Propagation

How to Propagate a Snake Plant

Snake plants are one of our favourite plants here at Fiddle and Thorn, they are pretty striking in their appearance and are also pretty easy to care for and propagate.

How to Propagate a Snake Plant

Snake plants are one of our favourite plants here at Fiddle and Thorn, they are pretty striking in their appearance and are also pretty easy to care for and propagate. There are several ways to propagate a Snake Plant and we will be going through all the various methods as well as pros and cons for each. You’ll also find plenty of propagation FAQs to make sure you have everything you need to successfully propagate your Snake Plant. 

Why propagate a Snake Plant?

Before we get started you might be wondering why it’s beneficial to propagate a Snake Plant? Well here are a few good reasons:

 

  • 1

    Create more plants for free!

    Propagating your Snake Plant will multiply your plant collection without needing to spend any more money! They also make great gifts for friends and family if you have enough greenery in your home already.

  • 2

    Save a dying Snake Plant.

    If you accidentally overwatered, over-fertilised or mistreated your Snake Plant and it has started to die, sometimes the best way to save it is by taking the healthy leaves and propagating them to form new plants entirely.

  • 3

    Using a damaged leaf.

    If one of the leaves on your Snake Plant has become sunburnt or scarred from taking a knocking then a great way to put this leaf to use is to propagate it. It’s a shame to throw away any leaves and this way it gets a second life.

  • 4

    To make your Snake Plant fit its environment.

    If your Snake Plant has become too big for your space or you simply want to prune the shape a little then propagating the leaves you cut off is a great way to stop them from going to waste.

Snake Plant Propagation Methods

There are 4 main ways to propagate Snake Plants. Each come with their own set of difficulties, advantages and requirements so it’s important to figure out which is the best for you and your plant. 

 

How to propagate a Snake Plant with cuttings in water

This is probably the easiest way to propagate you plant. You won’t need any fancy tools, just some clean sharp shears/scissors and some spare time.

 

  • 1

    Choose a healthy leaf to propagate

    When propagating your Snake Plant using cuttings in water you want to make sure relatively healthy leaf. A few scars or sunburn patches won’t affect the health of the leaf but avoid leaves that are fully turning yellow or show signs of pests as this will impact the health of the cutting and new plant.

  • 2

    Cut the leaf near the base of the plant

    Using a clean, sharp knife or shears, cut the leaf off as close to the soil. Sharper, cleaner cuts have a better chance at growing healthy roots and also avoids too much damage to the mother plant. We recommend cutting a V shape into your leaf to increase the surface area for root growth.

    If you want to you can also cut up the leaf into several horizontal sections and root each part to form multiple new Snake Plants. However, when doing this it is super important you don’t accidentally turn the cutting upside down as they will only root out of the bottom.

  • 3

    Let your cutting callous

    We recommend leaving your newly cut Snake Plant leaf out of water for a few days so the end can callous over a little. This stops the leaf from rotting once it is placed into water.

    It’s at this point that you may choose to use rooting gel to encourage faster root growth. It’s totally optional and down to personal preference.

  • 4

    Place the leaf in water

    Next, you want to place your Snake Plant cutting(s) into water to encourage root growth. You want to cover the lower quarter of the cutting but no more as this may cause the leaf to root and become mushy. Use temperate water to avoid shocking or burning the plant.

  • 5

    Find a nice spot for your Snake Plant cutting

    When propagating Snake Plant cuttings it’s important to find a place with enough but not too much sunlight. Bright but indirect is best as intense light will scorch the cutting but a lack of light will stunt any new root or leaf growth.

  • 6

    Replace the water regularly

    This is a really important step that is vital in a successful Snake Plant propagation; make sure you switch out the water every few days to stop it from stagnating as this can very quickly kill your leaf cutting!

  • 7

    Be patient!

    It can take a little while for anything to start happening on your new Snake Plant cutting so you’ll need a lot of patience. After a few weeks (or sometimes 1-2 months) you should start to see some little roots forming at the bottom of the leaf. This is an indication that your propagation was successful and your cutting will soon be ready to be pot.

