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How To Propagate Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Snake plants can be propagated through leaf cuttings in water or soil, through rhizome root cuttings, or by division.

Sansevieria trifasciata, also known by the common names mother-in-law’s tongue, the devil’s tongue, or snake plant, are popular houseplants known for being air purifiers. This drought-tolerant indoor plant thrives in a variety of conditions, including low light, making it the perfect houseplant for beginners.

How to Propagate Snake Plant: Step-By-Step Instructions

Propagation of your snake plant is an easy way to produce a new plant to grow your collection or share with friends.

Regardless of the propagation method that you choose, always make your cutting with clean shears or a clean knife. Since they are succulents, snake plant leaves are very thick, so shears tend to work better for removing a healthy leaf from the mother plant.

Taking a Snake Plant Cutting

  1. When cutting, cut a leaf close to the base of the plant.

  2. Using a very sharp knife, slice an upside-down V at the bottom (cut end) of the leaf cutting.

  3. Let the cutting sit for 2-5 days to dry out before moving forward with propagation. Then determine if you are going to use the water method or the soil method. 

Leaf Propagation In Water

  1. Follow the instructions above on producing a cutting. 

  2. If you have chosen the water propagation method, you will put the cutting in water with the cut end pointing down. 

  3. The water level should be slightly above the top of the notch you have cut. 

  4. Place the single leaf cutting in bright, indirect light. Change the water every couple of days.

  5. After three to five weeks have passed, you will start to see new roots sprout. 

  6. Give it a couple more weeks, and you will notice new growth in the form of tiny pups. 

  7. This is your new plant, and you are ready to plant it in soil in a well-draining succulent potting mix. Be careful not to overwater your new plant. As succulents, snake plants are susceptible to root rot.

Leaf Cuttings In Soil

  1. When using the soil propagation method, produce a leaf cutting using the instructions above.

  2. After a callus has formed over the cut, plant the leaf cutting in soil with perlite to allow for excellent draining. 

  3. Place the plant in bright but indirect sunlight. 

  4. Water every 1-2 weeks. The top two inches of soil should be dry to the touch between waterings. 

  5. Roots and pups will appear just as in the water method, but more slowly. Welcome your new snake plants!

Pups emerge as new growth. These can also be harvested and planted.

Rhizome Cuttings

You can also propagate by rhizomes. Rhizomes are white, rootlike structures connecting mother and baby plants. When taking a rhizome root cutting, you are looking for a piece that resembles garlic just below the soil line. 

  1. Use a clean knife to cut the rhizome off of the parent plant.

  2. Plant the rhizome in a new pot of well-draining potting soil. 

  3. Place the pot in bright, indirect sunlight. 

  4. Water the rhizome planting as you would a leaf cutting. 

  5. Watch and wait for new leaves to appear at the soil line. 

Division Method:

When your snake plant gets big, you can split the plant into sections and propagate via the division method. This involves separating the root clump and transplanting it into two or more pots. 

  1. Carefully remove the entire plant from the pot.

  2. Gently shake off excess dirt.

  3. Next, you need to decide if you will cut your root clump into two or more portions (depending on the root ball size).

  4. Cut the root clump with clean gardening shears or a very sharp knife. Each new clump should have its own healthy roots and leaves.

  5. Technically, you are repotting a portion of the original snake plant and transplanting the other sections you have cut. Keep in mind that snake plants like to be root bound and are susceptible to root rot, so choose a slightly smaller pot.

  6. Plant each clump in potting mix, water it, and place it in indirect sunlight.

Mature mother-in-laws tongue plants can be propagated through division.

Houseplant Care Tips

Understanding snake plant care ensures your cutting grows into a beautiful new mother-in-law’s tongue plant.

Water: Many people are shocked to learn this plant only needs watering about once a month. Most of the time, you can mark your calendar and give it a good soaking on the same day each month, and the plant will do well.

Light: The sansevieria plant thrives in bright but indirect light, and can tolerate low light conditions, though the variegated types may lose some of their light coloring in too much shade. They do not like direct sunlight.

Soil: Snake plants will do best in a well-draining potting soil mix and should also be planted in a pot with drainage holes to avoid root rot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best method to propagate snake plants?

If you are trying to maintain the color variations of the original plant, the rhizome or division methods are the best ways to propagate a snake plant. Sansevieria cuttings propagated via a leaf cutting rooted in water or soil will regrow a plain green without the color variations.

Which method is quickest?

Root division is the fasted method of propagation since you’re starting with established roots and leaves.

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