How Should You Use Rooting Powder When Propagating Succulents?  

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Rooting hormones including the powder form works on many types of cuttings, ranging from typical stem cuttings to root and leaf cuttings and is are known to dramatically increase the chance of successful propagation.

Rooting powder is applied the cut portion of the succulent immediately before planting into soil. 
The cut surface of a leaf, stem or root is directly pressed or rolled into the powder with the excess gently shaken off before inserting into a pre-established hole. Do not force the powdered end of the succulent into the soil as this will cause the hormone to be scraped away from where it is most needed. 

Some succulents can only be propagated in specific ways and at certain stages of their growth cycle. That’s why it’s important to know how to use rooting hormone correctly for each species of succulent you plan to grow. 

What’s important to understand is that rooting hormones absolutely do not guarantee growth and are not a stand-in for good propagation methods! 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the different methods used to apply rooting powder, covering topics such as:

  •       How should I use rooting powder for succulent stem cuttings?
  •       How should I use rooting powder for succulent leaf cuttings?
  •       Do I need to use rooting powder when propagating succulents?

How should I use rooting powder for succulent stem cuttings?

Most succulents aren’t propagated via the stem, but some plant-growers still choose to use this method.

If that’s you, then the first step of using rooting powder for succulent stem cuttings is correctly cutting the stem at all. Make sure your plant is healthy and lively, then seek out a long stem with about three to eight inches of growing space that you can use. 

Once you’ve identified this, look for the succulent’s node. This will be a knob, swollen in appearance on the stem. In some cases, the node is surrounded by flowers and leaves. You’ll have to remove these before cutting and planting your stem.

Now, use sanitized shears or a sharp, sanitized knife to snip the stem, cutting close to the node. Remember to cut between three and eight inches. Next, it’s time to use rooting powder.

Pour some of the powder into a clean bowl or similar dish. Moisten the bottom few inches of your succulent stem cutting and dip the moist base into the dish. You should not apply any rooting hormone beyond the depth at which you plan to plant the cutting.

You may need to roll the stem around to encourage the powder to adhere to it properly. Shake off any excess powder, and you’re ready to plant! Make a hole in your choice of soilless potting medium with a pencil or similar tool, then plant the cutting inside of the resulting crevice. Ensure that the hole is sufficiently wide so that rooting hormone (such as this hormone found on Amazon) doesn’t rub off into the soil during the planting process.

Finally, tamp the soil down to eliminate pockets of air around the cutting. Use a spray bottle to lightly water the cutting as needed. Keep the cutting away from direct sunlight, though in warm conditions. This will encourage healthy, safe growth, and you’ll begin to see new roots in two or three weeks.

How should I use rooting powder for succulent leaf cuttings?

Leaf cuttings are the most common method of succulent propagation. To start, look for nice, plump leaves on a healthy mother plant. You can then use your fingers to gently twist the leaves away from the stem, providing you with a decent leaf cutting. 

In normal propagation, you usually leave these cuttings to dry for a couple of days. When using rooting powder, you do not want to do this! Letting leaf cuttings callous over first will prevent thorough application.

Like stem cuttings, to propagate succulent leaf cuttings all you have to do is pour out some rooting hormone into a clean, uncontaminated dish. Then, moisten the cut wound of the leaf and dip it into the rooting powder, before shaking off any excess.

Place all leaves you’re using on the top of potting soil that is well-drained. Simply lay them out nearly over the top and keep them away from direct sunlight to avoid drying out. You can expect to wait between two and three weeks before you notice any roots sprouting from the base of the cut leaves.

Baby plants can then be transplanted into a container filled with nice, well-draining soil. It’s okay to now place the propagated cutting under the sun, though you may want to avoid direct sunlight at first to prevent scorching. You only need to mist it with a spray bottle every two or three weeks, or when you notice the soil has become totally dry.

Image by ValeriKimbro on Canva Pro

Do I need to use rooting powder when propagating succulents? 

It is not necessary to use rooting powder to propagate any plants – especially succulents. Rooting hormones are supplements, not necessities.

Succulents, and all other plants, produce their own natural hormones, such as gibberellins, auxins, and cytokinins. These hormones are sufficient to stimulate the growth of roots in a vast majority of cases, though this takes longer than using powder or other hormones. 

Rooting powder is also not the only option when it comes to growth hormones for roots. There are popular liquid and gel rooting hormones that are applied differently from powder.

Rooting liquid comes in two types – one that requires dilution, and another that needs to be concentrated. Rooting gel, on the other hand, can usually simply be directly applied.

Some people choose to use “natural” rooting hormones, such as cinnamon powder, honey, willow water, turmeric, aloe vera, or apple cider vinegar. However, these natural options do not necessarily speed up root development, though they can promote better root and plant health as it grows. Natural methods also involve a fair bit of preparation, which should be kept in mind.

Take home message

Rooting powder is a great way to promote faster root development in succulent stem and leaf cuttings. They’re commonly used by applying them to the moistened “wounded” areas of succulent cuttings, where roots will eventually grow from.

While roots are developing, these cuttings need to be kept away from direct sunlight, eventually producing growth in two or three weeks.

It’s not compulsory to use rooting powder to propagate any plants, but it can certainly be helpful to improve your chances of success. You may also choose to opt for various other forms of rooting supplementation, like rooting gel or liquid. There are also natural rooting hormones that you can make from scratch, but are unlikely to produce the same result as concentrated chemical mixes.

Lakeisha Ethans

Lakeisha Ethans

Houseplant Writer

Mother to two humans and hundreds of plant babies. Lakeisha uses her 15 years of experience as a content writer to specialise in simplifying what you need to know to grow and care for all indoor plants.

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