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How to Propagate Snake Plants | Water, Cuttings, Division & More

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Snake plants’ sword-shaped leaves, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and ‘Sansevieria trifasciata‘, offer a smooth, almost waxy feel and are one of the easiest houseplants to take care of.

The succulent plant is visually striking, and it’s easy nature makes it perfect for any interior. They also make for the ideal gift to share with the garden-challenged, as they are very forgiving and thrive with minimal input.  

One of the many benefits of growing this easy-to-care-for houseplant is its air-purifying qualities for your indoor space. Keeping in mind, like the fiddle leaf fig, the snake plant is toxic to dogs and cats.

Enough ranting now, let’s dive into the best ways of propagating a snake plant.

When to Repot a Snake Plant

An excellent way to check if your snake plant needs repotting is to grab the plant’s base, gently supporting it, and turn it over. While the mother-in-law’s tongue likes to be a little root-bound, it doesn’t do well if it’s feeling stuck with only the snake plant roots left in a small pot.

Take a look at some indicators that your plant needs more space, or to be propagated:

●      The roots are growing through the drainage holes of the container

●      The ribosomes are tearing through the plastic

●      Roots are showing up on the surface of your pot

●      The pot is bulging outwards, particularly if it’s a plastic container

●      The foliage looks stuck, or the plant doesn’t come out of the pot easily

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The Best Season for Repotting

Repotting your Sansevieria trifasciata can be performed at any time of the year. When the roots start creeping through the drainage holes of your pot or your plastic container starts to bulge – then it’s time to repot.

If you’re looking for a particular season, an excellent time to do snake plant repotting is during the active growth and flowering season – in late winter or early spring. 

What Do You Need to Repot Your Snake Plant?

Once you’ve decided your plant needs repotting, you’ll need to consider a few things before you jump into it. Take a look at some things you’ll need.

Choose Your Snake Plant Pot

Choose a suitable container for your plant; your pot’s size will also depend on the age and size of the plant itself. Its diameter should be at least 1 – 2 inches wider than the older pot. Don’t increase the size too dramatically. The extra soil may create pockets of moisture and can cause root rot.

Also, consider the pot’s depth and drainage system – it should have at least one hole at the bottom. You can invest in a pot with a stand, tray, or drainage saucer. You can also choose any material, including plastic containers, terracotta or ceramic pots, etc.

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Ensure You Have the Right Tools

Apart from deciding what pot and soil to use, you may require some tools to help you through the process of repotting and propagating your snake plant. These include:

●      Pruners or sharp shears

●      Garden gloves

●      Garden trowel

Prepare Soil Mixture

It will help to choose a light-medium soil mixture – such as cactus or succulent organic mix, which can drain well. Finding good potting soil is also valuable for a strong, healthy plant.  

To keep your soil from escaping the pot, you should try to get a mesh tape, cloth, or some gardening gravel.

Step-by-Step Guide to Repotting Your Snake Plant

Whatever variety of Sansevieria you have, there may be a time you’ll want to think of repotting your snake plant.

Take a look at this simple step-by-step guide to repotting.

Step One: Remove the Plant from its Old Pot

When you’re trying to take your plant out of its old pot, and it’s not budging, try watering to help loosen the soil from the roots and pot. Use a sharp knife to scrape off soil from the edges of the pot.

You can also lay the pot and plant on its side and try to thump the sides until the pot can easily slide out – careful not to damage the roots or leaves.

Step 2: Examine the Roots & Trim

Snake plants are prone to root rot, so you should examine the roots carefully once your plant is out. Look for any signs of rotting, such as mushy and dark spots on the bases. If you see any signs indicating this, you can use a clean knife or shears to trim off the areas. 

Psst… This would also be a good place to propagate by division by digging up the plant and carefully dividing it. This can be done by vegetation that produce suckers, tubers, and  rhizomes.

Step 3: Examine the Soil

Next, check the soil and decide if you can reuse it or add the new ground. If your soil looks dense, you can simply add some fresh potting mix to allow for better drainage. You can also add some worm-compost or manure to supplement your soil nourishment.

Step 4: Prepare the Pot

Prepare the container by filling it with your selected potting soil. It’s best to choose a box with sufficient drainage holes. You can use a small cloth or mesh tape, or add a layer of pebbles or gravel at the bottom of the container to conceal the holes. 

After that, start filling your pot with soil. You can use a garden trowel to measure, or estimate, the length of your root bulb for the appropriate depth to which your soil should be poured before placing your plant in.

Step 5: Place the Plant Into the Pot

Lastly, place your plant in the pot, making sure it’s the same depth as before. Try and keep at least 1-2 inches from the pot rim to the top of the soil. Add soil around the sides of the pot to stabilise your plant and to keep upright.

Add a thin layer of compost or decorative rocks before finding the perfect spot for it – in indirect sunlight.

Different Methods of Propagating Snake Plants

The first step in your propagating journey is to choose a technique. Like most plants, there are many ways to approach sansevieria propagation.

So, pick one of these popular methods below for snake plant propagation and let’s start making babies.

Snake Plant Leaf Cuttings

Mother-in-law’s tongue propagation by leaf cuttings is by far the most common technique, using a cactus-type potting mix as a rooting medium.

To begin your snake plant propagation by leaf cuttings, you can start by selecting a healthy, thick leaf and cut an inch above the base using sterile sheers.

Try and measure out 2-3 inches long leaf segments, cut them apart, and mark each section where the original leaf was connected. Cut an upside down ‘V’ where the plant was connected to the base – this is where the root will start to grow.  

Let the cut leaves callus over a day or two, and then add the cut end into moist sand in a container with cactus mix and rooting hormone about half an inch deep. Soon the plant will begin to root on its own – and voila!

Propagate Snake Plant in Water

Select a container and a healthy leaf – use sharp shears to cut off your snake plant leaf. When propagating a snake plant in water, you should try a much longer cutting than if you were rooting in potting soil – aim for around 4-5 inches from the tip of the leaf. You should allow the cut end to heal after a day or two, just like propagation in soil.

Once your plant is ready, put the leaf’s cut end in just enough water to cover the bottom quarter of the plant. Change the water in your jar twice a day and clean the container once a week to avoid algae build up.

Place the plant and container in indirect light, and soon you’ll see little roots starting to show. Allow your plant’s roots to reach at least 2 inches long before you transplant into your pot with potting mix.

Note: This – snake plant propagation in water – method can be slightly riskier than others. and you should keep a lookout for root rot. Try and keep most of your cutting out of water.

Snake Plant Propagation through Division

If you would like to get more snake plants quickly, you can try propagation by division. You can do this by separating a single plant into many.

Gently lay your plant to its side and slide it out of its pot. Inspect your plant’s roots carefully and look where the rhizomes are. You can usually pull the plant from its pot and use sharp shears or a knife to cut the base into sections. You can cut the plant in half unless it has masses of rhizomes, which you can try to divide the root clump up further.

A good rule of thumb is to have at least three rhizomes and one healthy leaf per plant. Once you’re finished dividing the plant, you can then plant each section in fresh potting medium.

Footnote on Snake Plant Propagation

Snake plants are some of the hardiest houseplants around. Their spiky patterned foliage is attractive, and when left alone, they thrive. Repotting your snake plant can be a fun project, and the outcome is exciting as you watch your plant flourish.

So, now that you have a good idea on how to propagate a snake plant, it’s time to get going. Grab your shears, a sun hat, and get going. Happy gardening.

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