How to remove succulent pups from the stem

There's not much better than when your succulents propagate on their own. But when is the best time to repot succulent pups? And how do you remove the pups from the mother plant?

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Sometimes succulents will get a bunch of new growth around their stem. Having lots of new babies is so much fun! But as the babies start to get larger, it's often difficult to remove them from the parent plant.

How big should the succulent pup be before removing it?

The ideal time to remove a succulent pup from the stem is once it is about 1" (2.5cm) in size, or big enough that you can hold it easily without smashing it.

How to remove the pup from the mother

Use a sharp knife to cut off the baby right at the base of the stem. Leave other babies attached if they haven't grow large enough yet. A baby will generally grow larger faster when it's still attached to the mother plant.

Once the baby is removed from the stem, set it on a dry surface to "heal" or callous over on the cut end for about 24 hours. The raw end needs to dry out before you plant it.

Planting the succulent pup

When the dried end is healed over, you can place the new baby into soil. I recommend planting babies and cuttings in a layer of coconut coir to help them stay wet a little longer than they would in the typical gritty mix that I recommend for succulents.

You'll want your pup to be in a pot that gives it room to grow, but isn't huge. Usually about a half inch (1cm) around the edge of its leaves is enough room. I would avoid planting it in anything that gives more than 1 inch (2.5cm) on each side.

So if your pup is about 1" in diameter, then place it in a pot that is about 2-3" in diameter.

Place the cutting in an area with bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sun can stress the baby and cause it to burn or dry out quickly. If you're growing indoors, make sure it is by a bright window or under grow lights a few hours each day.

Watering your succulent pup

You'll also need to keep an eye on the baby and water it pretty frequently for the first few weeks. Every 2-3 days is usually a good amount. This allows the pup to access water when needed, but also provides a period of drought to help encourage new roots to form.

Once it's rooted you can begin slowly reducing the watering frequency and follow the soak and dry watering method.

If you want to speed up the growth of the baby, you can fertilize it once it has rooted. Be sure to use a diluted fertilizer and make sure the pup is getting enough (but not too much) light so it doesn't stretch as it grows.

To learn more about how to tell if your succulent needs more or less water, be sure to grab this free watering cheat sheet. It'll be super helpful.