New shoots are growing in same pot as my mother-in-law’s tongue…what to do?


The Dracaena species known as snake plants or mother-in-law's tongue were until recently considered a separate genus, Sansevieria, but have been reclassified following molecular examination.

Your mother-in-law's-tongue or snake plant produces offshoots that pop up through the soil in this manner. They are sometimes referred to as pups and can be removed from the parent plant to grow additional snake plants once they are a couple of inches tall. It is also fine to leave them in the pot where they are unless the offshoots are beginning to crowd the plant out of the pot.

To plant up a pup as a new plant, you begin by preparing a small pot with succulent potting mixture. Choosing a pot with a drainhole is important. Use a soil mixture that does not have any added fertilizer. 

Gently remove the entire plant with pups from its container. The root ball and soil will generally hold together while you explore the offshoot. Follow the offshoot under the soil to where it begins to have roots of its own and then sever the connection to the parent plant below a few roots using a sterile knife. 

Now you can return the parent plant to its pot and gently plant the pup in the freshly prepared container. Make sure you insert it into the potting mixture so that the lighter white and green part of the plant is above the soil line and the darker rooting portion is below. (If you bury any part of the stem it will rot.) Care for you pup as though it is a mature plant!

For more information on growing these Dracaena, visit our Guide to Snake Plants.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service


  • Last Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Views 6674
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

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