Snake Plant Care: A Guide to Growing and Nurturing this Resilient Houseplant

A tall dark green snake plant sansevieria grows in a gold urn pot

Sansevierias, formerly known as Dracaenas, have become very popular as easy-care houseplants. In this article, we will explore valuable snake plant care tips that will help you keep your plant thriving.

Snake Plant Traits

Nell Foster holds a large Snake Plant in her brightly lit living room

Snake Plants, also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, are treasured for their striking appearance and robust nature. With their strong, sword-like leaves, they add a touch of boldness and character to any space. These evergreen perennials can withstand various conditions, making them incredibly low-maintenance and ideal for both indoor and outdoor settings.

Size

Snake Plants come in a range of sizes, from 8 inches to 9 feet when grown as houseplants. Some varieties can be found in different pot sizes, including 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches.

Growth Rate

Sansevierias are generally slow growers. They spread through underground stems called rhizomes, which produce new growth. The growth rate depends on the amount of natural light they receive. In brighter light, they tend to grow faster, while lower light conditions may slow down their growth.

Uses

Snake Plants are versatile and can be used as tabletop or narrow floor plants. They also make excellent additions to dish gardens and kokedama arrangements.

Snake Plant Care Guide

A woman shown in her kitchen holding a clay pot with a snake plant

Snake Plant Light Requirements

Snake Plants prefer medium light levels, such as being placed about 10 feet away from west or south-facing windows. However, they can tolerate both lower and higher light conditions, making them incredibly adaptable. It’s important to avoid direct, hot sun exposure, as it can lead to leaf burn. Indirect sunlight is their sweet spot.

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Snake Plant Watering

Snake Plants have low water requirements compared to many other houseplants, making them perfect for those who tend to neglect watering. It’s crucial not to overwater them, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Allow the soil to dry out almost completely before watering thoroughly. The watering frequency varies depending on factors such as the environment, soil type, and pot size. Generally, watering every two to eight weeks should suffice. Adjust the schedule based on the specific needs of your plant.

Humidity Levels

Snake Plants can tolerate average household humidity levels, making them adaptable to various indoor environments. They can also thrive in bathrooms with higher humidity levels or in drier regions like the desert.

Temperature

Snake Plants can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. As long as your home is comfortable for you, it will be suitable for your plants. However, avoid placing them in areas with cold or hot drafts. In extremely cold climates, it’s crucial to bring them indoors before the temperatures drop too low.

Fertilizing Snake Plants

Spring and summer are the best times to fertilize your Snake Plants. Choose a balanced fertilizer and apply it as directed. Avoid over-fertilizing, as excessive salts can accumulate and harm the plant’s roots. Adjust the fertilizing schedule based on your climate zone and the specific needs of your plants.

Snake Plant Soil

Snake Plants are not picky about soil requirements, but it’s important to use well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A mix of succulent and cactus soil combined with potting soil in a 1:1 ratio works well. If the soil feels too heavy, you can add pumice or perlite to improve the aeration and drainage. Ensure that the pot has at least one drainage hole for excess water to flow out.

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Repotting

Snake Plants thrive when slightly pot-bound, so repotting is not often necessary. Repotting every three to seven years is usually sufficient. If your plant is in low light and not showing much growth, repotting every five to ten years should be adequate. When repotting, use a well-draining soil mix and make sure there is sufficient drainage in the new pot.

Pests

Snake Plants are relatively pest-resistant, but in unfavorable conditions, they may attract mealybugs or spider mites. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation and treat them accordingly using insecticidal soap, neem oil, or a DIY spray. Take swift action to control pests, as they can quickly spread to other plants.

Cleaning Your Snake Plant

To keep your Snake Plant healthy and looking its best, wipe off any dust from the leaves with a damp cloth. This simple task helps improve the plant’s overall health and appearance.

Propagating Snake Plants

A collage of three pictures of snake plants

Propagating Snake Plants is easy and a great way to expand your collection. Division and leaf cuttings are the most common methods for propagating these plants. When propagating with leaf cuttings, place them in a loose soil mix until they develop roots. Dividing the plant or removing offsets (pups, babies) from the mother plant are also effective methods for propagation.

Safe For Pets

While Snake Plants are generally safe for pets, it’s important to note that they are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. Monitor your pets’ interactions with the plants and ensure they are not ingesting any parts. If you have concerns, it’s best to consult the ASPCA website for more information.

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Snake Plant Flowers

Although Snake Plants can produce flowers, it is relatively rare when grown indoors. Flowering tends to be inconsistent and depends on various factors. When they do flower, the flowers have a pale whitish or greenish hue and emit a delightful, sweet fragrance.

Snake Plant Care Video Guide

Snake Plant Care FAQs

The vibrant foliage of a Sansevieria Laurentii snake plant

Are you new to houseplant gardening? Consider adding one or two Snake Plants to your collection. They are perfect for beginners, as they can withstand dry indoor air and require minimal attention. Snake Plants are commonly seen in offices and public spaces due to their resilience. Some popular varieties to consider are Sansevieria Zeylanica and Sansevieria Laurentii.

To summarize, Snake Plants are incredibly resilient and low-maintenance. They thrive in dry air and can handle neglect with ease. Their bold and architectural appearance makes them a favorite among plant enthusiasts. With numerous species and varieties to choose from, you’re sure to find one that captures your heart.

This article was originally published on 5/6/2017 and has been updated on 3/27/2020 and 8/17/2023.

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster