How To Propagate A Snake Plant: What You Need To Know

Snake plants bring wonderful green accents to any space in your home. They evoke visions of Medusa with their curved and smooth green leaves.

Otherwise known as mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plants are super easy to care for, making them perfect for any indoor setting.

A snake plant is the ideal beginner plant, especially for those who do not possess green thumbs. The plant will thrive when it is left alone and does well even if it is neglected.

One excellent way to get plant-bang for your buck is to propagate your snake plant. This means that you will always have a couple of stunning specimens ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the propagation of snake plants.

How To Propagate A Snake Plant

Snake Plant Propagation

Propagating your beloved plants can seem challenging at first, but don’t worry! It is easy and very effective when you get the hang of it. 

There are three main methods of propagation for snake plants. Choose your method based on your preferences or garden skill set. 

Rooting in water, for example, is the most foolproof way of propagating your snake plant. Rooting from a cutting is also very easy.

The quickest way to propagate is to divide.

Remember that your snake plant will grow from its rhizomes – fleshy roots – that connect and increase in number as the plant gets bigger and needs more nutrients.

When you divide, you just separate these roots into their separate constituent parts. 

Here are these three methods discussed in more detail:

Water Propagation

First, the easiest propagation method – rooting in water. 

  1. Select a leaf from your snake plant to propagate. It should be healthy, fairly tall, but not too old. Older leaves will not propagate as easily as younger ones.
  2. Find a container that is tall or long enough to hold the leaf of your snake plant. 
  3. Cut off your chosen leaf with clean and sharp shears. You need to make sure that your tools are sharp to avoid damage to your plant and clean so that you are not spreading disease.
  4. Place the cut end of the leaf in the container and pour in enough water that the bottom quarter is covered. 
  5. Move the container to a location with indirect sunlight and change out the water every few days. Make sure you are always covering the bottom quarter of the leaf. 
  6. You will soon see little roots begin to sprout from the bottom. You can now plant out in some peat moss or sand and treat this leaf as you would an ordinary snake plant.

Cutting Propagation

Don’t have time, patience, or a container to use the water propagation method? Try this instead.

  1. Select a leaf to propagate. It needs to be healthy and not too old.
  2. Cut this leaf with clean and sharp shears. Try to cut as close to the base as possible without causing damage to the rest of the plant.
  3. Leave this leaf out for one or maybe two days. Avoid direct sunlight as this will scorch the leaves. 
  4. After a day or two, the cut that you made will have callused over – this is the plant equivalent to a scab. Now you can put the leaf into a container with moist sand cut-end down. 
  5. After a few weeks, you will notice that the leaf has grown roots in the container. It is wise to wait a few more weeks before moving your newly-propagated snake plant to a different pot. 
  6. Be sure to follow the same snake plant care instructions as before.

Division Propagation

Snake plants grow from rhizomes which are very thick and fleshy roots that grow below the soil level. This means that you can separate parts of your established snake plant to create several smaller ones.

  1. Carefully remove the snake plant from its pot. Be careful not to rip or break any leaves as you pull out your plant.
  2. Use shears to cut the base of your plant into sections. Make sure that you do not nick or cause unnecessary damage to your plant as you do so. For large plants or those that are well established, you may need to use a handsaw to cut through the plant tissue. Again, do so carefully so you do not cause unnecessary trauma.
  3. Keep in mind that you need to keep the sections fairly substantial. This means that most snake plants should only be divided into two. Again, larger plants will cope with more severe separation. If you are unsure, keep three rhizomes to one healthy leaf for each new propagation.
  4. You now need to plant out these baby plants into a fresh potting medium of your choice.

Quick Tips

  • Use healthy leaves for propagation – unhealthy leaves are more likely to perish before they can properly sprout roots
  • Remember that it takes time for your plants to grow and roots will not appear overnight. You can expect roots to take 6 to 8 weeks to be developed enough to pot.
  • You can cut a ‘V’ into the bottom of your snake plant cuttings. This will increase the surface area at the base, so you have more room for roots to grow
  • A variegated snake plant will only keep its yellow edges if it is propagated by division. Rooting via water or soil will not result in new leaves with the same yellow pattern. 
  • When propagating in water, you can cut your snake plant leaves into smaller pieces – just make sure that you keep the pieces the correct way up – to create multiple new snake plants at a time.
  • Use clean and sharp shears to limit damage to your plant and to prevent the spreading of disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Propagate A Snake Plant?

It can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for your propagated plant to grow roots. Keep in mind that a snake plant is a very slow grower, so this is not something to be concerned about.

You also should not be concerned if it takes longer to see some root action – propagation during the growing season will be quicker than other times of the year.

How Often Do You Need To Water A Snake Plant?

You do not need to water your snake plant more than once every two weeks in the summer and once a month during the winter.

Be sure to let the soil dry out completely before you water it again. This will help prevent root rot which can kill your plant.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to mist your snake plant. Misting can easily lead to overwatering and other health problems.

How Much Sunlight Does My Snake Plant Need?

You should aim for around 5 hours of bright light a day, but make sure that this is not direct sunlight.

Snake plants are quite hardy and can survive with less light, but remember that they will grow very slowly. 

Is Coffee Good For Snake Plants?

Snake plants do well in acidic soil, this means that coffee grounds can be used to fertilize your plant.

If you do wish to use coffee grounds, it is best to mix them in with your potting medium rather than just spreading them over the top of the soil.

How Do I Know If My Snake Plant Is Healthy?

If your snake plant is growing straight up with smooth green leaves – congratulations! You have a healthy plant.

You can also inspect the roots to get an idea of overall health. Healthy roots are white and do not have an odor.

Black, mushy roots that smell have developed root rot and will need to be trimmed for your plant to survive.

Final Thoughts

Snake plant propagation is easy when you know how. 

Water propagation is the method that has the greatest chance of success. Propagation in the soil is the easiest method and may be more suitable if you do not have a tall enough pot. 

The quickest way to create larger propagated snake plants is to divide a large and well-established plant. Just be sure to leave enough tissue matter so that all the separated plants are healthy.

Morgan Daniels

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