  • 8

    Pot into well-draining potting mix

    Once the roots are several inches in length, you might decide your cutting is ready to be pot into fresh mix. Make sure you use a well-draining mix including perlite to aid aeration and drainage of the soil. This helps to prevent root rot which Snake Plants are quite sensitive to.

  • 9

    Pot into well-draining potting mix

    Once the roots are several inches in length, you might decide your cutting is ready to be pot into fresh mix. Make sure you use a well-draining mix including perlite to aid aeration and drainage of the soil. This helps to prevent root rot which Snake Plants are quite sensitive to.

Positives of propagating your Snake Plant in water

  • It’s really easy! This is probably the simplest method of propagating a Snake Plant. 
  • If you use a clear vessel, you get to see the roots growing on your cutting which is always super cool.

Negatives of propagating your Snake Plant in water 

  • It can take a while for roots to start growing on your cutting. Sometimes you may be waiting several months to see any change. 
  • This method of propagation doesn’t work for variegated Snake Plants. Any dark margins or yellow edges will be lost on the new cuttings and they will most likely be solid green.

Propagate a Snake Plant directly into potting mix

If you’re looking for an even more straightforward option, or just don’t like having to swap water out every couple of days, you can propagate directly into soil using this method.

 

  • 1

    Choose a healthy leaf to propagate

    Like when propagating and using water, you want to make sure you use a relatively healthy leaf. Pests or diseases will persist on any new growth that comes from your cutting.

  • 2

    Cut the leaf near the base of the plant 

    Again you want to make sure you are using a clean, sharp knife to cut the leaf off as close to the soil. For this method, you will need to slice the leaf into smaller horizontal segments to create multiple new plants. Using one long leaf won’t work so well as there are no roots to keep it stable. It’s also important to remember what we mentioned before about not turning the cutting upside down as roots will only grow out of the natural bottom of the cutting.

  • 3

    Let your cutting callous

    Leave your cutting out of water or soil for a few days to let it callous. It protects the leaf from rotting or taking up any bacteria found in the soil.

    At this point in the process, you may choose to use rooting gel to encourage more root growth. It’s completely optional though as some horticulturists warn against potential damage to the leaf when used. 

  • 4

    Pot the cutting into fresh soil 

    When choosing the right potting mix for your new Snake Plant cuttings, it’s important you choose a well-draining mix. Sometimes this comes labelled as succulent mix, other times you can just read the components of the mix to check it has perlite to aid drainage and aeration of the soil.

  • 5

    Find a nice spot for your Snake Plant cuttings to grow

    Now that your various cuttings are potted nicely into fresh soil you want to find the right place for them to thrive. Bright but indirect sunlight is what your new cutting needs as intense light will scorch the cutting but a lack of light will stunt any new root or leaf growth.

  • 6

    Be patient! 

    It will take a long time for your new cuttings to show any signs of new leaves growing from the soil. It can take months before roots start to grow. But don’t give up on your Snake Plant as with the right care, your propagation should be a success!

Positives of propagating your Snake Plant straight into soil

  • You can get quite a few new Snake Plants from just one leaf cutting! 
  • You can skip out the water part which avoids a few potential issues

Negatives of propagating your Snake Plant straight into soil

  • As you can’t see the roots growing you won’t be able to spot any potential warning signs around root rot, growth or general unhappiness. 
  • It will take quite a long time to start seeing results. 
  • This method of propagation also doesn’t work for variegated Snake Plants. Any dark margins or yellow edges will be lost on the new cuttings and they will most likely be solid green.

Propagate a Snake Plant through division of the mother plant

If your Snake Plant is getting pretty big and dense, propagating through division is a great option as you will still be left with a healthy and full mother plant (as well as luscious new smaller plants). 

 

  • 1

    Locate the various natural divisions

    When looking for a part of the plant to divide it will become very obvious if there are various offshoots on your Snake Plant. They will hopefully be completely separate and growth will stem from the middle of each section. If this isn’t the case you will need your knife to slice down the middle of the plant.

