How to Propagate Snake Plants, 3 Ways

Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or sansevieria, are some of the most popular and hardy houseplants. Their sword-like foliage adds an architectural element to any space. One of the best things about snake plants is how easy they are to propagate. Propagating your own snake plant is a great way to get more plants for free. There are a few different methods you can use to propagate snake plants successfully. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the three main ways to propagate snake plants:

Propagating Snake Plants from Leaves

Propagating snake plants from leaves is a simple and effective way to get new plants. Here are the steps:

Choose a Healthy Leaf

  • Pick a healthy looking leaf from the mother plant. Choose one that is firm and green, avoiding any leaves that are yellowing, wilting, or damaged.
  • Larger, mature leaves often root better than smaller leaves. But you can experiment with leaves of different sizes.

Remove the Leaf

  • Use clean, sharp scissors or a knife to cut the leaf off near the base of the plant.
  • Be sure to get a clean cut, rather than tearing or ripping the leaf off.

Allow the Cut End to Callous

  • Once removed from the plant, lay the leaf flat and allow the cut end to callous over for 1-2 days.
  • This protects the open wound and prevents rotting due to excess moisture.

Put the Leaf in Soil or Water

  • Now you have two options for rooting the cutting – soil or water:
  • For soil, plant the leaf vertically or at an angle in a pot with well-draining houseplant soil.
  • For water, suspend the leaf vertically in a glass jar filled with water using toothpicks or plant weights.
  • The lower 1/3 of the leaf should be submerged in the rooting medium.

Wait for Roots

  • Place the leaf cutting in a spot with indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist or top off water as needed.
  • Be patient as it can take 4-8 weeks for roots and new growth to emerge. Leaves root slowly.
  • Look for new roots sprouting from the base and a new plant shoot appearing. Then pot up the new plantlet!

Propagating Snake Plants by Division

Mature snake plants can be divided into separate rooted clumps that can be potted up into brand new plants. Here’s how:

Select a Plant to Divide

  • Choose an overgrown plant that can be split into 2-3 or more segments. Avoid small plants that have not filled their pot.
  • Alternatively, you can divide when repotting an old rootbound plant.

Remove from Pot and Divide

  • Carefully take the plant out of its container and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to separate clumps.
  • Use a clean, sharp knife or pruners to cut through the roots and rhizomes to divide into smaller sections.

Pot Up the Divided Sections

  • Plant each divided piece into its own container with fresh potting mix, burying the roots fully.
  • Water well and allow to recover before resuming normal care.
  • If any are top heavy, stake them to provide support until established.

Provide Post-Division Care

  • Place in bright indirect light. Mist frequently until showing new growth.
  • Avoid direct sun and overwatering right after dividing which can cause stress.
  • In a few weeks, the divisions should settle in and you’ll have brand new snake plants!

Growing Snake Plants from Pups

Another method for propagating snake plants is using the new offsets, or pups, that form at the base of mature plants. Here’s how:

Leave Pups Attached Until Ready

  • Snake plant pups will begin to emerge laterally from the mother plant. Allow these to grow until they are at least a third the size of the parent.
  • Leaving pups attached ensures they receive nutrients and water until their own root system is robust enough for separation.

Identify a Mature Pup

  • Look for a pup that is sturdy, has its own set of leaves, and looks crowded at the base of the mother plant. These are ready for propagation.

Sever the Connections

  • Gently wiggle and loosen the soil around the base of the pup to detach it from the parent plant. Sever any remaining connections between them.

Pot Up the Pup

  • Plant the pup in its own container filled with fresh potting mix. Water thoroughly after potting up.
  • Depending on size, you can plant one pup per 4-6 inch pot. Use an even larger pot for multiple pups.

Care for the New Plant

  • After separating, keep the pup in bright indirect light. Mist frequently at first until it establishes.
  • Start normal watering once roots develop. The new snake plant will thrive in no time!

Helpful Tips for Snake Plant Propagation Success

Follow these useful tips to ensure your snake plant cuttings, divisions, and pups root well and flourish:

  • Propagate in spring and summer when soil and air temperatures are warm for quicker rooting. Provide gentle bottom heat if needed.
  • Use sharp, clean tools and sterile potting mix to prevent disease transmission.
  • Choose a lightweight, fast draining potting mix and pots with drain holes.
  • Water sparingly at first. Too much moisture can lead to rot in new cuttings or divisions.
  • Monitor for signs of rooting like new growth. Then gradually increase watering frequency.
  • Acclimate new plants gradually to avoid sun damage. Slowly introduce to brighter light.
  • Propagating and sharing these easy care plants is rewarding and addictive! Your plant family will grow rapidly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snake Plant Propagation

Many new snake plant parents have questions about the best propagation methods. Here are answers to some common FAQs:

How long does it take snake plants to root?

It typically takes 4-8 weeks for snake plant cuttings and divisions to form roots. New pups may root faster since they have some established roots already. Have patience as snake plants are slow growers.

Can you propagate snake plants in just water?

Yes, water propagation is an option for snake plants. Suspend the leaf cutting or pup so just the lower portion sits in water. Change water weekly and watch for roots to form before potting up in soil.

Do leaves continue growing after propagation?

Typically, once removed from the mother plant, leaves will not get any longer. But they will still produce new roots and babies along the cut edges. The original leaf may eventually yellow and die.

How big should pups be before removing?

Ideally, allow pups to grow to at least 1/3 the size of the mother plant before separating. Larger, mature pups transplant more easily than tiny, unestablished ones.

Can you propagate a snake plant with a damaged leaf?

It’s best to avoid propagating from a leaf that is already damaged or unhealthy. But if it’s just the tip that is damaged, you may still be able to salvage the healthy parts of the leaf.

Should you mist propagated snake plants?

Light misting of new cuttings, divisions, and pups can help provide humidity while they root. Just be cautious not to overdo it as wet foliage leads to rot.

How do I get my snake plant to produce pups?

Mature, healthy snake plants will naturally produce pups over time. Providing optimal care by watering appropriately, giving bright indirect light, and repotting when rootbound encourages new pup growth.


Snake plants are satisfyingly easy to propagate using leaves, divisions, or pups. With a little patience and proper care, you’ll have a thriving plant family for trade or to decorate your indoor and outdoor spaces. Propagation allows you to create new plants completely free and is highly rewarding. We hope these snake plant propagation tips help you successfully multiply your favorites!