Divide Sansevieria Snake Plant

How to divide Sansevieria or Snake Plant.  Sansevieria is a slow-growing plant but it can become overgrown, this is a great way to keep your snake plants healthy. This is also the best way to propagate a Snake Plant!

Sansevieria is a popular house plant also known as Snake Plant or the politically incorrect Mother in Law’s Tongue plant. Today we are going to propagate a Snake Plant while improving its health.

It is one of the house plants I have listed in my Clear the Air with House Plants post as an excellent indoor plant for low light conditions.

For an article on easy care for Snake Plant visit here

Benefits of Sansevieria – Snake Plant In Your Home

There are many on the list of wonderful air-cleaning plants but the plus with Snake Plant is it releases oxygen into the air at night making it a perfect candidate for the bedroom.

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Recently I had the privilege of seeing these beautiful plants used in the landscape of a mall in Southern California. I had to take a photo and obviously by the response I got to it on Instagram and Facebook many of you loved them too.

Related: Grow in the Dark, best plants for low light conditions!

Divide Snake plant

Not only were they in the ground but in the potted displays as well.  Don’t they pair beautifully with other succulents?

potted-sansevieria-trifisciata with other plants

Now I can’t keep mine outdoors in the winter but after seeing them used in the landscape I will remember to use them on my deck in the Summer.

Great for containers

Plant and Grow Succulents

Easy to grow and gorgeous in containers as long as you know how. Check out all the tips and tricks!

Why Divide Sansevieria aka Snake Plant

This plant was struggling and the owner wanted me to find out what was wrong. I removed it from its pot and found this.

There was no soil left in the pot. When your root ball looks like this it is time to divide. (dividing should have been done way before it started to look like this)

Being the roots were so shallow and the top was heavy it kept trying to topple.

This is definitely in need of dividing.

root mass of sansevieria that needs dividing

Dividing Snake Plant – Sansevieria – Mother-in-Law Plant

Gently pull apart by grabbing a section of the thick leaves close to the base and gently tug as much as you can. 

Pulling it apart will help give you a good visual of where you can cut apart some of the thicker roots.

How to Divide Sansevieria or Snake Plant

Once you have pulled the roots apart so that you can see then you can get in to cut through the thick roots also known as rhizomes to divide.

How to Divide Sansevieria or Snake Plant

Have a sharp garden knife or pruners ready to sever the section from its neighbor.   Go ahead, you won’t hurt it.

Propagating Snake Plant

Do this to more sections, I prefer to have several leaves per new clump so it looks fuller from the start.

Next, you will re-pot each of these sections into its own container or pot.

Some folks like to take leaf cuttings to propagate them but not all sansevieria varieties will come true with that method.

The only way to get a clone of the parent plant when propagating snake plant is to make these root divisions.

mother in law plant division

Repotting snake plant

Put your new sections into clean pots (I use the one-gallon size reused nursery cans for the plants I give away).

The best soil for the snake plant is a well-draining potting mix. Personally, I like a custom mix of 50% regular potting soil and 50% Cactus potting soil.

The best pots for snake plants are terra cotta since they allow the soil to dry out more easily than plastic pots.

Always make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom and it does not get clogged.

When repotting the snake plant babies do not plant them too deep.

How to Divide Sansevieria or Snake Plant

Give Snake Plant Divisions Support

The new sections on mine are so large and top-heavy that it is difficult to keep them upright without staking.

You can use pieces of bamboo, small stakes, or anything that will serve as support.  Tie them up with strips of pantyhose, garden wire, or twine.

I place them in a crock for more bottom weight but you can just plant them up in ceramic or terracotta pots that have more weight to them than the plastic used here. 

You can also use some decorative stones on top of the soil for added weight, plus it just looks prettier.

How to Divide Sansevieria or Snake Plant

Groom your Snake Plant

The brown tips I will cut off at an angle and before I know it these new plants are putting out babies..

new growth, How to Divide Sansevieria or Snake Plant

So that is one way to get more plants for free.  I ended up with 5 plants from the one and they all are filling in wonderfully.

