Using Honey For Succulent Roots: Learn About Rooting Succulents With Honey

Succulent Roots Next To A Jar Of Honey
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(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Liz Baessler)

Succulents attract a diverse group of growers. For many of them, growing succulents is their first experience with growing any plant. Consequently, some tips and tricks have emerged that other gardeners may not be familiar with, like using honey as a succulent rooting aid. What results have they seen from using this unconventional trick? Let’s look and see.

Rooting Succulents with Honey

As you’ve likely heard, honey has healing properties and is used to help with some medical conditions, but it’s also been used as a rooting hormone for plants too. Honey contains antiseptic and anti-fungal elements which may help keep bacteria and fungi away from succulent leaves and stems you’re trying to propagate. Some growers say they dip succulent propagation pieces in honey to encourage roots and new leaves on stems.

If you decide to try this as a rooting aid, use pure (raw) honey. Many products have sugar added and appear more like syrup. Those that have gone through the pasteurization process have likely lost the valuable elements. Read the ingredients list before you use it. It does not have to be expensive, just pure.

Some growers advise watering the honey down, putting two tablespoons into a cup of warm water. Others dip right into plain honey and plant.

Does Using Honey for Succulent Roots Work?

A few trials for the use of honey as a rooting aid for succulent leaves are detailed online, none of them claiming to be professional or conclusive. Most were attempted using a control group (no additions), a group using regular rooting hormone and a group with the leaves dipped in the honey or honey mixture. The leaves all came from the same plant and were located side by side in identical conditions.

Little difference was noted, although one found a leaf that grew a baby instead of sprouting roots first, with the use of honey. This alone is plenty of reason to give it a try. We’d all like to get to that point more quickly when propagating succulents from leaves. This might’ve been a fluke, though, as there was no follow-up to see how well the baby grew and of it reached adulthood.

If you’re intrigued by propagating succulents with honey, give it a try. Keep in mind that results will likely vary. Give your succulent propagations the best conditions, because in the long run, we just want a happy result.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Use the whole leaf from the plant. When propagating from cuttings, keep them right side up.
  • Place dipped leaves or stems into or on top of moist (not wet) gritty soil.
  • Locate cuttings in bright light, but not direct sun. Keep them outside when temperatures are warm or inside during cooler temps.
  • Sit back and watch. Succulent propagations are slow to show activity, requiring your patience.
Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.