Jade Plant Leaf Propagation: 1 Lazy And Effective Method

Jade plants are one of the easiest plants to grow, and if you give them the right conditions, they can live for one hundred years or more.

It also helps that you can propagate them very easily. You might have even done this through stem cuttings before, but one way of making the most of every part you cut from a single jade plant is to use leaf cuttings.

This means you can make lots of jade plants from only one plant (see also How To Make A Jade Plant Bushy), and you don’t have to thin your jade plant out too much to do it!

You may be propagating your jade plant (see also Stem Cutting Propagation For Jade Plants) because you want to fill out your plant collection quickly, or it might be a last-ditch effort to save an existing plant from root rot, but whatever your reasons, leaf propagation is the way to go, and it only takes a few minutes to get the process started.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How To Grow New Jade Plants From A Single Leaf

You don’t need anything fancy for this method of propagation. You don’t even need to grab a pair of scissors.

What you will need is a jade plant, a plastic tray with a clear lid (either a prop box or something that can be used as such, like a takeout container), and some fresh succulent soil.

Take Healthy Leaves Off Your Existing Plant

Using just your fingers, pull off a few leaves from your jade plant, preferably laying them upside down onto a paper towel or on the clear side of the propagation lid for now.

Take a couple more than you plan on growing, as not all leaves may develop into new plants. Succulents are notorious for this, especially if you keep your succulent props inside.

Put your succulent leaves near a bright and warm window that doesn’t get any more than two hours of direct sunlight, or, put them under a grow light if you have one.

Allow the leaves to callous over a few days before you do anything with them. Normally, when you’re propagating, you’ll want to put the cuttings into water or soil immediately to avoid any moisture loss, but you should do the opposite with succulents.

This goes for both stem cuttings and leaf cuttings. These plants are very susceptible to rot when given too much water, and cuttings have no roots to help regulate their water intake, so the cuttings of succulent plants will rot more quickly than other types.

Allowing the cuttings to air dry helps the wounds to close up a little, and this limits the amount of water the plants can take up at any time.

It also helps prevent disease or pests from taking over and killing the plants before they have a chance to thrive.

You can leave succulent cuttings out for a good while before doing anything with them (even for a few weeks), as long as they have enough light and warmth. 

The leaf itself acts like a storage organ for water and nutrients, and in some cases, you may see plantlets forming on the leaves before you’ve even planted them if you leave them for long enough!

This isn’t indefinite, though. Sooner or later, you’ll need to plant them up!

Prepare A Growing Tray

Grab a takeout box, or a box with a clear lid, and put some succulent and cactus compost inside. 

If you have any perlite, make a fifty-fifty mix and use that instead, as this can help give the cuttings the best start possible.

If you can, dampen the mixture before you put it into the container, as it saves watering it later when the cuttings are planted.

You might be worried about drainage holes at this point, but as long as you’re very careful when you water the cuttings, there won’t be a problem as long as the tray is shallow enough, and you lay the cuttings on an angle. 

It’s easy enough to just tip any excess water out.

You don’t have to wait until the cuttings start forming roots or plants of their own before you plant them into the mix, as long as they have dried out enough, this will be fine.

There is a point where you can wait too long, however. If the leaves start shriveling up because they need water, you’ll want to plant them straight away, as you’re leaving it a bit too long!

Arrange The Leaves And Wait!

Lay the cuttings into the soil, with the cut ends making good contact with the soil, and the opposite on an angle, so water can’t sit on the leaves.

Close the lid on the box, and put the whole thing somewhere bright and warm, but not in prolonged direct sunlight, as this will cook the leaves.

It’s common practice among succulent growers to take off leaves from many plants and then put them all in one tray or pot, and leave them to it. Once they grow, it can be a little chaotic, and challenging to remember which plant is which!

It’s a good idea to open up the box every week or so to allow fresh air to get to the plantlets. Always keep the soil on the damp side at this stage as this will help the leaves to root faster.

This might seem a bit odd when you know that succulents don’t like a lot of water, but this will keep the cuttings healthy at this stage. The plant material is too young to withstand long dry spells at this point.

When you do see new growth (which will be in a couple of weeks), you can scale back the watering a little.

As the new plants start to establish themselves in the soil, you can do away with the lid entirely, letting plenty of fresh air get to the plants.

You can leave the plants in the same container for ages to the point where you will struggle to see any soil at all! 

Plant Up Your Adorable New Jade Plants

If you manage to get through the first two stages without checking for new growth every day or so, you have a lot of self-control! 

Once the leaf cuttings have plenty of new growth on their own, it’s time to plant them up into separate pots.

While it wasn’t necessary before, you will need to plant up the new jade plants into pots with drainage holes. 

Make sure that the soil is right, too. You can achieve this in several ways: by using a fifty-fifty mix of succulent compost and horticultural grit, or two parts succulent compost, one part perlite, and one part pumice.

Either combination will give the plants the sharp drainage they need. Separate the plants into as many individual plants as you like, potting them up and giving them a good watering, and pop them on a bright windowsill, as near as you can get to the light.

Final Thoughts

Jade plants are very easy to propagate, and it requires patience more than anything else. To increase the chances of success, propagate in the active growing season, and keep the cuttings warm and the soil damp.

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