How to propagate a snake plant | In water or soil!

Propagating succulents is super easy and this is no different for Sansevierias, also referred to as snake plants (or recently as Dracaena). Learn how to propagate a snake plant to expand your collection or give away to friends and family!

Propagating Sansevieria can be done in water or soil, using leaf cuttings or offsets.

Propagating Sansevieria using leaf cuttings

Many succulents have a pretty magical ability. They can grow copies of themselves from just a leaf! As for snake plants, they take this even further. You don’t even need an entire snake plant leaf to grow a new specimen: all you need is part of one.

  • For snake plant propagation by leaf cuttings, select a healthy mother plant that can afford to lose some foliage for a bit. She’ll grow new leaves when she’s ready, don’t worry.
  • Depending on how many new plants you want, choose one or multiple sturdy leaves to sacrifice.
  • Use a sterilized knife or scissors (wiping with some alcohol works fine) and cut the leaves just above the base.
  • Cut the leaf into 2-3″ (5-7.5 cm) sections. Be VERY careful to remember which side is down and which is up, as your cutting will ONLY root from the downward end. If you accidentally forget, there’s a 50% chance that segment won’t ever grow a new snake plant.
  • Congrats, you took Sansevieria leaf cuttings! Scroll down to find out how to use these to grow a new plant using either the water or soil method.

Don’t have a Sansevieria mother plant yet? Ask a friend or family member or buy a starter plant online here.

A rooted offset and leaf cutting of Sansevieria, a popular succulent houseplant also known as the snake plant.
A Sansevieria leaf cutting (right) and rooted offset (left).
© CloudyTheater on Adobe Stock.

Snake plant propagation by division

If you have a luscious snake plant that’s been happily growing for a while, you can use the division method to break it into multiple, smaller and easier to manage snake plants! The best time to do this is when you were planning on repotting anyway, since you’ll be taking the plant out of its planter.

  • First, carefully remove the plant from its pot and separate the individual stems and root systems.
  • While doing this, try to be careful to make sure each stem has roots. No panic if they don’t or if you break one, though, since they do have the ability to re-root just fine. It’ll just take a bit longer.
  • If you don’t want to hack away through the entire plant and system, you can instead look for the little offshoots of your plant. Taking shoots is a great method if you don’t want a large bunch of new plants but just a couple of smaller ones.
  • As can be seen in the picture below, offshoots might pop up in the soil around the mother plant. However, some of them can also be hiding under the dirt!
  • If the offshoots are far enough away from the base of the parent plant, you can gently separate them without uprooting the whole thing. All that may be easier said than done, though.
  • In unluckily cases you might still have to take the parent plant out of the pot to get easy access to the shoots.
Close-up of Sansevieria succulent with offshoot growing in the soil nex to it.

How to propagate a snake plant in soil

If all went well, you’ve now acquired your cuttings (leaves or offsets)! Let’s go into what to do with them. If your cutting already has roots, you’ll generally want to go for this option: propagating directly into soil.

First off, you’ll want to get your soil mixture ready. Sansevierias are succulents that need plenty of drainage to thrive, so an airy mixture is ideal. You can go for a pre-made succulent growing medium or make a very simple one yourself by mixing 60% potting soil with 40% perlite.

Next, it’s time to select a planter. Drainage is also important to keep in mind here. Pots must have a drainage hole to let excess water to escape or your brand new Sansevieria will drown and rot! Terracotta is a favorite among succulent growers because it’s porous and allows for evaporation.

Fill up the planter with your soil mixture and bury the leaves several inches deep directly into the substrate. As mentioned earlier, make sure that you put the leaves with the cut ends down! Put the pot in a nice light location, though not one that gets direct sun (it’s a bit too harsh on these new cuttings).

You may be tempted to water the cuttings right away, but it’s important to wait for around three days to let the cuttings heal a bit. This prevents rot. After 3 days, you can start to water the cuttings every few days.

In 4-5 weeks, the roots should be well-established and you’ll likely start seeing the first signs of growth. Congrats, you now have brand new snake plants.

