A beautiful succulent certainly adds charm to your collection and you can grow them from stem or leaf cuttings. But, if you think putting the cuttings into the soil is all you have to do, this is not so.
Well, you can propagate the succulents with proper care and an easy way is using honey as a rooting medium for cuttings. Propagating succulents with honey can be done at home without any special knowledge.
Here is a complete guide on how to propagate succulents with honey.
Succulents can be easily propagated by using leaves, cuttings or seeds in multiple ways and some species can be more easily propagated than others. Usually, a rooting hormone is used to increase the chances of successful propagation.
If you don’t like to use commercial rooting hormones, there are many natural ways to propagate succulents and a popular way is to use honey.
What Is A Rooting Hormone?
A rooting hormone is a substance that can activate the root formation in some plants. They are applied to cuttings or seeds to germinate roots.
The rooting hormone ensures a successful propagation, protects the cuttings from fungus, and grows stronger roots making it easier to transplant roots.
Rooting hormones are used on plants having difficulty rooting themselves, like some succulents and cacti as they need less water than regular flowering plants.
These particular plant species are easy to cultivate by seedling propagation methods using less soil around their base.
There are two types i.e. synthetic and natural rooting hormones.
Synthetic Rooting Hormones
Synthetic rooting hormones are man-made and can be applied to seeds or cuttings.
The synthetic hormones promote root growth very easily with a little moisture present in the surrounding soil particles.
A compound called indolebutyric acid that is similar to auxins is used to form synthetic rooting hormone that contains no nitrogen and does not break down easily when exposed to water or soil.
Thus, they can be stored longer than natural substances without losing their usefulness.
Natural Rooting Hormones
Natural rooting hormones are generally planted extracts or plant oils like hormones from tobacco plants.
They are known as natural hormones as they are derived from a natural product and are not artificially made in laboratories like synthetic rooting hormones.
Natural rooting hormones are costlier than synthetic rooting hormones. It is believed that they produce better roots due to the natural ingredients involved in their formation.
Homemade Natural Rooting Hormones
Some ingredients that are present in every home can be used as natural rooting hormones.
The most common ingredients used as natural rooting hormones are:
- Aloe Vera
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Willow Water
Honey as a Rooting Hormone for Succulents
Propagating succulents is a big problem as people are not aware that to propagate them successfully, you may need a rooting hormone.
One natural rooting hormone that is most popular nowadays is honey.
The sugar present in honey helps in cell division, which helps to grow roots from a cutting or an already rooted succulent plant.
Honey helps with the osmotic pressure in a cutting or succulent plant that prevents rot and wilting.
It is recommended to use raw honey as a rooting hormone.
Raw honey is not alone that can be used for rooting succulent plants. Other types of honey-like pasteurized and organic types are also equally effective.
But some people stress using only pure raw honey. It is believed that processed honey contains added sugar and it loses its valuable elements through the pasteurization process.
How To Propagate Succulents With Honey?
To propagate succulents with honey, follow these easy steps:
Preparing Your Work Area
Clean your work area to make it free from any dirt or contaminants before you root the succulent cuttings in honey.
Even a little bit left on the surface is sufficient for bacteria growths that can kill off all those roots.
There should not be any contamination issues near our cuttings during propagation.
Preparing the Succulent Cuttings
Succulents are propagated from leaf and stem cuttings taken from a mother plant.
The best time for this is in early spring months when new growth starts or late summer in their dormant period.
If you want to grow multiple small plants, it is best to take the leaf cuttings. But, pluck the leaves delicately to avoid damaging the mother plant. For learners, ensure to pluck the leaves at the base of the plant so that the mother plant retains its charm. Also, avoid plucking too many leaves and choose a few healthy ones only.
Use the right plucking method to not uproot the mother plant. The best way is to gently twist the leaf in one direction till it breaks. The leaf should not break apart while plucking it and our aim is to get the leaf cleanly from the stem. Or propagation will not be successful.
The cuttings should be small and should be three inches(not more) from the ground where it is rooted in the soil or media.
Always take your cuttings just below another node of the healthy leaf. This will allow proper photosynthesis for the newer growths that still take place later in the propagation process.
