Mad Props for Propagation

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.

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!

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



My favorite way to propagation succulents is to just pull 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!

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:


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


LED Grow Lights

If you lack sufficient sunlight, but you love growing plants indoors, LED grow lights are a must! Since I live in a redwood forest with mostly shade (but I also love caring for plants that require bright indirect light all day), I had to figure out a way to keep my plants not only alive, but thriving. These LED lights work so well!


I’ve been using them for about a year now to supplement my lack of natural light, and I’ve seen nothing but great results! They’re not too strong, but they provide the normal blue-red light spectrum so that my plants can still carry out their necessary photosynthesis. I have them conveniently set on daily timers, running for about 12 hours per day. The growth and health I notice with my plants is better than when I used to live somewhere with floor to ceiling 9 ft. windows.


And better yet, they are energy efficient! Even with them being on for 12 hrs/day every day, I don’t notice any increase in my electric bill. I have different lights of varying intensities, depending on the location in my house. I have an A-frame hinged plant stand, and I have an LED strip light wrapped around it. It’s 60 watt, and with it being so close to the plants on the shelves, I make sure to choose high-light plants for placement. Without it, the plants on the middle and bottom shelves of my plant stand would get practically no light and die. With it, I have thriving succulents and cacti inside a dark corner of my house.


I can cram as many plants on this thing without worrying about overcrowding.


Get Yours Here!

Waterproof Full Spectrum Red Blue 4:1 LED Light Strip

Note: If you do purchase this rope light, please be aware that you’ll also need a 12V 5A power adapter to go with it, sold separately.  Click the image below to add that on.

Power Adapter for LED Light Strip

The next LED grow light I’m about to showcase is this one I keep near the brightest window of my house. And when I say bright, I’m speaking in relative terms. I have massive redwood trees that tower over my house, but there is one gap in the trees. For a few hours, there may be some light that comes through. It’s not much, and I still need to supplement my plant babies with a lower wattage ceiling-hanging LED grow light. This one is 50 watt, and it provides a curtain of warm artificial sunshine.

Get Yours Here!

UFO 250 LEDs Indoor Plant Grow Light w/ Red Blue Spectrum

Lastly, and this one is the kicker, the 150 watt dimmable hanging LED grow light. I keep this one in a darker part of my house that barely sees any natural light, but now I’m able to grow cacti, succulents, and tropicals under this bad boy.


Get Yours Here!

Dimmable 150W w/ 289 LEDs Grow Light for Indoor Plants

If it weren’t for these lights, all my plants would either be dead or dying. These are [plant] life-savers! I hope you try them out, and find similar results. All of these lights linked above are energy efficient, and the hanging ones conveniently come with easy hanging brackets. But remember not to leave them on all the time – plants need to sleep too!

Happy LED growing!


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

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if purchased, at no additional cost to you. This is to simply offset the cost of running this website. Please note that all of the above statements are entirely my own, honest opinions that are derived from personal experience. I would never endorse such products if they didn’t work or if I didn’t see real, positive results. Buy with confidence!


How to Save Stretched-Out Succulents

Do you have any succulents that seem like they are stretching towards the light? Were they compact like a rose but now have grown tall and leggy? When succulents (and most other plants) lack sufficient light, they will start to stretch. The technical term for this is etiolation.



v. e·ti·o·lat·ede·ti·o·lat·ing,


1. To cause (a plant) to develop without chlorophyll by preventing exposure to sunlight
a. To cause to appear pale and sickly
b. To make weak by stunting the growth or development of

This type of disfiguration is irreversible. If it’s not too late, you can revert it or slow it down, but the only way to fix a stretched-out succulent is to propagate it. No need to worry – it’s easy, and I will show you how!

Let’s take a look at this Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ rosette-type succulent:


Normal Echeveria ‘Black Prince’

This is how it should look. Compact, short, and full rosette form. Flawless.


Etiolated Echeveria ‘Black Prince’

This one is incredibly stretched out, past the point of no return. It’s an alien.

Fortunately, there is hope. Even before you deconstruct the whole plant, you may find new growth at the base. The key is to cut it off right there, or wherever it started to stretch.


You’ll also want to de-head it, leaving a couple of inches on the stem. Pull off all the leaves in between as well. Now, lay the leaves on top of a pot with soil, but don’t plant them. Planting them with no roots established could rot them, especially if watered too much. You could also air propagate them, by just laying them out on a plate or tray. For tips, check out my post Mad Props for Propagation.


The base and the leaves will end up looking like this after a month or so:

New buds will form on the leaves, and the roots will need to be planted if not laying on a pot filled with soil. The parent leaves will eventually shrivel up. Small rosettes will start reforming on the base.

You have a few options with the head. Either you can try planting it directly in soil, letting it air propagate, or you can root it in water. I’ve found that all of these techniques work to various degrees. For this one, I opted to plant it directly in soil, along with the newly formed buds from leaves I had already propagated from it. If you do this, be sure not to water it too much. A light weekly misting is sufficient. The goal is to allow the cutting to root, while not rotting it.


After a few months, you should have roots like this:

Happy propagating, and again, please contact me if you have any questions!


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