Welcome to our guide to snake plant propagation in water. Snake plant (a.k.a. mother in laws tongue, a.k.a. dracaena trifasciata, previously known as sansevieria trifasciata before it was re-classified), it is a really popular succulent and it often surprises people that it can be rooted and grown in water, we cover all you need to know…
How To Propagate Snake Plant In Water
My preferred method of propagating snake plants is to cut a whole leaf off, chop it up and let the wounds callous over, then water propagate the cuttings until they root, then finally pot them up into soil. It’s a really easy way to get new snake plants.
Follow these steps to propagate a snake plant in water,
Get your snake plant ready and decide where you will cut, making sure you get a good healthy cutting and that the plant will look ok afterwards. Make sure you have a sharp knife or scissors handy – they must be sharp and clean as snake plants are fairly tough.
Take a cutting of one of the ‘blades’ from the snake plant.
Get a pencil and write small arrows point upwards on the back of the leaf, because you MUST know which way is up. Cuttings will only root from the base.
Chop the main ‘blade’ up into smaller pieces. An inch or a couple of centimeters each is good.
Leave it for 3 days or so until the wound is hardened.
Put it in a jar of filtered tap water the same way up it was on the plant. You might need a really small cup or jar to stop the cuttings falling over.
Keep it warm and well lit (bright indirect light is ideal) and it should root over the coming weeks. Keep the water topped up constantly you don’t want them to dry out, so check the water level twice a week, especially when you see new roots.
Once the new plants have rooted over about 2 months, you can pot it up into cactus and succulent soil. It is possible to leave the cuttings growing in water, but they will grow much quicker in soil. Make sure you have a well draining medium and a pot with a drainage hole as they can get root rot from overwatering.
Snake Plant Propagation In Water: Rot
When propagated in water snake plants can get rotten, and they can get soggy patches on the leaves. This is most likely due to other matter rotting in the water and the rot spreading. You want to change the water out if it starts to cloudy, this way you will prevent the problem before it has begun.
They root slowly and some will rot before they all root well. The best thing to do is to make sure the cuttings have no open wounds and are fully sealed before putting them in water. I normally take one blade and chip it up into as many cuttings as I can so I have more cuttings, and then if some rot it’s ok as I still have plenty.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to propagate a snake plant is to water propagate it for a couple of moths to start the rooting, then move it to soil. The thing is that they root very slowly, so they can rot before they root and I find I get the highest success rate by rooting in water as less rot.
The fastest way to propagate snake plants is by division. Wait until you have some baby ups around the base of the plant, then just pull them out a repot them and you have a new plant!
It can take 2 or 3 months to get a good root system on a snake plant. Dracaena trifasciata are slow growers!
Snake plants can grow in water alone. They look great in a glass flower vase.
You can do it year-round but the best time is early Spring.
See also: Succulent Propagation (with pictures).