Succulents are usually pretty easy to propagate. Most species form new plants from cuttings quite fast and with little effort on a gardening side. Whether you’re propagating from leaves or stems, a bit of well-draining soil and watering does the trick most of the time. However, sometimes this method doesn’t work. Despite all efforts, you may end up with dried out cuttings and rotten leaves. Therefore, experienced succulent gardeners swear buy water propagating, even for most stubborn, slow-growing succulents. They say the method is easy and works like a charm every time. So, let`s dive right in!
What Is Water Propagation?
As the name implies, the water is a planting medium here. This means that instead of soil, you’re letting succulent cuttings to root in pure water. If that reminds you of water therapy for underwatered plants, you’re not wrong at all. Water propagating is also going against everything we know about succulents so far. We are used to the fact that succulents despite “wet feet”, but if their roots are exposed to water for a long time, they can actually start to thrive and grow faster.
The same goes for propagating succulents from leaves and cuttings. Still, water propagating remains pretty controversial among gardeners. Theoretically, those that are against it are not wrong, but we saw so many examples of it working that the method deserves for you to try it out, at least.
How To Water Propagate A Succulent?
First, you’ll need to collect leaves or cuttings. At this point, you can choose from which part of the plant you’d like to propagate. Whatever you pick, make sure that the succulent part is healthy and in a good shape. Besides cuttings or leaves, you’ll need clean water, a container, and some plastic wrap.
For the water, you should go with either distilled one or rainwater. Try to avoid tap water, since it can contain chemicals which can hurt the roots. As for the container, just don’t use one with a drainage hole, for obvious reasons. You can use a clear maison jar, any glass container, plastic or ceramic dish. Finally, a plastic wrap is there to keep the cutting or a leaf above the water level.
- A detailed guide for water propagating
From this point on, water propagation is not much different from classic propagation in the soil. First, you need to let cuttings callus for a few days.
Next, fill the container with water. You need to add enough so the cutting can reach it. Usually, this means the container will be almost full and the tip of the cutting will be dipped in water. Don’t dip the plant part too far in, or it will rot quickly.
Once you poured the water, cover the container with plastic wrap, and secure it on the sides of the container, so it doesn’t slip in under the weight of the cuttings.
Then, you can insert the cutting through the plastic wrap. If you want to use the same container for multiple cuttings, make sure they have enough space between them.
Finally, place the container in a warm area with a lot of bright light. Make sure that the cuttings are protected from direct sun, since they may get burned. It will take a few weeks for roots to develop. During that time, you may need to replace the water if it gets dirty or add some more fresh one if it evaporates.
How To Plant Succulent After It Rooted?
After your cutting forms a good amount of roots, it`s time to transfer it to its permanent home. Make sure that you have a proper container and a well-draining potting soil mix. Remove the cutting from the water and dry off the roots a bit. You can use a towel or a paper napkin, just be as gentle as possible.
Fill the container up to 1/3 with the potting mix. Place the cutting in the center and gently pour the rest of the soil around the roots until you fill the pot. Don’t press down the soil, since the airflow is crucial to roots formed in water. After you are done planting, you can start up the regular watering schedule.
Water formed roots are very fragile and the root system itself won’t be as thick as one formed in soil. This is simply because it doesn’t have to penetrate through hard material. Also, roots developing this way absorb oxygen much better. This means they may take some time to get used to soil aster you plant them for good.
Overall, water propagation may be a new interesting project you could give a shot to when you need some off time. For what more experienced gardeners say, you’ll get beautiful new plants that are healthy, well-hydrated and the best part is- you can witness their growth every step of the way.