How to Propagate a Snake Plant So You Can Share It with Friends

Multiply snake plants with one of these simple methods and gift ultra-easy-to-grow plant babies to friends.

Snake plants are among the easiest houseplants to grow. Did you know they're also a cinch to propagate whenever you like? The sword-like leaves of this tropical houseplant root easily in water or soil and division is a great option for large plants. All you need to multiply your snake plant is time, a sharp knife or pair of pruners, potting soil, and water. A few simple tips will ensure the young plants thrive, providing plenty of new plants to add to your indoor jungle, or you can share with friends. Rooting new snake plants takes a couple of months, but the wait is worth it, especially when you start seeing new shoots appearing.

potted snake plant

BHG / Juli Lopez-Castillo

Know what you're going to get.

Unique foliage patterns, such as mottled leaves or gold leaf margins, are usually lost when a snake plant is multiplied by cuttings. A variegated leaf cutting will root and then new shoots or pups that emerge are usually solid green. A solid green snake plant makes a great houseplant; simply know that a cutting will not produce a replica of the parent plant. To get a new plant that looks exactly like the parent plant, division is the way to go. Dividing your snake plant will give you new plants that will have the same leaf coloring as the original plant.

snake plant division

BHG / Juli Lopez-Castillo

1. Divide a snake plant.

Division involves breaking the plant into sections and is a useful method for multiplying larger snake plants. Begin by removing the entire snake plant from its pot, roots and all. Use a sharp knife or pruners to cut apart the tightly tangled root ball. Aim to create divisions with at least 3 leaves and accompanying roots.

Plant each division in moist potting mix in a container with drainage holes. Water the divisions well, allowing them to drain thoroughly. Place the newly potted plants in bright but indirect light. Water when soil is dry to the touch.

 6-inch cut leaf set, cut end, in a jar filled with 3 inches of water

BHG / Juli Lopez-Castillo

2. Root cuttings in water.

Rooting snake plant cuttings is as easy as placing a leaf into a jar of clean water. Begin by cutting a mature-sized leaf off an established plant. Place the cut end of the leaf in a jar or vase filled with a couple inches of water. Put the jar in a bright spot and refresh the water, rinsing out the jar, once a week. Roots should form at the base of the cutting in about two months. After roots form, plant the rooted cutting in a container filled with houseplant potting mix.

pieces of leaves with angled horizontal cuts placed about a half-inch deep in moist potting mix inside container

BHG / Juli Lopez-Castillo

3. Start cuttings in soil.

Snake plant cuttings will root in moist potting mix, too. First, remove a leaf from an established plant, cutting the leaf at the base of the plant with pruners or a knife. You can maximize the number of new plants by cutting the leaf horizontally into 2-inch pieces. Make angled cuts or notch the leaf pieces to help you remember which end is the "bottom" and which is the "top."

To encourage rooting and prevent rot, dip the bottom end of each leaf cutting in rooting hormone. Place the cutting about a half-inch deep in moist potting mix in a shallow container with drainage holes. Once your cuttings are planted (cut side down), check the soil regularly to make sure it's moist. Be sure to empty any excess water that drains out of the container after watering to prevent root rot. After about two months, try to gently lift the cutting out of the soil. If you feel resistance, the cutting is rooted and established in its new pot. If the cutting pops out of the soil, replant it, and continue to water when the soil is dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it easier to use soil or water to propagate snake plants?

    Propagating snake plants in water is, perhaps, easier because you only need snake plant cuttings, a jar of water, and sunlight to begin. However, this method comes with a slightly higher risk of rot. To avoid developing the dreaded rot, keep your cutting in a sunny spot and change the water regularly (we recommend once a week) for at least two months.

  • What is the fastest way to propagate a snake plant?

    It takes anywhere from one to four months for snake plant cuttings to develop new roots (and even longer before new leaf growth develops). If you want to propagate a snake plant faster, try dividing it instead of propagating from cuttings. (Propagation via division will also allow you to keep any variegated coloring your plant may have.) 

  • When is the best time to propagate a snake plant?

    You can propagate snake plant cuttings any time of year so long as you provide them with bright light (but keep them out of direct sunlight) as they grow. House them in an area where temperatures remain above 45°F (and ideally remain between 65°F and 80°F) for best results.

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