What is your favorite house plant?

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36 Comments

  1. I also saw them growing in the landscape in Hawaii. I love the snake plant. I have a large one which had a few topple out of the pot so started a new one. Maybe I will gift it to someone. Mine grows in our downstairs bathroom which gets lots of AM light. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am sure many would love a gift like that. They are ridiculously easy to grow.

  2. How great I love plants and you are so right about slow growing

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I have a huge snake plant that desperately needs to be divided. Now I plan to get it done.

  4. This is so good to know. I have one of these but here in the Uk i keep it as strictly an indoor plant. It is filling the pot almost completely now though so to know how I can make more from it is great news. Thanks.

  5. Hi Pamela, have you ever had Sansevieria bloom? I had one that belonged to my grandmother. It had the yellow edges on the leaves and would send up a stalk with clusters of honeysuckle like sweet drippy blooms. It was very old and pot bound. Several plants since then have grown successfully with no blooms. Thank you.

    1. No, I haven’t. How very interesting. I need to talk to my friend who is much older and I am more experienced with all plants. I need to see if she has seen one bloom.

      1. Mine blooms annually. Only a mature plant will bloom (I have been told). It is a night bloomer, with the flowers closing up in the day. The blooms smell fantastic, and one stalk (all I have ever seen at a time) will scent the entire house.

          1. Yes, mine bloomed too this year – had the plant for 4 years and it needs repotting. I was told that many plants flower ‘under stress’ so I’m guessing as it is so pot bound, that might be the reason (otherwise, the plant looks healthy). I will divide it up now though. Shame I can’t upload the photo of the flower. It is as described above.

  6. I like the suggestion about using 50/50 mix of regular potting soil with cactus potting soil for this type of house plant. Also the bamboo sticks used for “training” the leaves upright give a natural look. Your tips help make dividing an easy task!

  7. So happy to read this article and finally get to dividing mine that has been in need for a long long time! I got a start from my aunt’s plant who passed away in 1981 and several family members are interested in a start. I’ve also never seen it Bloom, so that intrigues me… Thank you!

  8. I inherited two pots and two vases of Mother In Law Tongues plants from my parents house. After my mom passed, my dad only watered them. He passed in October and now I have all her plants here at my house. They originally were all in one pot and hadn’t been divided. I know they were at my parents way before 2005, so they are getting old. One pot and two vases are filled with sections that basically broke off because there is no room and barely in soil in the pot anymore. Anyway, these used to bloom every year when my mom was still here. She had never seen this plant bloom before either until hers did. I’m getting ready to repot all of these into one larger pot. I’m worried because the roots in the main pot do not look like yours did. They remind me of tubular roots right now. Is this just a sign they needed to be repotted? Actually the only ones that looked close to roots like yours are the ones I put in the vases with water to root them. Wish me luck!!

    1. The tubular roots are most likely the rhizomes that Sanseveria grow from. Go ahead and repot it and give it a go, just give the larger sections (or any that need it) some support as the looseness of the soil mix does not hold them in place until they start to really put down new roots into it and fill in. Sounds like you are on the right track and will do just fine.

    2. Those tiny hair like roots are feeder roots which take the nutrients fr the soil to feed the plant and the larger thicker tubular ones are the rhizomes or in soil stems that new growth shoot from.
      All types of sansevierria do flower when root bound n healthy.

  9. I LOVE this. I have learned so much. I actually rescued, well..I feel like I did. A couple of leaves from a plant at my work cs they were just laying there cs they are in a large pot and they would have been thrown away but were so healthy still and I love plants cs they are alive and beautiful so o brought it home and don’t know what to do. I will go by the advice on this post. Thank you. Any advice would be nice cs I have a very low light home and I am not sure if I have much summer left.

    1. Snake plant do just fine in low light so you should be fine and since they are indoors it does not matter that it is summer. 🙂

  10. i have a huge plant that blooms all the time. it’s very old and root bound. i am going to divide it today. i hope it continues to bloom.

