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How to Propagate Snake Plant

How to Propagate Snake Plant

If there were a title for the most resilient of plants, the snake plant would be at the top of the list. These straightforward plants are known to both decorate your plants and benefit your health simultaneously. And with small houseplants being all the craze these days, it is important that we know everything there is to know about the plants and also what needs to be done when you own one. Here is everything that you need to know about what to do to own and grow a snake plant in your home.

What do we know about Snake Plants?

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The snake plant or the Sansevieria trifasciata is native to Asia and Africa. It is known to be evergreen sword-shaped leaves that grow upright and almost resemble artificial leaves.

Snake plants are usually used as decorative plants since they’re pleasing to the eye, are easy to care for, and can survive on very little water. These plants can be neglected for weeks at a time, doesn’t mean that you have to. With their strappy leaves and architectural shape, they will still manage to look fresh. Additionally, they can do well in low light levels, and drought and have very few insect problems. NASA research has also managed to prove that snake plants can help keep the air inside your home clean, removing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. In short, they are amongst the top 10 houseplants for you to grow.

As was mentioned before, this plant is known to be extremely drought-tolerant, but too much water can become its Achilles heel. Snake plant works well with a well-drained potting mix that doesn’t hold a lot of water. In an ideal scenario, the snake plant likes to be in bright but indirect sunlight. However, you can park it in a dark corner and it’ll manage to fend for itself. In lowly lit conditions, the color in some Sansevieria varieties can become washed out, and taller varieties of jades can become leggy and floppy, but usually, this isn’t usually much of a problem.

Under the appropriate conditions, a snake plant will bloom with amazing flowers. While not overly showy, these flowers are borne in large clusters, generally white with a greenish hue to them. These small, tubular flowers generally emit a sweet floral fragrance that can brighten any room, especially at night. But don’t depend on a snake plant to bloom with any regularity; many of them tend to bloom just once every several years, not following any schedule

Benefits of snake plants

We know that these plants are known to be perfect houseplants but we need to what exactly are the benefits that the snake plants bring to you. Here is a list of all the advantages the plants bring to you when they are brought home.

Filter indoor air

A feature they share with a lot of succulents, a snake plant is known to be a great filter part for indoor air. What stands out about this particular plant is that it’s one of the very few plants that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen even at night. This is unique because most photosynthesis occurs during the day and that is when they generate oxygen.

This quality makes it an ideal plant for decorating your bedroom since it can help regulate healthy airflow in the room.

Remove toxic pollutants

Snake plants are also famous for their ability to help get rid of toxic air pollutants. In small quantities, snake plants are known to absorb cancer-causing pollutants, including:

  • CO2
  • Benzene
  • Xylene
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde

With the ability to remove and absorb harmful toxins from the air in your home, snake plants may act as an effective defense against airborne allergies.

Mental health booster

While the benefits of indoor plants on mental health still warrant further specific proof from scientific research, the concept that plants play a positive role is well established, according to research conducted in 2018.

Horticultural therapy is also used in mental health treatment, due to its therapeutic effects.

Indoor plants make great additions to workplaces, schools, and medical facilities as a low-cost and low-risk way to improve the environment in these places.

Low maintenance and easy to care for

The snake plant is a very common houseplant for many reasons. One of the top reasons for this is that they are very easy to care for.

“Potted Sansevieria plants are common for all continents,” explains NatureID botanist Halina Shamshur. “Being very undemanding, they’re often grown on windowsills in houses, apartments, and different public buildings.”

According to Shamshur, snake plants are known to be tolerant to both shade and direct sunlight, underwatering, drafts, and dry air. They don’t always require frequent repotting and are hardly ever targets of infestation.

Effective against allergies

By releasing oxygen into your rooms and increasing the moisture content in the air, snake plants can help lessen the impact of airborne allergens like dust and dander.

Since poor indoor air quality has been linked to many allergy-related issues, as well as asthma, this is a definite benefit.

The Feng Shui connection

Shamshur has noted that snake plants are believed to absorb negative energies and eliminate bitterness and jealousy in the home that they are a part of. She also suggests placing them in a room where people tend to argue or near appliances that emit harmful radiation because the plant will get rid of all the negativity for you.

While there isn’t exactly scientific evidence behind any of these, there’s no harm in giving it a try.

Relieves minor physical ailments

Botanists have noted that several other snake plant benefits aren’t scientifically proven but are widely accepted by plant experts.

For instance, the sap from snake plants is said to:

  • heal skin wounds and burns
  • reduce inflammation
  • support standard blood pressure
  • help strengthen the immune system
  • help flush out parasites
  • relieve headaches

Just don’t consume the sap, apply it to the affected area for the best possible results.

Types of snake plants

The most commonly noticed snake plant foliage presents itself as slender, green leaves with grey or silver horizontal streaks. This plant is known to have the ability to grow several feet tall and does well in low-light areas.

