How to prune succulents

Updated February 21, 2017

Succulents that outgrow their container or planting area require pruning to keep the plant looking attractive. You can also prune succulents for propagation purposes, allowing the mother plant to produce many more plants. Pruning succulents isn't particularly difficult since the plant is hardy. Trim the plants just before the growing season starts: Prune warm-weather-growing succulents in the spring and cool-weather-growing succulents in the fall.

Sterilise your pruning knife or scissors with the isopropyl alcohol and a towel. Ensure that the blades are free from rust and dirt. Using a dirty, unsterilised knife may transmit disease around your plants.

Cut the succulent stems low to the soil, just below the stem joint, trying not to bruise the leaves of the main plant. Avoid jagged cuts or tears; blunt cuts are the best for pruning purposes. If pruning for propagating, select stems with a stem joint.

Prepare for propagation by removing any leaves from the stem below the stem joint. Dry the cutting for about 10 days before planting. Cuttings that dry out are more likely to root and less likely to rot in the moist planting medium.

Continue pruning the mother plant until you are pleased with the shape. Succulents can tolerate harsh pruning but may limit future blooms.

Cut withered flowers and diseased portions of the plant as necessary, regardless of the time of year.

Things You'll Need

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Knife or scissors
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About the Author

Lauren Thomason has written professionally since 2011 for online publications such as eHow. She is an avid gardener and crafter, history buff and science experiment fanatic. She holds a Master of Science in elementary education and is pursuing a Doctor of Education from Liberty University.