How To Trim Tall Succulents | GroveGypsy

Tall, leggy succulents are not a sign of a healthy succulent which is why many people want to know; how to trim tall succulents so that they will grow thicker. 

Most succulents grow thick and full when they are healthy. If your succulent is growing tall and thin, it could be a sign that it is time for a trim. To trim a tall succulent, you want to cut off the top, leaving at least 2-3 leaves near the bottom.

Succulents are tricky to grow and require a lot of specific care. It can be frustrating when your succulent grows tall and lacks foliage. This guide is meant to aid you in helping your plant become healthy, fuller, and a desirable height. We will first go into prevention. The best way to make sure that you do not need to trim your succulent is to keep it healthy in the first place. If you determine that you need to trim your succulent, this guide will help determine how much to cut off and how to make sure your succulent grows new shoots after its trim.

We have all had a plant or two that grows and grows but doesn’t actually seem to be growing new leaves or foliage, just long stems or vines. I have spent time practicing the perfect trim and aftercare maintenance, so you don’t have to. If you follow the steps below, you should wind up with a thick, full, happy, and healthy succulent that does not have unnecessary crawling stems without leaves.

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How do I make my succulent grow fuller?

While many people believe that succulents are straightforward plants to grow, they require precise watering and light requirements in order to produce new growth. The number one reason that succulents get tall and leggy and lack foliage is that they lack light. When succulents are not getting enough light, they reach for it. This means that your succulent will grow its vines or stems long until it finds the light it wants. To avoid this unsightly growth pattern, you must ensure that your succulent is getting the appropriate amount of light.

Do some research on your succulent. Many succulents need six or more hours of sunlight every day, but some need more or less. Succulents in the cactus family might need closer to 9 hours of direct sunlight a day. A Donkey Tail succulent only requires 6 hours of natural light. A snake plant, which is also succulent, can survive on just 3 hours of indirect sunlight a day but will grow much quicker with more light.

If you want to avoid having to trim your tall, succulent, light will be your best friend. If you make sure to give your succulent all of the proper requirements from the start, it is unlikely that it will grow too tall without foliage. If your succulent does grow tall and leggy, the steps below are a great how-to guide on how to cut your succulent properly to stimulate new growth.

How do I trim my succulent?

If you have decided to take the plunge and trim your succulent, there are a few key steps that you should take to make sure your succulent thrives afterward. The first and most critical step is identifying where you are going to cut your succulent. Deciding where to cute depends on how much leggy growth you would like to chop off and what type of succulent you have. For example, if you have a String of Hearts succulent that has grown long vines without leaves, it is necessary to find a spot to cut where the leaves begin.

For a string of hearts, in particular, you want to cut near a node. A node is where the vine branches off to another vine or a cluster of new growth clusters. Cutting below this node, leaving it on the plant, will help stimulate new growth to form from that spot. If you cut your succulent above the node, your succulent will have trouble sprouting new growth from that spot.

If you are trimming a succulent that is not trailing, such as an Echeveria, you will want to identify how far down you want to chop it. Make sure to leave 2-3 leaves at a minimum on your succulent in order to stimulate new growth. As long as you leave 2-3 leaves, your succulent should produce several pups or baby succulents where you cut.

If your succulent is simply too tall and you are not experiencing leggy vines or lack of foliage, you have more options as to where to cut. You should still make sure to leave at least 2-3 leaves on any succulent, but a trailing plant may have many more options. Succulents that are simply too tall are likely getting all of the growing requirements needed and are simply thriving in their environment. Trimming them back will make them shorter for a time but will also create new growth. It is likely that your succulent will end up growing larger after you trim it back. If your succulent has nodes and you do not want it to grow any taller, make sure to trim it back past the nearest node. This will help to limit new growth and might keep your succulent a more preferable size.

A succulent such as a snake plant can be cut almost anywhere on the plant. As long as you avoid the base of the plant, you could simply trim the tops of each lead, or you could cut about 2 inches away from the base, taking the entire leaf off. The main issue with a Snake Plant is that you will be able to tell where you cut it easily. The great thing about Snake Plant cutting however is that they are easily propagated, which will be discussed below.

In order to cut, make sure to use a sharp knife or pair of scissors. Pick your spot and cut. Once you have made your cut, make sure your succulent gets enough water so that your cut area does not dry out.

Will my succulent grow new growth after I trim it?

If you cut your succulent correctly, it should create new growth. An excellent way to create fuller, thicker foliage on your succulent is to give it a trim. When cutting off tall or leggy succulents, it is essential to make sure to leave the node on the plant in order to have an area that will grow new growth. If you are working on a cactus or non-trailing succulent, leave 2-3 leaves on the plant below the cut. The leaves or foliage will serve as your node and will help new growth form.  

Can I propagate my succulent trimmings?

If you have decided to trim your succulent, you should consider taking cuttings to propagate from the mother plant. Propagation is the process of making an identical match of the mother plant through asexual reproduction. This can be done by taking cuttings of your succulent and putting them in dirt, water or moss until they put out roots. 

For trailing succulents, this process is straightforward. Simply find the node on the plant that you want to cut below and make sure there is at least one more node below that point that will be attached to the cutting. Each cutting needs at least one node, or else it will not grow. Once you have found both of your nodes, simply cut between them.

Once you have your cutting, please do some research to determine which material will be best to propagate it in. Some succulents prefer water, while others prefer soil or moss. All you have to do is put the cutting in your material and wait for it to grow healthy, stable roots that are strong enough for transplant.

About THE AUTHOR

Elsie Moore

Elsie Moore

As an experienced gardener & landscaper on my own property over the last 20 years, I'm excited to share the things I've learned along the way, as I continue to learn.

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