How to Propagate Succulents in Water

If you have a succulent plant and want to use it to grow a new one, you may be asking yourself how to propagate succulents in water.

Yes, succulents can be propagated in water, with a few exceptions. All you need to do is prepare stem cuttings, place them in a glass container of distilled water, and provide them with the optimum light conditions. These conditions will depend on the stage of root growth they’re in.

Read on to learn more about how you can use water to propagate your succulent plants.

Plant Propagation: A Brief Overview

Before we dive into the details of whether you can propagate your succulents in water, let’s talk about the basics of plant propagation.

Propagation is the process of growing new plants by placing existing root or stem cuttings into a growth medium, such as soil or water.

Using soil is pretty straightforward. However, using water as your medium when propagating succulents has its benefits and downsides, as we’ll see in this guide.

Can You Propagate Succulents in Just Water?

Succulents in Water

Propagating succulents in just water is certainly a viable option. However, it’s not the first option expert gardeners would revert to since succulents are more likely to thrive in soil.

Using soil provides your succulent plants with better growing conditions as it promotes the development of stronger and well-nourished roots.

On the other hand, propagating succulents in water increases the risk of potential health issues, one of the most common being root rot.

Also Check: How to Split Succulents: Removing and Multiplying Offsets

How to Propagate Succulents in Water

If you ultimately decide to go through with it, you have to know a few tips and tricks first.

So, let’s look over all the things you’ll need as well as the steps to successfully propagate your succulents in water.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • Pruning shears; make sure that they’re sterilized and sharpened
  • Distilled water
  • Transparent glass medium, such as. a glass jar
  • The succulent you wish to propagate

Step 2: Prepare Stem Cuttings

The first step is to prepare the stem cuttings you’re planning to use for propagation.

Start off by choosing a strong, healthy shoot from your existing succulent plant. Then, take out your pruning shears and make a precise cut at the bottom of the shoot.

Your next course of action is to ensure that the stem cutting is free from leaves in the area that’s up to two inches above the point where you made your cut.

A common mistake that people often make is that they place the stem cutting in the water too early. Instead, give the cutting sufficient time to callous, which usually lasts one or two days. By doing so, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of a failed propagation due to fungal growth or diseases.

Step 3: Place Stem Cuttings in Glass Medium

Once your stem cuttings are good to go, it’s time to place them in your glass jar of water. It’s essential that you use distilled water as opposed to tap water to get the most effective results.

You should place the calloused end of your stem cutting so that it’s only slightly under the water’s surface.

If the stem cuttings aren’t big enough to allow you to do this properly, it may be a good idea to cover the jar with perforated plastic wrap and poke the ends of your cuttings through the holes and into the water.

Step 4: Provide Optimum Conditions

Now that you’ve completed your setup, the next step is to provide your budding plant with the ideal conditions for it to thrive.

Keep a close eye on your plant and monitor it closely. Using a transparent container is very convenient in this regard because it allows you to keep a close eye on what’s going on inside.

In terms of light conditions, your succulent will grow best when exposed to plenty of indirect sunlight. These are the ideal conditions for the early stages of root development in succulents.

It should take anywhere between three and six weeks for the roots to visibly grow. Once they do, you should move the glass jar to an area of your home that gets direct sunlight.

The Pros and Cons of Propagating Succulents in Water

Propagate Succulents in Water

Now that we’ve established that propagating succulents in water is an option at your disposal, the question is whether you should actually use it.

Here are some pros and cons of water propagation when it comes to succulent plants:

Pros

Gives Quicker Results

The biggest advantage of propagating succulents in water is the speed with which these plants can grow in this medium.

If you use soil for succulent propagation, you’re highly unlikely to get any significant root growth except after a couple of months. In contrast, water propagation can induce the growth of roots within weeks of starting the process.

Eliminates the Risk of Underwatering or Overwatering

When growing succulents, or any other plants, in soil, you always run the risk of providing them with either too much water or just not enough.

By placing your succulent plant directly in water, you give it the freedom to take in as much water as it needs. This eliminates the risk of excess water absorption causing root rot and harming the plant.

Additionally, although succulents generally don’t require as much water as other plants, they’re still prone to drying out if they don’t get enough moisture. Luckily, water propagation makes the chances of this happening slim to none.

Makes Growing Succulents Even Easier

Due to their low-maintenance nature, succulents are already one of the easiest types of plants to grow. They require very little care and attention when grown in soil, and even less when grown in a water medium.

This makes propagating succulents in water a great way to go for those who are trying their hand at growing plants in their home for the first time.

Cons

Doesn’t Bode Well For Succulent Longevity

The speed with which succulents grow in water comes at the expense of their lifespan. Therefore, closely monitoring your succulent plant during the early stages of propagation is key if you want to avoid significantly cutting its lifespan short.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that not all succulents thrive when placed in water. In turn, you need to do meticulous research before trying to propagate your succulents in water.

Can Lead to Malnourishment

Another pitfall of propagating succulents in water is that it simply isn’t their natural habitat. Therefore, the plant may not be able to get enough of the nutrients it needs and become dormant, which means it stops growing.

However, you can overcome this by periodically applying fertilizer to the soil. You also need to keep a close eye on the condition of the leaves and stem as the plant adjusts to its new surroundings to ensure that it’s getting enough nutrients.

Related: How to Plant Succulents in Rocks: Indoor and Outdoor Succulent Displays

Succulents That Thrive With Water Propagation

As we previously mentioned, not all succulent plants are created equal. Some of them do much better when grown in water than others.

So, the next time you want to propagate succulents in water, try these species:

Wandering Jew
  • Sempervivum
  • Echeveria
  • Crassula
  • Graptoveria
  • Graptopetalum
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Wandering Jew
  • Aeonium

Conclusion

If you’re wondering how to propagate succulents in water, the answer is yes you can! All you need is a few tips to help you along and you’ll be propagating your succulent plants in no time!

Just make sure you choose a succulent variation that can actually thrive in water. Once you’ve determined that, you’re all set.

Now, it’s time to get those pruning shears out, cut off a healthy-looking shoot, and start filling your glass jars with succulent cuttings!