Leaf Propagation

lainielady(z5OH)September 9, 2003


Does anyone have some pointers on how you go about this. I had a leaf broken off, and decided to root it. I do have a book suggesting method, but I still have many questions.

I potted it last night in a sterile spaghum mix which has some perlite, and I added small part of sand(about 1/4 of the mixture). Thix mix I lightly moistened. Then I planted it about 1 inch or so down, The top it still on the leaf, it is a dwarf Hahnii variety. Now, where do I place this to root? I have a lightstand which would provide bottom heat during the day if this were placed on top. Is that too much heat? Then, of course, it would cool down during the night, so I'm not sure this is a good idea. Should the leaf be bagged to keep in moisture, or would this provide too much moisture and cause it to rot?

I hadn't planned on doing this or I would have tried to get more information first. Any suggestions would be helpful.



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Oklahoma_Tim(z7a OK)

While I don't have any personal experience with these plants, I did spend a few minutes searching Yahoo! for "sansevieria propagation," and I found a site with pretty good basic information on leaf cuttings. However, nearly every site I found said that new plants produced by this method generally lose much of their variegation.

I hope this is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sans Info

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 1:47PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi folks,

I have a lot of experience doing this myself. Not hard to do, but requires much patience as it can take a LOOOOONG time to happen.


Pls. flip over to the Cactus & Succulent site here at GW, at the very top look for the FAQs, within which you'll find one on propagating Sans. It gives good advice. Normally I'd say pls. read that first & then if you still have questions, come on back w/ them, but, I'd like, if I may, to correct a couple of things you've done which may be a problem. Pls. remember these suggestions come from my own experience w/ doing this often & are shared w/ only the best intentions.

I'd switch it out of the Sphag mix as it will stay too wet. Also, try to avoid sand (especially beach sand) as it can be too fine in size & cause problems later w/ hardening or compacting.

Try any old C&S mix, augmented by a good 30% at least of perlite or pumice, both of which will make if faster draining. Do not cover it at all, this will rot it quickly. Water it only lightly, & keep it in bright, indirect light. I don't have bottom heat & w/ these, I have never neeeded it. I suspect light stand lighting will be too strong for it. I'd suggest watering it sparingly maybe once a month, or once every 3 wks, but no more. Then the hardest part, just wait 'til you see new growth rather than what many folks do, which is to tug at it lightly to see if it's rooting (this can damage new, young roots). New growth is a certain indicator of rooting.

What was suggested above about lost variegation may happen, depending on the type of Sans., but then again you may be surprised. Hope this helps & enjoy, I've gotten great pleasure from doing this myself!!

Also if I recall corectly, Hahnii is one of the short squat Sans? My one experience w/ these is that it's more sensitive to overwatering than the tall ones (this one rotted for me quite fast).

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 7:50PM
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I received two leaves from Europe a couple of years ago - I think they were the ordinary Sansevieria trifasciata - and they rooted quite quickly standing in a free-draining mixture. Trouble was, after that they just stood there, well rooted, and did nothing else, and finally just died off suddenly last winter. So you can see I'm no expert - seems easy to get them to root, but the dodgy bit comes next!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 3:02AM
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Many thanks to all who responded.

Tim- Your time and efforts are very greatly appreciated in searching for the propagation methods. You are great!!

Pirate Girl- Many, many email hugs to you for all the information. As we speak, the leaf has been transferred to the proper growing medium, and I will keep my fingers crossed. It has some variegation, so it might end up rotting, but it is fun trying! If this does not succeed, I will try again on something else. Thanks also for pointing out the link on Cacti & Succulents. So, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! If per chance this does root I will let everyone know.

Thanks, too, Marguerite for your input. I guess one step at a time and go from there. It must have been frustrating, after your rooting was a success and then nothing else. But it is fun and a challenge.

Thanks all.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 9:29AM
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So is the preferred way to propogate a snake plant to just break away a chunk with ryzhomes from the rest?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 7:49PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


I don't quite get how you got that from this thread. Or, are you asking: preferred meaning faster & more efficient than starting from a single leaf?


You're very welcome indeed, glad you got the spirit in which I meant my comments. I'll wish the best for ya in this, if this one should fail for ya, while I don't have any short squat types now (like the pic at the top of this forum), I have plenty of other types, some common & a bunch less so, I could certainly provide you some new leaves to horse around with, especially since you seem to get the 'fun' of this crazy adventure.

Marguerite, sorry yours didn't make it (frustrating, I know, have had that happen too). If you weren't across the pond from us I'd offer you some new leaves too.

Happy Sans. everybody!!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 8:08PM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Sanseveria propagation is pretty easy. Your always better off starting with a division with roots attached. But, leaves are just fine. I have some huge plants that I started as leaves. I just root them in a succulent mix or in pumice, indoors, and with good light. Once the cuttings have rooted well, I feed them, so that they have the energy to send up a new shoot. Sanseveria cuttings should be kept indoors and in good light--like a large north window or on a light stand. While variegated plants won't come true from leaf cuttings you sometimes get a variety other than the regular species. But usually a rooted leaf of a variegate will give you the unvariegated species. One exception is the dwarf form of hahnii type called 'Loop's Pride". Leaf cuttings produce a variety called 'Malachite', whjich is like hahnii but has smaller thicker leaves, and seems to be slower growing. Another way to get new plants but definitely the slowest way is by setting seed on your plants and growing the seeds. Maybe its just my sans. seed growing technique but they take forever to grow up. I have grown conspicua, rhodesiana, and ehrenbergii from my own seed (that I can think of).


