"You mean to tell me that one little leaf can grow a whole 'nother plant?" Yep! And this is just one way to propagate your succulents. When you start a new plant by taking a cutting or a leaf, you are really making a clone, so select your hardiest, happiest specimens. A few simple preparations will increase your odds of a successful propagation, but it's still a numbers game so always set out with as many leaves, cuttings, or seeds as you can handle.
Remember our little chat about growing seasons and dormancy? Good, because it's an important factor in plant propagation. If you take cuttings or start a tray of leaves in November, you're going to be in for a long wait before you see any signs of roots. On the other hand, if you start the same tray in early spring, the results happen so quickly it's almost magical in comparison. If you've tried propagating without much success in the past, do try again during a growing season and see how your luck improves.
Before propagating any part of your succulent, be sure it's hydrated. Watering a day or two before taking cuttings or leaves will give them time to uptake the water, helping ensure the propagations stay juicy long enough to put out new roots. The amount of time it takes to see new growth depends on the season and the variety being propagated. Some leaves, like Graptopetalum paraguayense, may show roots in as little as a week, while others can take several weeks or longer, especially outside of their growing seasons. It's a great lesson in patience, so it really helps to have a lot of other plants to distract you while you wait. After all, it seems a watched prop never grows…
*See the Supplies page on my website for sources and links for the products I use.