How to Transplant and Grow Agave Pups

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Agave plants bloom once and then die. However, agave do produce 'offsets' or as they are often referred to, agave pups. Learn how to transplant them.

Agave are often called century plants, due to the fact that they bloom once and then die. However, unlike their common name implies, they don’t take 100 years to grow before flowering. While agave do produce seeds when they flower, many also produce offsets, or as they are often referred to, agave pups.

Follow these expert tips for growing a drought tolerant garden.

What Do Agave Pups Look Like?

Agave americana surrounded by her pups

Agave are made up of over a 100 different species and some species produce quite a few pups, while others rarely do. My Parry’s Agave (Agave parryi) produced pups after being in my garden for three years. Agave can be somewhat expensive, so I was thrilled to see these little baby pups appear.

 Can you see them in the photo above? There are four. Three of them are very small, but they are more than ready to leave the mother plant.

 I think they are cute in a prickly sort of way. Now that you know how to find them, here’s how to plant them.

Learn how to take care of succulents, inside or outdoors.

How to Transplant Agave Pups

First, I carefully removed the soil around the pups. The pups are attached to the mother plant by a thick, fleshy root. In the photo above, you can see that the pups are beginning to form their own roots, branching out to the side. At this point, cut the thick root and remove the little pup.

Now this same adult agave had another pup, which was attached at the base.

 To remove it, insert a sharp shovel and push down firmly, cutting the connecting root. Sometimes you have to be a bit forceful to get some pups to leave home. Learn how to safely transplant perennials and flowers.

 I harvested five century plant pups. Now I had the fun task of deciding where to plant them in my garden.

But before planting, I put the pups in a dry, shady area for four to seven days so that the cuts had a chance to dry first. This prevents rot when they are later planted. Don’t worry about them surviving without water for a few days. They have plenty of water stored inside, since they are succulents.

I planted all five agave pups around my garden. They didn’t need any soil amendments, but I provided supplemental water to help them establish and grow roots. Early fall and spring are good times to plant agave pups, so they can grow roots before the heat of summer arrives.

If you have an agave, start looking for little pups. Do you have more than you need? Plant one in a pretty container and give it to a friend. They make great plant gifts. Agave are very beautiful, low-maintenance plants that will give you years of pleasure.

Next, learn how to grow drought tolerant aloe vera plants.

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Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.