More recent repottings (and gardening glove recommendation)

In my previous post, Tentacle pot hechtia swap-out, I replaced the plant in my Tentacle Pot. This post chronicles more repottings I’ve done recently.

Dyckia disentanglement

Like puppies or kittens, plants don’t stay small forever. Often, what starts out cute quickly becomes less so. Many of the spiky plants I love not only grow in size, they also multiply in number. Case in point: the Dyckia floribunda ‘La Rioja’ you see below. It’s a stunning plant, so silver it looks like it’s made of metal. It was totally manageable when I first got it:

Dyckia floribunda ‘La Rioja’ in 2018

Fast forward five years. This is what you get when the owner falls down on the job and doesn’t thin the tangle occasionally:

To say this terracotta pot is overgrown would be an understatement. But there’s a quick fix: Break up the clump, keep the nicest plants, and toss the rest.

The bottom of the root ball. The roots were desiccated so I simply tore them off.

What’s left after detangling the mess

And potted up

I’ll keep this one and give away the others

Totem pole up-potting

Cacti never cease to amaze me—especially their ability to survive (and continue to grow, albeit slowly) in ridiculously small containers. This totem pole cactus (monstrose form of Lophocereus schottii) is a prime example. I can’t even remember where I originally got it or when, but it had remained in its original 3" plastic nursery pot the entire time.

Big surprise when I removed the pot: The roots hadn’t even filled it all the way!

It’ll be much happier in its new spot, right next to a sibling

Yucca rhizome containment

Last summer, our Yucca gloriosa ‘Bright Star’ flowered and the rosette split into multiple heads. This is not a look I wanted (I think it looks messy), so I removed the yucca and the suckers it had already produced. But apparently, you can’t get rid of ‘Bright Star’ so easily. Any piece of rhizome left in the ground seems to generate new babies:

Three offsets emerging from a piece of rhizome; my new Root Slayer dug them up quickly

Here’s the biggest one; I saved it and replanted it (see below)

I also saved these pieces of rhizome; it looks like new pups are beginning to emerge

Here’s the replanted ‘Bright Star’ offset

Just yesterday I discovered a couple more offsets sprouting from yet more pieces of rhizome still in ground. I dug them up and carefully checked the soil for rhizome remnants. I think I got them all this time.

If there’s any lesson to be learned, it’s this: Be sure to plant yuccas in their forever home. They may not go willingly (or entirely) if and when you kick them out! (This goes for suckering agaves, too: Just today I found four more small pups from an Agave weberi ‘Arizona Star’ I removed TWO YEARS AGO!)

TIP: To protect myself from teeth, spines and other poky protuberances, I wear gauntlet gloves (like these) when working around spiky plants. They provide puncture protection for your hands and forearms.

© Gerhard Bock, 2023. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Thanks for the tip. Would you consider Agave lophantha ‘Splendida’ in this category of persistent remnants? Just so I know what to expect. I keep moving it around to find the perfect spot, but so far, no issues.
    That Dyckia at the top turned out GREAT

    1. I don't have any personal experience with 'Splendida', but if it's anything like 'Quadricolor', it will pop vigorously. You'll have lots of babies to give away!

  2. I thought the root mass in the 4th photo was a basket at first glance! I've got some vicious Dyckia I hesitate to repot just because of the thorny leaves but that's a job I need to tackle too.

    1. If you don't have any yet, get a pair of gauntlet gloves (often sold for rose pruning). I was able to handle this dyckia with no issues.

  3. Some Aloes have the same rhizomatous excursion going on also. You think you got it all out and 6 feet away you find you were wrong!

  4. Bright Star is just that in the beautiful planter!

    1. Thank you. Fingers crossed it will thrive there. At least removing it will be easier.

  5. It is very satisfying when you get to these little jobs. All the plants look much happier in their new pots. The totem pole is cool and now looks much more in scale with it's new pot. When I go out each evening to feed our cats I take along a succulent and pot it up while I wait. Am slowly making my way through the 'need to repot' collection.

    1. That's a brilliant idea, Elaine! One pot at a time. It's much more manageable that way. I'll copy your idea (even though I don't have cats to feed).


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