Early Autumn is a great time to propagate succulents, particularly summer dormant succulents, like Crassulas, that are just beginning to show new growth and may even start flowering, too. If you have any stacked Crassulas (stacked, meaning grows in a stacked formation, leaf atop leaf, see image below) spilling over baskets, why not snip a few pieces and create some cuttings that you can gift to others, have fun simply propagating or to balance your arrangement and promote new healthy growth on the mother plant.
Reasons to propagate in early Autumn
- Summer dormant plants wake up and start growing
- Mild, yet warm weather, stimulates growth
- The best time to propagate is when a plant is growing.
- To rejuvenate succulents that are looking a bit overgrown and straggly after a long, hot summer.
- To take cuttings from the mother plant and reshape it while you do so for a more aesthetic arrangement
- By propagating now, you will give your succulents a couple of months of growing before winter sets in, which will in turn, set them up for a robust start to spring.
Succulents generally fall into two categories with respect to dormancy. Summer dormant succulents (loosely, winter growing succulents) typically stop growing mid to late summer. At this time they do best with little water, prefer filtered light and no fertiliser. When the weather cools in Autumn you will begin to notice growth and flowers may appear on some of these succulents, particularly, Crassulas. Winter dormant succulents, or summer growers, will grow mainly in spring, summer and autumn and lie dormant for winter. Keep in mind, however, that most succulents are opportunistic growers. When the conditions are right for them they will continue to grow. This means that if a summer dormant plant is exposed to a mild summer, it still might put on some growth as it deems conditions to be right for growth, but will shut down in hot conditions. Crassulas are typically summer dormant succulents but fall into this opportunistic category.
In the early, warm months of Autumn, you will have success with summer growing succulents but I tend to concentrate on the summer dormant succulents when propagating in Autumn. It splits the workload between the two growth seasons. Here is a list to work with. I have selected the more common summer dormant succulents.
Common Summer Dormant plants (Autumn – Spring Growers)
- Aeoniums (late April / May onwards propagation)
You can get so many cuttings from an overgrown, stacked crassula, like Crassula perforata / Crassula rupestris and now is the time to do it. Simply snip a length from the mother plant. The more herbaceous the cutting, meaning the newest growth at the top of the plant, particularly the tip of the plant, the quicker you may find it strikes / grows roots, 2-3 weeks, typically. The older, woodier sections at the base will produce new offshoots which you can also propagate but may take a little longer.
The more herbaceous the section, the more fragile it will be so take a little care because we will need to strip leaves from these sections.
Propagating Stacked Crassulas
- Make sure the tray is not too deep and has drainage holes at the base, 5cm/2 inch tray is a good ball park.
- Use a mix of sand, perlite and cacti-potting mix for a gritty combination to hold the stem in place.
- Cut a length from the mother plant with sharp, very clean secateurs or scissors
- Count down 4 or 5 leaves from the tip and cut, continue doing so until you reach the end of the stem.
- Make sure you know which is right side up, as you cut sit on top of soil.
- Peel/Strip away bottom 4th leaf, retaining 3 and some stem. You will need between 1/2 – 1cm of stem to sink into your propagating soil.
- Sit right side up in soil.
- Let the cuttings rest in the tray for several days before watering.
- Mist light to begin with until roots appear (2 weeks in warmer weather)
- Start watering for growth once roots appear, allow soil to dry out between watering.