the cuttings, give them a light watering. Be careful not to overwater as this can cause the cuttings to rot. Water only when the soil has completely dried out.
Step 8: Provide the right conditions
To ensure successful rooting, provide the right conditions for the cuttings. Succulent cuttings root best in bright, indirect light and warm temperatures. Be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight as this can cause them to dry out.
Step 9: Wait for roots to develop
Roots may take several weeks or even months to develop on the cuttings. Be patient and do not disturb the cuttings during this time. You can check the progress of the roots by gently tugging on the cutting. If there is resistance, it means roots have developed.
Step 10: Transplant the cuttings
Once the cuttings have developed a healthy root system, it is time to transplant them into their pots. Use a well-draining soil mix and provide the right growing conditions for your new plants.
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