Can You Propagate Agave Plants by Separating Pups – How?

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Agave propagation is a popular technique used by plant owners to increase their potted plant collection.

Some plants need to grow on their own. Much like humans, plants often need an individualized care plan to grow well.

How To Propagate Agave Plants by Separating PupsPin
  • Are Agave plants one of these kinds of plants?
  • Can you propagate agave plants by separating pups?
  • If so, how do you go about doing this?

The answers to these Agave propagation questions lie below. 

Agave propagation is possible. Propagating plants isn’t always a one-size-fits-all process. But, it’s safe to say that the propagation process will be pretty uniform for most varieties of agave species.

The most important answer is yes, it’s necessary to separate the agave babies from the mother plant (more on this later). While the agave propagation process may have its challenges, the process is worthwhile.

Do Agave Plants Die After Producing Pups or Offsets?

Once Agave plants flower, they begin to die slowly. Often before this, they create pups, suckers, or offsets. To preserve those babies and get some more plants out of your original parent agave, you will need to remove them from the main plant.

There is a process to this, so be sure that you follow the steps to ensure your agave plant’s pups survive when you take action.

What Are Pups or Agave Offsets?

This term describes the “offspring” of the plant. If removed from the umbilical cord of the mother plant, the babies can survive independently.  Eventually, they will grow into mature plants, capable of producing more offsets.

Does Timing Matter?

Yes, timing does matter when propagating agave plants. After the pups fully develop, the entire mother plant will die.

That said, don’t cut the pups too early. If they’re too small and under-developed, they may have trouble surviving and growing as well as more mature pups.

Make sure the pups fully develop before removing them from the parent plant. They should have a stalk that is capable of holding a sizable amount of leaves.

Safety Tips for Propagating

During this process, you’ll want to make sure you avoid suffering any plant-related injuries. Those sharp spines hurt! When working with agave plants, protect your hands by wearing heavy gloves, and protect your eyes with goggles.

To keep your plant safe, you’ll want to make sure the cutting tool, or sharp knife you use, is clean. This prevents the plant from getting any life-threatening diseases or viruses.

How to Remove Pups

Now it’s time to start the removal process:

  • Make sure you have a clear workspace. Clear away any other pieces of the mother plant in your way (you may have to cut away some parts). Now you can focus on safely and efficiently getting the little guys out of there. 
  • Using a sharp knife cut along the spines of the offsets. Make sure you take this step before you remove the pup from the mother.
  • When cutting, make sure the tool you use is sharp enough to create clean cuts. You want to avoid making jagged ones. Focus on creating straight cuts on the pups.
  • After that, try to expose the highest quality leaves you can from the offset. Do this by peeling old or dying leaves away. Make sure you take this step so they won’t get in the way of the new and healthy leaves.

Disposal of Plant Parts

To keep yourself (and others) safe from these pointy plant parts, make sure you get rid of the excess dead plants as soon as you finish separating them.

Create a compost pile where you can throw the plant pieces, or place them into a yard debris bag. Once you throw those pieces in, don’t look back. Reaching into that bag is not a good idea!

Related: Growing Agave From Seed

Waiting to Plant New Pups

When you cut a pup from a parent plant, you leave it more susceptible to diseases and viruses. To avoid this, allow your agave pup to dry and heal for several days before planting.

Planting New Pups

Agaves require excellent drainage and aeration. When potting Agave pups use a succulent soil mix or add extra pumice or lava rock, horticultural sand or gravel as an amendment.

Place the plant’s crown high in the pot and don’t cover it with anything, even mulch. This helps to reduce crown rot. In any case, it’ll sink a little over time.

Pour just enough water to remove any air pockets from the soil. Leave your newly potted plant alone while roots develop and root growth begins.

Where Should I Put My Plant?

Your new offsets can go wherever you like. Most importantly, they should go to a place where any prickly parts will not hurt anyone.

Depending on where you live, you can put your agave plant outside or inside, as long as the temperatures aren’t significantly cold for long periods.

Make sure your new pup is in a spot where you can admire it!

Now What?

After you’ve successfully potted your new agave plants, there isn’t much left to do but allow them to grow. Be careful you aren’t giving them too much water. Other than that, sit back, relax and watch your pups grow into a new adult agave!

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