Ask Nell: How To Remove Succulent Pups

As you probably already know by now, I propagate a lot of succulents.  My garden is full of them which I’m very thankful these days because of the mega drought here in California.  I usually propagate by stem cuttings but every now and then I do it by removing the pups, which are the babies or offsets that grow off the mother plant.

succulent pups

 This  haworthia is a pup I took from my mother’s plant up in Sonoma. Now it’s produced lots of babies of its own. Everything is covered in cobwebs & dirt because of the drought!

This came from Robin: “I’d love to learn more about the varieties that have pups.  I have several that have all these pups growing in and I have no idea how to separate and plant them.  For example, I’d love to know at what point to separate them?  Should they be somewhat new or should you leave them to grow for a while?  Do you just snip them off, or do you try to get some roots?”

Great questions Robin – here are the answers:

Here’s a quick summary of what you see in the video:

1)  The succulents that I have which pup are aloes (I already did a vlog on transplanting my Aloe vera & removing its pup), agaves, gasterias & haworthias.

2)  You want to leave the pups growing attached to the mother until are a decent size before removing them.  That way the root system will be well formed.  How long that is depends on the type of succulent – for some it may be a year, for others a few years.

3)  You always want to get roots when removing a pup.  You can use a sharp & clean knife, a shovel or simply twist it off.  I know from experience that some pups come off much easier than others!

succulent pups

Gasterias grow slowly but eventually produce a lot of pups.

There you have it, yet another way to propagate succulents.  As I call them: “the plants that keep on giving!”

succulent pups

Variegated Agave americanas are beautiful but be careful when removing the pups. If 1 of those spines gets you, it’s a major “ouch!”

succulent pups

Agave attenuatas are 1 of our “Santa Barbara weeds” & pup like crazy. You see them everywhere & they’re always in clusters.


7 Hanging Succulents To Love

How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?

How Often Should You Water Succulents? 

Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix for Pots

How to Transplant Succulents into Pots

Aloe Vera 101: A Round Up of Aloe Vera Plant Care Guides

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  1. Gorgeous garden, and nice post. It makes me miss my outdoor succulent and cactus garden in California. We still get to enjoy them here in Austin, but mostly indoors.

  2. Thank you Suzette! Yes, the fleshy succulents do very well here because our climate is so temperate. And, you can grow plants in Austin that we can’t grow here in Santa Barbara. Nell

  3. Hello, I just left a comment on your youtube video, but I’m reposting it here because I’d love if you could answer my question.

    Hello! Thank you for this really helpful video, I’m new at gardening but I have a huge love for my plants. I have a question, my succulent plant had 4 pups, and I left them there since they started to bloom. I noticed you mentioned that when the mother plant had flowers, it died. So is that normal? It’s just I’m a bit sad about seeing its leaves slowly drying, or if you know about a way to let it continue living it would mean the world to me if you could tell me.

  4. Hi Aurora – Thanks for the comment here too! I just answered your question on Youtube so hop on over there for the answer. Nell

  5. Hi, I have a successful suculant plant and has many small ones growing around the bottom of the large plant….. I would like to know how to split them and repot them…. many thanks marina

  6. Hi Marina – It’s pretty simple. There are a few tips in this post for you along with links to other related posts. Be sure to check out the video too. Nell

  7. I’ve just become a succulent lover, and I have purchased quite a few not knowing that they would have some long flower in stem coming from the middle I am there now and don’t know what to do with that would you be able to help me?

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