One of the reasons that makes succulents a great house plant is that you can make new plants from the ones you currently have through propagation. Propagation is the process of growing new plants by taking leaves and stem cuttings.
This takes some trial and error, and one trick to improve the success rate is to use rooting hormones for boosting root development. One rooting hormone that is cheap and available is honey.
Why does honey work?
The reason honey works well as a natural rooting hormone is because it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Honey protects the cuttings from pathogens and allows the natural rooting hormones in the cutting to stimulate root growth. Rooting hormones such as honey can help to increase your chances of success in propagating cuttings.
Honey vs synthetic rooting hormones
A study found that honey does demonstrate an ability to root plant cuttings but was not as effective as synthetic rooting hormones. Although honey doesn’t have the same fast results as synthetic ones, it can increase the success rate in propagating plants compared to using nothing at all.
If you are an organic gardener or you prefer a natural, chemical-free options, honey is definitely a good choice.
Steps on Propagating succulents with honey
Below is the procedure to follow in propagating succulents with honey:
1. Prepare the cut.
Before propagating succulents, know first the genus and species where your succulent belongs. Succulents have specific parts of the plant that you will take for propagation. Some can be propagated with leaf, some with stem cutting, and some with both.
For propagation using leaves, remove the leaves from the plant carefully. Choose a source that is healthy instead of damaged or dehydrated leaves. Pluck out a few leaves only from the base of the plant. The best way to do this is to gently twist the leaves so it will snap out easily. Make sure that it doesn’t break off while you twist it from the stem.
For stem cutting, use scissors or shear for a clean cut. Cut off either the top piece of the succulent or the offshoot. You can also cut an extra stem that is in the mother plant.
2. Dry out leaf or stem.
The leaf or stem can’t just be directly planted or placed in the soil. Allow the leaf or stem to dry out. Leave for about a week or until the cut ends or leaves will get callused. Callus prevents loss of water and invasion by diseases. It is important that the leaves receive no water during the formation of callus as it can lead to leaf rot and will stop the propagation process.
While waiting for the leaves and stem to callus, prepare the pot or tray with soil mix.
3. Use honey as a rooting hormone.
Dip the dried out leaf and stem cutting in honey. Lay them on top of the soil. Make sure not to bury the leaves. Just leave them on the surface of the soil and the plant will do the rest.
Mist the leaves or stem cutting daily to encourage growth, but do not saturate the soil. In a few weeks, small roots will start to pop out. Succulents have different rooting times and may vary depending on the climate, season and type.
What to do after propagation?
Once the plant has established itself and starts growing, wait for a few weeks before moving it. Plant the propagated succulent in a proper pot with soil mix. After repotting, move the plant to a warm location that gets bright sunlight.
Be patient and watch your propagated succulent grow into a beautiful plant.
Best succulents to grow with honey
Here are some ideas for succulents that are well suited for propagation with honey:
This plant is a family of rose-shaped succulents native to the semi-desert regions of Central America. Its charming rosettes with water-storing leaves makes it one of the most popular succulents. It produces a lot of offshoots or baby plants.
This type grows best in a dry environment. It is also water-sensitive that makes rotting its main issue. This succulent is the most popular plant that can be propagated from the leaf.
Kalanchoes are thick-leaved succulents famous for its attractive, numerous clusters of colorful flowers. It is easy to take care of and will produce an abundance of long lasting flowers with very little care. This plant does best in a warm environment and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. It’s also a prolific propagator all on its own.
This interesting succulent forms small offsets or baby succulents all along the edge of its leaves. Each baby forms aerial roots, ready to drop to begin life as its own plant. It can also be propagated through its roots.
This type of succulent is easy and simple to care. Many people enjoy growing them indoors and outdoors and consider them to be symbols of good luck. Its name comes from the jade-green color of the leaves. As this plant ages, it develops a thick woody stem and branches giving it a tree-like appearance.
The coin or ovate-shaped fleshy leaves create luch succulent foliage on this plant. This succulent can withstand infrequent watering but shouldn’t be left to go completely dry for long periods. It’s easy to propagate this plant from its stem or leaf cuttings.
Hens and chicks Plant
Hens and chicks are members of the Sempervivum group of succulents. They grow well indoors and out, in cool or hot temperatures. They are called hens and chicks because of the rosette shape and habit of the plant to produce numerous babies.
The mother plant is attached to the babies (or chicks) by an underground runner. For hens and chicks that branch, you can take stem cuttings to propagate. For those that don’t branch, you can propagate with its bare stem.
Pork and Beans (Sedum rubrotinctum)
Also known as jelly bean plant, this succulent has round bean-like green leaf structures with red-hued tips. When exposed to the scorching sun, its tips darken and acquire a darker red color. It’s green all year round and has a woot stem.
During the spring, it sprawls small beautiful star-shaped yellow flowers. It can be propagated by its leaf or stem cuttings.