Succulent Water Propagation – How To Grow Succulents In Water

Succulent Growing Out Of A Jar Of Water
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(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Liz Baessler)

For those who have problems getting succulent cuttings to sprout roots in soil, there is another option. While it is not guaranteed to be successful, there is the option of rooting succulents in water. Water root propagation has reportedly worked well for some growers.

Can You Root Succulents in Water?

The success of succulent water propagation may depend on the type of succulent you’re trying to root. Many jades, sempervivums, and echeverias take well to water rooting. If you decide to give this a try, follow the easy steps listed below to maximize your success:

  • Allow succulent cutting ends to callous. This takes a few days to a week and prevents the cutting from taking up too much water and rotting.
  • Use distilled water or rainwater. If you must use tap water, let it sit for 48 hours so the salts and chemicals can evaporate. Fluoride is especially harmful to young cuttings, traveling through the plant in the water and settling on leaf edges. This makes the leaf edges brown, which spreads if you continue to give the plant fluoridated water.
  • Keep the water level just below the plant’s stem. When you’re ready to root the calloused cutting, let it hover just above the water, not touching. This creates stimulation to encourage roots to develop. Wait patiently, a few weeks, until a root system grows.
  • Place under a grow light or a bright light situation outside. Keep this project out of direct sunlight.

Can You Grow Succulents in Water Permanently?

If you like the looks of your succulent in the water container, you can keep it there. Change the water as needed. Some gardeners have said they grow succulents in water regularly with good results. Others leave the stem in the water and let it root, although this is not recommended.

Some sources say the roots that grow in water are different from those that grow in soil. If you root in water and move to soil, keep this in mind. A new set of soil roots will take time to develop.

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.