Snake Plant Propagation – A Guide

snake plant propagation

A Guide to Snake Plant Propagation

Snake plant propagation is easy and simple.

There are many different forms of propagation, each with their own positives and negatives.

Propagation is a useful method to create new plants to be given as gifts, sold for extra cash, or to expand a plant collection.


Snake plants are a drought resistant, tropical succulent species native to Western Africa.

The leaves of the plant are green and often sport a dark stripe pattern. As a result, they look strikingly similar to snake skin.

Their tolerance to dry environments and natural hardiness make them great houseplants for beginners and experts alike.

Additionally, snake plants are extremely efficient at converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.

They are also great at absorbing airborne toxins, creating a healthier and more safe environment for living.

 Types of Snake Plant Propagation:

There are 5 major ways to propagate snake plants. Each form of propagation has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Table of Contents:

Below are quick links to various methods of propagation with a short description provided.

Propagating Leaves in Water
Cut healthy leaves and set them in water to grow new roots.

Propagation Leaves in Soil
Plant sturdy leaf cuttings directly into soil to regrow roots.

Dividing Plants
Slice snake plants in half at their base to create two new plants.

Slicing Rhizomes
Underground rhizomes will spread horizontally and start new plants.

Growing From Seed
Though rare, snake plants can be grow from seeds.

Snake Plant Propagation in Water:

The easiest way to propagate snake plants is by cutting and rooting leaves in water.

This method has a very high success rate in establishing new snake plants.

However, a lot of care is required to make sure the cuttings produce roots and do not rot.

Materials Needed:

  • Sharp Cutting Tool
  • Alcohol
  • A cup or jar
  • Water


1. First, find a healthy leaf of a snake plant.

The best leaves are deep green and are firm, yet flexible.

Healthy leaves are guaranteed to start rooting in water, and they will produce lots of new growth quickly once started.

2. Second, find a sharp cutting tool to gently slice a leaf off of the snake plant.

Make sure to cut at the base of the leaf, near the soil. Pruning shears, scissors, knives, or razors all make great cutting tools.

Also, be sure to sterilize all cutting tools in alcohol.

Soak the tool in a bath of at least 70% rubbing alcohol, or use a wipe to carefully clean the cutting edges of the tool. (If rubbing alcohol is unavailable, hydrogen peroxide makes a great substitute).

Cleaning cutting tools with alcohol helps to prevent infection of leaf cuttings and the parent plant by killing any bacteria on the tool.

3. Third, slice the leaf cutting into smaller segments.

(This step is optional, but keep in mind that more leaf segments results in more plants.)

Each segment should be cut to at least 4 inches (10 cm) tall to ensure they root.

Allow the cuttings to sit out for a few days and form calluses that prevent infection.

4. Fourth, pick a container for the water and cuttings.

Jars, glasses, watertight pots, and tupperware all work well.

Set the cutting into the jar and fill it until 25% of the cutting is submerged.

Also, make sure the cutting remains upright.

Change the water every few days to keep it clean.

Then, in a few weeks, roots will form at the base of the cutting.

5. Finally, plant the cuttings that have developed a good root system.

The cuttings will grow like normal snake plants and can be cared for as normal.

Pot them in a cactus/citrus soil mix to ensure proper growth and drainage.

Snake Plant Leaf Propagation in Soil:

Propagating snake plant leaves in soil is another great way to start new plants.

A lot of cuttings will root by themselves over time if kept in moist soil. However, be careful not to water them too much or too little in order to prevent rotting.

Materials Needed:

  • Sharp Cutting Tool
  • Alcohol
  • Water
  • A pot/container
  • Soil


1. First, find a healthy snake plant leaf.

Specifically, a deep green and firm leaf that can stand on its own.

Avoid using wilting leaves as they will often not produce roots.

2. Second, find a proper tool that can be used to cut a leaf off of the snake plant.

Again, make sure to cut the leaf at its base where it contacts the soil.

Scissors, knives, or a razor will make this task easy. 

Additionally, sterilize any cutting tool with alcohol. This reduces the risk of infection to the snake plant and leaf cuttings by killing bacteria.

3. Third, cut the large leaf into smaller segments.

This step is optional, but more cuttings will result in more plants in the long run.

Cut the leaf cutting into segments that are at least 4 inches (10 cm) in length.

Failure to do so will result in cuttings either rotting or not producing roots.

After the segments are cut, leave them to dry for a few days to callous over.

4. Forth, acquire a pot or other planter that can hold soil.

Use store bought cactus mix, added perlite, or another well-draining soil for cuttings.

5. Afterward, water the soil thoroughly and place a leaf cutting into the dirt.

Make sure at least one inch of the cutting is under the soil.

