Cacti and Succulents are often propagated by one of three ways:

  1. Leaves and Stems
  2. Offshoots
  3. Seeds

Click on the images in the image map to discover more about the type of care your Cacti or Succulent needs: (Print Friendly version of information)

propagation and buying tips image map Buying Tips Leaves and Stems Offshoots Seeds General Plant Care

Leaves and Stems

Leaves and Stems are generally the simplest to start when it comes to Succulents. This is in some ways a form of cloning. A leaf or part of a stem is removed from the mother plant. The area where the roots appear is treated with a rooting compound and some heat and moisture. The baby plant, still on the leaf (which acts as its nutrient source), is placed into the soil so its roots can become established. As the plant begins to gain it's nutrients from the soil, the old leave shrivels up and the new plant begins to grow and takes on the form of the mother plant. (map)(See growth stage Slide Show)


Offshoots (another arm or small plant branching off the original mother) are easy to grow as well. These are propagated the same way as leaves and stems except that they are more fully established looking, but just don't have roots yet. Some offshoots can be easily removed from the mother plant, others should remain together for up to 2 years until a good clean break can be made. If you cannot gently pull them apart, don't use force or you will hurt both plants.(map)


Propagation by seeds is easier with Aloes and some Cacti, but it takes more patience and should be done by a professional grower. If you do want to try growing plants from seed, start with the seeds of an Aloe. These can be acquired from a grower's convention or bought in a seed catalogue. Follow the instructions on the package and see what happens!(map)

Buying Tips

Here are 10 buying tips to remember when shopping for Cacti & Succulents and proper containers:

  1. Don't buy cacti with straw flowers glued on top unless you're willing to spend time removing them. They hurt the Cacti and impede its growth.
  2. Look at the general health of the plant, if it looks diseased or dead don't buy it.
  3. Learn and research about the Cacti or Succulent you like first. Is it easy to care for or a lot of hard work?
  4. Don't buy Sempervivum (Hen and Chicks) that are already blooming, they are already dying. Note: For most Cacti and Succulents you don't have to worry about this tip. It's OK if they are blooming.
  5. Remove any wood chip decorations in the container with the Desert Plant as they may contain spores and mushrooms that can start growing.
  6. Don't put plants in containers without drainage holes.
  7. Don't put plants in containers that are glass or glazed on the inside. Desert Plants prefer porous containers.
  8. Some Cacti and Succulents don't belong together for very long, one will sometimes kill the other by taking more of the soil's nutrients.
  9. Research how large the final plant is going to get when it reaches maturity. Ask yourself, what will I do with it if it gets as tall as a Saguaro?(up to 40ft)
  10. Have fun looking for the unusual and beautiful in all the different varieties. Take pictures of these amazing plants if you don’t have time to care for them.

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