How To Prune Succulents Step-By-Step

how to prune succulents

Last updated on August 9th, 2022 at 04:17 pm

Learning how to prune succulents is part of the best care you can give to your plant. The way you prune your succulents can make or break the health of your plant, so it’s important to choose your cuts carefully.

Succulents are beautiful, but they can become leggy over time. If you want to keep your succulents in full bloom and prevent them from becoming too large, you’ll need to prune them regularly to encourage new growth and keep your plants healthy.

Pruning succulents can be intimidating at first if you’ve never done it before, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty simple and fun! The best time to prune succulents is in spring or early summer when they start growing new leaves and stems.

This guide will walk you through step-by-step how to prune succulents, so your plants will stay healthy and beautiful all year long!

Why should we prune succulents?

Succulents are pruned for a number of reasons: to remove dead or dying leaves and stems, to encourage new growth, to shape the plant, or to propagate new plants. Pruning is also a way of stress-relieving for succulents.

It helps them stay healthy and look their best. One can prune a succulent by cutting off unwanted parts with garden shears. If one wants to be precise about how they want their plant to look, they should use a sharp knife or razor blade.

But please note that when using these tools, it’s important not to cut too deeply into the fleshy leaf because you might accidentally injure the root as well.

When to prune succulents

You should prune your succulents when they are actively growing, which is typically in the spring. However, you can also prune them in the summer or fall if necessary. If you notice that your plant is starting to look leggy or overcrowded, then it’s time to give it a trim.

Keep in mind that even though they’re called succulents, this doesn’t mean they need more water! In fact, succulent plants often dry out faster than other types of plants and require less watering. Be sure not to overwater succulents or the roots will rot.

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A good rule of thumb is to wait until the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry before watering again. To keep your plants looking their best, simply cut off any brown tips on leaves with scissors every few weeks so they don’t spread the infection to nearby stems and leave some branches longer so new growth occurs.

Tools for the job

how to prune succulents

When it comes to pruning succulents, you won’t need much. A sharp knife or pair of scissors will do the trick.  You’ll want to make sure you have a clean, dry surface to work on. I like to use a cutting board, but a piece of cardboard will work in a pinch.

You may also want to grab a magnifying glass so you can get a close look at your plant and make precise cuts. If you’re planning on propagating some new plants from your existing ones, keep in mind that their cuttings will have roots on them already.

How to prune succulents

If your succulent is looking a little leggy, it’s time for a trim. Follow these simple steps and your plant will be looking fresh in no time. First, find a sharp knife or pair of scissors.

Second, make sure to cut at an angle so that water can still drain from the cuts.

Third, cut off any dead leaves or stems.

Finally, wipe away any dirt on the inside of the pot where you are cutting. You may want to place your finger over the area you are cutting while you are doing this step so that dirt doesn’t get into the cuts.

Make sure not to break any roots when pruning. After completing all four steps, water your succulents thoroughly until the soil feels moist but not wet, and give it plenty of light so that new growth can take place.

Beheading succulents

how to prune succulents

When beheading a succulent, it is important to make sure that you are using a sharp knife or shears. You will want to cut just above a leaf node, making sure not to damage the stem. Once you have made your cut, you can remove the excess leaves by gently pulling them away from the plant.

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If any leaves are left behind, you can use a clean, sharp knife to remove them. After removing the leaves, carefully wash the cut with water and soap (or alcohol) to ensure that all of the bacteria have been removed. The last step in this process is to replace any soil on top of the exposed roots and leave it for two weeks for healing.


When it comes to pruning succulents, the main goal is reshaping. You want to remove any dead or dying leaves, as well as any that are significantly smaller than the rest.

This will help your plant look its best and encourage new growth. Start by snipping off any dead leaves at the base of the plant. Then, carefully remove any that are significantly smaller than the others.

Finally, trim back any long stems to give your plant a more compact shape. Cut just above a leaf joint or set of leaves, using sharp scissors.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to keep your plants healthy and looking great for years!

Top dressing

Top dressing succulents are a great way to keep them looking healthy and vibrant. It’s also a necessary step in the propagation process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to top-dressing your succulents.

  1. Start with clean, sharp pruning shears. This will help prevent disease and infection in your plants.
  2. Cut off any dead or dying leaves, stems, or flowers. If the plant is leggy, you can also trim back some of the longer stems. Be sure not to cut too close to the base of the stem as this may cause it to rot. Be sure not to cut too close to the base of the stem as this may cause it to rot.
  3. After you have trimmed all excess material, water your succulent thoroughly and then place it where it needs light (indoors) or shade (outdoors). The next day, if needed, repeat watering one more time before placing it outside for an extended period.
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Replant the cuttings

Replanting the cuttings is a great way to propagate your succulents. By doing this, you can create new plants from your existing ones. Plus, it’s a relatively easy process that doesn’t require much time or effort. Here’s how to do it:

1) Clean off any old soil and pat dry with a towel

2) Use clean scissors and snip the cutting off of its parent plant just below a leaf node (leave at least 3 leaves on the stem)

3) Add fresh potting soil to a clean container and place the cutting in it so that there are 2 inches of potting soil above its roots

4) Water thoroughly until water begins draining out of the bottom of the container. Then allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again

5) Place them in an area where they will get plenty of sunlight and maintain proper moisture levels

6) After about a month, use a sharp knife to separate healthy leaves from unhealthy ones

7) Finally, continue this process every few months or when necessary

Repotting overgrown succulents

Over time, succulents can become pot-bound, meaning their roots have filled the entire pot and there’s no room for them to continue growing. When this happens, they need to be repotted into a larger container. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it

1) Make sure the soil in your new pot is dry before you start work. If it’s not, let it air out or use a fan to dry out the soil faster.

2) Loosen up the soil in your old pot with your fingers or a trowel until you see some of the older roots coming up from below ground level; these are perfect candidates for pruning because they’ve been growing for too long without access to water and nutrients and will soon die off anyway. You want to try to remove as many of the dead roots as possible so that the plant has more space in its new home.

3) Use a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears to cut back any dead stems (aka dead wood) from branches that aren’t still green.

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4) Carefully dig around the root ball with your hands and trowel, making sure not to damage any living roots.

5) Place the succulent in its new pot so that it sits at the same depth as it was before.

6) Cover all of the roots with soil and then gently tamp down around them to secure everything in place.

7) Water thoroughly using an organic fertilizer diluted by half or follow manufacturer instructions if organic fertilizers aren’t available where you live

How to care for your potted plants after pruning

how to prune succulents

After you’ve trimmed your plants, it’s important to give them the proper care to ensure they continue to thrive. Here are a few tips for watering and fertilizing succulents after pruning:

1) Give them plenty of light but keep away from direct sunlight as it can scorch their leaves.

2) Water on a regular basis but be careful not to overwater as this will cause rot and mushy soil.

3) Fertilize once or twice during the spring and summer seasons with a liquid fertilizer that is specifically made for succulent plants.

Apply directly to the soil near the roots but do not pour any excess liquid on top of the leaves. Be sure to label which side is up so you don’t accidentally mix up your plant!

The most common mistake people make when trimming succulents is getting too close to the stem or cutting off too much, which causes unbalanced growth. Try using scissors instead of pruners next time so you don’t have to worry about accidental cuts near the stem.

To help maintain a healthy potting mix, replace old pots with new ones every two years. And remember to never put succulents in cold storage such as refrigerators or freezers because it will kill them instantly!