The Sansevieria genus is now known to encompass around 70 species, according to Shamshur. Here are a few of the more common types of snake plants:

  • Bird’s Nest Snake Plant. Also known as Hahnii, this plant is a relatively small variety, growing to a measly 6 inches tall. The leaves of this plant form clusters that closely resemble a cup, similar to a bird’s nest.
  • Cylinder Snake Plant. The Sansevieria cylindrica usually has round leaves that can grow up to several feet in length. The leaves of this plant tend to reach outward to resemble a crown.
  • Laurentii Sansevieria. The Laurentii is another popular snake plant, known for its green-colored center and yellow margins.
  • Twisted Sister. The Sansevieria trifasciata “Twist” is a dwarf cultivar of Sansevieria trifasciata and can reach about 15 inches in height. This is a sort of hard-to-find plant that consists of twisting variegated gold and green leaves.
  • White Snake Plant. The Sansevieria trifasciata “Bantel’s Sensation” is another one of the unique cultivar of Sansevieria trifasciata. It dons dark green leaves with white vertical stripes.
  • Rhino Grass. Sansevieria Pearsonii is another attractive houseplant that is known to produce a tight clump of vertical leaves.
  • Sansevieria Desertii. Also referred to as Elephant’s Toothpick, this plant is most popularly known to have a fan-like effect.

Caring for snake plants

Perhaps one of the most popular reasons people make snake plants a part of their indoors is that they’re low maintenance, and require very little attention when they are growing. The plants are resilient, hardy plants and can survive in easily survive in dry environments, both indoors and out.

If you plan to move a snake plant into your home, here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overwater. Too much water is a weakness for the plant. Place your plant in a well-drained pot to avoid overwatering, as it can cause your root to rot. Only water the soil when it feels completely dry when you conduct a finger test.
  • Indirect sunlight works best. The partial sun does great for snake plants, though they can grow fine in darker corners or in brighter window areas. If kept in complete shade, the plant can become dull and the leaves might become a bit floppy.
  • Temperature and Humidity. Snake plants are known to prefer warm conditions and can suffer if they are exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the plant in a place where it will not be exposed to drafts. The ideal temperature range between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Frost will kill your tough yet vulnerable plant.
  • Fertilizer. Feed your plant with a mild cactus fertilizer during the growing season or a balanced liquid slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer or a 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half strength. Make sure you don’t fertilize the plant during the winter season.
  • Soil. these plants are known to prefer a loose, well-drained potting mix. The plant does even better in sandier soils. Use a potting media low in peat content. Peat is known to work well in many situations, but it can become tightly packed and sometimes has problems rehydrating or draining. An all-purpose cactus potting soil is also a good fit for this plant.

Propagating Snake Plants?

There are a variety of ways of propagating your pant. New snake plants are quite easy to propagate but, like several other succulents, are slow growers and take as many as eight weeks to sprout new root growth.

In general, these plants propagate the best and in the fastest manner through the rhizomatous division, which is essentially a method of producing new plants by removing a portion of the rhizome—plant stem that grows underground—and replanting the new section for it to grow elsewhere.

However, the most commonly used methods for propagating this plant type are rooting the snake plant in water and planting a cutting.

Propagating Snake Plants in Water

Rooting and propagating snake plants in water is easy and one of the most fun propagation projects. It is very quick and simple to set up. The hardest part here though is waiting!

Choose a healthy leaf 

To begin with, you need to start by choosing a perfectly healthy leaf from an already existing plant. A good leaf is a right amount of crisp and plump but you need to make sure that the leaf is not too old because that might not propagate, with ease or even at all. 

As the leaves get older they lose their vigor and do not function the way they are supposed to when they are fresh. 

Also, make sure that you pick some cuttings so that you can plant a few to prevent propagation failure. The more the merrier.

Cut off the Leaf

Cut the leaf off the plant with a sharp, preferably sterilized, pair of scissors. You can use a single leaf or can go ahead and even cut the leaf into multiple sections.

Each one of these sections will be the one that will grow baby plants! This means that from a single leaf, you can end up growing multiple plants.

In this case, you can aim to have leaf segments that are at least 2-3 inches or so 5-7.5 cm big. Instead of making the cuttings in this sauce, you can also use an entire leaf for this.

Choose the perfect container 

Now you need to start finding the perfect container for the cuttings that you just acquired from an already grown plant. An ideal container would be a tall one to hold your snake plant leaf cutting upright. Depending on the size of the mother plant (the plant from which the cuttings have been acquired), a glass jar or vase works well. 

You need to have an ideal container for your plant or it will not grow well and that would lead to an unsuccessful propagation attempt.