Tip: For more information on soil, planters and best potting practices for succulents like the snake plant, have a look at the full article on planting succulents indoors.

Sansevieria succulent leaf propagation | Full guide on how to propagate a snake plant

How to propagate a snake plant in water

This method of propagating Sansevieria is super easy and really fun if you want to actually see the roots growing. No more questioning whether the cutting has rooted or not, as you can see it all happening in real-time.

  • All you need to start propagating a snake plant in water is a bowl or container.
  • Just like with propagating Sansevieria using the leaf cuttings in soil method, cut the leaves above the base and optionally divide them into small sections.
  • Once the cuttings are ready, place them into the water-filled container, then place this in an area that receives indirect sunlight. You’ll only need to change out the water about once a week.
  • At about 3 weeks, you’ll start to see roots appearing at the cut edges of the leaves, which means you’re on the right path!
  • In 4-5 weeks, the roots should have grown long and strong enough that you can technically repot into substrate as-is.

Some people like to keep their cuttings growing in water and that’s absolutely fine. A snake plant can grow in water pretty much indefinitely and a nice vase with a happy green plant makes a lovely addition to any shelf.

Tip: You may notice the roots having grown out horizontally due to being pressed against the bottom of a bowl. You can correct this by moving the cuttings into individual cups and suspending them upright using toothpicks or other methods.

Close-up of rooted Sansevieria leaf cutting with more cuttings in a glass of water in the background | Full guide on how to propagate a snake plant
© TippyTortue on Adobe Stock.

Caring for your new snake plants

After taking the time and effort to propagate snake plants, the last thing you want is for the new plants to die. Luckily, these are not demanding plants at all and even beginners should be able to grow one successfully.

Tip: You can find a full care guide for the cylindrical Sansevieria over at Sansevieria cylindrica care & info.

Light

Although snake plants are often praised for being ultra low-light plants, they actually do better in medium light. While they can survive in low-light conditions, they won’t thrive or grow. In fact, they just slowly waste away over the course of months or years.

If at all possible, your Sansevieria will appreciate a nice and light location next to a window. Indirect light works well, though even direct sun is not a problem for these hardy succulents as long as they’re acclimated slowly.

Temperature

Snake plants can tolerate a pretty wide range of temperatures. Room temp works well, but anything between 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (10-30 °C) is fine. Just be sure to keep them away from direct heat sources and air conditioning, as like all plants, these guys like things stable.

They also don’t mind dry, stale air, but do well in places with higher humidity, like bathrooms.

Soil

As mentioned in the section on how to propagate a snake plant in soil, succulents like this one cannot handle being overwatered. As such, it’s very important that you use a well-draining, airy mixture.

If you feel like your mixture is a bit too heavy or compact, you can throw some perlite or pumice. Even a handful of fine orchid bark chips can really help.

Small snake plant (Sansevieria) in orange terracotta planter | Full guide on how to propagate a snake plant

Watering

As mentioned above, snake plants don’t like a lot of moisture and should actually be allowed to dry out between waterings.

You may only need to water your Sansevierias once every week or so during the growing season, depending on how dry and hot your household is. Just make sure the soil is entirely dry before you give the plant a good drink.

In the winter, you may be able to go 4 weeks or more between waterings. Because snake plants can tolerate being dry for a while, they’re great for people who travel a lot or are a bit forgetful!

Tip: You can find everything you need to know about the right moisture levels for succulents like snake plants in the full article on watering a succulent.

Fertilizer

Some people don’t use fertilizer at all when it comes to snake plants, deciding instead to use a bit of compost for the extra nutrients.

If you do decide to use fertilizer, you can use an all-purpose plant food during the growing season at reduced strength, and only once or twice at most.

Are snake plants toxic to cats and dogs?

Yes, according to the ASPCA, snake plants are toxic to cats and dogs. If you have kids and pets, be sure to keep the plants out of reach since they can cause problems such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting if ingested.


If you have any more questions on how to propagate a snake plant or if you want to share your own experiences with these super hardy succulents, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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