How Quickly Can You Grow A Succulent (From Seed Or Propagation)

A few years ago I made some cuttings from one of my succulents to give as presents to my friends. While a few of my friends were already succulent owners, a couple of them did ask how long it would be until they grew into adult plants. This started me thinking about just how long succulents take to grow and which varieties grow the quickest.

While different varieties grow at different rates the average succulent will take somewhere between six months to a year to reach full maturity, although some can take up to five years. Plants grown from cuttings will develop within a few weeks, while those grown from seeds can take a month or two.

As a seasoned succulent grower myself I’ve had a huge number of different plants over the years and while I’ve noticed they all grow at different rates I’d never paid too much attention to just how quickly (or slowly) this happened, until now that is. Over the past few years, I decided to keep a detailed record of how long my plants took to grow. At first, I started recording this with plants that I’d grown from seeds but then I decided to do the same with propagated plants too.

You can grow new succulents from cuttings

How fast do succulents grow?

There are no hard and fast rules about how quickly succulents take to grow because there are so many different factors that play a role. The variety of succulent and the time of year are the two biggest factors but how much water and sunlight the plant gets will also make a difference to the speed of growth. That said though, all succulents can be classed into one of two ‘growing’ groups, slow growers and fast growers. 

Plants that are slow growers tend to grow 2 to 3 inches a year and take 5 plus years to reach full maturity. Fast growing succulents, on the other hand, can grow anywhere from 4 to 10 inches in a year. These plants can reach their full maturity in just 1 year, but 3 months is the most common.

What plants are slow growing and which ones are fast growers I hear you ask. While there will always be an exception to the rule the table below should give you an idea of the most common succulents and which group they fall into.

Succulent typeGrowing groupAnnual growing speed (Approx.)
AgaveSlowUp to 8 inches
AloeFast2 to 6 inches 
EcheveriaFast4 to 6 inches
HaworthiaSlow3 inches
JadeSlow2 inches
KalanchoeFast6 to 12 inches
SedumFastUp to 10 inches
Approximate annual growth rate of the most popular succulent types

How long does it take to grow a propagated succulent?

How long a propagated succulent takes to grow depends on the type of propagation (dry, water, or soil) as well as where the cuttings have come from. For example, a dry propagated leaf cutting will take far longer to develop into a plant than an offset (or pup) that’s been propagated in soil.

It’s also worth pointing out that not every part of every plant can be propagated. While sedums and echeverias can be propagated from leaves, stems, and offsets, haworthia on the other hand can be propagated from stems and offsets. Then there are succulents such as aeoniums can only be propagated from stem cuttings.

That said though, as a rough guide, a leaf will start to grow roots within 2 to 3 weeks while stems develop roots after 4 weeks and offsets can grow roots after a week. Once the roots are established the plant will then begin to sprout new leaves. The table below gives you an idea of how long different cuttings can take to grow roots (and then leaves).

Dry propagation
(roots)
Water propagation
(roots)
Soil propagation
(roots / leaves)
Stem4 weeks2 to 3 days4 weeks / 6 weeks
Leaf3 weeks5 to 7 days2 weeks / 8 weeks
Offset1 to 3 weeks1 week2 to 3 weeks / 6 weeks
How long different succulents cuttings take to grow depending on propagation type (all times are approximate)

As I say though the propagation type plays a role too but which option you go for is largely down to personal preference and experience.

  • Dry propagation – Sometimes called air propagation, this method only really works in areas that have high humidity. The idea is that the cuttings of the plant are placed in a tray and left until the roots start to develop. After this they’re transferred to pots and the leaves start to grow.
  • Water propagation – This involves the tip of the cutting being placed in water but before you do that it’s important that the cutting is left to dry out for a few days so that it can callus. This will stop it from taking too much water. Like dry propagation, you need to transfer it to soil once the roots have developed.
  • Soil propagation – This is the most common (and easiest) method of propagation and works by placing the cuttings either in or on the soil. Leaves should be left on top of the soil while the stems and offsets should be pushed into the soil until the plant is able to support itself.

Want to propagate your succulent in soil? What your succulent really needs.

A dry propagated echeveria leaf
A dry propagated echeveria leaf

How long does it take to grow a succulent from seed?

I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I answer the question of how long succulents take to grow from seeds with a ‘it depends on the variety’ but that is the most honest answer I’m afraid. That’s said though, on average the seeds will take somewhere between three days and two weeks to germinate. I say as an average though because there will always be an exception to the rule with some varieties taking a year before they start to show signs of germination.

You’ll know when your seeds have begun to germinate because you’ll see tiny little leaves emerging. After you see this it should only be a few more weeks until those shoots turn into actual plants as their roots have already developed.

The quickest time I’ve ever noticed for one of my plants to grow from a seed was 8 days until the very first sign of green began to show. After that, it was only 4 weeks until the leaves developed and after a couple of months I had an actual plant, albeit a small one.

How do you care for a growing succulent?

Whilst we all know that succulents don’t like wet soil it’s important to keep it moist while they’re growing (or at least for the first few weeks if you’re growing them from cuttings). The reason for this is that the roots are still developing and need to be kept hydrated. Once they’ve taken root (sorry I couldn’t resist it) you don’t need to keep the soil so moist and can revert back to a more normal watering schedule.

Once your succulent has leaves you can water them as normal

Once the roots are established you should make sure the plant is getting more sunlight, although you should still avoid putting it in direct sunlight. Young plants have delicate leaves so it’s best to wait until the roots have developed and the plant is a little more mature before increasing the amount of light it gets. Don’t increase it all of a sudden though as this can shock the plant and can cause harm. Instead, increase the amount of light it gets by an hour every few days until they’re getting a full day’s worth of sunlight.

After about six months you can (and should) repot the succulent into a bigger pot. This will help it to grow healthy roots and develop into a strong plant.

Not sure what sort of pot your succulent needs? What to look for in a succulent pot.


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