Do you want to expand your Sansevieria collection? Then it’s time you start with propagation. Snake plants are versatile and some of the easiest plants to grow. They will do well in a mild outdoor climate or indoors.
To help you do it the right way, we decided to list the most practical propagation methods for a new snake plant collection, including a couple of tips that will help with the growing process. So, let’s jump right in! Learn how to propagate snake plant in three different ways.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Propagate a Snake Plant?
- 2 Selecting a Propagate Technique
- 3 Can You Plant a Snake Plant From Seed?
- 4 Typical Propagation Problems
- 5 Final Thoughts on How to Propagate Snake Plant
Why Propagate a Snake Plant?
Propagation is the cheapest way of growing your plant collection. But, there is more to it than it meets the eye. People choose to propagate if their plant has been damaged, overwatered, or they just want to give it a new overall look.
With this approach, you can reuse damaged leaves like the ones that tend to break or bend or have sunburn marks on their ends. Propagation will save the healthy parts of the plant, especially if the Sansevieria has been accidentally overwatered. Because of the water damage, the root begins to rot.
Or maybe, you just want to make the plant look prettier by taking out a couple of leaves here and there. Whatever the reason may be, propagation can help you achieve the desired results. Simply put, with propagation, you get to use the leaves that would otherwise go to waste. That makes it a practical, convenient, and thoughtful way of making the most of your houseplant.
Selecting a Propagate Technique
Propagation can help you create lush foliage. To start your journey, you need to choose the preferred propagation technique. Like most plants out there, you have multiple ways to do your propagation. Some techniques are easier than others. But, to find the best option for you, it’s crucial to take a look at their pros and cons. Here are the simplest ways to propagate a snake plant.
- When someone complains that propagation didn’t work, it often happens because they didn’t wait long enough. Sansevieria needs time. It can easily take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks just for the roots to sprout. And another 2 to 3 months for them to fully develop.
- Use healthy leaves to speed up the process. Opt for those that are not too old.
- It’s vital to keep the cuttings in the exact same direction as they used to be on the plant itself. If the leaf is turned upside down, it won’t root.
- When you do cut the leaf, create a V-shape notch on the bottom. This gives it enough space to grow new roots.
Method No. 1: Propagating a Snake Plant in Water
Take sharpened cutting shears and cut the leaf closest to the soil. You want the cutting to be pretty long. So, opt for a 4 to a 5-inch segment. Then, let the leaf rest for 1 to 2 days, just to give it enough time to heal. When it’s done rejuvenating, you can begin propagating.
Take a glass (or a jar) and fill it with an inch of room-temperature clean water. The glass you selected should be tall. That way, it can support the weight of the leaf without falling down. Place the cut with the V-shape notch in the water.
Change the water every two days. This is to avoid algae-build-up and to provide the leaf with a clean environment. Don’t forget to scrub the container clean every week. Put the glass in a bright spot with indirect sunlight.
When the roots begin to grow, let them reach about 2 inches in length. Then, you are finally ready to transplant the cutting. Transfer it to a moistened potting mix, like the Expand ‘n Gro planting mix from Miracle-Gro. It is the perfect substitute for garden soil or a potting mix and goes well with in-ground containers.
- Great substitute for garden soil or potting mix
- Can be used in-ground or in containers (see label for instructions)
- Grows up to 3X bigger plants than native soil and feeds up to 6 months
The biggest advantage of this growing method is that you have complete control and vision of what is happening to the plant. Keeping the cutting in a clear container allows you to see the entire growing process. So, you don’t have to worry about what’s happening to the roots.
But, when it comes to drawbacks, there are plenty of factors to consider. If you don’t change the water regularly, or you let it sit in the liquid for too long, the leaf will start to rot. Also, if you propagate the plant outside, pests can damage the young cutting. This kind of damage can prove fatal for the leaf. So, it’s best to place it inside and keep an eye out for possible pests.
Method No. 2: Propagating Leaf Cuttings in Soil
Probably the most popular method, and for a good reason. This technique needs a cactus-type potting mix, like the Espoma CA4 4-Quart Organic Cactus Mix. It is an enhanced mix with myco-tone that helps boost aeration and retains moisture. This mix will act as a rooting medium.
- All natural mix enhanced with myco-tone
- Used for all cactus and succulents
- Helps retain moisture and improves aeration
To start propagating, find a thick healthy leaf. You need a cutting that looks vigorous and is in perfect shape. Even though a damaged leaf can take root, a healthier one will create a healthy plant. This is exactly what you need when you propagate this succulent.
Take sterile shears and cut the leaf around 1 inch above the soil. Measure about 2 to 3 inches in length before you cut. Then, use a pen and add a dot at the section closest to the bottom of the original leaf. This will help you figure out where the end of your cutting is.
Let the cuttings dry for a few days before you propagate. Eventually, it will scab over and dry, which decreases the possibility of rotting. When the cutting is dry enough, you can begin planting it. Take a small pot and fill it with the cactus mix.
Spray it with some water until the surface is damp to touch. Submerge a bit of the bottom of the leaf into water and then dip it into rooting hormone. Like the Garden Safe TakeRoot Rooting Hormone. It helps moisten the plant and promotes healthy root development.
