HOW TO PROPAGATE A SNAKE PLANT (Easy, Medium, Difficult Methods)


The 3 most common ways to propagate Snake Plants are: division, cutting, and seed propagation. Some of these methods are easier and more likely to succeed than others. This article will give you a little more background info so you can make a good decision on how to propagate your snake plant.

What are Snake Plants? Quick Overview.

Sansevierias, Snake Plants technical name, are easy-to-grow succulents that originated in West Africa.

They come in many different species that are all hardy because they tolerate low to high levels of sunshine and moisture.

They are also a favorite of interior designers as the visually striking hues of green that the plant comes by complements many styles or decors.

If you don’t know know what sansevierias are, you may be more familiar with its other name such as “snake plant” or “mother-in-law’s tongue”. “Snake plant” because the leaves of the plant look like a hooded snake that is rising from the ground and “mother-in-law’s tongue” because of the sharp edges of the leaves.

There are different types of sansevierias and the species with flat leaves that are snake-like and sharp-edged called Sansevierias trifasciata are the most common and popular.

The plants are also the perfect gift if you want to share them with other people, even those with black thumbs, as it can still thrive despite being somewhat neglected. But rather than buying more of the plant in your garden center, you can actually grow your own from the snake plant you already have.

Propagating Snake Plants

Snake plant in the transparent bottle isolated on white background with clipping path

Besides growing a new plant, there are other reasons why you would want to cut your snake plant apart and propagate it.

Perhaps you want to reuse leaves that you had to remove from the main plant because it was damaged or you’re changing the overall look of the plant. Perhaps you’re trying to save your plant that showed signs of root rot or overwatering.

The first step in having more of your snake plant is to first select the method you want to use as there is more than one way of propagating.

Snake plants can be propagated in three different ways: germination, division, and cuttings.

Germination, believe it or not, is the hardest to do and it is not always successful. Division is the easiest. And growing a new plant from cuttings requires much time and patience.

Method 1: Seed Germination

Yes, it is possible to make new snake plants from seed but it is not worth it.

First of all, the seed may not give you the plant you were expecting especially if the plant the seed came from is a hybrid. The seed has a chance of producing the original plant that was used to create the hybrid instead of the hybrid itself.

Second, snake plant seeds have a low germination rate. This means that the seed may not even become a plant no matter how much time and resources you give it. You have better chances of success with the other methods.

If you still want to try seed germination, make sure that you’re getting it from a reliable seed supplier as there are a lot of scams out there. Also, since sansevierias are succulents, do not let the seed stay in too much water. With a low success rate, you should consider other tried and tested methods.

Method 2: Division

Sansevieria trifasciata or Snake plant on white background

After having your plant for some time, you are going to notice that the snake plant had been growing more clumps of leaves. If you remove it from the pot, you will notice that each clump has its own root system. You can actually divide the plant at this point and grow them separately.

Snake plants grow from their underground organ called rhizomes. This fleshy root-like structure is where the plant stores the energy it needs to grow new leaves. Simply examine the root mass before dividing it into segments. At least one segment with a growing set of leaves and a healthy set of roots is all you need. Make sure you sterilize the knife you will use to avoid contaminating the rhizome

On you are done cutting, transfer that segment to a new pot with the potting mix to the same height as it was planted before. For larger plants, you will be needing a wooden stake to support it while it has not yet grown enough roots to support itself.

The main benefit of division is that the plant will still be the same cultivar as the original. All you need to do is to give the plant time to grow normally in the pot. An important thing to remember here is that growers have noticed that division is the way to go when you want to propagate variegated snake plants. Growing it using the third method might not give you those variegated yellow edges.

Method 3: Cuttings

The third method of growing new snake plants is by far the most interesting as you will be growing a new plant from a cutting of the leaf.

You can take one leaf, cut it into 2 to 5-inch segments, put it in your selected medium, and wait for some months for it to take root until it starts growing a new plant from the base where the roots are growing.

This method will require constant monitoring since the roots do not grow out in a short amount of time.

As for the medium, you can stick the leaf cuttings in soil or in water.

Growing it in the soil will not demand much attention but growing it in water will let you see the roots growing out.

Before sticking it in your chosen medium though, make sure you took note of the top and bottom parts of each cutting. The bottom part must be the one planted on the medium if you ever want it to grow roots.

If you plan to grow it in soil, cut the leave with a clean flat edge.

The leaf must then be allowed to callus for a day or two to reduce the likelihood of rotting.

As for the type of soil, ready-made succulent and cactus mix are the best to use. Simply dip the bottom of the leaf segment in water and then a rooting hormone before inserting about half an inch of the leaf into your pot.

Put the cuttings in a location where it can get bright and indirect sunshine. Make sure that water drains easily from the medium.

Now, if you plan to grow it in water, you will be cutting it similarly to the soil method but you will have to cut a little bit more at the bottom.

Cut the bottom to form a v-shape. This will increase the surface area of where the roots will be growing. Let the leaf callus for a day or two before putting it in a glass or jar with room-temperature water.

For this method, you will need to change the water often, about twice a day to ensure that the water does not build up unwanted algae or bacteria that can contaminate the leaf.

Again, put the cuttings in a location with bright, indirect sunshine. Once the roots start growing, allow the roots to grow at least two inches before transferring them into a potting mix.

Propagation problems

Propagating snake plants with division or cuttings is basically foolproof but you should still expect setbacks.

For instance, don’t expect all cuttings to grow roots or new plants. If the cuttings are not growing roots, give it some more time. For as long as the cutting is not rotting and the water is not contaminated, there is still a chance that it will grow roots.

When the leaf or plant starts getting mushy, it may already be rotting. For the water medium, cut to the part that is not mushy. For the soil medium, you need to cut back on watering or the medium is not draining well.

With three methods of snake plant propagation in your arsenal, you’ll have multitudes of new baby snake plants filling your windowsills in almost no time.

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