Allow the Cuttings to Air Dry

This is not absolutely necessary for Sansevieriato to grow well, but it is better to let the cuttings sit for a couple of days before placing them in water just in case. You can end up experiencing success both ways.

This is so that the cuts on the leaf will dry, and callous over, and it will help prevent rotting.

Place in Water and Wait

This usually is the hard part. It takes a very long time for Sansevieria to start growing roots. However, rooting a snake plant in water is actually quicker than rooting them in soil. This reduces a substantial amount of time.

There is one very important tip to remember if you decide to cut each leaf into multiple segments.

You must keep the leaf segments in the same orientation as they were growing on the original plant. Then you can go ahead and place the whole leaves, or leaf segments, in a glass or jar with at least an inch of water or so.

If you use a glass that is narrower towards the bottom, it can hold the leaf in place so that the bottom of each leaf doesn’t rest at the bottom of the glass.

You can also use small orchid clips or hair clips to hold the leaves up to have them in a secure position in the propagation vessel so they’re not resting at the bottom of the glass.

This tends to allow room for the roots to grow. The roots will end up growing anyway, but this usually happens to be a little better.

Pot Up Your Rooted Snake Plant Cuttings

After your leaves are about an inch in roots, it is time that you go ahead and pot them up into the soil. Some people wait until they can see the roots grow from the pups, and then pot them up. It works both ways. 

It’s very fun to see the pups growing in water before you go ahead and pot them. You don’t have to wait too long though if you intend to grow them in soil. You can also plant the cuttings before the pups start to show. 

Propagating Snake Plants in Soil

Another fun yet easy way to propagate the plant is by propagating the plant in soil. Here are the steps that one needs to follow.

Choose a healthy leaf 

To begin with, you need to start by choosing a perfectly healthy leaf from an already existing plant. A good leaf is the right amount of crisp and plump but you need to make sure that the leaf is not too old because that might not propagate, with ease or even at all. 

As the leaves get older they lose their vigor and do not function the way they are supposed to when they are fresh. Also, make sure that you pick many cuttings so that you can plant a few to prevent propagation failure. The more the merrier.

Make a cutting

Make sure that you use a healthy leaf or leaves. How many leaves you prune and propagate is totally up to you. It is better if you use more than one cutting because sometimes not all of them pan out the way you want them to. Better safe than sorry!

You can cut them down to the base (an inch or 2 above the soil line) because it looks better that way. When that portion dies over time, you can just cut it or pull it.

Make sure that you make clean cuts on the leaf or it mind result in propagation failure.

Size of the said cuttings

The size of the cutting is usually up to you. You can propagate the whole leaf or even go ahead with sections of the leaf. 

The general suggestion is to propagate the whole leaf but you can cut it down a bit more after making the initial cut. If you choose to cut and propagate sections of the leaf, you must plant the part of the leaf that’s facing down in the soil. Otherwise, if you end up planting the part of the leaf that was facing towards the tip in the soil, it won’t even root.

Let the leaf heal

Snake Plant leaves are slightly fleshy because being succulents, they store water. Just like a lot of other succulents, it’s best to let the ends of your leaf heal off (by exposing them to air, just like we do with a wound) before planting to prevent any chance of rotting out when planted directly.

The healing speed depends on the type of temperature that the plant is grown in. In hotter regions, let the Snake Plant leaves heal off for a couple of days. In a colder climate or a more humid one, it can even take up to 10 days.

Just be sure that you keep the cuttings out of direct sunlight or the delicate leaves of your plant will end up scorched and will not grow new plants. 

Plant the cutting in the soil

You can plant your callused-over cutting in a small pot filled with a well-draining soil mix that is composed of coarse sand or peat moss and water it immediately. Your cutting should go on to develop roots within a few weeks of being planted.

Where to place the plant

Make sure that you put the newly planted cuttings in a bright spot. The leaf cuttings can be rooted in the house but only near but not in a south-facing window because it won’t receive the right amount of light for the right duration. They can receive a lot of sunlight in the right direction to receive ample light.

If they are in too much direct sunlight, they’ll end up scorched. If they are not receiving enough light, the foliage tends to become stunted and the Snake Plant cuttings might become weaker.

How to maintain the cuttings

It’s easy. I’ll tell you how I maintained mine in the small terra cotta pot and you can adjust yours for size, soil, and growing conditions.

You don’t have to water them for about 3-7 days after the initial planting has taken place so they can settle in and dry off easily. After the time of the plant settling in has passed, you can go ahead and water your plants thoroughly. 

In the cooler months, you have to water the plant once every 2-3 weeks or the roots will end up drowning. In the warmer months, your plant will require water more often, probably every week.

Snake Plants can also become dry. When it comes to leaf cuttings, you need to prevent them from drying out. Conversely, don’t keep them too wet or the roots will end up rotting. This is where the light soil mix ends up coming into play when propagating Snake Plants.

