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Snake Plant Propagation

How to propagate snake plants

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This article about how to propagate snake plants was contributed by Jazlyn, one of our ask gardenstead experts who has a deep fondness for snake plants.

Snake plant care is notoriously easy, but… full disclosure, I recently overwatered my snake plant. Oops. I’ve had it for close to a decade and to be honest — it has seen better days.

It’s grumpy. It’s surviving but not thriving, and the other day a couple of its saturated leaves flopped over in protest.

But that’s okay. I don’t view these as plant “failures”, rather more as opportunities to feed my plant curiosity. They’re also great opportunities to experiment and learn.

I wanted to continue this plant’s lineage. So, I decided to take a couple of leaf cuttings and propagate it to carry on its legacy. Perhaps for another decade, who knows?

You can propagate snake plants a few different ways. Some people like to do their propagating in soil, and some are fans of propagating their cuttings in water. (You can also propagate by dividing rhizomes, but that’s a video for another day.)

This time, I decided to try both soil and water propagation. I planned to do a comparison — one leaf in soil, and one leaf in water. I cut two snake plant leaves, each about six inches from the top of the leaf. With my two cuttings in hand, I began my plant propagation comparison: one leaf in soil and the other in water.

I’ve propagated snake leaves several times, and previously I’d cut them down to smaller cuttings than you’ll see in the video.

A word of warning if you go the shorter cutting route, though. When you cut a leaf into small sections, remember that roots will grow only from a cutting’s bottom portion.

It’s useful to mark which end is the bottom, so that you plant your bit of leaf the right way down. Some people mark their leaves with chalk, or they clip the cutting’s sides on an angle to indicate the correct end.

You can get a lot of snake plant cuttings from a single leaf. Which is fine, because you can never have too many snake plants. Right?

Propagating a snake plant in water

This is similar to the water propagating method except the cut should be made a few days before planting. You’ll want to wait a few days before placing the cutting into soil to allow the fresh cut to dry out. The end will callus over and prevent the introduction of any bacteria into your cutting.

Once the end has formed a nice healed end, it’s ready to go into the soil.

When you put your cutting into the soil, place it just deep enough so that it can stand on its own. (You can see in the video that it’s pushed quite shallowly into the soil.) Once it’s in and standing tall, press a little soil against either side to give it a little bit of support.

As far as soil goes, I put mine into potting soil because that’s what I had on hand. However, I would advise mixing sand and potting soil together, or adding more perlite to your mix. You want to create a lighter medium, to help make it easier for new roots to penetrate into the soil. You could also use a premixed succulent soil to root your snake plant cuttings.

How to propagate snake plants in soil

This is similar to the water propagating method except the cut should be made a few days before planting. You’ll want to wait a few days before placing the cutting into soil to allow the fresh cut to dry out. The end will callus over and prevent the introduction of any bacteria into your cutting.

Once the end has formed a nice healed end, it’s ready to go into the soil.

When you put your cutting into the soil, place it just deep enough so that it can stand on its own. (You can see in the video that it’s pushed quite shallowly into the soil.) Once it’s in and standing tall, press a little soil against either side to give it a little bit of support.

As far as soil goes, I put mine into potting soil because that’s what I had on hand. However, I would advise mixing sand and potting soil together, or adding more perlite to your mix. You want to create a lighter medium, to help make it easier for new roots to penetrate into the soil. You could also use a premixed succulent soil to root your snake plant cuttings.

What kind of light will your cuttings need?

Snake plants do best in bright, indirect light in a warm spot in the house (they like temperatures between 21˚C-32˚C/ 70˚F-90˚F best). While they can benefit and will often grow more quickly in direct sunlight, it can also burn the leaves of ‘adult plants. In any case, as both of these cuttings become established, I’ll place them in a spot out of direct sunlight.

As you monitor the progress of your propagated leaves, keep in mind that snake plants are slow growers. That means a new cutting will take time to establish new roots, too. Expect it to take at least six to eight weeks before you’ll have roots on your cuttings. This is a project that takes patience.

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