How to propagate snake plant sansevieria

how to propagate snake plant

Explains how to propagate snake plant sansevieria by cuttings or by separation, with tips for propagation, planting and care.

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Sansevieria, also known as snake plant, bow hemp, or mother-in-law tongye is at home in many study and living rooms. The genus currently comprises 74 species and belongs to the dragon tree family ( Dracaenaceae ). In their homeland, various types of Sansevieria have served as fiber crops for locals. The hemp-like plant fibers proved to be so durable and stable that they were used as bowstrings, cords or ropes. 

Sansevieria are evergreen, succulent and rhizome-forming perennials from arid regions of southern Africa, India and Indonesia. Sansevieria prefer to grow over dry rocky habitats, which have given them a robustness. Stiff, fleshy, linear to egg-shaped leaves are typical for bow hemp. They shoot upright or as a basal rosette without a stem made of rhizomes. At the end of the green or multi-colored patterned leaves run out to a narrow, dark point. The leaf drawings are also the decorative reason that they are used as green and indoor plants are so popular and widespread, especially since they are considered resilient artists of life. Flowers only appear on older specimens. The short flower clusters or panicles are hardly noticeable, but an intense scent draws attention to them.

How to propagate snake plant by cuttings or separation

Snake plant can be propagated quite easily. This can be done by dividing the rhizomes in spring or by cuttings of younger leaves. The division is recommended for variegated varieties (variegated leaves), because they often lose their decorative color as an increased leaf cuttings. Rosette-forming Sansevieria can also be divided with repotting. The rosettes are carefully separated from each other and repotted individually.

Green-leaved varieties can easily be reproduced by leaf cuttings. Young leaves are cut off on the ground just above the rhizomes. Use a sharp knife to cut them into individual pieces 3 to 5 centimeters long. The upper cut side is cut straight, the lower cut at a slight angle. This reminder will later help to root the pieces of leaf on the right side. They air dry for a few days. Then the leaf cuttings are placed in the moist propagation substrate with the sloping cutting edge facing down. In the partially shaded location, small new rhizomes form at the base at room temperature. Soon after, the first shoot of young leaves is visible.

How to propagate snake plant step-by-step

Propagate by cuttings


  • a sharp knife, best disinfected to avoid disease transmission
  • optional rooting hormone powder
  • prepared small pot + substrate, one for each cutting

Method 1: Leaf pieces

how to propagate snake plant
  • cut off a leaf from the mother plant at the base (= directly above the ground)
  • cut the leaf into four-inch pieces
  • if necessary, mark “top and bottom” on each cutting
  • optional: apply rooting hormone to the lower cutting edge
  • plant the cutting a few centimeters deep in a pot with moistened substrate
  • pay attention to “above and below”
  • keep the substrate moist, never wet
  • Rooting takes several weeks
  • if the first offshoots appear in the pot, the cutting leaf can be removed

Method 2: Whole leaves in water

  • cut off a leaf from the mother plant at the base (= directly above the ground)
  • optional: apply rooting hormone to the lower cutting edge
  • put toothpicks or satay sticks through the leaf in a cross so it suspends into water in a glass or jar
  • Rooting takes several weeks
  • Plant when the roots are about an inch long

Propagate through separation


  • sharp knife, best disinfected to avoid disease transmission
  • No rooting hormone powder is required
  • prepared pot + substrate, one for each part of the plant


  • it is best to separate them if you want to repot the mother plant anyway
  • Shake the soil / substrate from the root ball
  • divide the entire plant, including the root ball
  • use the knife to help if necessary
  • Preferably separate smaller side shoots / secondary rosettes or offshoots from the main plant

How to plant sansevieria snake plant

Sansevieria are robust and resilient plants. The decorative foliage plants are not even impressed by poor site conditions. Both the sun and shadow windows are accepted as locations. In winter we recommend moving to lighter areas. The ideal temperature is in the normal range of living spaces between 20 and 25 ° C. Higher temperatures of up to 30 ° C are tolerated as well as cooler conditions in winter. Only very cool locations of less than 15 degrees in combination with waterlogging in the soil cause the onset of rot and end plant life. Drafts are not beneficial, especially in winter. During the summer, a place outside on the balcony or terrace does not harm the potted plants.

Sansevieria grow naturally in rocky and dry regions. You are satisfied with a minimum of moisture. Mineral or highly permeable substrates are best suited as potting soil. You can either use cactus soil or use houseplant soil, which is generously mixed with sand, pumice or clay granules. In indoor greening, bow hemp is successfully used in hydroponics.

Shallow, stable pots are used as vessels. The rhizomes grow horizontally, just below the soil surface. The drainage holes on the bottom of the pot are covered with potsherds to ensure water drainage. A layer of clay granulate, e.g. expanded clay or lava gravel, provides additional drainage.

With reasonably good care, sanseverias will soon fill the pot. In order not to slow down their development, they are repotted in spring. Repotting is advisable at the latest when the root stocks grow over the edge of the pot or are pushed out. Action should also be taken if the upright shoots of taller plants tip over because they are no longer anchored in the ground. The plants are taken out of the substrate, if necessary divided, reduced and placed in new substrate. In the case of large specimens, only the upper soil layer is carefully replaced every spring. Until the plants are rooted, watering is moderate.

How to care for snake plants

Drought-tolerant desert plants have low water requirements. The soil is left to dry on the surface until the next watering. The pouring amount is dosed moderately. The plants receive even less water in winter. Due to the limited amount of light, Sansevieria cannot adequately process a lot of moisture. In the months from October to February, the root ball is allowed to dry halfway before watering again. When watering, the soil next to it is not wetted in the rosettes. If the temperatures in the winter quarters fall below 10 ° C, the Sansevieria take a break from growing. Watering must be completely stopped during this period.

In the growth phase from March to October, fertilization is carried out monthly with a cactus fertilizer or a less dosed green plant fertilizer. The nutrients get to the roots with the irrigation water. In winter there is no fertilization of indoor plants.

As a rule, prunings are not required on Sansevieria. Only annoying or bent leaves are cut off and removed on the ground directly above the rhizome.