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Insert the leaf with the dipped ends facing down into a pot. The leaf should be around half an inch deep. The pot must have drainage holes to provide the best growing environment for the plant. When you are done, place the pot in a bright place with indirect sunlight.
Water the plant regularly. To know when to pour some water, check the soil. The moment it gets almost dry, water it. The soil should be damp but not sitting in water. Let the pot drain the excess water.
When it comes to advantages, propagating in the soil seems like the easiest alternative. All it takes is a little patience for the plant to grow. But, when you propagate the cuttings in soil, there is a chance the plant will lose some of its unique features.
For example, the “Golden Hahnii” species is known to lose its golden color and revert to “Hahnii.” The same thing can be noticed with the “Moonshine” cultivar, which might revert to “Robusta” in its earliest form. So, when you propagate the plant in soil, the odds of you not getting an exact replica of its parent plant are high. You should have that in mind when deciding which propagating method to pick.
Method No. 3: Dividing Cuttings
The division is another practical gardening method. It’s not uncommon for snake plants to become tightly packed and root-bound when grown too close to each other. That’s exactly why people decide to repot their snake plants. But, instead of transplanting the plant, you can create two or more from it.
To start the division process, carefully remove the plant from the soil with its root intact. Then, take a look at the tangle. If it intertwines with nearby plants or spirals outside the pot, you can divide the snake plant.
Choose the healthiest stalks with a couple of leaves per clump. Just one or two will do, but if you want more plants, feel free to take out a few more leaves. Now, wrap a finger around the clump’s base and slowly tug it away from the primary mass. Be careful not to rip the roots apart. You want to separate them as much as possible without damaging the plant. When most of its roots are separated, you can cut the rest.
Take a new pot and fill it with a potting mix. Insert the clump into the soil. If the cutting is too long, you can use a wooden stake to give it the necessary support.
The great thing about division is that plants that don’t propagate too well from cuttings will do excellent with the division. So, you don’t have to worry about the plant dying. Besides, you don’t just take the leaf; you pick the plant itself.
In other words, the plant maintains its nutrients throughout the whole process. The plant that grows from it becomes exactly like its parent plant. It maintains its color, variety, and hue. But, the drawback is that you need a larger plant to be able to divide it. This is not something you can achieve from a smaller plant.
Can You Plant a Snake Plant From Seed?
Absolutely. But is it worth the effort? In most situations, that would be a “no.” Countless gardeners prefer to use propagation instead of seed starting. It is more reliable, convenient, and works almost every time. Seeds, on the other hand, are the go-to choice when you want to stay true to the original plant type.
This is often the best choice when you work with a hybrid plant, and you want to get the exact same qualities and appearance. Unfortunately, seed starting is very unreliable. Snake plants have a relatively low germination rate. So, it’s best to propagate snake plants by cuttings.
Therefore, any of the other three methods can work best. If you believe seed planting is the choice for you, then make sure to get them from a reliable supplier, like the Zen Garden Grow Kit. You can use it to grow multiple plants from different species, such as Jasmine, Sage, and Snake plant.
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Typical Propagation Problems
Although Snake plant propagation is foolproof, there are some problems that can appear. Certain cuttings may not give you the results you are looking for. But, sometimes, all you have to do is give it time. As long as the leaf doesn’t rot or gets damaged by pests, it can still grow. Here are some of the problems you can encounter.
Brown and Mushy Leaves
Many people have no idea how to spot a rotting leaf. If the cutting turns black or brown from the bottom up, and its surface turns mushy, it means that the plant is rotting. This will hinder the growing process.
If that happens, it means that the cutting wasn’t properly dried before you put it in the water. But, if it happens in the soil, it often indicates overwatering. This could be the result of poor drainage or too often watering. To prevent it, pay attention to the amount of water you pour. The soil should be damp but not drowning.
Does your Snake plant begin to droop? No matter what you try, the cutting just doesn’t look well. The likeliest cause is that the plant is either too hot or too cold. When people propagate their plants in harsh climates, they tend to overcompensate with heat or cold. But, for it to thrive, it needs a temperature over 50°F (10°C). Anything below that will freeze the plant. And if you leave it under the scorching sun, it can damage the leaves. So, pay extra attention to placement when propagating.
Even the Healthiest Plant Begins to Die
Sansevieria seedlings must have proper contact with the soil to absorb its moisture. Leaving plenty of air gaps when watering can drown the seeds. The best way to solve the problem would be to fill in all the empty gaps and prepare a safe surface for the plant to grow.
Lack of Light and Warmth
Regardless of the propagate method you selected, without light and warmth, the plant can’t thrive. You shouldn’t propagate the cuttings in winter and let them out in the sun. Although the weather might be warm enough, the light is too low. Meaning it won’t get sufficient access to both warmth and light.
In cases such as these, you should put the plant inside. Use propagation lights (if you don’t have enough natural lighting) to extend the daily growing time. This will replicate daylight and provide the plant with all the natural light it needs.
Final Thoughts on How to Propagate Snake Plant
That’s it! Now you know how to propagate a Snake plant the right way. Choose the option that looks easiest to you. If you want a simpler alternative, then planting the cutting in the soil makes for a solid pick. But, if you want to maintain the color and texture of the parent plant, then it’s best to go with the division. No matter what you pick, you will still be able to expand your plant collection.
How was your first propagating experience? Did it work the first time? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.