How to Divide Snake Plants

If your snake plant is flourishing, you might want to divide it to propagate it. Learn how to do it correctly.

When your sansevieria is bursting at the seams, it’s certainly time to repot it. But it also might be time to divide it. 

These popular, easy-care plants are slow-growing and make few demands on the indoor gardener. But every few years, when a snake plant starts to outgrow its container, you might decide to separate it into more, smaller plants.  

Why divide? Snake plants grow and spread by underground stems called rhizomes. These rhizomes, also called creeping rootstock, send up new leaf shoots, called pups, next to the “mother” plant. 

In nature, the pups can spread freely, building a large clump over time. But held within a container, there is no room for the plant to spread. Eventually, ceramic and clay pots can crack and shatter, and plastic pots bulge and split. Rhizomes creep out of the drainage holes. It becomes difficult to water, nutrients are not absorbed properly, and your snake plant can begin to decline.   

A sansevieria plant roots coming out of its pot.

Dividing gives the mother plant more room to continue growing, whether you put it back in the same pot or move it to a larger pot. More space and new soil with fresh nutrients will help your sansevieria stay healthy. And dividing gives you more plants to keep for yourself or share with friends and family.

The best time to tackle this project is in early to late spring, as the growing season is starting up and your sansevieria breaks winter dormancy. But you can do it any time of year. Depending on the size of your plant, it should take an hour or less.

Preparing to Divide

Inspect your plant. Look for natural separations – places where it can be split apart, areas where it looks like two or more plants, and little sprouts coming up. Sometimes It’s hard to determine how many baby plants you’re going to get, but if you count the sprouts and separations, that should give you a pretty good idea. You can certainly put more than one pup in a pot if they are small. That gives you a fuller plant more quickly.   

Water your plant deeply a few days ahead of the project. This helps reduce stress and can make the work easier for you. It’s easier to get a well-moistened plant out of its pot.

A small snake plant with green and gold leaves.

What You’ll Need

  • New pots. Four-inch plastic pots would be the smallest size to use. If you plan to put more than one division in a pot, use 6-inch pots.
  • Potting soil. To help you figure out how much soil you need, know that one 4-inch pot holds 3 cups of potting mix. Use a high-quality potting mix for cacti and succulents, or a potting mix designed explicitly for sansevieria. You can also make your own. Here’s a good recipe for plants like sansevieria that need excellent drainage:
    • 1 part potting mix
    • 1 part peat moss or coco coir
    • 2 parts sand or perlite
  • A trowel or other scooper to move the soil – some gardeners like to use just their hands or a small plastic pot.
  • A clean, sharp knife or a clean, sharp pair of hand pruners.
  • Rooting hormone. If the rhizomes are small and the roots are sparse, dipping the bottom of your cuttings in rooting hormone can help the baby plant get off to a stronger start. Not always necessary, but helpful.
  • Gloves if you like to wear them
  • Newspaper to cover the work surface if desired.

Divide the Snake Plant

Line up your pots. Fill the pots with soil to the top. Water the soil if it is very dry and dusty. Do not pack the soil; keep it light and loose. As you work, the soil will compress on its own and should settle about 1 inch below the lip of the pot.

Dividing a soil into small planters.

Remove the plant from the pot. If it’s tightly rootbound, you may need to use a butter knife, a pencil, or a chopstick to help get it out. Run the tool between the root ball and the side of the pot to help loosen it. If it’s a plastic pot, you can also lay it on its side and punch the sides a couple of times to loosen the rootball. Sometimes, you might have to cut the pot down the side to get the plant out.  

Once the snake plant is out, lay it on the workspace and gently remove the soil from the roots.  

You will see the thick, white rhizomes coming out from the root ball.

A small snake plant with exposed roots.

This is a good time to inspect the roots and trim away any that are dead or rotting.

Cut the pups and a good piece of its rhizome away from the mother plant. Choose thick pieces that have their own roots, with healthy-looking leaves. If they don’t have roots, leave them until next time. 

A close up picture of a sansevieria roots that are exposed and out of soil.

Dip the bottom of each pup into rooting hormone if you are using it. Press each pup into the soil of its new pot. Don’t push it down too deep. You want the crown to be level with the top of the soil.


Repot the mother plant. You can step up your snake plant into a larger pot, or you can use the same pot.

Give all the plants a gentle watering, but don’t water too much. You might see that the soil has compressed after watering, and you might need to add a little more soil. 

Keep all the plants out of direct sunlight for a few weeks, and don’t fertilize for at least two months. 

Monitor watering needs carefully—only water when the top inch of soil is dry. You might think that they’ll need additional watering after such a stressful experience, but overwatering a sansevieria can kill it quickly!  

After the plants have become established, which can take about a month, you can move them to the place you want them and resume normal care.  

Three mini sansevieria plants potted into different pot sizes.
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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