Ask a Question forum: Can succulents produce offshoots in a small container?

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Virginia (Zone 7a)
May 6, 2017 2:19 PM CST
I have a number of succulents such as sempervivum, aloe, haworthia, etc which are in pretty tight containers. I'm wondering if they can produce offshoots in these small containers or I should move them to larger ones?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
May 6, 2017 2:31 PM CST
If they are happy succulents, they will produce offsets no matter the size of the pot. The problem will be if the offsets get squeezed (and flattened) between the side of the pot and the parent plant. If you have them planted high enough, the offsets will spill over the edge.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
May 6, 2017 7:04 PM CST
Daisy is right: the offsets are somewhat inevitable if the mother plant is happy.

Most of the succulents you describe do well in smaller pots, as long as the pot is sort of proportional to the plant. There are two setpoints to consider with succulents that offset: first the size pot that one solitary plant will need to keep going long term, and second the size pot required for a clump, which is going to be larger. In between there is where you want to keep your offsetting plants, on the larger or smaller side depending on whether you are regularly removing the offsets. Does that make sense?

I like to consider the headcount when I decide what size pot to use. For any given plant there's usually a good size where you can harvest lots of offsets but never have to repot the mother plant, pretty much forever. I have one Echeveria that is mother of dozens and quite pot-bound, probably will never be repotted, and that has never been an issue as far as fecundity. Since space is an issue here I try to keep my pots on the small side, so I have had to push the limits here and there to see what I can get away with. Maybe if you want to talk about a specific plant, or show pictures, we could get into some specifics.

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