Happy 2020 to you all! I can’t get over how futuristic that sounds, but anyway. Thanks so much for the lovely feedback on the A-Z of Houseplants project I created + shared over December if you want to see the complete blogpost have a look here.

Let’s be honest, winter plant care can sometimes be a rather uninspiring activity when the days are pretty dark + gloomy, some plants are dormant + some are struggling. So at this time of year, I like to take cuttings of any plants that need a trim, or are not doing so well + root them. Yes, this process is also slower in winter, but it still works — it’s just a practice of patience.

So what better way to start the new year than with a propagation experiment.

A plant I always root over winter is my Tradescantia fluminensis tricolour (above) because it has a tendency to get a bit crispy as the delicate, thin foliage has the dry-air-central-heating-hell to contend with. These stems can live happily in water for quite a while which is much appreciated. Of course, the plant that is always propagating here is the pilea family, my main plant has got to that stage where pups are coming thick and fast!


snake plant trio

The two plants I often get questions about propagating when I post them on my Instagram are my Sansevieria (Snake plants) + Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ’s), so today I wanted to show you the process in some more depth. At the end of the post I’ll share my propagation tips, but first, some progress photos of my plants…

| propagation station… aka my kitchen table |

Snake plants (or ‘mother-in-laws tongue’/ sansevieria) were a new propagation experiment for me in 2019 as I had a few stems hanging around after repotting my dad’s plant over the Summer which I stared rooting in September. I also repotted one of my larger Sansevieria plants a few weeks ago and found that one of the stems felt a bit soggy. They can sometimes rot at the base or go into to a bit of a shock after being repotted but as it was just one stem, I wasn’t too worried. If you notice this early on there is a chance you will be able to still root the stem just cut a few inches above the damaged area. It is worth saying however that it is always best to take cuttings of healthy plants. Here it is no sign of roots yet:


These are my smaller cuttings I chopped in September that I photographed on November 3rd:

Here’s a visual guide of how to take stem cuttings of your sansevieria:



The progress on the December 1st:

+ on January 4th:

Today January 9th:

snake plant roots

you get the idea – it’s a sloooowwwww process!


If you thought snake plants took their time to root, then let me test your patience even further with ZZ plants. I have had a stem cutting of my ZZ raven in water, which has been rooting for…almost a year.

Roots on my ZZ raven stem cutting after nearly 12 months:


How to take STEM cuttings of your ZZ plant:


If you are in the mood for an alternative method, you can also propagate Zamioculcas zamiifolia leaves by placing them in potting mix (mix in some perlite) — they will grow tubers over time under the surface and eventually roots will form like this:


  • When cutting your stem, use a sharp, clean blade and leave to callus over on a paper towel. For snake plants, cutting in an inverted V [^] shape will provide a larger surface area for the stem to grow roots.
  • Make sure to keep out of direct sunlight at this stage.
  • After 5-7 days, the end of the stem should have ‘sealed over’ + dried… this is when you want to place into water. I like to use old jam jars etc for things like Snake plants + ZZ’s as the wide neck of the vessel holds the stem up nicely.
  • Keep in a bright, indirect spot – all my propagations are on a shelf that is approximately 1 metre away from my south facing window.
  • Change the water when you remember – ideally once every 7-10 days.
  • Be patient + almost forget about them!
  • Pot when roots are few cm’s long in a free draining potting mix with added bark + perlite.

Hope this has been helpful for those of you that fancy a bit of a propagation experiment this January. If you are interested in succulent propagation there is a post  all about that here.   If you also share your plants on instagram + want to share your propagation experiments then use my hashtags #houseplanthouse #propagatewithme

Thanks for reading!  If you have any blogpost requests please get in touch

— Laura


Posted by:Laura HPH

4 replies on “How to root Sansevieria + ZZ plants (propagating my way through winter)

  1. These are actually known as ‘leaf cuttings’, since they lack any stem. Except for succulents, not many plants can be propagated by leaf cuttings. Some leaves will grow roots, but not adventitious growth that develops into new plants.


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