How to Grow Snake Plants from Cuttings

Growing snake plants from cutting can be very rewarding, but can take time. Are you propagating it correctly?

If you feel like you can never have enough houseplants, or you want to share a rare and beautiful favorite with family or friends, propagation from leaf cuttings is a great way to increase your collection.

Many plants can be propagated this way, and growing snake plants from leaf cuttings is easy and fun.  Sometimes a leaf is broken or damaged in some way, or growing out at an angle you don’t like. You can trim that leaf off and propagate it.

This process can take a long time, but it can be very worthwhile.  Snake plants are slow growing, but with time and patience you can grow a lovely new addition to your indoor garden.  And the satisfaction you get cannot be measured!

A word of caution, though.  Sometimes the new sansevieria plants do not grow to completely mimic the mother plant’s appearance.  For example, Sansevieria ‘Laurentii’ with its yellow-edged leaves may lose that variegation.  You can still grow a nice looking plant; it just might not look the way you envisioned.

Things You’ll Need to Grow Snake Plants from Cuttings 

  • Your sansevieria plant – Choose a healthy leaf, with no signs of insects or disease.  Leaves that have been broken or damaged are okay to use, as are leaves that are growing too long, or at an odd angle.
  • Clean empty pots – 3” or 4” pots work well for a single leaf cutting.  Since most leaves can be cut into 3 or 4 pieces, you will need that many pots.  You can put more than one piece in a pot, but they will eventually need to be transplanted.  Or you can put a few pieces in a larger pot. 
  • Potting mix – How much soil you need depends on the number of pots you have.  You can figure that 3 cups of soil fills one 4” pot. The soil should be designed for cacti and succulents or it could be a speciality sansevieria potting soil.  You can also make your own.  Here’s a good recipe for plants that need really good drainage, not just snake plants:
    • 1 part potting mix
    • 1 part peat moss or coco coir
    • 2 parts sand or perlite
  • Rooting hormone – helpful to get your cuttings off to a good start, but it’s not a necessity.
  • A clean, sharp pair of pruners or a clean, sharp knife.
A sansevieria snake plant with healthy green leaves.

Steps for Growing Snake Plants from Cuttings

  1. Fill pots with soil almost all the way to the top.  Keep the soil light and loose, don’t compact it.  When it settles, it will be at the proper depth – about 1 inch from the rim of the pot.  This space gives you room for watering.
  1. Choose the leaf you want to remove and cut it all the way down to the base of the plant.  Cut the leaf into pieces between 2 and 4 inches long.  Be sure to keep track of which way is “up.”  Sansevieria do know up and down!  If you plant the leaf cutting upside down, it will not grow.
  1. Dip the “down” end in rooting hormone and insert the piece into the pot.  Continue until all the pieces are planted.
  1. Water gently and let the soil settle.   Keep your cuttings out of direct sunlight and keep them moderately moist. Don’t let them dry out, but if they’re too wet they can rot.
  1. In the beginning it may not look like much is happening.  The original leaf does not grow, but lots is happening under the soil surface.  The leaf builds roots and then develops a rhizome and a new leaf shoot. 
Closeup picture of a growing leaf budding on soil

Starting Snake Plant Cuttings in Water

Cut leaves of a snake plant used in water propagation

You can also start cuttings in water.  Take longer cuttings and place them in a glass container.  Add water to cover the bottom ¼ of the cutting.   Check the water every few days – be sure the base of the cuttings stays wet and that the water is fresh and clean.  Roots and rhizomes will take a while to form, sometimes as long as 2 months.  When a new shoot develops, you can plant the cutting in soil as described above.

A hand holding a baby snake plant with exposed roots
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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