How to propagate sansevieria

sansevieria, also known as bowstring hemp
sansevieria, also known as bowstring hemp

Bowstring hemp looks decorative and is very easy to care for. Propagation is also quite easy, whether by leaf cuttings or offshoots.

All species and varieties of sansevieria, also known as bowstring hemp, are easy to propagate yourself. Leaf cuttings or plant cuttings are particularly suitable for this purpose. Dry heating air is no problem for the Sansevieria, which is sometimes disparagingly called “mother-in-law’s tongue” because of its pointed leaves. In places where many other houseplants have long since given up, it feels perfectly at home without much care and enriches the room with its timeless, clear lines.

Propagate bowstring hemp: What is the right substrate?

For bowstring hemp, it is best to use a special substrate that is low in nutrients. Cactus soil is particularly suitable in the case of Sansevieria, which belongs to the succulents, or a mixture of houseplant soil and sand in a ratio of 3:1. Only with the right substrate does the bowstring hemp form an extensive root system, because the plant must literally search for nutrients and in the process extend its roots throughout the pot. The more nutrients the substrate contains, the worse the rooting process. Only later is the young bowstring hemp transplanted into soil with more nutrients. At each stage, however, the substrate must have a high pore volume and be free of siltation, so that harmful waterlogging in the soil can not occur.

Propagate sansevieria by leaf cuttings: Step by step

You would like to delight not only yourself, but also family and friends with a small sansevieria plant at the same time? Then leaf cuttings are the best way to do it. After all, the sansevieria has the ability to form new growing points and roots after the separation or injury of a leaf. Here is a step by step guide on how to propagate bowstring hemp by cuttings and tips on how to care for it afterwards.

Cut off bowstring hemp leaf

To propagate bowstring hemp, the first thing you do is cut one or more leaves from the mother plant with a sharp knife or scissors just above the ground. This can be done year-round. Make sure the blade is as clean as possible to prevent pathogens from entering the wound.

Divide the leaf

Next, cut each leaf into sections at least five cm (2 in) long, but feel free to make them twice as long. If you bevel the underside a bit when cutting the leaf cuttings, you’ll have an easier time with the direction of growth later when potting. If you have a fiber pen handy, you can also simply draw small arrows on the leaves, these will then show where the bottom is.

Allow cuttings to dry

Before putting the cuttings into the soil, the cuttings should first be allowed to air dry for a few days. How long you should wait also depends on the thickness of the leaves and, therefore, the variety of bowstring hemp used. The thinner the leaves, the shorter the drying time.

Fill a pot with cactus soil

Place clay shards on the drainage holes of the pot and fill in a thin layer of clay granules as drainage. Drainage will prevent waterlogging, which is harmful to plants. Now the pot can be filled with soil. Cactus or succulent soil is best for the cuttings. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of houseplant soil and clay granules or coarse sand in a ratio of 3:1.

Planting the cuttings

Insert the cuttings into the soil to a depth of about 3 cm(1.2 in). If you arrange them close together in a fishbone-like pattern in the growing pot, you will be able to fit most of the potential seedlings in a space-saving manner. The side that was already down before when growing should also be put back into the substrate like this.

Place cuttings in a bright place and care for them

Choose a bright location. However, the cuttings should not be exposed to direct sunlight during the growing phase. The plants grow well at a propagation temperature of 20 to 25 °C / 68 to 77 °F, later it may be a little cooler. It can take several weeks, sometimes even months, for roots to form. When caring for the plants, one should be careful with watering during this time, as the children of the bowstring hemp are very sensitive to moisture. The substrate is allowed to dry superficially in between, after all, the bowstring hemp belongs to the succulents.

How to obtain offsets from the bowstring hemp?

Your bowstring hemp has grown too big or you want to make two from one plant? Then dividing is a good way to propagate. Propagation is most successful in the spring or when the bowstring hemp is due for repotting anyway because, for example, the bowstring hemp’s roots are threatening to burst the container. This method is also suitable for patterned species such as Sansevieria trifasciata, with variegated varieties retain color and patterning.

First, carefully get the bowstring hemp out of its growing container. You can carefully shake off any loose soil. If the root network is very dense, pull the roots apart with feeling. Often you can now recognize daughter rosettes or offshoots, which are somewhat separated from the main plant. Now divide the mother plant, you can certainly use a clean knife. Then plant each piece of bowstring hemp in a new pot with the appropriate growing medium. Promising success is also now a warm and bright location without direct sunlight.

In the case of a bowstring hemp with very long leaves, there is a risk that it will topple over together with the growing container. Here it is useful to fill in some heavier stones at the bottom of the pot before repotting to shift the center of gravity downwards.

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