How to Propagate Snake Plants: 3 Super Simple Methods

Are you a snake plant enthusiast looking to expand your houseplant collection without breaking the bank? Well, look no further! Propagating your existing snake plant is not only a cost-effective solution but also a fun and rewarding experience. 

We will provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to propagate snake plant, aka mother-in-law’s tongue, using leaf cuttings in water and soil, and propagation by division.

But first, let’s make sure you have the right materials:

  • Choose healthy snake plant leaves that are firm, with vibrant color and no signs of wilting or yellow leaves
  • Clean scissors, shears, or sharp knife

&Nbsp;Soil Propagation Materials

  • Potting soil amended with perlite for good drainage
  • Small pots or containers, each with a drainage hole
  • Rooting hormone (optional)

&Nbsp;Water Propagation&Nbsp;Materials

  • Glass jar or vase
  • Water
  • Snake plant with multiple leaves and root clusters
  • Sections of rhizomes, each with a bud or eye
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Clean scissors, shears, or sharp knife
  • Potting soil
  • Small pots or containers

**It is important to note that if the mother plant is a variety featuring variegated leaves with stripes, the resulting snake plant pups will not be variegated if propagating with leaf cuttings and will revert to an original green color. The only way to retain the variegation when propagating is by division.

3 Simple Methods: How To Propagate Snake Plants

1.) Propagate Snake Plant by Leaf Cuttings

You can propagate snake plant leaf cutting using soil, or water:

Soil Propagation

snake plant soil propagation
  1. Using scissors or a sharp knife, carefully cut the leaf as close to the base of the plant as possible.
  2. Allow the leaf to callus over by letting it sit in the air for two days.
  3. *Optional* After the cut end has hardened, dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone to give your snake plant cuttings a little extra boost. Rooting hormone is a powder or gel found at most garden centers and helps encourage root growth.
  4. Fill small pots or containers with potting soil that is well-draining and loose.
  5. Make a small hole in the soil and insert the cut end of the leaf-cutting into the hole.
  6. Gently press the soil around the leaf cutting to secure it in place.
  7. Water the soil lightly and place the pots in a warm, bright location but out of direct sunlight.

Water Propagation

snake plant water propagation
  1. When taking leaf cuttings for water propagation, ensure they are at least 3-4 inches long and keep the leaf in the same orientation as it was growing on the mother plant. 
  2. To keep the cuttings upright in the water, you can make a triangular cut at the bottom or use a clip to secure it against the side of the container. 
  3. Place the leaf-cutting in a glass jar or vase filled with water. Be sure to change the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth.
  4. Place the jar or vase in warm, indirect sunlight but out of the direct sun.
  5. After about a week, roots should begin to form in the water. Once roots are established, you can transfer the cutting to a small pot filled with well-draining soil.

2.) Propagate Snake Plant by Root Division

  1. Gently remove the snake plant from its pot and loosen the soil around the roots.
  2. Carefully separate the root clusters with a sharp knife or gently pull them apart.
  3. Each root cluster should have multiple leaves and at least one set of roots.
  4. Plant each division in its own small pot filled with well-draining potting soil.
  5. Water the soil lightly and place the pots in a warm, bright location but out of direct sunlight.

3.) Propagate Snake Plant by Rhizome Cuttings

Rhizomes are underground stems that can be used to propagate snake plants. Rhizomes are typically found at the base of the plants growing horizontally in the soil with roots growing from them in intervals.

It’s important to note that rhizome propagation can take longer than other methods, such as leaf cuttings, but it is a reliable method for propagating snake plants. It is best to do this during the warmer months, as the rhizomes need warmth to sprout and grow new leaves.

  1. Carefully dig up the snake plant, being careful not to damage the rhizomes.
  2. Cut the rhizomes into sections, making sure that each section has at least one growth bud or “eye” on it.
  3. Allow the cut sections of the rhizome to dry for a few days before planting.
  4. Plant the rhizome sections in a well-draining potting mix, making sure that the “eye” is facing up.
  5. Water the rhizomes sparingly and keep them in a warm, bright location, but out of direct sunlight.
  6. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged, and in a few weeks, new growth should appear.
  7. Once the new plants have established roots and are growing well, you can transplant them into larger pots or into the garden.

Is It Better To Propagate a Snake Plant in Water or Soil?

snake plant cutting and pup in soil

Both water and soil propagation methods can be successful, but each method has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Water Propagation


  • Easy to see when roots have formed as they are visible in the water.
  • It’s a quick method; roots can form in as little as a week.


  • The roots may not be as strong as those propagated in soil.

Soil Propagation


  • Roots will be stronger and more developed than those propagated in water.
  • The plant will adjust more easily to the soil if it has been propagated in soil.


  • It may take longer for roots to form, up to a few weeks or months.
  • Might be more challenging to see when roots have formed.

Ultimately, the method you choose will depend on your personal preference and the resources you have available. However, both methods can be successful if done correctly, so it’s worth trying both and seeing which works best for you.

It’s essential to keep an eye on the moisture levels of your propagated plants and the amount of light they receive. Overwatering or too little light can lead to the failure of your propagated plants. However, once the plant babies are established, you can begin to care for them as you would for a mature snake plant.

As you can see, propagating a snake plant is a relatively simple process that can yield beautiful results. Not only will you now have more new snake plants to enjoy, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it yourself. 

With patience and care, your propagated plant will thrive and bring a touch of greenery to any room or outdoor space.


Can you propagate a snake plant in winter?

It is not recommended to propagate snake plants during the winter months as they will not have enough energy or resources to put towards new growth. 

It is best to propagate snake plants during the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Additionally, the conditions during winter (low light, dry air) are not suitable for propagating snake plants.

Can you propagate a broken snake plant?

Yes, it is possible to propagate a broken snake plant by using the broken-off piece as a cutting. First, allow the cut end to callus over for a few days. Then, place the cutting in a well-draining potting mix and keep it in a warm, bright location but out of direct sunlight. 

To prevent root rot, water sparingly only when the soil is completely dry. Roots may take several weeks to form and for new growth to appear. Keep an eye on the cutting; if you notice that it is rotting or is not developing roots, it may not be successful.

Why is my snake plant not rooting in water?

There are several reasons a snake plant may not be rooting in water. One possible explanation is that the cutting is not healthy or mature enough to root. Another reason could be that the water is too cold or dirty and growing bacteria, which can inhibit rooting. If the cutting is exposed to direct sunlight or drafts, this can also prevent rooting. 

The cutting may have rotted before it had a chance to root. To ensure successful rooting, use healthy, mature cuttings and change the water frequently to keep it clean and at room temperature. Also, keep the cutting in a warm and shaded area, away from drafts and direct sunlight.

Author & Editor | + posts

Nancy has been a plant person from an early age. That interest blossomed into a bachelor’s in biology from Elmira College and a master’s degree in horticulture and communications from the University of Kentucky. Nancy worked in plant taxonomy at the University of Florida and the L. H. Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University, and wrote and edited gardening books at Rodale Press in Emmaus, PA. Her interests are plant identification, gardening, hiking, and reading.