If you’re a plant hoarder like me, then you understand that you don’t always need to go to the plant nursery to acquire more plants. I can go shopping for more plants in my own plant collection, and I’m in a constant cycle of various leaf propagation starts and caring for cuttings.

When it comes to my succulents, they multiply! Some are more vigorous than others, readily propagating themselves, and others take more effort and practice. My Echeveria prolifica is among one of my most popular succulents to propagate, since it is not only very sensitive with brittle leaves that fall off easily, but it is also very fast-growing! Its common name is “Prolific Echeveria”, which is very fitting for its prolific self-propagating growth behavior.


When I first got it.


One year later.

[later update] As you can see, even though this plant is a lot fuller than what it was, it’s also very stringy and stretched out. Head and individual leaf propagation is necessary in order to fix it.

The leaves fall off of this plant even if you just breathe on it. They are extremely sensitive, but they also propagate like an Amish family. If given a fighting chance, they will propagate themselves wherever they land – whether it be in soil, the drainage plate, or on the floor/ground below them.

I will eventually clean up this mother plant and rid her of her needless strings, pop off the heads and plant them, but I love how full she is right now and how the new rosettes cascade down from the base of the plant!

See the bottom of this post to watch the propagation progress of this plant. Also, there are some exciting color changes as a result from greenhouse living!

Many baby succulent planters have been created from my mother plant:



My favorite way to propagate succulents is by just pulling off individual leaves (or in this case, pick up leaves that have fallen to the ground) and set them out flat on trays and let them propagate in the air. It’s easy, and though it won’t take terribly long, the main ingredient is patience!

***For the most epic blog post on propagating succulents that goes way more in depth than this older post, check out Everything You Will Ever Need to Know About Propagating Succulents***

A few tips if you are going to air-propagate succulent leaves:
1. Lay them flat. I’ll usually just use a plate.
2. They do need to receive some light, but never too much full sun.
3. You can mist them, but do not let them sit and rot in water.
4. Channel patience.
5. Once they have developed heads, you can lightly plant them by laying them on top of a pot filled with soil, sprinkle some soil on top, and water.
6. Mist them once per week as they develop little roots.


I will pot them even when they’re the tiniest of heads!

Two Month Propagation Mini Pot Progress:

Propagation Progress of Echeveria prolifica:

This portion of this post was added at a later date.

When hanging succulents get too lanky like this one did, the best thing to do is to sacrifice the fullness and cut off and propagate the heads and leaves. The stems should be discarded. Yes, it’s like starting the plant over from square one, but it will be better off in the long run. Once a succulent becomes deformed, you can not revert it. Read this post to learn more about etiolation (plant stretching).


At the time, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of all of the hanging strands, but I should have (I ultimately did). Notice how it still looks messy?


It was still incredibly stringy, and it was also just plain sad. Due to months of limited light, it had also washed out to a dull green.


Once I moved it to my greenhouse space, the color went from pale green to sea foam green with hints of pastel pink! I also ended up biting the bullet to propagate it further, and I got rid of the stringy mess.



6 months after moving it to the greenhouse

As you can see, it’s gorgeous. I nursed it back to its optimal health, and it stopped etiolating. The heads are now tight rosettes blushed with pink. It will only get prettier, bigger, and fuller. It was an emotional challenge to cut off a year’s worth of growth and start over, but I’m glad I did!

For other succulent propagation related posts, please see:



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All photo rights belong to Cristie R. Kiley.  Please ask permission before taking.

2 Comments on “Mad Props for Propagation

  1. Pingback: How to Save Stretched-Out Succulents – Xylem Rising

  2. Pingback: Everything You Will Ever Need to Know About Propagating Succulents – Xylem Rising

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