    1. I have yet to have one bloom for me. I hope it continues to bloom too for you!

        1. Oh my goodness, I didn’t mean to post the pink flower one.. that’s a different plant.. the one pic of the snake plant is the one blooming.. they smell so wonderful!

  11. I recently acquired a snake plant.. mine is about five and a half feet tall and at the time had a tomato cage around it. I already had a smaller one which resides in a smaller pot placed in a crock.. which is two and a half feet tall.
    The larger one seemed empty so I did some research… and found that there are some that grow as tall as eight feet tall.. and the soil combo was half and half which I use for some of my other plants. What I did read was the plant truly enjoyed being in a full pot. I had similarly seen a much shorter pot. So being an experimental kind of person.. I purchased some two feet snake plants and divided those.. I loosened the soil in the big pot.. and in empty spots replanted sections of the newly purchased snakes. The tubular root structure was quite amazing… and none were root bound. Since the plant was already in my living room.. I did all the work in there on top of cheap shower curtains used as drop cloths, and newspapers. This procedure took me hours to do.. but I’m, hoping that I achieved my goal of provided a stable out side ring to support the really tall center. temporarily I have a ring of two inch soft ribbon type material to support all the plant until it becomes more stable. I also acquired what is referred to as a curly leaf snake.. know as a trixi…. who knew. The varieties of this plant are rather amazing.. and wonderful.. I finally found some plants that seem to work with my less than bright living room. This is one of the easiest care plants I have, and in other locations I have quite a few.
    I will now pick up one for my bedroom as well. I have just the perfect corner for it. I will be following you to see if there are any tips… I can utilize ..here.

    1. Mine are all filling in very well and I love it. I didn’t know there was a curly leaf one, I will have to look that up and see if I can get one. I have these wonderful plants throughout my house. I too struggle with dim lighting and they just grow like champs.

  12. Is there a best time of year to divide the plant? Mine is MASSIVE (blooms annually) and has outgrown it’s current pot. I can’t find a larger pot, so it’s time to divide and conquer (my guess is that I can easily get 8-10 full plants out of this), but with winter almost here (I live in Iowa), I’m afraid I should wait until spring.

  13. Hello, I was inspecting my sansaveria plant and I accidentally broke the 1 of it’s main roots. Now I have 2 snake plants. I repotted them immediately after. Would it help to apply root hormone powder? Or just let them grow on their own? Thanks.

    1. I’ve never had to use to rooting hormone with this plant!

  14. I have a sansevieria that is over 60 years old and came from my husbands grandmother in 1960. It has bloomed occasionally. I have divided it a number of times and the latest one was about 2 months ago, I gave that one to my granddaughter for a shower present. My plant is a little different, it is very dark green-with a lighter centre, and no yellow edges on the leaves. The tallest leaf is over 3 ft.

  15. I too have a large snake plant. The leaves had begun to lean so I got a tomato stake which is almost invisable. My plant is thriving

    1. I just wanted to update my comment on my snake plant. Its approaching 5ft and I notice slot of young drone in the pot. I plan on separating those and starting a new pot. I also had ordered a wire grid that I use to hold individual frons straight. So very happy with my plants.

  16. Pamela: I have a very large snake plant. Largein the sense that it is about 4′ tall and in a clay pot that is about 18″ in diameter and 18″ deep All of the leaves are just tight and extremely close together. No way I can get them out of the pot without breaking the pot which is what I think I have to do at this point. I had thought about simply burying the entire pot, plant and all in the ground because I read somewhere that you can do that. Anyway, any insight and help you can give me regarding proper dividing or propagation of this plant would be greatly appreciated.

    1. From what you say I don’t think the pot is precious to you? You don’t mention if the plant needs dividing. Does it seem to be suffering or do you just want to propagate another plant from it? If you just wish to propagate then you can do so from leaf cuttings rather than dividing the rhizomes other than that I would agree if you can’t remove the Snake plant from the pot to divide then breaking it would be the only way to go. I think trying to cut the rhizomes apart inside the pot would be too dangerous for you. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  17. Do you let the severed pieces callous before repotting?

    1. I didn’t but since it was roots and not just a leaf I didn’t feel it necessary.

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