Propagating plants is just a fancy term for essentially copying and pasting plants: creating new plants from existing plants. In most cases, all you need are one or two clippings or in-tact leaves from the plant. You can snatch these from parents, friends, and plants you already have. You can even find them on the ground floors of a lot of garden centers if you’re lucky.
Echeverias extend from Southern Mexico to South America. Echeverias are characterized by their gorgeous rosettes with exquisite features and colors. The rosettes vary in shapes and sizes from tight and short-stemmed or hanging from stems. They can remain small or grow up to 12 inches wide.
The leaves also vary widely, from thin to thick, and smooth to furry, and come in many different shades and colors. Due to their beauty and desirability, many hybrid echeverias have been made. They can be propagated from seeds, offsets or individual leaves. Some echeverias include Hens and Chicks variety, but echeverias are different from hens and chicks. Echeverias can be grown in ground or in containers or planters.
How to Propagate Echeverias
If I had known echeverias were that easy to propagate, I would have done it sooner. I have had this lone echeveria plant for years. It has been flowering for me every year and produces really beautiful, showy pink flowers. I have been waiting for it to produce babies or offshoots, but so far, it has not. From time to time it gets ‘leggy’ and since I don’t like how it looks when it gets leggy, I trim it down by beheading it and repotting the beheaded top back in the soil and chucking the rest out. What I should have done is I should have kept the beheaded stem and waited for little babies to emerge from the sides of the cut stem, like this.
Another way to propagate this echeveria is by collecting seeds from the flowers after it blooms. After the plant blooms, the flowers close up again. That’s when they hold tiny seeds in their pods. These seeds can be harvested when dry and planted. The seeds will sprout and new plants will develop. I didn’t have the patience and the knowledge to do any of these methods of propagation back then.
Hold your plant by the stem gently and pluck a few leaves taking as much of the base where they meet as possible.
Let the leaves dry out for a few days or even for a week or 2 on a dry surface. Don’t water yet. You want the stems to get calloused and dry. They’ll look a little red and shrivel up a bit, but don’t fret. The beauty of this is that wherever you plucked from on the plant, a new cluster of leaves will grow in a few weeks.
You’ve waited patiently for your leaves to dry out, so now’s time to get your planters ready! I recommend using flatter, wider surfaces as the roots don’t need 6” of soil deep just yet. I used a loaf pan and a candy dish from Target. Once the plants get bigger over time, you can transplant to their forever pots, but for propagating purposes and to save on potting soil, shallow and wide is best. Fill the bottom inch with some rocks to allow the soil to drain and add in cactus soil, potting soil or soil made for clippings and propagating. It’s less fine and has more dried bits for new roots to cling to. Press soil down so it’s firm.
I’ve never used rooting hormone myself, but I’ve had great luck using honey (or honey mixed with some cinnamon). Dip the ends in and lay them flat ontop of the soil. Don’t bury the ends or plant them. Over the next few weeks, the leaves will start to grow tiny baby succulents from the base. Watch and enjoy.
Oh and if you want to send some baby succulents via snailmail, simply wrap the succulents in some moist tissue paper and wrap it in paper (not in a sealed plastic bag!). Most succulent babies are strong enough to survive a few weeks on the road without water.