When new growth appears

In case you’re wondering, it is not the leaves that you propagate that end up growing, they stay as-is. The Snake Plant rhizomes are what end up producing all the new growth and sending up the Snake Plants’ babies. You see more and more new growth as the plant you planted goes ahead and ages.

In short, rhizomes are the stems that grow underground. As they grow and spread, the pups are produced and the plant grows and spreads wide. They can cause a Snake Plant to break its pot if they are left in there for a long period.

Propagating Snake Plants by Division

Division, in the world of horticulture and gardening, is a method of plant propagation, where the root clump of a plant is broken up into two or more parts and then used to grow a separate plant. Both the root and crown of each part are kept intact in this method of propagating the jade.

Pick a healthy mature jade

The first step of the process is quite simple. For this, you need to have a healthy, breathing snake plant. Make sure that the plant in itself is not in the growth phase or you might be doing more harm than good for your leafy friend. Also, make sure that the plant is healthy and does not prey on any sort of infestation or fungal infection that might hamper the growth of the new plant.

Dig up the plant

Take the selected plant out of the pot, or dig up a clump from the soil. Use a clean and sharp knife or scissors to divide the root clump of the mother plants to make new plants. Each division should have roots and some leafy tops or pups attached to it for the best possible result.

Make sure that this step is conducted with utmost precision. The plants will not react well to being planted if they are not cut in the right manner or the right proportions of the plant are not intact while planting the pups.

Planting the pups

Plant the divided new snake plant pups in their new pots using a well-draining potting mix. Best suited for this is a succulent-based soil blend, or directly in the garden in warm climates. This method has proven to be very efficient in creating more room for new growth as your plant multiplies.

This is the perfect method to go forward with if you want the Sansevieria plant to be exact copies of the parent plant. This might possibly be the only 100% successful way to multiply those varieties with colorful margins in a manner that does justice to them.

Propagating Snake Plants by Rhizome cuttings

Another way to go about propagating your snake plants is by rhizome. Rhizomes can be identified as the whiteish root-like stem structures that connect the mother plant to its new babies. 

The rhizomes tend to spread just above or below ground and sprout new plants. (It is fairly rare to witness a rhizome grow above the soil in indoor potted snake plants.)

Cutting up the rhizomes

To propagate a snake plant by its rhizome, you have to use a clean knife to slice off the rhizome from the plant it’s growing off of. Make sure you make a precision cut. Try to avoid the roots to steer clear of any sort of trouble, but it isn’t a huge deal if you accidentally cut some of them. After all the plant is known for its resilient nature. 

Let the rhizomes dry out

Let the rhizome dry out for a day or so before you plant it to reduce the chances of a fungal infection or root rot. Once it feels dry enough, plant your snake plant in the assigned pot; this is to help the cut area harden over the said period to better regulate water intake. 

Make sure that you keep the freshly planted rhizome cutting moist for a few weeks until you see new growth!

FAQs

Can you propagate a Snake Plant in water?

Yes. As was mentioned before, you can go ahead and use water propagation as an easy method of going about propagating your plants. The process is fairly simple and takes almost as much time as it takes for it to grow in soil

Can I put Snake Plant cuttings straight into the soil?

It is better when you let the plant cuttings that you acquire heal before you get ahead and put them in the soil because if you do that, your leaf might get infected.

Is it better to propagate a Snake Plant in water or soil?

It is genuinely said it’s a matter of preference. Succulents end up doing well when it goes on to be grown in water but the soil is an equally feasible option to go ahead you should prefer the potting mix method for succulents including Snake Plants.

Why is my Snake Plant not rooting?

A common reason is that you’ve planted the wrong end of the leaf. The correct direction for it to be planted is in the direction of growth on the original plant. Also, the process of rooting a Snake Plant leaf takes time, so be patient. It takes a lot of time for it to root.

Do Snake Plants have root pups?

Yes. Babies, new shoots, or pups, grow off the underground rhizomes as they spread.

What do you do with a Snake Plant offshoot?

You can either leave it in the pot it’s in, or go ahead and cut it off and start a new plant. The offshoots are also known as babies or pups.

How long does it take to propagate a Snake Plant?

It depends on the method that you use for this. If you divide a Snake Plant, it is the fastest because you’ll end up getting 2 or 3 plants on the spot. Propagating Snake Plants by leaf cuttings, be it in soil or water, tends to take longer. New plants might take about months to appear.

Conclusion

Succulents make amazing additions to your homes and gardens and it is high time you plant lovers get one for yourself. Just know that even the most resilient of plants need all your love and affection to grow well and thrive.

Also, whether you are an experienced gardener or a newbie, you must know all your options when you go about propagating a plant that you own.

Let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions regarding the propagation of the snake plant. 

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