That's basically it - a stem at a time. It can drive any normal person insane. The good news is you can plant them without stripping off the bottom leaves.
There is at least one other way, arguably, a bit longer, but that will give you the result:
Get a fine SS mesh/chicken wire/hard cloth at a hardware store or on TPT.
Cut it to the footprint you want.
Thread individual stems ~1-2" long through (you can do it in a tub, kitchen sink, counter etc and in several time chunks)
Once complete, clear away the substrate, move the whole thing over and cover with substrate
The substrate covered stems will rot, but that's ok
The stems above the substrate will root
Trim the whole thing back to ~1-2" tall in a week or two
I usually have a ton of HM every couple of weeks or so. PM if you need any.
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD