How To Propagate A Snake Plant?

How To Propagate A Snake Plant

Snake plant or Sansevieria trifasciata, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a popular succulent species that is easy to grow and multiply. It has stiff leaves that grow from six inches to eight feet tall and often have banded leaves with yellow borders.  Many plant growers propagate snake plants as with other succulents..

How to propagate a snake plant?

The following methods are the most common:

1. Propagating in water. 

Cut a leaf near the soil using clean and sharp cutting shears or a knife. The leaf can be divided into multiple sections for more plants. The leaf top cuttings with the pointy tip are more likely to have a higher success rate. Also, roots and new leaves grow quicker.

Dry the cuttings for a few days so the ends become callus. This will prevent them from developing roots. Put the cuttings in a glass vessel and place just enough water to cover just the bottom parts. Place it in an area with indirect light and change the water every few days. 

It could take a month or two before roots start to appear but that is ordinary. Wait until the roots are at least an inch long before placing the cuttings in fast-draining succulent soil. Mix in some perlite or pumice for better drainage.    

2. Propagating in soil.   

While propagating in water has a dramatic effect, you can also skip the water part and just use soil. To do this, cut the leaf, allow it to callus over, and place it in soil. The soil should be moist while rooting and should be less moist when roots have been established. 

The cutting won’t grow unless it is the tip and it is still intact. Once a new leaf pops up you can cut the original cutting. 

To speed up the process, use a rooting hormone powder. Immerse the cuttings in water first and dip the bottom of ¼ inch into the rooting powder. Next, fill a small pot with fast-draining and moist succulent soil and place the cuttings about ½ inch deep. 

3. Propagating through division.

For this technique, you will need newspaper or space outdoors, a clean and sharp knife or handsaw,  clean pots for the divided plants and succulent soil or potting mix. This is recommended if you want more snake plants in a short period.  It separates a single plant so it becomes two or more plants. Gently slide the plant out of its pot and place it in a newspaper or outdoors. 

Examine the roots and identify where the rhizomes are. Separate smaller snake plants in half and larger ones into more pieces. Cut the plant so there are at least three rhizomes and at least one healthy leaf per section. 

Each section needs roots, otherwise, the plant is not yet ready to divide. Give it more time to grow more roots and rhizomes.

After you have split up the plant, repot each separate plant into a new pot with fresh succulent soil. Place sufficient water and only water again if the soil is dried out. 

4. Propagating with rhizomes. 

Rhizomes are stems that grow horizontally underground. They produce new shoots called pups but you can still grow new plants without pups by using rhizomes. You will need newspaper or outdoor space, a sharp knife or shears, new pots for each rhizome and potting mixture or succulent soil. 

Place the snake plant on its side and slide it out of the pot. Check if there are rhizomes in the root area, these are whitish-looking stems that resemble cloves of garlic. Cut the rhizomes from the base of the plant. 

Make sure not to damage the roots and allow the rhizomes to callus over for a few days just as it is with soil cuttings. Once callus forms, transfer the rhizome into a new pot and wait for roots to appear. 

What are the best conditions for snake plant propagation?

These are the best conditions for snake plant propagation:

  • Bright and indirect light. 
  •  Soil such as succulent mix. 
  • Suitable container or planter. 
  • Clean utensils and equipment. 
  • Appropriate amount of water.


Propagating snake plants is easy with the correct materials and tools.  The common methods of snake plant propagation include water, soil, division, and the use of rhizomes. Always use healthy leaves and cuttings. For a high success rate, keep in mind the best conditions as mentioned above for snake plant propagation.

Image: / Михаил Руденко