Take a cutting from the stem of a healthy succulent plant, ideally with at least two nodes.
For stem cutting, plucking is not a good idea as you may uproot or damage the mother plant. The best way is to use shears or scissors. Cut the stem exactly above the leaf node. Cut off a new shoot or an extra stem from the mother plant
The cuttings should be small, not longer than three inches from where it is rooted in the soil or media.
The main difference between the leaf cuttings and stem cuttings is that leaf cuts will grow their roots facing upwards, whereas the stems will face downwards within the propagation containers, influencing the root growth later.
Dry the Cuttings
Once you have taken the cuttings, don’t place them directly into the soil. When the cuttings are fresh, they can get infected by coming in contact with the soil. This can lead to rotting and the plant may not grow. Therefore, dry your cuttings till they callus over at the end.
The callus is a barrier against fungus and bacteria, thus preventing infections that can lead to rot.
Place the cuttings on a clean surface or towel to expose them to sunlight for about 3 to 4 weeks.
Check whether the callus has formed at the end. Once it is formed, the plant is ready for propagation.
Prepare the succulent soil mix and follow the next step.
Preparing The Honey
Honey should be at room temperature before using it as a rooting hormone to propagate succulent plants.
Place the jar of honey in warm water so that it becomes liquid to make the process easier.
Ensure that it is not very hot.
Applying Honey to Cuttings
The ends of succulent cutting should be cut just below where it starts branching and apply a little honey (one or two teaspoons) into each cut.
The best way is to apply honey with your fingers, but you can also use things like an ice cream stick.
Avoid applying honey on leaves which otherwise will make them brown faster.
Letting the Succulents Cuttings to Root
Keep the cuttings on the top of the soil on a pot or tray. Don’t put the cuttings into the soil.
To encourage your succulent cuttings to grow, lightly sprinkle water on the succulent cuttings twice a day. However, don’t water them directly and only mist the soil when you find them completely dry. In a few weeks, you will see that some roots are sprouting.
The rooting period can vary from one succulent plant to another also depending upon the factors like climate and season.
Now, place the cuttings in a clean container, laying them upside down on the top of soil or potting mix.
Water these lightly and place the container in a bright area.
The bottom of your pot must have holes to drain out excess water. They need about three weeks of morning sunlight and noon shade indoors till they start developing roots.
Transplanting the Baby Succulents
As you notice roots developing from the bottom end, now is the time to plant them in the potting soil.
You can plant the succulents in a pot with drainage holes and fill it partially.
Place the cuttings or seedlings on the top of gravel rocks at the bottom end before you add soil. But make sure to have a watering method to drain out the excess moisture.
Keep the newly propagated succulents in a spot that gets bright, indirect sunlight till they establish themselves and are ready to be exposed to the full sun. It takes about three months.
Cooler temperatures also help if you’re living at a place that is not hot throughout the year. Only ensure that the rainwater or moisture is not dripping from leaves onto them.
How Much Time Is Taken By Cuttings to Root When Propagated With Honey?
The cuttings will root in approximately four weeks when propagated with raw honey.
Honey is a slow rooting hormone as compared to synthetic rooting hormones. With synthetic rooting hormones, you can see the results in 3 to 4 days of getting the cuttings. The time taken can be more or less depending on the type of plant and its natural root hormone.
If there is any problem during the process like sufficient soil is not used for water holding, use more potting mix.
If these problems are still there for about two months after propagating the cuttings, then try another method.
How to Take Care of Newly Propagated Succulents?
After Propagating the succulents, it is necessary to take care of them.
As the succulents are established, water them once a week.
Use a mister as it helps to keep the soil moist for a longer time period and with this, you will not overwater them.
They need lots of sunshine, so make sure to place them in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight every day or more.
The best time period is from sunrise till noon and then once more before sunset.
This can occur even on cloudy winter afternoons as the light still reaches the leaves through clouds.
They need fertilizer every three weeks with a balanced, low nitrogen fertilizer.
Fertilize not only on the top of your container but all around it as well. Succulents have shallow roots and they will get most of the nutrients from contact soil.
7 Easy Succulents To Propagate With Honey
Aloe Vera is the mother of all succulents with many properties.
