Updated: Nov 12, 2021
Keeping your succulents pruned can do a lot for your succulent! It encourages new growth, prevents rot, and keeps your succulents looking pristine. Listed below are steps on how to prune your succulents!
Even though succulents are considered a slow grower, they will eventually outgrow their containers or start to look leggy. Pruning a succulent regularly will slow down the process of overgrowing.
Early spring is the best time to prune your succulents. As the sun shines longer and the temperatures start to increase, your succulent will bounce back from pruning much faster and much healthier. Fall is also a great time to do this, just keep in mind succulents go dormant in the winter and you might not see a ton of growth over a period of time.
The most common questions we get with pruning is how to tell when a succulent needs it. It’s a great question and has a very simple answer. There are a few signs that show when a succulent needs pruning but it’s really up to you. You know what you want your succulent to look like. If it looks too tall, trim it. If it's too wide, take some leaves off. Succulents will benefit from any kind of pruning. A few signs that indicate your succulent needs pruning:
The top is leggy and stretched
There is a dead branch that is hanging on
The bottom is scraggly and undercolored (trailing succulents)
With those few signs in mind, let's get started on the steps of pruning.
1. GATHER TOOLS
You will need a few tools for pruning. Something shape to cut with: scissors, pruners, or an Exacto knife. I personally recommend the Exacto knife because it grants easier access to hard to reach areas. You’ll also need a towel to wipe your hands off on and a container to hold any cuttings for future planting!
2. REMOVE DEBRIS
As succulents grow, the bottom leaves typically dry up and die (don’t worry, it’s normal). Before you begin to prune your succulents, remove any dead leaves or debris surrounding the plant. Removing these leaves help increase new growth.
3. LOCATE WHAT AND WHERE TO CUT
Again, it is completely up to you on how you want your succulent to look. In the pictures below I decided a few of the stems were too long for my liking. With an image in mind of what I wanted this plant to look like, I decided what I wanted to remove. Anytime you remove a part of a succulent, like a stem, the rule of thumb is to cut above a succulent leaf. The reason we suggest doing this is because succulent creates new growth from the leaf nodes on the stem. If the plant is cut below the leaf node it will take longer for the succulent to regrow.
(Above is the before picture of the plant I pruned. The middle is the after picture once I removed all the stems I didn't want there. And the final picture is the three stems I removed.)
After you have removed all parts of the succulent indented, your succulent is ready to grow! If your succulent is dry, make sure to give it some water. The only thing to do once it’s pruned is to let it grow.
If the cuttings you have removed are nice and healthy, you can replant them and create new starts of that plant. You can read more about that in our previous blog here!
You can’t go wrong with pruning succulents. No matter where you trim, they will regrow better and healthier. Here is a picture of a succulent plug that we took a cutting off of. It was a straight stem with one head on it. Once we cut it and let it grow back it grew three heads and looked amazing!