You Have New Snake Plant Pups! [How to Care + Propagate]
Congratulations! You’re officially a new plant parent! Your snake plant baby has produced beautiful new snake plant pups – but what do you do now?
- Should you remove them?
- Should you propagate them? If so, how do you do that?
- Or should you just let them be and keep them with the mother plant?
It is understandable if you feel a little overwhelmed by all the questions. But don’t worry, because the team at the Garden Bench Top has your back. We had the privilege to walk in your shoes when our stunning plants produced snake plant babies of their own.
We’ve documented our journey and compiled a comprehensive guide to walk you through the process and, more importantly, answer all your questions.
So grab a hot cup of coffee and settle in because we’re going to dive into the world of snake plant pups!
Snake Plant Baby: Sansevieria Pups
Before we jump into propagation methods and care advice, let’s understand how your snake plant pups came about. Let’s get up close and personal with your snake plant and gain an appreciation for its reproductive methods.
How Do Snake Plants Reproduce Naturally
Like most other plants, snake plants can self-propagate themselves through the conventional method of producing snake plant flowers. As the flowers die off, they are replaced by reddish orange seeds that can be cultivated into new plants.
But, did you know snake plants also belong to a particular class of plants with a unique method of reproducing themselves via a root system called rhizomes? Other plants that reproduce via rhizomes include bamboo, asparagus, ginger, and bananas.
What are Rhizomes, And What is Their Function?
When you see a snake plant pup shooting up from the soil, it is growing from a rhizome. But that’s not the primary purpose of a rhizome. They serve a more significant function.
Rhizomes are a set of underground stems that house essential nutrients. As an emergency pack, the snake plants intentionally store these nutrients in an underground reserve. Even though rhizomes grow underground, they are actually not roots.
Should natural disasters like drought or fire occur, the snake plants have a fallback plan. Once the threat is over, the stored energy in the rhizomes can be used to quickly establish a new plant.
But, the fact that you have baby snake plants growing doesn’t mean your plant feels threatened. It’s actually the opposite. Your snake plant is happy and content. And rather than purging the nutrients, the snake plant has decided to put them to good use and develop snake plant pups.
What to do With Snake Plant Pups?
It is exciting to see little pups shooting up from the soil. It must mean you are doing something right…right?
But should you try to remove them from the pot and give them their own home?
In their natural environment, snake plants grow in crowded conditions to maintain tight root balls to support those beautiful long sword-shaped leaves. So leaving the snake pups in the same pot won’t harm your snake plant in the short term.
However, as they grow to reach approximately half to two-thirds the height of the mother plant, we begin inspecting the root system to see if the rhizome is mature enough to survive on its own. In the next section, we’ll show you when to move your snake plant babies to a new pot.
When to Remove Snake Plant Pups
New rhizomes still rely on the original root system to supply the essential nutrients and energy to grow. And even though a rhizome may be developing a new pup, it doesn’t mean it is mature enough to survive independently.
You will know it’s time to cut your snake plant pup away from the central root system when the rhizome has established its own roots.
As we said in the previous section, new roots will usually have developed once the pup is approximately half to two-thirds the size of the mother plant.
We like to time our snake plant pup propagation during their growing season (spring and early summer). This will give your new pups the best opportunity to thrive and establish their own root system. It is also when the plants have plenty of sunlight to perform their photosynthesis and create their own energy. During their growing season, snake plants are hard-coded to eat and drink as much as possible to produce new growth.
How to Propagate Snake Plant Pups
Okay, so now we are getting into the fun part of snake plant pups…propagation!
In this section, we’ll walk you through the process of harvesting snake plant pups and establishing a new home for them.
It is similar to repotting a snake plant, with a few additional steps.
1. Remove the Root Ball
To begin, you must carefully lift your snake plant out of the container. If your pot is made of plastic, squeeze the sides to loosen the soil and roots’ grip on the pot. If your pot is made out of a rigid material, you can try tapping the bottom of the pot to help loosen it from the sides.
Spread your hand over the surface of the potting soil. We like to support the leaves of the snake plant snugly between our fingers to provide support for the plant.
In a smooth, swift action, tip the pot upside down. Gently coax the plant out of its pot but shimmying it out of its home. As the plant comes out, you should begin to feel the weight of the plant on your support hand.
