A great water-rooting method for succulents

WATER PROPAGATION: I think this is my favorite method! 

Partially fill a container with rocky drainage materials like expanded shale (seen here), Turface, or pumice. 

Add your callused cutting of choice then add some more rocks to help support it. 

Fill to the top of the rocks with water. While water alone doesn’t contain any nutrients, drainage materials are full of minerals your plants crave! 

Aloe Blue Elf

It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months to get a good root supply growing. Once you’re happy with the root system, transfer to a fast draining soil and water it. Soil roots act and grow differently from water roots. When in soil, roots will branch out in search of water while water roots don’t have a need to produce these lateral roots. In time, your plant will put out hardier ‘soil’ roots but in the meanwhile, the plant may need more frequent watering to keep the water roots viable.  

Water rooting is best used for woodier stemmed succulents from my experience. I’ve rooted Aloes, Aeoniums, Jades, and a Delosperma echinatum (Pickle Plant). I’ve also used this method for helping  to rehydrate a sad Opuntia pad that was having trouble in the heat over the summer.  

Opuntia humifusa
Left: December 20, 2018
Right: February 1, 2019
Photo taken September 30th, 2019

I took the plunge and decided to water-root this Senecio crassissimus when I was having trouble getting it to root after taking a cutting. I’m guessing it was just too hot out for the plant to want to do anything so I put it in a sunny window in a vase about 3 months ago and voila! ⁣

Photo taken January 9, 2020

Do try to get roots going in soil before trying water rooting. This is a great way to encourage new roots on cuttings you receive when a plant isn’t in their growing season. It’s also helpful for rehydrating cuttings that haven’t established enough roots to support growth in soil.

Learn more about the various succulent propagation methods: https://sucsforyou.com/saveyoursucs

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✿ About Sucs For You! Featuring demonstrations of how to propagate and care for succulents and cacti, and other tips on working with these beautiful plants in challenging climates. With Andrea Afra, based out of Houston, Texas, Garden Zone 9A.

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