While growing snake plants (Dracaena trifasciata) in potting soil is the most common technique, there are also several options to grow snake plants in water successfully. This guide will cover the feasibility of growing snake plants in water, plus we’ll share some popular techniques and the primary considerations to be aware of.
Can Snake Plants Grow in Water?
One of the most common ways of propagating snake plants is to use a jar of water. This encourages young snake plant pups to develop strong roots before moving them into soil.
However, you can actually grow snake plants permanently in water, which is known as hydroponics. Although snake plants won’t grow quite as well in water as they would in soil, they’ll still be perfectly healthy. This works for all types of snake plants.
This seems odd, considering that snake plants are susceptible to overwatering, which causes waterlogged soils and root rot. However, it’s not necessarily the water that causes root rot but a lack of aeration and drainage within the soil.
Snake plants need well-draining soils that still hold a bit of moisture. If the soil doesn’t drain quickly enough or provide enough airflow, root rot can set in. But in a jar of water, the roots can access plenty of oxygen and are unlikely to rot.
Under optimal growing conditions, your snake plant may even produce flowers.
How to Grow Snake Plants in Water
Growing snake plants permanently in water is relatively easy. However, snake plants growing in water need careful monitoring and care compared to snake plants growing in soil.
It’s easier to use recently propagated snake plant pups, but you can also divide mature plants. You can do this by separating individual leaves or cutting the plant into two or three clumps. Here’s a quick guide to growing snake plants in water:
- Select some clean glass vases for your snake plant sections.
- Wash off any excess soil around the roots.
- Fill the containers with room-temperature distilled or filtered water. You can also use tap water that’s been left sitting for 24 hours. For pups and small cuttings, provide enough water to cover the roots and about an inch of the stem. For larger cuttings, the water should cover 2 inches of stem.
- Place your snake plant sections into the jars. You can use clean pebbles to help anchor the plants and make the jar look nice. It’ll take a few weeks for each plant to start growing roots.
- Position the jars somewhere that gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Maintain temperatures between 60 and 90ºF and humidity levels between 30 and 50%. Protect your snake plants from cold or dry drafts.
- As the water evaporates, top it up regularly. Once or twice a month, change the water completely. If you see lots of algae forming in the jar, wash it thoroughly with warm, soapy water.
- To provide vital nutrients, add some diluted liquid fertilizer (or even some coffee grounds) once a month. Stop fertilizing during the winter.
Despite being drought-tolerant succulents, snake plants can be grown permanently in water and should happily thrive for years with a little care and attention. Always make sure to change the water regularly and supplement it with liquid fertilizer.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.