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How Do You Divide Mangave Pups?

By: Jim Childs , Jennifer HowellJennifer Howell
Is your mangave forming pups? Here's how to divide them!

mangave mother plant:  This 'Inkblot' mangave has bloomed and formed pups. It is ready to divide.

How to divide a mangave plant

Mangave (Mangave x Agave) makes an interesting focal point in outdoor containers or a great houseplant. After a few years, a mangave may form small plantlets at the base, especially if it has bloomed. Blooms are tall spires with a cluster of flowers at the top. The mangave container at our test garden had an 8-foot flower spike!

How can I tell I need to divide my mangave?

If your mangave has bloomed or is forming plantlets at the base, it is time to divide it. Although a mangave doesn’t usually die after it blooms as some succulents do, the mother plant doesn’t always look great. The small new plants at the base are called “pups” and you can remove them any time of year to get more plants. Watch our how-to video above or keep scrolling to read more about the process here.

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How to divide mangave pups

Learn how to divide mangave pups from the mother plant with our helpful how-to steps below.

mangave division:  Pull the mangave plant out of the pot and twist or cut the pups from the mother plant.

Remove the mangave pups from the mother plant

To remove a pup, grab hold and gently twist. You can do this without unpotting the mother plant, but it may be easier to work with the plant out of the pot, as in the photo above. If the pup doesn’t come off easily, use a sharp knife to cut it free. In the photo below, some pups will have roots and others may not. The mother plant can be discarded if it looks bedraggled.

mangave pups with and without roots: Some pups will be rooted, but others will break off without roots.

Pot up the rooted pups

Pot the ones with roots right away by filling a small container half full with premoistened potting mix and adding the pup. Add more potting mix to fill the pot and firm the mix around the roots. Make sure the crown sits just above the mix to prevent rot.

Prepare unrooted pups

Lay the pups without roots in a spot out of direct sunlight for a couple of days so the stem will callous before you plant it. This helps prevent them from rotting. Then press the unrooted base into the potting mix, patting it firm. You may need a couple stakes to hold it in place until it roots. The pup should form roots in 6 to 8 weeks. Keep the potting mix slightly moist during this time.

You Might Also Like These Repotting Tools:
Soil Knife
Terra-Cotta Pots
Potting Mix

Mangave pups planted in terra-cotta pots: Plant new mangave pups in terra cotta pots and water in.

Caring for your new mangave plants

Porous terra-cotta pots are a good choice for new transplants. They dry out more quickly so there’s less risk for root rot. Set your newly potted mangave plants in indirect light and allow the soil to dry out before watering again.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


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