Remove the root ball from the pot, and you have successfully extracted your snake plant.
2. Clean the Root Ball
We now need to clean the root ball to get a good look at the parts of the system that we will be cutting.
Begin by gently removing any loose potting mix. After removing as much soil as possible, run the root system under some tepid tap water to rinse the remaining dirt from the roots.
We also like to take this opportunity to thoroughly inspect the snake plant’s roots. Check for any damage or signs of root rot, and remove before repotting your plant.
3. Identify and Make Incisions
Carefully and methodically pat dry the snake plant’s roots.
Now it’s time to identify the parts of the rhizome you will be cutting to give your snake plant pup some newfound independence.
Find the rhizome connecting your snake plant pup to the parent plant. It is usually a much thicker looking root compared to the thinner straggly looking roots.
The goal is to try to keep as much of the rhizome as possible with the pup. You must cut the rhizome (with a clean knife) as close to the root ball as possible. This will give it the best chance of survival and leave it with plenty of nutrients to support its growth. Plus, it will also mean the rhizome has more roots to soak up the nutrients in its new home.
4. Repot the Mother Plant
Now that you have successfully removed the pup, it’s time to put mother back into her pot. You can choose to place it back into the old pot. Or, if your snake plant is starting to get too big, upgrade to a larger pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous one.
Choosing the right pot for your snake plant is very important to allow it to support its leaves and grow. Read about snake plant pot selection HERE.
5. Plant the Pups in Their New Home
Prepare the snake plant pup’s new homes by filling small pots a third of the way up with good quality snake plant soil.
Place each pup into the pot and backfill with quality potting mix until the soil level covers the white parts of the rhizome and pups.
6. Settle In and Water
To begin, position your newly potted snake plant pups in an area that receives indirect sunlight. They will need an adjustment period to settle into their new homes. Exposure to direct sunlight too soon could shock them and cause them to weaken and die.
Give them a healthy amount of water. This will help with their transition and give them plenty of nutrients to start growing again.
Ensure the excess water completely drains out of the drainage holes in the pot. This will help to prevent any root rot from developing and deter unwanted pests from infesting the soil.
How to Care for Your New Snake Plant Pups
Okay, you’ve just propagated your snake plant pups into new homes. Now is the time to really double down on the care regime and ensure you give your new babies the best opportunity to grow into thriving new adult snake plants.
Here are our top care tips for snake plant pups:
- Use Well Draining Soil – snake plant owners make the biggest mistake of overwatering their snake plants. With your pup in a fragile and vulnerable state, soil with excellent drainage properties is a must.
- DO NOT Fertilize – snake plant pups have everything they need to grow and survive in the rhizome you brought into its new home. Only when you see fresh leaves and shoots growing should you begin adding fertilizer into the mix.
- Keep it Tidy – regular inspections on your new pups are a must. Removing dead or unhealthy leaves helps prevent diseases from developing in your pup. It also helps your snake plant focus on producing fresh leaves rather than continually supplying the dying leaves with nutrients.
- More light – the pups began their journey in a sheltered position with indirect light. After a couple of weeks, as your snake plant matures, you can start to move it into places that are exposed to more sunlight.
Snake Plant Pups – Frequently Asked Questions
Do Snake Plants Like To Be Crowded?
In their natural habitat, snake plants grow in clusters. Therefore, since they naturally live in close quarters, it can be presumed they do prefer to be crowded. Having a few plants close also allows them to form tight root balls, which assists the plants with supporting their large leaves.
How Often Do Snake Plants Make Pups?
There is no hard and fast rule for how often snake plants make pups. They produce pups when the conditions they are living in support healthy and robust growth. Snake plants will have the energy and capacity to send up new shoots.
How Do You Get Snake Plant Pups?
Snake plants produce pups when all their needs are met, and they thrive in the conditions you are growing them. Snake plants will reward their owners with vigorous growth and plenty of new offspring when cared for correctly. You may even be blessed with some snake plant flowers.
How Long Does it Take for Snake Plants to Grow Pups?
Snake plants will grow new pups when they are happy in their homes. As long as the snake plants are not threatened by pests or disease, and your care regime meets their needs, they will soon reward you with pups growing from healthy rhizomes.