Are you looking for an easy-to-care houseplant? If yes, the snake plant is the perfect choice.
It is a succulent plant that can pretty much survive in any type of condition. This quality makes it suitable for even beginner plant parents.
Despite being low maintenance, snake plants look really beautiful and are often used for decorative purposes.
You may have seen this plant around as many people use it to improve their home’s aesthetic appeal.
If you are planning to add it to your home, we can help you. In this guide, we’ll show you how to grow and care for a snake plant.
What is a Snake Plant?
Snake plant is a resilient houseplant that you can use to decorate your indoor space. It is a type of succulent and a member of the lily family.
It is known by many names, like,
- Mother-in-law’s tongue
- Saint George’s sword
- Viper’s bowstring-hemp
Snake plants are native to southern Africa and can easily grow outdoors and indoors in warmer regions. This perennial plant stays evergreen throughout the year and has about 70 different species.
They got the name snake plant because of their spikey, straight, and sword-like leaves. They have green markings, which makes them appear like snakes.
However, they are toxic to cats and dogs, so you have to take necessary precautions when keeping them in your house.
Here’s a general overview of the plant:
|Common Name||Snake plant|
|Other Names||Mother in law tongue, Viper’s bowstring hemp, St. George’s sword|
|Botanical Name||Dracaena trifasciata|
|Native Area||West Africa|
|Plant Type||Evergreen perennial|
|Mature Size||6 inches to 12 feet tall in native habitat 2 feet tall when grown as a houseplant|
|Sun Exposure||Sun and partial shade|
|Soil pH||Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline|
|Plant Color||Dark green with light green and yellow border|
|Toxicity||Toxic to cats and dogs|
|Special Feature||Low Maintenance|
How to Care for Snake Plant?
Snake plants are very easy to care for because of their low-maintenance requirements. You don’t really need to fuss around the plant or water frequently.
If you are keeping a snake plant indoors, all you need to do is provide enough sunlight and water it twice or once a month. Make sure you don’t overwater the plants because they don’t do well in soggy soil.
Allow the soil to mostly dry out between watering periods. You can insert a wooden stick inside the soil to determine when it is the right time to water the plant. If the stick comes out with moisture, avoid watering.
It is best to water the plant from the bottom of the pot. This encourages deep root growth and can make the leaves thick and tall. The broad leaves of the plant can collect dust, so you need to wipe them with a damp cloth.
How to Propagate a Snake Plant?
The best thing about snake plants is that you can easily propagate them and create more plants. You don’t need to be an expert to do it, as the process is fairly simple.
The best time for propagating the plant is during the spring and summer season. There are two ways to propagate the plant – by cutting or splitting.
Here’s how you can do it:
In this method, you have to split a mature snake plant to increase its number.
- Gather supplies
You’ll need a clean knife, a clean pot, and specific potting soil for cacti and succulents.
- Remove the Plant
Take the plant out of the pot and gently remove the soil from the roots.
- Divide it
Use the knife to divide the plant into sections, ensuring each part has its own roots.
- Put it inside the soil
Plant the sections in clean pots filled with the special soil.
- Water the plant
Water the newly planted sections and place them in a partially sunny spot.
- Plant the babies
If you see baby plants growing near the mother plant, follow the same division process.
Leaf Cutting Method
This is another method you can use to propagate the snake plant. Here, instead of splitting the entire plant, you can simply cut the leaf and use it to grow another plant.
- Cut the leaf
Use a clean, sharp tool to cut a healthy, longleaf at its base.
- Place in water or soil
Put the cut end in a jar of water and place it in a partially sunny spot. You can also let the cut end dry for 24 hours and then plant it with the cut end down.
- Change water
If you’re using the water method, change the water every two weeks.
- Plant it
Roots will grow within one to four months. Once they’re about an inch long, plant the cutting in cactus potting mix.
- Water the plant
Water the planted cutting and put it in a spot with bright and indirect light.
How to Get Snake Plant to Bloom?
Flowering is rare in snake plant houseplants. However, if you maintain the optimal condition, they may produce delicate, creamy white, tube-like flowers. These flowers often bloom at night time and have a pleasant fragrance like lilies.
Here are some snake plant care tips to follow to make the plant bloom:
You need to water the plant when the soil becomes completely dry. Remember to water it deeply and just once to replenish the soil. Very frequent watering is not suitable for the plant.
During the winter season, the plant may not need much water. You can check the soil every two weeks and water it once a month. However, if you see the leaves becoming dry and brittle, increase the frequency of water.
Snake plant grows actively during the spring and summer season, so you need to water them every two weeks. Be cautious not to overwater, as it can harm the plant. Overly wet conditions can cause the root rot. One early sign of root rot is the yellowing of leaves.
For ideal growth, you need to provide your snake plant with eight to ten hours of indirect sunlight. You can also give them a few hours of direct morning sunlight. Remember to keep them in low sunlight as too much direct sun can burn the plant and damage its leaves. While snake plants can survive in the shade, lack of light can slow their growth and can even fade its color.
