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How To Root Snake Plants

Sansevieria, also known as a snake plant or a mother-in-law’s tongue, is a popular houseplant that’s easy to propagate from just a single leaf. You can root snake plants by placing a leaf cutting in a jar of water or a container of soil.

Can You Grow A Snake Plant From A Leaf Cutting?

You can grow a new snake plant from a single snake leaf cut off the original plant by rooting the cutting in water or soil.

Rooting snake plants from leaf cuttings is simple, even for a gardening beginner! Once it roots in either water or soil, you’ll give your new plant regular snake plant care. Snake plants need to be kept in indirect light and only watered when the soil feels dry, as overwatering can lead to root rot. With proper care, either method should work to grow snake plant babies.

Is It Better To Root Snake Plants In Water Or Soil?

Rooting snake plants in either water or soil are both simple methods of snake plant propagation. The better method is up to personal preference.

Water propagation is easy because only a few items are needed. You'll need snake plant cuttings, a jar of water, and sunlight.

Water propagation may be considered easier to some since you can see the new root growth and don’t have to question whether the root has formed or not. However, rooting snake plants in water produces a weaker root system and increases the risk of root rot. It also may send the plant into shock when it is transferred from water to soil.

You might prefer to propagate snake plants in soil because it doesn’t take as long as propagating snake plants in water does. Another benefit of propagating in soil is that the snake plants develop stronger roots than in water.

Snake plants are relatively easy to root in either water or soil.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Rooting Snake Plants

In Water

  1. Carefully cut a mature-sized leaf off of the mother plant with sterilized shears.

  2. Let the cut leaf sit out for a couple of days to callus the cutting wound.

  3. Place the cut end of the leaf in a jar or vase filled with several inches of water.

  4. Put the jar in a bright spot, but out of direct sun.

  5. Replace the water with fresh water once a week, rinsing the jar as you change the water out. Changing the water regularly will help avoid root rot.

  6. Wait for roots to grow. Roots should form at the base of the cutting in about two months.

  7. After the roots form, plant the rooted cutting in potting mix in a pot with drainage holes.

  8. If the end of the cutting becomes brown and mushy, the cutting will likely not take root.

In Soil

  1. Carefully cut a healthy leaf from the base of the parent plant using shears or a sharp knife.

  2. You can let the leaf sit out for a few days to allow the cut wound to heal, but this isn’t required.

  3. Optionally, dip the bottom end of each cutting in rooting hormone to promote new growth.

  4. Plant the cutting cut side down in small pot of well-draining soil that contains perlite. This allows for drainage and airflow.

  5. Keep it out of direct sunlight.

  6. Only water it when the top 2″ of soil feels dry below the surface. 

  7. Wait for the leaf cuttings to root and grow pups, which will grow to be new snake plants over time. To check if roots have formed, gently tug on the plant. If it won’t budge, then the snake plant has rooted. You can choose to repot it in a new pot or keep it in its current container. If the leaf-cutting easily slides out of the potting soil, replant it and keep waiting.

  8. Remember that snake plants like to be root bound, so do not choose a pot that’s too big.

Pups are new growth and a sign that your newly rooted snake plant is thriving.

Other Snake Plant Propagation Methods

While this guide specifically covered rooting snake plant leaf cuttings, you can also propagate sansevieria plants by division of the plant’s rhizomes, the white tubular offshoots that grow right at or below the soil line.

Since rhizomes already have established roots, this is the fastest and most effective propagation method.

It’s important to note that snake plants propagated via leaf cuttings will sometimes lose their variegated colors, whereas propagation through rhizomes will usually maintain the color patterns of the parent plant.

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