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Did you know that you can propagate jade plants just from leaves? You may be familiar with propagating with stem cuttings, but propagating from leaves is super easy and will result in a plentitude of plants to grow your collection or give away to friends and family.
And when I said “lazy” in the title of this blog post, I really meant it! Read on to see how simple jade plant leaf propagation really is.
Growing Jade Plants From a Single Leaf
After I decided to prune my jade plant that I’ve had for 12 years, to help make it more compact, full and manageable in size, I used the individual leaves to propagate and make new plants.
Here are the steps that I used for my jade plant leaf propagation project.
Pluck the Leaves off the Plant
I simply used my fingers to pull each leaf off the plant and then I placed each leaf upside down on a paper towel.
You can see the leaves in the photo above, and I placed them right in front of my terrarium which I have lit with an LED grow light. I placed it here for convenience, but it was a great location since my basement stays warm, and the lighting conditions were great for this project.
I could have easily placed the leaves near a window that received plenty of bright, indirect light. An hour or two of direct sun would be fine as well. Just don’t cook your leaves in sun all day!
My original plan was to just let the leaves callous over for a few days, and then insert them into soil. Typically, when propagating any succulents by leaves or stem cuttings, you will need to let them air dry for a few days. This allows the cut to dry and form a hard tissue. This is done both to prevent rotting and also to prevent any pests and diseases from potentially affecting the plant.
My intent was to allow the leaves to callous over for about a week and then proceed with my process. Procrastination set in and I left them on the paper towel for weeks.
After several weeks, I noticed that both roots and small plantlets were forming on their own without any additional help! They literally just sat there for 6 or 7 weeks, and growth started to occur.
Place Your Jade Leaves in a Growing Tray
After you see the plantlets and roots start forming, don’t wait too long to place them in a growing medium because if they go on a long time without getting any moisture, they will desiccate and die on you.
After I mixed the 50/50 cactus soil and perlite blend together, I went ahead and pre-moistened the mix to make it easier to work with.
Then I took a plastic Thai carryout container, like you see below, and laid the leaves along the edge and on an angle, so that the roots made contact with the soil.
After I arranged the leaves to my liking, I covered the container with the clear plastic lid and kept it under grow lights.
Maybe once a week or so, I would take the lid off and allow everything to air out. At this stage in propagation succulents, it is important to keep the potting mix moist as this will encourage rooting. You can start to back off after the resulting plants start growing.
A few more weeks later, you can see the pups growing and more roots forming.
Just a week later, the progress was even more visible.
Once I started seeing good growth on the plantlets, I permanently removed the clear lid and left everything open to the air. At this point, I started allowing the soil to dry on the surface before watering again.
Up until this point, don’t be afraid to keep the mix moist while they are rooting. Although it may seem counterintuitive for succulents, this is important in the propagation process until they are big enough and more mature to withstand drying out. Just make sure you have a nice airy mix (50/50 cactus soil and perlite).
And here is the progress after about 6 months from plucking the leaves off my original plant.
Note that I used the carryout container as-is and did not add any drainage holes. When potting these up in proper pots, I ALWAYS recommend drainage holes, however. Just for this stage, I was careful when I watered, and made sure that I moistened the soil without having any water sit at the bottom. Since the tray was very shallow, it was easy to accomplish this. If any water accumulated, I just simply tipped the container a bit to drain it out.
Pot Up Your Jade Babies!
At this point, I potted up my plants into a variety of pots and all with drainage holes. I mixed 2 parts cactus soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part 1/4″ pumice. This is an incredibly well draining mix for general succulents use.
Mix it all up until uniform, and then simply pot everything up! I turned the tray with plant upside down, with the other hand supporting the plants, and it came out all in one piece. Then I separated clusters of the plants and potted them up.
I planted several in each pot, placed everything in the sink, and gave them a nice thorough soaking.
At this point, I placed them back in my grow light stand where have various projects going. Once the plants are more established, I’ll probably give most of them away to friends.
Once the potting mix is about dry halfway down, I’ll go ahead and water again.
I hope you enjoyed this post on jade plant leaf propagation. You can use this process for quite a few different succulents as well! Comment below if you’ve given this a shot or if you have any questions!
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