Lightly mist the soil and cutting everyday to prevent it from drying out and promote root development.

Also, try using rooting hormone at this stage. It helps to boost root development.

6. Finally, check cuttings weekly for signs of root growth.

After roots have appeared, the cuttings can be watered like normal snake plants.

Avoid giving too much water to rooted cuttings and allow the top inch of soil to dry.

Visit to learn more about snake plant propagation and tips.

Propagation by Plant Division:

Snake plants produce new shoots from their root system in order to spread.

Dividing up these shoots is an easy way to start new snake plants in different pots.

In fact, separating by division is one of the most successful forms of snake plant propagation. It happens naturally!

Materials Needed:

  • Sharp Cutting Tool
  • Alcohol
  • Water
  • A pot/container
  • Soil


1. First, make sure the original plant is well established with multiple shoots.

Check by carefully removing the plant from its container. Afterwards, check to make sure that the roots are densely packed.

If the roots are not densely packed, the snake plant is not ready for division.

Wait for a few weeks until the plant has become close to root bound (the roots of the plant have taken up almost all available space in its container).

2. Densely packed roots mean that the plant is ready for division.

Use a sharp cutting tool sterilized in alcohol to divide the snake plant. However, be careful to cut the connected roots apart without cutting the white shoots.

Also, avoid separating small shoots that haven’t developed any sprouting leaves. Leave them attached to the mother plant until they grow larger.

Only separate shoots that have at least one leaf above the soil. The more leaves the better.

3. Lastly, plant the divided shoots into small pots.

Additionally, fill the pot with well draining soil and water the plants sparingly to prevent rotting.

Divided plants will grow into full sized plants that can be divided again in the future.

Propagating Snake Plants by Rhizomes:

Similarly to propagation by division, propagating snake plants by rhizomes involves dividing up the plant.

Rhizomes are horizontal stems that grow just under the soil and produce new shoots.

Materials Needed:

  • Sharp Cutting Tool
  • Alcohol
  • Water
  • A pot/container
  • Soil


1. Carefully remove the snake plant from its container in order to view its roots.

Look for any rhizomes that may be buried in the soil.

They are generally thicker than roots and are a whitish-brown color.

Also, some rhizomes may have produced suckers (little plants growing off of the rhizome).

Try to leave the suckers intact and connected to the rhizome. They will develop into their own plants over time.

2. Next, use a cutting tool sterilized in alcohol to gently slice the rhizome away from the mother plant.

Additionally, cut the rhizome close to where it connects to the mother plant.

This allows the rhizome to grow a new plant from its other end or suckers (if they haven’t already started to grow).

3. Finally, allow the rhizome to callous over for a few days by putting it in a warm, dry location.

Then, the rhizome can be planted in a pot with well draining soil. Water the plant scarcely but thoroughly.

Eventually, a new leaf will emerge from the soil, or the attached leaves will continue to grow.

Propagating Snake Plants From Seed:

As a matter of fact, snake plants produce a fruit that contains seeds.

Though these seeds are rare, snake plants can be grown from them.

However, their germination rate varies greatly and can take over a month to sprout.

Materials Needed:

  • Snake Plant Seeds
  • Water
  • A pot/container
  • Soil
  • A Good Amount of Time and Patience


1. First, acquire seeds.

This can be done via online shopping or by drying snake plant fruits.

2. Then, carefully separate the seeds from the fruit if not already done.

Plant the seeds in a container with well draining soil and make sure they are kept moist at all times.

3. Finally, seedlings should appear from the soil in 3 to 6 weeks.

This can be longer or slightly shorter depending on the variety.

After they have germinated, water them sparingly and care for them like other snake plants.

Also, goes into more detail about snake plant cultivation and varieties. Visit their website to learn more.

How to Tell if Snake Plants are Root Bound

For most forms of propagation that utilize the division of root systems, it is important that the roots have become densely packed.

Specifically, dense root systems help to ensure that newly divided plants are capable of taking up nutrients and get a strong start.

A “root bound” system occurs when the roots of a plant take up all the available space in a pot. There are a few ways to tell.

First, pull the snake plant out of its pot to see how much space the roots have taken up.

If a lot of root are at the edge of the pot, the plant is ready for division.

Another way to tell is to look for flower stalks.

Snake plants often begin to flower when they run out of room in their pots to grow new roots. This is an indication that the plant is ready for division.

Lastly, snake plants often break pots if they begin to outgrow them, especially if the pot is terracotta.

Above all, this is the best way to tell if the plant is ready for division.

Learn More About Snake Plants:

Visit to learn more about snake plant care and tips.

Snake Plant Care Guide

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