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by Shelley Holtgrefe
(Cincinnati ohio)

OK so I have been trying to propagate succulent leaves such as echeveria, jade, hens and chicks and a few others.

I live in cincinnati, ohio. It is winter here but the plants are inside. I let the leaves callous over for a couple days and laid them on top of the soil and mist them lightly once a week I guess.

The echeveria leaves turn black and dry out and my jade leaves literally shrivel up and turn crunchy.

I have them on top of my refrigerator where it just stays warm not over heated, and its bright indirect light. What am i doing wrong???

Hi Shelley, you’re almost there – just don’t mist them. They’ll make roots without it.

You also might need a grow light to give them the 12 hours of light that they need; even though they might root without it, they’ll start to grow much better with more light (day length, not intensity).

Sometimes it’s hard to get leaves that have the potential of rooting, because you resist the urge to take the best ones off the mother plant!

Totally understandable, but the lower down leaves are already maybe past it, and won’t root anyway, as you’ve found if those are the ones that you’re trying to root.

Jade leaves root easily if they’re allowed to dry out lots. Don’t worry too much if they shrivel a bit; this is because they’re using up the moisture in the leaf to produce roots; if they go black, or completely shrivel to nothing, well, too bad, those are done. Keep trying!

You say ‘hens and chicks’; are you referring to Sempervivum, the hardy hens and chicks? It’s unlikely that those will root from a leaf, and they don’t tend to do all that well inside as a house plant; they require a cold dormancy to be able to grow with vigor in the spring.

For other succulents, once beheaded, the bottom part of the stem will sprout out some new, smaller rosettes, giving you a much better chance the next time around.

The younger the growth, the better and more vigorously it will root, generally.
Hope that helps,

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