Not many people know it, but when a succulent plant begins to wither (and nearly dying), this is actually the best time to propagate it and regrow another plant. With succulents, the quote “Every ending is a new beginning” takes on a whole new meaning.

When a succulent plant gets too leggy, it’s because it isn’t receiving enough sunlight. The plant will then “stretch out” with the stem growing long and the leaves being oddly spaced. While you might feel a little tug in your heart because you’ve killed a succulent plant, don’t fret yet. This is actually the perfect time to grow another plant from this withered one. All you need is a nice pair of pruning shears, well-draining soil, and a nice-looking pot or container.

Although the plant may still look good from the top, you’ll notice that the lower leaves are beginning to wither and might fall off in the next days. The first thing you need to do is to remove the lower leaves. This is a little tricky because you need to make sure that you can get the entire leaf and not leave the base of the leaf still attached to the stem.

What you should do is to wiggle the leaf from side to side until you hear a snap. This means the leaf has already been separated from the stem. Carefully pull the leaf until it’s free from the stem and place it in a container. You don’t need to plant the leaf immediately because you still need it to dry out. Repeat the same process on all the other leaves below the rosette until you have a rosette sitting high above the soil on a long bare stem.

Remember that it’s imperative you pull off the leaf wholly because leaving the base still attached to the stem will render the leaf useless. It cannot grow without that base.

Once the leaves have all been removed, it’s time to cut off the rosette. This might be painful for you to do but trust us, this is the best way to save the plant. Now, you should be left with a bunch of leaves, a rosette, and a stump (leave that in the old container).

Allow the leaves to dry out completely and callous over. If you don’t let the ends dry out and place them directly into the soil, they will retain and absorb too much moisture that will eventually kill them. For the rosette, you must also let the end of the stem dry out. This process can take days or even a week.

When the ends are dry enough, you can now place the leaves on top of well-draining soil. After a few weeks, you’ll notice that there are pink roots sprouting from the ends of the leaves. There might even be tiny baby plants that will begin to grow. Water the leaves rarely and in a few weeks, you’ll have a full-blown succulent plant again.

As for the stump, leave it be and eventually, you’ll see that there are new plants from each of the places we removed a leaf. The rosette’s stem must also dry out and callous over so you can plant it in well-draining soil. After a few weeks of minimal watering and generous sunlight, roots will sprout out from the stem once more.

See? A succulent dying is not always a cause for a dismal mood. This is an opportunity to propagate the plant and grow new ones from the old withered succulent.

About the author
Giancarlo Perlas
A freelance writer who loves cars, sports, carpentry, and gardening. Check him out on Twitter at @giancarloperlas and Pinterest at Succulent Shaman.

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