It not only has health benefits but also is fascinating.
Aloe Vera can be easily propagated from leaves or stems because of its larger leaves and approachable stem. The propagation steps are- cut, dry, apply honey, leave on top of the soil, and grow in soil as the roots have matured.
Aloe Vera can be propagated easily with the help of honey.
However, Aloe Vera needs full sunlight. Water it as you notice the soil is dry or the leaves start cracking.
Echeverias are one of the most beloved succulents among people due to its thick rosette-like leaves and least care they need. These succulent plants grow slowly and there is a huge variety of about 150 echeverias to choose from.
These beautiful plants have different colors ranging from light pink to deep purple and different textures that range from silky smooth to slightly fuzzy leaves.
This succulent produces a lot of offsets or pups, making it a perfect choice for propagating. Also with numerous leaves, it becomes an excellent option for leaf propagating. However, water sensitivity makes it prone to rotting. But, using the right watering and drainage techniques won’t affect the plant.
Full sunlight and well-drained soil are important for Echeverias to thrive. During propagation, place the leaf with the dried part covered with honey on top of the soil. Mist the plant occasionally and you will see the roots sprouting at the base of the root. The leaf will wither slowly.
Echeverias can be easily propagated with honey, making it a best choice for learners.
Graptoveria is a hybrid cross of Echeveria and Graptopetalum succulent plants. Most develop a compact rosette and offsets grow easily tightly filling the area.
Graptoveria can be easily propagated with honey and has a spectacular range of colors in shades from light to dark green, making it a great choice for succulent lovers.
They can be seen in vibrant red or purple colors in summers.
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Jade plants are considered luck for any house or office. These succulent plants have vibrant green leaves that represent growth and regeneration and look like jade coins, a symbol of wealth.
The jade plant is an undemanding plant. As it has many leaves, you can cut a few of them for propagation. However, like echeveria, this succulent plant can rot easily when given excess water.
Hence, you need to limit the water you give your plant and the pot should have proper drainage. For propagating your Jade plant with honey, dry the leaves and dip the dried end in honey. Now, place the leaves on top of the soil and you will see some roots sprouting after a few weeks.
The Jade Plant is a great succulent to propagate with honey. They come in various colors, especially in winter months.
Jelly Bean Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum)
A native to the deserts of Northern Africa, Jelly bean plant has green leaves with its tips turning red when exposed to excess sunlight. It is one of the most straightforward succulent to propagate and is also known as pork and beans. This succulent produces star-shaped flowers, making it a favourite among people who love flowering succulents.
The only shortcoming of the jelly bean succulent is the fact that it has very brittle leaves that fall off easily from the plant. You can propagate a jelly bean succulent from its fallen leaves or stem cuttings. Collect the leaves and let them dry for about 2 to 3 days. After this, place them in well-drained soil and wait till they root.
If you use the stem cuttings, you have to wait for the fresh cuttings to dry. The propagation process is the same – apply some honey to the dried end and place on the soil and wait till they root. This succulent, like many others, shouldn’t be overwatered or the plant will rot.
The Kalanchoe is a strong succulent that propagates easily with honey. This succulent comes in various colors, red, yellow, deep purples or even whites.
The Kalanchoe keeps on giving new plants year after year if properly taken care of.
Kalanchoe plants are commonly known as widow’s thrill. These plants require watering once a week and flourish in bright shade.
You can propagate kalanchoe seeds, stems, or leaf cuttings, but stem propagation is preferred the most. For stem propagation, take a 4 to 5 inches long cutting. Take the leaves from the base and let the stem heal for a few days.
Once the stem is callus, apply some honey and place it in some potted soil. You will see the stem rooting after a few weeks. Mist the plant a few times a week. As the roots mature, start watering and plant them inside the soil.
Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata)
The Zebra Plant can be easily propagated with honey.
A native to the Eastern Cape of South Africa, this succulent has long, narrow leaves growing in clusters from a stem.
It is propagated easily when cut into sections at any point on its stalk.
Succulents can be easily propagated from cuttings by using honey as a rooting medium. You can propagate them at home without any special equipment or knowledge.