How To Grow Succulents Without Roots?

How To Grow Succulents Without Roots?

If you are planning to expand your succulent garden, you do not have to spend money to make it a reality. You can breed succulents just by using leaves or cuttings. There are various methods that you can explore to be able to grow more plants and increase your collection.  Read on for some insightful information on how to grow succulents without roots. 

How to grow succulents without roots?

You can grow succulents without roots through these methods:

1. By propagating from leaves.

Leaf propagation means carefully removing leaves from a healthy plant and placing them in an appropriate potting medium. You will then wait for the leaves to grow roots and new plants. It is usually done with several leaves at once and the leaves could be from discarded plant scraps or fallen ones. 

2. By propagating from stem cuttings. 

In general, propagating from stem cuttings is the easiest way to grow succulents. It also usually yields a higher success rate than leaf cuttings. With this method, stems are allowed to dry and callus where the edges dry and harden a bit. The cuttings will eventually begin to root from the cut ends, start to grow and become new plants. 

3. By propagating from pups or offsets/offshoots.

Certain varieties produce pups or offshoots such as hens and chicks, aloe and some cacti and haworthia species. To grow new plants from these pups, simply remove them and place them in suitable potting soil. They will eventually grow and start new plants. Mother plants stay healthy when the offshoots are removed since they can refocus their energy to their own growth instead of supporting the pups or offsets/offshoots. 

4. By propagating from seeds.

This is a more traditional method but may not work for you if you want faster results. Seeds are harvested from the plant’s flowers and the latter undergo pollination through pollinators or by self-pollination.

Once the flowers are fertilized, dried and stored, the seeds are collected and placed in a suitable environment so they can germinate. Once the seeds are germinated they are then transplanted and become new plants.

Watering is not encouraged during propagation stages, as the tiny plants are still very vulnerable. Baby plants should only be watered once a week depending on the weather or season. They should also be kept away from direct sunlight, and ensure that you remove the original rosettes. 

While the methods mentioned above are commonly used for growing succulents, the following are also options:

  • Through water propagation.

With this method, you only leave the cuttings in a glass jar that is filled with water. You can easily observe the development if you use a transparent container. Patience is key with this method since varieties differ in their growth patterns, especially during the winter season. You will know when the new plants start to grow when white roots start to appear.

  • Through soil propagation.

With soil propagation, the callused leaves are placed on top of semi-moistened soil while the callused end can also be placed in the soil. Allow the soil to dry out before you wet the soil again.

This method can be done outdoors but make sure that you do not overwater the soil.  The bottom of the leaves will start to dry out and the vibrant colors will fade but this is part of the process and new plants will soon grow.

  • Through air propagation. 

You can leave the succulents on a rack but be sure that the environment is humid. Mist the area if it is indoors. The roots that will eventually appear are red-colored and it is an indicator that you have to start misting again.

  • Through the full spectrum light.

Succulents also multiply and grow roots through the use of grow lights. Full-spectrum grow lights, for instance, have additional warm and white lights that allow plants to grow better.   

Is it important to stimulate root growth in succulents?

Yes, it is important to stimulate root growth in succulents. These plants rely on their roots to draw nutrients from the soil. Those that have poor root systems eventually die because they are not well-nourished and unable to withstand harsh conditions.

Succulents have shallow root systems that are prone to rotting due to excess moisture in the soil. It is ideal to use shallow pots with drainage holes as they can only accommodate enough water to avoid root rot. 


It is easy to propagate succulents without any costs. You can grow succulents without roots by propagating from leaves, stem cuttings, offshoots and seeds.  Other methods with high success rates include water, air and soil propagation as well as through the use of grow lights.

Image: / Iryna Imago