Dividing Snake Plants: The Best Time and How to Divide a Snake Plant

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue, are popular houseplants valued for their low-maintenance nature and architectural appeal. Their thick, leathery leaves grow vertically, giving them a striking appearance.

However, over time, these resilient plants may get overcrowded and require division. Knowing when and how to do this successfully will ensure that your snake plant continues to thrive and look its best.

Dividing snake plants is not only beneficial for their health, but it also allows you to multiply your collection or share with friends and family. The ideal time to split them is when the plant has outgrown its pot or appears to be struggling for space due to overcrowded roots.

Typically, this occurs every two to three years, but it varies depending on the specific variety and conditions in which it is grown.

While it’s essential to identify the right time to divide your snake plant, it’s equally important to familiarize yourself with the proper technique to guarantee a successful repotting process.

In the following sections of this article, we’ll explore the step-by-step process to make the division and repotting experience smooth and stress-free for both you and your snake plant.

Determining If Your Snake Plant Needs Division

Overgrown Plant

One sign that your snake plant needs division is when it becomes overgrown. An overgrown snake plant might have too many leaves competing for space and nutrients. If you notice your plant’s leaves are pressing against each other or the walls of the container, it’s time to consider dividing the plant.

When a snake plant becomes overgrown, it can cause the following issues:

  • Hindered growth
  • Reduced air circulation
  • More susceptibility to diseases

Dividing an overgrown snake plant will not only improve its overall health, but also create new plants that you can enjoy or share with friends.

Root System Overflow

Another important factor to consider when deciding whether to divide your snake plant is its root system. If the roots are overflowing the container and seem congested, it’s likely time for a division.

Keep an eye out for these root-related signs that indicate the need for division:

  • Visible roots growing out of drainage holes
  • A mass of roots circling the bottom of the container
  • Difficulty removing the plant from its pot due to root congestion

Dividing a snake plant with an overflowing root system will encourage healthier growth and prevent rootbound issues. Remember to choose appropriately-sized containers for the divided plants to ensure optimal growth.

Best Time to Divide a Snake Plant

Growth Seasons

The best time to divide a snake plant is during the active growth seasons which are typically from spring to early summer. During this time, the plant experiences higher energy levels, allowing it to recover faster from the division process. Additionally, the warmer weather and increased daylight provide optimal conditions for the snake plant to thrive.

It’s important to pay attention to the specific climate in your location, as local weather conditions can influence a plant’s growth cycle. Generally, waiting for consistent temperatures above 60°F (15°C) will ensure a suitable environment for the newly divided plants.

Dormant Period

Avoid dividing the snake plant during its dormant period, which is usually from late fall to winter. During this time, the plant conserves energy and slows down its growth, making it harder to recover from any potential damage experienced while dividing. Furthermore, the lower levels of light and colder temperatures may hinder the plant’s ability to establish roots and develop new growth.

In summary, dividing your snake plant during its active growth seasons, such as spring and early summer, will ensure a smooth recovery and successful establishment of new plants. Avoid dividing during the dormant period to prevent potential stress and damage to the plant.

How to Divide a Snake Plant

Dividing a snake plant is an easy process if you follow the right steps. In this section, we will guide you through the process, from the required tools to a step-by-step breakdown.

Required Tools

To divide your snake plant efficiently, you will need the following tools:

  • Sharp, clean knife or pruning shears: For cutting the plant’s rhizomes.
  • Gloves: To protect your hands during the process.
  • Trowel: For digging and lifting the plant.
  • Clean pots with drainage holes: To repot the divided snake plant sections.
  • Potting mix: For planting the divided sections.
  • Watering can: To water the new plants after repotting.

Step by Step Process

  1. Prepare the new pots: Fill the new pots with fresh potting mix, leaving about 1-2 inches of space from the top. This ensures there is enough room for the divided plants.
  2. Remove the snake plant from its current pot: Wearing gloves, gently loosen the plant’s roots by massaging the pot from the outside. Turn the pot upside down and let the plant slide out. Be careful not to pull or tug at the plant during this process.
  3. Examine the root system: Look for natural divisions or offsets, which are smaller plants with their own roots attached to the main plant. These are the sections you will divide.
  4. Divide the plant: Using a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears, cut the rhizomes connecting the main plant and the offsets. Be sure to include some roots with each offset for better chances of successful propagation.
  5. Replant the divided sections: Place each section in a prepared pot, ensuring the roots are well spread out in the potting mix. Fill in the remaining space around the plant with more potting mix, gently tamping it down to remove air pockets.
  6. Water the new plants: Water each newly divided snake plant thoroughly, allowing the water to run through the drainage holes. This will help settle the soil around the plant and create good contact between the roots and the potting mix.
  7. Place the new plants in a suitable location: Choose a well-lit area, avoiding direct sunlight for the first few weeks. This helps the plants acclimate to their new environment and encourages healthy growth.

Patience is key when it comes to plant propagation. Following these steps will ensure a successful division of your snake plant, and in time, you’ll have multiple healthy plants to enjoy!

Post-Division Care

After you’ve successfully divided your snake plant, it’s essential to provide proper care. The following are the critical factors to consider in the post-division stage:

Watering Needs

It’s crucial to keep the soil moderately moist for the first few weeks following division. Water the snake plant lightly, ensuring the water drains well and does not cause root rot. After this initial period, you can revert to your regular watering schedule. Remember that snake plants are drought-tolerant and prefer to be under-watered rather than over-watered. A good rule of thumb is to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Sunlight Exposure

Snake plants thrive in a range of light conditions, from low light to bright, indirect sunlight. Following division, it’s best to place the new plant divisions in a spot with bright, indirect light. Avoid exposing the divided snake plant to harsh, direct sunlight, as this may cause sunburn. Once the plant is well established after a few weeks, you can gradually adjust the light conditions according to your preference and the specific needs of the snake plant variety.

Potential Risks and How to Avoid Them


Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes when caring for snake plants. This can lead to root rot, yellow leaves, and ultimately, the death of your plant. To avoid this problem, follow these tips:

  • Watering schedule: Water your snake plant only when the soil is completely dry. Generally, it’s enough to water it once every 2-3 weeks.
  • Drainage: Make sure your snake plant is in a well-draining pot with drainage holes at the bottom. This will allow excess water to escape and prevent root rot.

Incorrect Sunlight

Snake plants can thrive in a variety of light conditions, but incorrect sunlight exposure can negatively affect their health. To ensure your snake plant receives adequate light, consider the following tips:

  • Sunlight preference: Snake plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Place your plant near a sunny window with filtered light.
  • Low-light conditions: If you have a snake plant in a low-light area, it will probably survive but might not grow as quickly. Monitor it closely to ensure it’s not showing signs of distress, such as yellowing or drooping leaves.