    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 1:29AM
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Thanks once again for all the help and suggestions. I enjoy trying new things and sans rooting is certainly one of them. I really hope this works, but if not-try, try again.

Pirate Girl- Thanks for your kind offer. I may take you up on this in the future. Let's see how this goes. Also, any cultivars that I have I would certainly be willing to share. This one I am trying to root is from a "Jade Dwarf Marginated" and from what I have learned, the leaf cutting would produce a "Jade Dwarf", which is okay by me. I am new with the sans, so my collection is relatively new and haven't reached any maturity yet. I really love these plants and am trying to learn as much as I can. It is fun and I am greatly enjoying myself.

Jon- Thanks for all you comments, too. It helps give me some confidence, but I would try this(leaf rooting) anyway and it is nice to have experienced advice on the methods that should be used. I'll certainly keep in mind about the fertilizing after the leaf roots-notice I'm using positive thinking!

From all the advice, I feel as if now I am on the right course.

Happy sans to all of you, too!!


    Bookmark   September 11, 2003 at 1:45PM
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ChlorophyllJill(z6 OK)

Hello -

I stuck a couple of plain ol' sans cuttings in dirt and my, oh my, did they take forever to root! It was worth it as the plant is doing really well now (I gave it to my sis who stuck it outside once it got going) but it took almost a year to get any growth going! I'm serious! I might try dividing the rhizome next time as I don't have enough patience for cuttings. It was fun trying though.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 3:10PM
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Hi C. Jill,

I'll be thrilled if my leaf takes root. I keep thinking it will probably rot(talk about unpositive thinking!) but I like to experiment so we shall see. I'll let you all know if it roots, even if it's next year! I'm excited about a pup coming on a Kirkii I have. It is just peeking through.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2003 at 9:28PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Back in the 1970's I did many (hundreds) of leaf cuttings on several species of sanseveria using verious methods. I found my best results were to: cut the leaf with a sharp tool and stick immediately into Rootone brand rooting compound; let the cut dry in air for 12-24 hours; force the cutting into moist sharp 'silica sand'; keep in a moist-air place at about 80°. Experiments suggested the fungicide in the rootone was more important than the harmones and that sharp sand was much better than smooth sand and that 80° was much better than 70°.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 4:31PM
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Cena(S CA 10A)

The only thing I can possibly add to this excellent information is to use a Sharpie marker on the leaf before you section it, drawing little arrows to keep 'up' growing up when you plant it. The Sharpie has NO ill affects on the leaves of Sans, orchids, hoyas, or any other plant I have written on so far.

It is very helpful on small cuttings with out tags to keep names straight and where you need them till you can get the cutting rooted and a name in, on, or with the pot.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2003 at 1:16PM
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Thanks for the kind thought anyway, Karen. I might get the guts to try again soon with a leaf from one of my own plants.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2003 at 6:38PM
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I was just wondering if root cutting was preferred because it sounded like people were having more trouble with leaf cuttings.

Anyway, I have a snake that seems to be two plants in the pot, and I was going to transfer one into it's own pot. If it is actually one plant and not two, how would I go about seperating them? Is it pretty obvious where to break the roots?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2003 at 12:35PM
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Cena(S CA 10A)

Drakens, if you look over at the gallery, at the New S.t. "Laurentii" post you will see a plant torn apart. There is one picture of four leaves on the same run. This is how they grow and why it looks like two plants up top. These plants reproduce by 'runners'.

One of the big deals about leaf prop versus offsets (or pups) is that markings and variagation doesn't come true from a leaf prop.

In my plant 'tool' bucket, I keep a big ole serrated knife that I use for doing just this type of work. You can snap it apart with your hands, but then it seperates in an area of weakness that might not have been your choice place. Better to cut where you want it. You can pot it up into two pots right away, but let it dry a few days (so it can form a callous and protect from rot) before you water.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2003 at 2:34PM
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I am currently propagating a Sansevieria trifasciata `Golden Hahnii' via the division method & was searching the web for info when I came across your posting. I have since found a helpful site so thought I would put you onto it. I hope it is of use to you as it also covers Propagation by Cuttage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sansevieria Production Guide

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 3:39PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

One thing in this post that deserves emphasis is, as albert_135 noted, rooting hormone helps and definitely don't forget to let the cuttings callous over before planting. I would do this for leaf cuttings or root divisions.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 9:33PM
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buffy690(z7 S. CAROLINA)

Anyone have experience with
Sansevieria trifasciata 'Moonshine'
I removed an unattractive leaf and sent to the fair yesterday, Just incase anything happens I'd like to try and rot this piece I removed/rescued. Is it a fussy Sans?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 11:47AM
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I never rooted a moonshine but it should be the same as
the hahnii mentioned above or any other S. trifaciata. Get
a clay pot sized just big enough for the cutting, too big a pot
and it will not dry out fast enough to prevent root rot. Use
a cactus mix, prehaps add some perlite. Let cutting dry
over night or so then insert in the soil. Water only if the soil is real dry. Place in bright light with no direct sun. Water sparingly and let it dry out before watering again.
Good luck

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 2:21PM
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Your moonshine will produce 'robusta' pups from a leaf cutting, not more 'moonshine,' but robusta is pretty too, imo. I'm currently rooting a small section of my moonshine. I've read thst smaller cuttings take longer to root and/or produce fewer pups than larger cuttings.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 11:34PM
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