Dividing Snake Plant
A popular houseplant both indoors and outdoors are Snake plants. Although these plants do not grow fast, your Mother in law’s tongue plant will eventually outgrow its container. There will be multiple leaves outside the pot, and the foliage will appear to be injured by the container’s edges. You may need to separate your snake plant and re-root it to avoid overgrowth if it comes to root structure in the ground.
Is dividing a snake plant necessary?
Here we will see why and how to divide a snake plant. Although many varieties of Sansevieria have upright foliage that does not spread much, some have the capability of growing horizontally as well. For example, snake plants that grow outside in favourable weather conditions are more likely to reproduce. They thrive on the strong underground stems and roots of rhizomes, thus requiring dividing to keep the plant in check.
However, snake plants grown in a pot do not have much space to spread, and this causes them to be pot bound. Despite the fact that most snake plants enjoy being root-bound, dividing its roots is often necessary if its roots are in distress and cannot spread anymore. This leads to stunted growth. Due to its larger size, the plant may receive insufficient nutrients and moisture if it comes into constant contact with the edges of the container. The outer foliage may be damaged. When roots crowd inside the soil, it prevents water from draining. This is especially hard for snake plants, which prefer loose soil.
The goal of this is to divide and/or transfer plants into a new, bigger pot every few years.
What are the benefits of dividing your snake plant?
You can simply propagate snake plants by division if you have a well-growing snake plant and need more snake plants free of charge. Dividing means separating one root-ball into two or more plants. Your plant’s size will determine how many plants you can make from it. If it’s a small plant, you can split it in half, but if the plant is large, then you can make up to four baby plants.
Growing snake plants from division is the most reliable and efficient method of propagation. The roots are intact, and the new plants will start growing immediately.
Growing snake plants in pots often results in stunted growth. But you can promote healthy growth by dividing them and repotting them. Once separating the roots and planting each one separately, your plants become stronger.
Another benefit of dividing snake plants is that you get a chance to re-use the old soil. If your potting mix is a bit compact, some pumice or perlite will help it to breathe. A great idea is to replace the soil that has become too dense and old.
When should you divide and root a snake plant?
Your snake plant can be divided if it is mature enough. If your snake plant is showing signs of overgrowth, it may need to be divided or repotted. When your plant is trying to tell you that it isn’t getting enough space, watch for these signs:
- It is possible that the roots of the pot are peeping out of the drainage holes.
- Your containers are covered in roots.
- The plastic container especially bulges outwards when root space is lacking in the container.
- Several cracks are forming in terracotta pots.
- There is a lot of foliage on the plant that looks as though it’s trapped in the pot. It has trouble coming out easily too.
It is definitely time to divide your Sansevieria if you notice these signs on it. Active growth usually occurs in the spring and summer when most plants are in full flower. The best time for dividing a snake plant seems to be early to late spring. This gives your new plant some time to adjust in its new home and allow it to grow and expand freely. However, it can be done at any time of the year.
The snake plant generally grows out of its pot every 2 to 3 years, but you must keep in mind that it depends on the growth rate of your plant and the size of the pot. However, you must still make sure that the snake plant looks healthy in its pot.
Preparing to Divide
It’s time to divide your snake plant after you’ve decided to do so. Here are a few things you’ll need for the procedure.
A pot, container, or planter is needed to hold the new plants. The container needs to maintain proper drainage. It should have at least one bottom drainage hole. This will help to remove excess water and make drainage easier. Make sure to invest in a pot with a drainage tray, saucer or stand.
The size of each pot will depend on the size of plant sections you want to grow. If the pot isn’t too large, reuse it. However, do use caution when watering, as large containers may overwater more often. A plant’s root ball needs to cover at least half of the pot’s space. Additionally, Sansevieria plants are usually quite tall, so the pot’s depth should be considered as well. In the case of shallow pots, plants will become too top-heavy and might tip over. Any kind of pot material is fine, but terracotta has an advantage because of its high porosity.
Snake plants like to have the soil dry, so replacing the potting mix when it gets dense and compact can be beneficial. Compact soil holds more water and so makes it easy to overwater the plants. If Sansevieria plants are sitting in water for a long time, they will rot. That is why loose, well-drained soil is a necessity for snake plants.
You can use a ready-to-use, soilless pot mix for snake plants that’s been specially formulated for tropical plants. You can combine this mix with equal portions of a cacti and succulent potting mix. Add additional nutrients like compost or manure when you don’t want to go overboard with fertilisers.
Apart from a pot and soil, you will need some equipment for this job:
- Dull knife – to loosen the plant from its container.
- Pruners or shears – Garden shears, pruners or a knife is necessary to cut the roots and rhizomes.
- Gloves – to keep your hands clean.
- Garden trowel – for digging and scooping up the soil.
- Cloth, mesh tape, marbles, rocks or pebbles – to put on the drainage holes in a pot, so that soil doesn’t escape from the holes.
How to divide a snake plant?
We will show you how to divide and plant a snake plant now that you have prepared everything. Dividing and planting a Mother-in-law’s tongue is easy if you follow these simple step-by-step instructions.
Remove the plant from its pot or ground
Using a knife, scrape off soil from the edges of the container, then separate the plant from its container by watering thoroughly. This should help loosen the soil from roots. Let the pot rest horizontally on the ground and thump the sides gently. Remove the plant from the pot by gently pulling. If necessary, turn the pot on its side and shake it until the plant comes free. To loosen up the soil around snake plants grown in the ground, use a trowel carefully so that roots and leaves will not be damaged during this process.
Examine the roots
Once the plant is out, remove as much soil as you can until you see the roots and make sure the roots are strong and developed. If your plant’s roots are weak or small, then it probably is not old enough to divide. It’s better to wait for a few months, while the roots develop. If you cannot wait, you may try other methods such as planting leaf cuttings in water. Because snake plants are prone to root decay, keep an eye out for signs of rotting. If you see soft, mushy roots, you may have already developed root rot. However, you can begin treatment by cutting off the rotten portions with a clean, sterilized knife. If large, bulky roots wrap around the whole root ball, you may decide to cut them off as well. This will prevent your plant from overgrowing in its new pot.
Divide the roots into sections
The root ball can be easily divided after removing the damaged portions of the root. You can either make equal sized pieces from the original root or just cut off pieces from the outside. Choose a section size depending on the size of the pots and the number of plants you will divide. Cut the plant from roots so that there are at least 2 to 3 inches long roots, some leaves and some roots per section.
Plant each section in separate containers
You need to cover the drainage holes with a small cloth or mesh tape to ensure that the soil doesn’t just fall through them. Take a container and ensure that the drainage holes are completely open. Put a layer of stones, marbles or pebbles on the bottom of the pot, then top that off with potting mix. You may need to guess the depth up to which you need to pump the soil. Then you should re-pot the plant the same depth as before, but don’t pack the soil too tightly. Place a thin layer of decorative rocks or marbles on top to conceal the top of the root ball.
Following our aftercare tips for snake plants is important to avoid stress to your plants. This also allows them to thrive in their new surroundings and prevents transplant shock.
It’s a good idea to wait until the soil is dry before watering the plant. If you moistened the soil before taking it out of its pot, it will retain some moisture for a few days.
After the holes are soaked, slowly and thoroughly water the plant until the excess water drains from the soil.
You can put the plants in moderate to bright filtered light for a month after they are separated or repotted. Never place them directly in sunlight.
Wait a month before you fertilize; allow your roots to develop. If you fertilize too soon, the roots might be burned.