How to Prune a Succulent

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

It’s really easy to prune a succulent. You can do it with a knife or scissors. Just make sure to sterilize your tools first!

Checkout this video:

Pruning succulents

Pruning succulents can seem daunting, but with a little bit of know-how, it’s actually quite easy! Pruning is an important part of plant care, as it helps to encourage growth, remove dead or dying leaves, and can even improve the overall appearance of your plant. Let’s take a closer look at how to prune a succulent.

Why prune succulents?

Succulents are a type of plant that has thick, fleshy leaves that store water. They are often found in hot, dry climates and can range in size from small, ground-covering plants to large trees.

Pruning succulents is important for two reasons:

1. To remove damaged or dead leaves and stems. This will improve the overall appearance of the plant and help it to stay healthy.

2. To encourage new growth. Pruning helps to stimulate the plant’s growth hormone, which will promote new growth and produce fuller, healthier plants.

When to prune succulents

Pruning succulents is a skill that takes a little time to master, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to keep your plants looking their best. The frequency with which you prune will depend on the type of succulent you have and its growth habits. Some need pruning only every few years, while others may benefit from yearly trimming.

One of the most common questions gardeners have about succulents is when to prune them. The answer depends on the type of succulent you have and its growth habits. Some need pruning only every few years, while others may benefit from yearly trimming.

Here are a few general guidelines to help you determine when to prune your succulents:

1. Prune in early spring before new growth begins. This will give the plant time to recover from any damage caused by pruning and will promote new growth.

2. If your plant is leggy or has stretched out, shearing it back will encourage it to become bushier.

3. Remove any dead or dying leaves or stems as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease. Diseased leaves should be disposed of carefully so they don’t infect other plants.

4. If you want to shape your plant or create a more compact shape, trimming back the tips of the leaves will encourage new growth and help create the desired shape.

Types of pruning

Pruning is the process of removing dead, dying, diseased, crowded, and crossed branches, suckers, and water sprouts from a plant. While this may seem like a daunting task, pruning is actually quite simple and can be done with a few basic tools. In this article, we will cover the different types of pruning and how to properly prune a succulent.


Pinching is the most common type of succulent pruning. It’s done to encourage the plant to branch out and become fuller. When you pinch off the end of a succulent stem, two new shoots will grow in its place. You can pinch off the ends of stems any time of year. Pinching is especially beneficial in the spring, as it encourages new growth.


Cutting is the most common type of pruning for succulents since it’s the easiest and most straightforward method. All you need is a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.

To start, simply cut off any dead or dying leaves, flowers, or stems. This will help encourage new growth and prevent the spread of disease. Next, decide if you want to shape your plant or remove any leggy stems. If so, make careful cuts just above a leaf node (the point where the leaf meets the stem).

Finally, you can also use cutting to propagate your succulent. Simply cut a healthy leaf or stem from your plant and allow it to callous over for a few days before planting in well-draining soil.

How to prune succulents

There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning your succulents. The time of year, the type of succulent, and the amount of light the plant is receiving are all important factors. Pruning at the wrong time of year can damage the plant, so it is important to do some research before you start.


Pinching is the most common type of succulent pruning and is often used to encourage a fuller, more compact growth habit. It involves pinching or cutting off the tips of the succulent’s leaves or stems. You can use your fingers or sharp, sterilized pruning shears for this task.

Be sure to make your cuts at an angle so that excess water can drain away from the plant. This will help prevent rot. Pinching also stimulates the plant to produce new growth, so don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your pruning.

In most cases, you will want to prune your succulents in the spring or early summer when they are actively growing. However, some varieties can be pruned at other times of the year. If you’re not sure when to prune your particular plant, consult a succulent expert or reference book.


Cutting is the most common type of pruning for succulents. When cutting, you will want to make sure that you are using a sharp knife or pair of scissors. You will also want to make sure that you are cutting at an angle so that the cuts will be less noticeable.

If you need to remove a large amount of plant material, you can do so by cutting it back to within an inch or two of the main stem. This will help to encourage new growth and will also make the plant look fuller.

If you are cutting back a succulent that is already in a pot, you will want to make sure that you are not leaving any stubs behind. These stubs can rot and cause the plant to become diseased.


After pruning

Carefully remove the dead leaves and stems with a sharp knife or pair of scissors. If the leaves are small, you can remove them with your fingers. If the plant is very overgrown, you can cut it back quite a bit. Just be sure not to remove all the leaves, as the plant will need some to continue photosynthesis.


Water your succulent after pruning to encourage new growth. Hold off on fertilizer for a few weeks to give the plant time to recover from the pruning. When you do start fertilizing again, use a light hand; too much fertilizer can harm your plant.


Water: Allow your plant to dry out completely between waterings. How often you need to water will depend on the size of the pot, the type of potting mix, and the temperature and humidity of your home. In general, succulents need to be watered about once a week during the growing season (spring and summer), and every other week during the fall and winter.

Fertilizing: Fertilize your succulents once or twice a year with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. You can fertilize more often if you think your plant is not looking its best, but be sure to flush the potting mix with clear water every few months to prevent salt buildup.

Pruning: Cut away any dead or dying leaves or stems as soon as you notice them. You can also remove spent flower stalks after bloom. Pruning will encourage your plant to produce new growth.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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