March 29, 2011

Love of Blooms
Snake Plant

Also know as Mother-in-law’s Tongue, the Snake Plant is a great accent to any interior design. It is categorized as a cactus/succulent plant, so it is considered to be an easy plant to care for (really, really easy) because it does not need constant watering and care. If you are looking for a plant to add some green to your space but don’t have the time to mother it, the Snake Plant is perfect for you!

Plant Care*
The Snake Plant likes light shade and can tolerate long periods without water. It can also tolerate long periods of complete shade! I have two mature Snake Plants in our living room, which is in complete darkness during the daytime (it’s our movie room), and the plants have been living quite contently and have even developed new leaves!

It is hardy to about  -1.1 degrees Celsius, so if you’re growing this in Calgary, you will have to remove the plants before snowfall and grow more next springtime or grow the plant(s) indoors.

The blooms are cream/tan in color and will show in mid-summer. To promote flowering, you will have to move the plant to a sunnier spot. Make sure you acclimatize the plant to its new spot or you may see burn spots on the plant. I haven’t seen my Snake Plants flower yet, but they are living in the shade right now 🙂

To propagate, divide the rhizomes of the Snake Plant or make leaf cuttings from an entire leaf. Cuttings take a very long time to develop into mature plants. If you can buy the plants for cheap, do so!

The plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions through handling. The plant is also poisonous, if ingested.



Propagation by Leaf Cutting
1. Gather your supplies – healthy and mature Snake Plant, well-draining soil mixture (use perlite – effective and cheap), sharp knife, spoon, sterilized 6 cm deep pot
2. Prepare the soil mixture. Moisten the mixture with water (soil feels like a freshly squeezed sponge). Dig a hole 4 cm deep with the back end of a spoon for the cutting.
3. Select a mature leaf (8-10 inches long). Using an sharp knife, cut the leaf horizontally as close to the bottom without damaging the leaf and surrounding leaves.
4. Place the cutting into the hole and using the back end of the spoon, firmly pat the soil around the stem to keep it firmly in place.  Several cuttings can live together in one pot.
8. Place plant in a warm (20-25 degrees Celsius), bright spot. Cooler temperature can inhibit root growth.
9. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Roots will develop slowly.
10. After the cuttings has establish a healthy root system (roots can be seen from the bottom of the pot), re-pot them in separate pots with fresh soil. Fertilize every six months. Let top soil dry between waterings.

Propagation by Rhizome Cutting
1. Gently loosen soil and remove soil from the plant. Check that the new growth has healthy roots before dividing.
2. With sharp scissors or a knife, divide the plant at the junction of the parent and the seedling. Cut close to the base of the parent plant without disturbing any roots.
3. Re-pot plants and keep soil moist but not soggy. Let top soil dry between watering.
4. Fertilize every six months.

Soil Mix
1/2 Perlite and  1/2 potting soil

Gardening Journal

May 23, 2012 – I divided my Snake Plant today! It was quite easy to identify where to cut the plant – cut below the new roots of the seedling and as close to the parent plant without disturbing any roots.I re-potted both plants in small 6 cm deep pots. The seedling will continue to live in the bright bathroom, while the parent will sit on top of my tall bookshelf in my bright, warm office. Perhaps this warm environment will provoke the parent to grow rhisomes faster…
May 21, 2012 – I was hoping the new growth of the Snake plant would grow close to the cutting, but the new growth appears as a new separate plant.

Two months growth of a new sprout from a cutting

Height of new growth: 9 cm
Height of Cutting: 21 cm
The soil has slowly depleted, so I’ve added more potting soil to help retain moisture. It now requires water every 1.5 weeks and sits happily in our bright bathroom.No roots have pushed to the surface and no roots have popped out of the bottom. The Snake plant DOES grow extremely slow…

I plan to remove and re-pot the cutting and see if it will sprout another growth.

If you want another Snake Plant, I still recommend buying a new one from Wal-mart for $3-$6. It’s not worth the wait and work to grow new plants from cuttings of a Snake Plant.

10 Months old cutting

Oct 19, 2011 – The cutting made last December (now 10 months old)  has developed more healthy roots, but there is no more above ground growth. This leads me to believe that Snake plants are NOT the ideal plant for propagation by cuttings. It would make more sense to buy more $3 plants from Wal-mart than to wait for a mature snake plant to grow from a single cutting!

The Snake Plant is extremely hardy and tolerant. I’ve left the cutting dry for a few weeks and it is still very happy! So unless you like decorating your house with single spikes of Snake Plants, I recommend buying a different plant to propagate by cutting or buy more Snake Plants.

Trick: Plant several cuttings into one pot to make it look like a mature Snake Plant.

Snake Plant – Roots (April 10)

Apr. 10, 2011 – I’ve noticed that some people have been inquiring about snake plant cuttings. So, I’ve decided to dig up my cutting (a little over three months old) and take a look at the root growth.

I grabbed the pot (the soil had dried out enough to require a deep water) and very carefully spilled the contents onto a large, clean sheet of paper. The contents spilled out quite easily.  When I was done examining, I replaced the soil by folding the paper in half and poured three quarters of the soil back into the pot, dug a hole with the back of the spoon (large enough for the roots to fit), replaced the cutting gently, and pushed the soil carefully towards the cutting until the leaf can stand firmly on its own. Do not pat the soil down firmly – this can damage the young roots. Fill the pot up with the remaining soil.

All of the above soil “growth” has been great. The leaf has very distinct stripes and a smooth waxy surface. Even the tip of the leaf is a vibrant green with no signs of wilting. The in-soil growth is more obvious. There are several roots stemming from the leaf about 1 cm long. The roots are burgundy in color with white-yellowish tips and are bunched together in three distinct bundles. The roots are strong and not flimsy at all.

I will start feeding the cutting fertilizer next week. I haven’t fed the cutting any fertilizer since the first potting. I’ve been warned that snake plants have slow growth, therefore, the plants do not require constant feed. The 6 cm deep pot takes about one week to dry out enough for the plant to require a deep watering.

Mar. 23, 2011 – It’s been almost three months and the cutting I made in December looks exactly the same (lol), which is a good thing! It means that the cutting has developed a root system and is living quite contently in its little pot.I have let the top soil dry completely dry out (the soil slides around quite easily when I tap the sides of the pot) before I water Snake plant. It takes about a week before it requires a deep watering.There hasn’t been any additional leaf growth and the roots are all enclosed in the pot – nothing popping out of the soil or out the bottom of the pot. I wonder how long it takes to grow a multi-leaf Snake plant?If you are looking to have multiple mature Snake Plants, it looks like the best idea is to just buy mature ones from Wal-mart for $2.99, rather than growing them from cuttings.
Dec. 26, 2010 – I just bought two Snake Plants from Wal-mart for $3 each! I’m very excited to make cuttings from these mature plants and have a whole bunch for spring. I will definitely have a bunch outside for the front flower bed!

*Source: Dave’s Garden

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