3. Temperature and humidity
You need to maintain a warm temperature between 70°F and 90°F for the plant to thrive. Make sure you keep it away from cold drafts.
Also, avoid exposing the plant to frost because if it is kept under 50°F for too long, it can kill the plant. Snake plants generally grow well inside households with humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.
For this type of plant, you need loose and well-draining potting soil. You can use a sandy all-purpose cactus potting mix as well. Make sure you avoid soil with high peat content, as it retains too much water and can damage the plant.
Snake plants don’t really need fertilizers because it is very resilient. However, you can still use an all-purpose fertilizer that is suitable for houseplants once in spring and once in mid-summer. Make sure you don’t add any fertilizer during the winter season.
Types of Snake Plant
There are many different varieties of snake plants available in the market. Here are some common types for indoor use:
1. Dracaena trifasciata ‘Hahnii’
This plant is commonly known as the bird’s nest snake plant. It is small and grows to just about 6 inches. The plant forms a compact rosette of dark green leaves, creating a cozy nest-like appearance.
2. Dracaena angolensis
The cylindrical snake plant has long, stiff, round leaves that can grow several feet in height. The leaves gracefully arch outward from the plant’s center, giving it a beautiful and architectural look.
3. Dracaena Pearsonii
It is commonly known as rhino grass and comes with reddish-tinted leaves. It can reach up to 12 inches, which makes it suitable for indoor use.
4. Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’
This type of snake plant has creamy yellow edges on its deep green leaves. This creates a striking contrast and adds to its overall appeal.
5. Dracaena trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’
This variety is known for its twisted leaves with horizontal stripes and yellow variegated edges. The height of this plant can go up to 15 inches.
6. Dracaena trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’
It features slender leaves with white perpendicular lines and can grow up to three feet tall. This gives the plant an eye-catching and distinctive appearance.
Potting and Repotting Snake Plant
To successfully plant snake plants, follow these simple steps:
1. Select a pot
Choose a pot that has a drainage hole at the bottom. Terracotta pots are a great choice for these plants because they help the soil dry out more quickly compared to plastic pots.
2. Use the right potting mix
Opt for a well-draining potting mix, preferably one designed for “cacti and succulents.” This type of mix is less prone to becoming waterlogged.
3. Choose the perfect spot at home
Snake plants thrive in bright and indirect light, and they can even tolerate some direct sunlight. However, they can also grow well in areas of your home with lower light levels.
4. Temperature consideration
Keep your plant in a warm location where temperatures remain above 50°F. During the winter, shield it from cold drafts near windows. This ensures your plant remains healthy and comfortable throughout the year.
You should repot this plant every three to five years or when you see the roots poking out. You can also repot it if the plant has stopped growing or if there isn’t much space in the pot.
When repotting snake plants, avoid planting them too deep. The plant should be positioned in the new container at the same depth as it was in its previous one.
Common Problems with Snake Plant
Snake plants are less problematic, but if you water them too often, it can cause root rot and infection. Here are some common problems with these plants:
1. Bad-smelling soil
Snake plants can start smelling bad due to root rot. If you notice a foul smell coming from the soil, check the root. If it appears to be brown and mushy, you need to cut off that part and put the healthy part back inside the soil.
2. Common Pests
Common houseplant pests like spider mites, scales, whiteflies, mealybugs, and aphids can trouble snake plants. You can remove most of them by hand or by gently spraying the plant with water. If there’s an infestation, use neem oil.
3. Brown or Yellow Leaves
Healthy snake plant leaves are green with cream, yellow, or white edges. Yellow or brown leaves could signal issues like overwatering, pests, or root issues. Make sure you water the plant only when the soil is dry to avoid this problem.
4. Leaves Falling Off
Healthy snake plant leaves stand straight. However, excessive watering, insufficient light, or poor soil can cause them to droop. Move the plant to a brighter area, water less often, and consider using well-draining soil to help the leaves stand tall and strong.
5. Curling Leaves
Curling leaves might indicate a pest issue like thrips. You can trim the affected leaves and use neem oil to keep these pests away.
Benefits of Snake Plant
Snake plants have many benefits, and they are of great use for improving your home design. The best thing about these plants is that they are great for new plant owners. Here are some benefits of growing this plant:
- This plant has a distinct shape, which makes it great for decorating your home.
- You can easily propagate snake plants to grow more plants.
- It can survive in various light conditions, including low-light settings.
- This plant grows vertically, which makes it an ideal fit for smaller areas.
- It is very low-maintenance and perfect for those new to gardening.
- Snake plants are very resilient and incredibly strong.
- It can withstand periods of drought and needs minimal watering.
There is no concrete evidence that sugar water is good for the plant.
The only problem with this plant is that it is toxic for dogs and cats.
Snake plants make the perfect housewarming gift as they bring good luck.
Houseplants have become very common these days as they bring positivity to the house and make the space more appealing. Many people are keeping snake plants inside the house as they are easy to care for and can survive indoors. You just need to keep it in low sunlight and water it when the soil is dry.
Unlike other plants, they don’t need regular maintenance, which makes them perfect for busy people. With our guide, you can easily grow and care for a snake plant in your home.