  • 2

    Take the plant out of the pot

    Once you have located the various sections of the plant you will need to take your Snake Plant out of the pot so you can divide up the root system and leaves. Carefully lift the plant out of the pot, holding firmly on the leaves (Snake Plants are sturdy and can handle a bit of tugging).

    Then shake off the potting mix around the roots so you can see the entire root system clearly. A good way to loosen the soil is to run your fingers through the roots to start to separate them. Don’t worry if a few break or fall out, this is normal and won’t cause any damage to your plant. 

  • 3

    Separate your plant

    You may have to trim off the odd root if they aren’t detangling easily but you should be able to carefully pull the sections apart from each other. It’s ok if you have to slice around the plant a little to separate them but just make sure that each part of the plant has a substantial amount of the root system to aid a successful propagation.

  • 4

    Place in fresh potting mix

    Pop your mother plant back into its original pot (or downsize if you have taken away a substantial amount of the original plant). Then pot your new plant(s) into fresh well-draining mix. If the roots aren’t very mature you may want to grow them in water for a few weeks but we tend to always go straight into potting mix when propagating Snake Plants through division.

  • 5

    Continue normal care

    That’s all, your Snake Plant propagation is complete! Now your plants are safely in their new homes you want to resume normal Snake Plant care.

Positives of propagating your Snake Plant through division 

  • The results are pretty instant as you don’t have to wait for months for roots and leaves to grow.
  • High chances of success as the plants already have a strong root system 
  • Keeps any variegation on the leaves, unlike the previous two methods.

Negatives of propagating your Snake Plant through division 

  • You’ll need quite a big and mature plant to be able to get several larger plants from it. 
  • You don’t get the fun part of watching the roots and leaves grow.

Propagate a Snake Plant through rhizomes

Rhizomes are little offshoots that grow from the mother plant underneath the soil. As they mature, they pop out and grow new plants. Rhizomes are a great way to propagate Snake Plants as they won’t harm or take away from the growth of your main plant. 

 

  • 1

    Take your mother Snake Plant out of its pot 

    You might not know that your Snake Plant is growing rhizomes as they start off growing underneath the potting mix. If your plant is mature then you should be lucky! Remove your Snake Plant from its pot carefully and lay it on its side. Carefully look for light green/white rhizomes growing out from the mother plant.

  • 2

    Slice off the rhizome 

    Using your clean, sharp knife to remove the rhizome from the mother plant. Try to cut as close to the mother plant as possible to increase the chances of a successful propagation.

  • 3

    Let it callous over

    Before popping your newly cut rhizome in fresh potting mix, we recommend leaving it in fresh air to callous over. This will stop the cutting from rotting or picking up any bacteria that may be in the potting soil. 

    At this stage, you may also choose to use a rooting hormone.

  • 4

    Pot in fresh well-draining soil 

    Now that your cutting has had the chance to callous over, you want to place it into a pot filled with fresh well-draining soil. Ingredients such as perlite will help aeration and draining in the soil which is key for your Snake Plant’s health.

  • 5

    Continue normal care

    You’ve done it, your Snake Plant propagation is complete! Now your new Snake Plant rhizome is safely in its new home you want to resume normal Snake Plant care.

Positives of propagating your Snake Plant through division 

  • This is a quicker method of propagation to leaf cuttings and you will see new growth appear sooner.
  • Keeps any variegation on the leaves as this is a direct offshoot from the mother plant. 
  • You don’t need to take any divisions or leaves away from your main original Snake Plant.

Negatives of propagating your Snake Plant through division 

  • Not all Snake Plants will have rhizomes yet so you may not find any to propagate.

Snake Plant Propagation FAQs

Here’s some answers to the most common questions we get on this subject, hopefully something here can help!

Common Problems when Propagating Snake Plants

Although propagating is a simple process, sometimes it just doesn’t work out as expected. Here’s some advice on the most common issues we come across when propagating our Snake Plants.

Propagating Snake Plants isn’t super difficult once you have chosen your preferred method. But one thing you have to be prepared for is for nothing to happen for weeks and weeks. But with the right care and the right environment, your Snake Plant should start to grow roots and new leaves soon and it will be well worth the wait. 

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