Repotting and Dividing Birdsnest Sansevieria

Houseplants| Indoor Gardening

This Birdsnest Sansevieria is one of my favorite houseplants (and that is saying something since I, Amanda, have over 60).  Sometime last year, I noticed two baby shoots growing out of the side. I was ecstatic. I checked with Judy, our FGS houseplant coach, and asked her whether I should divide it or wait. She told me to wait for two reasons: 1.  The babies need to grow bigger. 2. It was not houseplant repotting season. (Houseplant repotting season?  Why, yes.  That is a thing.  PRO TIP: Your houseplants should be repotted or divided–when necessary–during the late spring and summer months, when they are in their growing season.)  So here we are in the middle of April. The babies grew and the houseplant repotting season has begun. 

Mama Sansevieria is on the left in the below pic.  The two babies are sprouting out on the right side.  It is time for them to leave the nest and have their own.  Repotting a sansevieria and separating the babies is probably not something you do every day. 

Here are step by step instructions:

1. To divide the sansevieria, the first thing is to gingerly remove the plant from its pot.  The soil was pretty dry, so it came out very easily. This is what it looked like:


2. Gingerly loosen the roots and remove quite a bit of the soil off the roots.  Don’t worry. This is a good thing. We are going to give the roots fresh soil (and keep some of the old) so that they can grow even better. Once you loosen the soil, you will start to see where the babies have grown out the side of the mother plant.  They are like little shoots that are growing out the side. Try to reveal as much of the baby shoots as possible.There will be roots growing out of the baby shoots as well.

3. VERY GENTLY pull the babies, one at a time, away from the mama plant.  I know this may cause some of you sadness. You really are doing the babies a favor.  When I GENTLY pulled, the babies popped right off. But if you are gently pulling and this doesn’t happen, use a sharp knife or clippers and cut the baby shoot off as close to the base of the shoot and as close to the mama plant as possible. Here is what I was left with:

4. Mix the old soil with new soil.  I used this amazing Espoma Organic Cactus mix.  Sansevieria is a succulent, so they will do best with soil formulated for cacti and succulents.  Using some of the old soil means it won’t be such a shock to your plants. Consider the old soil to be a comfort to your plant in a new environment. 

5. Fill the bottom of the new pots with enough soil so that when the plant is placed in the pot, the base of the plant (where you fill with soil up to) is about ½ inch from the rim of the pot. 

6. Place the plant in the soil.  Make sure the soil level is correct, and then begin filling around the plant with soil.  Gently press the soil down and tap the planter on a hard surface to settle the soil. Do not pack the soil too tightly around the roots.  They need to be able to breathe a little. Again, leave about a ½ inch from the rim of the pot to the soil so you have room for watering. 

7. Water your newly planted babies and mama.  Snap a pic. Share it on your favorite social platform and tag us @fgsdurham.  And if you happen to actually snap a picture with approximately 12 plants in the background completely covering your counter space, you’re our favorite, a fellow plant hoarder, and we love you.

8. The next time you fertilize your plants, make sure to fertilize these new plants as well.  Most indoor plant fertilizers suggest fertilizing every two weeks in spring and summer (April-August).  Be sure to read the directions and follow the instructions on whatever fertilizer you choose. Our favorite is the Espoma Organic Indoor Houseplant Food.


And that’s all, friends! As always, if you need help with repotting your plants, or any other plant related question, we are here for you.  Happy dividing and repotting!