Do you have a successfully growing snake plant? That’s good because you will get more snake plants from that single plant.
When a snake plant grows, it self-propagates like a normal flowering plant. The flowers it produces die off and are replaced by reddish orange seeds that we call snake plant pups.
Other than flowers, it can reproduce its pups through a root system known as rhizomes. Plants like ginger, bananas, bamboo, and asparagus can also propagate through rhizomes. Once they have reproduced, you can remove snake plant pups and plant them in their container to grow.
What are rhizomes?
Rhizomes are underground stems that are also known as creeping rootstock. These stems grow from the mother plant in different directions, sending up new leaf shoots called pups. The pups can grow and spread into lumps, or you can remove the snake plant pups to develop a new plant.
Besides that, rhizomes act as a source of emergency nutrients when the snake plant doesn’t have an adequate supply of nutrients from the soil. The underground stem stores these nutrients as an underground reserve.
So, if a catastrophe happens and the snake plant lacks nutrients, it will rely on the rhizomes to give it energy until the threat is over. If no disaster occurs, the rhizomes use their energy to produce a new plant.
Even though you can propagate snake plant pups from rhizomes, know that they are not roots, and it will take time for the new plant to grow roots before it can develop fully.
How do you get snake plant pups?
Once small pups start to show up beside your plant, it’s a good sign that the plant is healthy and you’re doing everything correctly. But how do you get the snake plant pups?
There is nothing you can do to get snake plant pups. The plant reproduces on its own. It undergoes asexual reproduction, usually 3 to 4 months after planting when it’s mature and ready to reproduce.
When the plant matures, it extends a fleshy stem from the main root to create a rhizome. The rhizome will grow as a separate leaf adjacent to the mother plant. That leaf is known as a pup.
From there, other rhizomes will develop to create a cluster of plant pups. The good thing is that these pups have their food system and don’t depend on the mother plant. That’s why you can remove snake plant pups without causing them damage.
Can you divide snake plant pups?
Yes, you can divide snake plant pups into smaller pups if you want to plant in different containers or sell in bulk. However, some people divide snake plant pups to avoid overcrowding in the pot.
Once the stems are big enough, they start to push the roots. It can reduce the plant’s air and nutrient supply.
When to remove snake plant pups
You must know the correct time to remove pups. A snake plant takes about 3 to 4 months before it starts to produce rhizomes. Most pups grow depending on how healthy the mother plant is.
So, if the plant is healthy and starts to root, the pups will grow in no time. After the roots have developed, a small smooth tube will emerge from it. The tube is a rhizome growing in its early stages.
Let the rhizome grow until it develops its roots and can survive independently. You can notice this when the pups are about two-thirds the size of the mother plant. Ensure that you give it time to grow roots and store enough energy.
The best time to grow pups is in early spring or summer; this way, the plant receives enough sunlight to create its food.
How to propagate snake plant pups.
To cut the pups from the main plant, you need the following tools;
- A sharp trimming knife
- A pot
- Potting soil
- A disinfectant
Here are steps to follow when removing pups from the snake plant.
Remove the root ball.
The root system of a snake plant is shallow and easy to remove. Grip the base of the plant and tilt it sideways to loosen the soil. If the roots are bound to the soil, smack the pot a few times to loosen the soil (if it’s a plastic container, squeeze it from the sides to loosen the soil.)
Once the soil is loose, tip the pot upside down to remove the plant without pulling it.
Clean the root ball
Place the plant on a flat surface and gently clear the soil from the roots. Loosen any tangled roots. Check for root rot or any indicators. Healthy roots should be light orange, while infected roots should be gray, dark brown, or black.
Use a sharp garden knife to cut off the infected roots. Ensure you disinfect the knife after using it.
Cut the pups
Now, you can cut the rhizomes off the mother plant. You will notice small roots and big stems around the mother plant. Find the rhizome connecting the pup to the mother plant.
Use a garden knife with serrated edges or pruning shears to cut the rhizome. Try to keep as much rhizome as possible. Make the incision close to the root ball as possible to give the pup a higher chance of survival.
Also, make sure the rhizome has as many roots as possible.
Once you’re done cutting, it’s time to propagate the snake plant pups.
Prepare the pot
Choose a pot that can hold your pup, usually a bigger pot, if you want to produce more pups. Add potting soil to fill about ¼ of the container. You can purchase potting soil that contains the necessary nutrients to grow your pups.
Water the soil until it’s moist. Snake plants require enough water to survive. However, avoid overwatering because it can lead to root rot.
Replant the pups
Once the soil is ready, plant the pups as you bury the roots deep in the soil. Add more soil to cover any portions of the roots that are visible. Add water around the plant and place it in a sunny area.
Because repotting a plant can cause stress, it’s better to give it aftercare. Stress can kill your plant.
How to care for snake plant pups
It’s to care for a plant once the transplant is complete. Here are simple tips for caring for snake plant pups;
- Use a pot with drainage holes.
Most people use containers that are enclosed, making it hard for excess water to escape. Once you have standing water in a container, that can lead to more problems. Ensure that you purchase a container with drainage holes at the bottom.
- Use well-draining soil
If your soil doesn’t drain water properly, you will have standing water, which can lead to stress on the plant. Ensure that the potting soil you purchase has excellent drainage properties.
- Do not fertilize
Fertilizing a snake plant pup in its early stages is not ideal. That’s because the rhizomes have enough nutrients stored, and adding more nutrients can result in overfeeding the plant. Nutrients like nitrogen, when given in excess, can kill your plant. The best time to fertilize it is after the leaves and shoots have started to develop.
- Keep the plant clean.
Keeping a plant clean involves trimming dead or unhealthy leaves. It prevents the spread of diseases into other parts of the plant. Also, it ensures the pulp uses its energy to develop fresh leaves instead of fighting diseases.
- Place it in a sunny room.
As the pup grows, you should give it access to indirect sunlight for a couple of weeks until it matures. Then you can move it to an area with direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you remove snake plant pups?
Removing the pups is usually okay, but that doesn’t mean all the pups can survive independently. Remove them when the rhizome has created its roots and has enough energy to survive independently.
Can you propagate snake plant pups in water?
Yes, you can propagate it in water if you don’t want to use soil. These pups grow in water the same way they grow in soil. It’s also a better option because it’s environmentally friendly, and the pant uses few nutrients.
Can you transplant snake plant pups from water to soil?
Yes, like any plant, you can transplant it from water to soil. You can follow this method to transplant your pups from water to soil.
Can you leave your snake plant with the pups?
The better option is to divide snake plant pups into another container instead of leaving them in the same container as the mother plant. If you have a big container that can hold both the plant and the pup without pushing each other, then leave them together.