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Snake Plant Propagation

Updated on December 30, 2012
seh1101 profile image

Sean has been in the industry of gardening and landscaping since 2006. He is also a Certified Arborist that tends to focus on plant health.

Snake Plants

Two snake plants ready for propagation.
Two snake plants ready for propagation. | Source

Materials Needed

  • Sharp, non-serrated knife/scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Free draining soil mix
  • Mature snake plant leaf blade
  • Container for cuttings/divisions

Snake Plant Propagation Overview

The snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata, is a common and easy to grow house plant. It can spread via creeping rhizomes and create offshoots. The leaves are stiff, smooth, and usually variegated while being able to grow very long in length. Origins of the snake plant lie in tropical regions of Africa from Nigeria to the Congo.

Propagation Overview
The propagation of the snake plant is very easy via cuttings or divisions. Cuttings are slightly more complicated compared to divisions but both are easy none-the-less. Snake plants often grow shoots off to the side of the main plant. These offshoots can be removed from the mother plant and grown separately. Several cuttings can be taken from a single leaf blade which makes propagation of numerous snake plants easy to accomplish. Cuttings from some variegated varieties will show little to no variegation, but divisions will show variegation.

Only a few materials are needed to perform divisions and cuttings. Properly performing cuttings and divisions, keeping them moist, and selecting a proper rooting medium is vital to propagation success.

Snake Plant Cuttings

Several cuttings taken from a single leaf blade
Several cuttings taken from a single leaf blade | Source

Snake Plant Cuttings in Soil

Cuttings in a sphagnum, perlite, and potting soil mix
Cuttings in a sphagnum, perlite, and potting soil mix | Source

Snake Plant Cuttings

Snake plant cuttings are easy to perform, but have a higher chance of failing compared to divisions. Cuttings will take a while to produce sizable plants, but many cuttings can be taken from a single leaf which essentially allows one plant to produce infinite clones. Leaf cuttings can be done by removing a large leaf blade like so...

  1. Select a suitable leaf to remove, preferably one that is several inches to several feet tall.
  2. Pluck a leaf blade from the base of the plant. Use scissors or a sharp knife to remove it if the blade is stubborn.
  3. Use scissors or a sharp knife to snip the leaf blade into segments that are about 2 to 4 inches in length. Do not use a serrated knife. Serrations will tear and destroy tissue that leave the wounds vulnerable to rotting.
  4. Place each leaf blade segment into a free draining soil. Wet the soil before placing cuttings into it. Remember to place the cuttings into the soil in accordance to how the original leaf blade was growing. The cut-end facing upwards needs to remain out of the soil, while the cut-end that was facing towards the soil needs to be placed down into the soil. Cacti soil works great, but a mixture of equal parts perlite and spagnum moss works as well.
  5. Small white root hairs will begin to appear after a few weeks. Be careful when checking if the cuttings have rooted because the tiny roots are very fragile. It is best to leave the cuttings undisturbed for a few more weeks.
  6. Water occasionally and use just enough water to keep the soil slightly moist. Dry conditions will cause the cuttings to shrivel and the delicate roots will die. Excessive water will cause the roots and cuttings to rot and die.
  7. Plant the cuttings into a desired container after several weeks have passed. Snake plants are slow growers so do not expect an attractive appearance for quite some time. Several months will need to pass before new growth becomes easily visible above the soil. Be patient and keep the cuttings moist.

Snake Plant Division

Notice the small side shoot to the left.
Notice the small side shoot to the left. | Source

Materials Needed

  • Sharp knife
  • Cacti potting soil or free draining soil mix
  • Container for new divisions

Snake Plant Divisions

Snake plants are easily propagated by dividing offshoots and rhizomes. Rhizomes are (underground stems) that create new shoots off to the side of the mother plant. Snake plants that have offshoots can be divided by removing and replanting the offshoots. Divisions can be accomplished by using a sharp knife.

How to Divide Snake Plants

  1. Select an offshoot to be removed from the mother plant. More than one can be removed.
  2. Remove the snake plant from its container.
  3. Expose the root mass and rhizomes.
  4. Try to pull the offshoot and its roots and rhizomes away from the mother plant. Sometimes it takes very little muscle to remove it. If it does not budge, then use a sharp knife to cut through the roots and rhizome. Do not be concerned about preserving every bit of the root mass because it will grow back just fine. Sometimes reducing the root mass is beneficial to root bound plants.
  5. Replant the new shoots in a container. Use a cacti soil mix or a free draining soil mix. A homemade mix can be used using equal parts potting soil, perlite, and sphagnum moss.
  6. Thoroughly water the newly planted division.

Snake Plant Propagation Poll

Have you grown snake plants from cuttings or divisions?

See results


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    • profile image

      Aida 2 years ago

      I've always wanted a snake plant and as luck would have it, I happened to find a loose leaf in my building so I took it home because I heard you can propagate it. And I'm happy to have found this article, thank you for the great info, I will be trying this, thank you. :)

    • profile image

      chuchua 3 years ago

      That's good idea that you show how to cut the leafs to make more plants .

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Ok, I'll do that. Thanks again.

    • seh1101 profile image

      Sean Hemmer 4 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I use a mild fertilizer specially for succulent plants (Schultz Cacti Plus 2-7-7 ) once the cuttings have become established. I'm very cautious when using fertilizer on young succulent cuttings in fear of fertilizer burns, so I wait quite a while before I apply. If you have a lot of cuttings, then give a 14-14-14 a try for the sake of experimentation. When in doubt, use less than what is directed on the fertilizer packaging.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Can you suggest any type of fertilizer or can I simply use a balanced formula (I usually use 14-14-14) for the cuttings?

    • seh1101 profile image

      Sean Hemmer 4 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thank you much! Snake plants were one of the plants researched by NASA due to its air purification abilities. Try dividing an overgrown plant first, then use any severed leaves for cuttings.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is exactly the information I'm looking for. I have some snake plants and I want to grow more so I can give it to friends and family. I learned that they are great air filtering plants. Bless you for this info.

    • seh1101 profile image

      Sean Hemmer 4 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      That's good to hear! They are definitely long-lasting plants

    • smw1962 profile image

      smw1962 4 years ago

      These plants are wonderful. I've had one for over twenty years and it is still going strong!

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hmm...while I have a lovely snake plant, I never thought to try this technique to make new shoots. May give it a try! Thanks!

    • seh1101 profile image

      Sean Hemmer 4 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thank you much! Definitely give it a shot. It's worth it to take enough cuttings to fill an entire window box, plus its great for air purification!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      I've never propagated a snake plant but I'll have to try it now. I really like their clean, contemporary look. Great hub!