One of the easiest and primary ways to propagate an Aloe vera plant is by repotting its pups.
Pups are baby plants that form alongside the mother plant.
They are offsets of the main plant that develop from horizontal stems (stolons) that grow outward.
These pups grow and develop their own root system and can be transplanted into pots as individual new plants.
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When Can an Aloe vera Pup be Repotted?
I recommend waiting until a pup is at least 4-6 inches high until repotting it.
Pups that are smaller than 4-6 inches, generally don’t have a large enough root system to be sufficient on their own and therefore there isn’t any benefit from removing them from the main plant.
Note that pups don’t have to be removed from the main plant once they reach this size.
If there’s room in the pot, it’s better for the pup to get larger and a more developed root system before removing it.
However, at some point, it is advised to transplant the pups to prevent overcrowding.
What Supplies Do I Need to Repot Aloe Pups?
One of the keys to successfully repotting Aloe vera pups is to use a soil mix that is specifically designed for succulents or cacti.
Traditional indoor houseplant mixes hold too much water and will cause Aloe vera to have root rot and other moisture-related diseases.
Also, selecting pots that are appropriately sized for the height of the pup is essential.
The reason for this is that if the pot is too large, the soil will hold too much moisture and can be a potential threat for root rot.
A 2.5-inch or 3-inch pot works well for a 4-6-inch high pup.
How to Divide Aloe vera Pups
If the main plant is in a plastic pot, gently squeeze the pot to help release the roots.
Then, take the plant by the base and gently remove it from the pot.
The pups may begin to fall away when the pot is removed.
Find the natural separation area between the pup and the main plant and gently pull the pup away from the mother.
In most cases, the two will easily separate.
Try to keep as much of the soil on the roots as possible.
If you find that it is difficult to divide them, use a pair of clean pruners to sever the roots.
What if My Aloe vera Pups Don’t Have Roots
Sometimes once the main plant is divided, you realize that some pups have little or no roots attached to their base.
These pups are still viable and can be used.
Follow this same procedure below as noted below.
How to Repot Aloe vera Pups
Once the pups are separated from the mother, plant them in their new pot at the same depth.
Use soil that is specifically designed for succulents as this will provide the quick draining that Aloe vera plants need.
Gently plant the pup in its new pot and firmly place soil around it.
If the pup is unstable or wobbly, use a toothpick or stake to help prop it up until its roots grow to anchor it in the pot.
How to Care for Aloe vera Pups
Once the pups are planted, place them in an area with indirect light for one week.
Avoid full sun, intense heat, and drafts.
This will allow the roots to begin to establish in the soil and the plant as a whole to start to acclimate away from the parent.
Also, avoid watering for a day or two.
This is a unique situation for succulents as they have thin skin and can have open spots in the division process.
These spots will callus over when the plant sits in dry soil for a day or two.
Watering before these spots callus over can allow bacteria and fungus to enter the plant.
After a few weeks, the pups will begin to develop more roots and become established in their new pot.
We have a full article about caring for Aloe vera plants that will guide you to growing these pups into parent plants!