Snake Plant Care: How to Grow and Maintain

The snake plant is one of the easiest plants to care for because it’s forgiving and doesn’t require much. It’s also the best starter plant.

Snake plant in a black planter.

Information about the snake plant

Snake plants are one of the most popular houseplants because they’re low-maintenance, tolerant, and the tall, sword-shaped leaves look great.

Related: 8 best plants for your balcony

The following are information and facts about the snake plant:

  • Botanical name: Dracaena trifasciata. Its former name was sansevieria trifasciata.
  • Family: Asparagaceae.
  • Native area: Southern and central Africa.
  • Height: Up to 12 feet.
  • Other names: Laurentii, mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plant, St. George’s sword, viper’s bowstring hemp, and sansevieria.
  • Benefits: Filter indoor air and absorb toxic pollutants (Source: NASA).
  • Toxicity: Toxic to dogs, cats, and humans if consumed.

Caring for a snake plant

Caring for a snake plant is easy because it doesn’t require much. The two things that’ll negatively affect snake plants are watering them too much and freezing conditions. Everything you need to know to grow and maintain a snake plant is as follows.

Pot

While you can use any type of pot, the key feature to look for is a drainage hole. This will allow excess water to drain out of the pot, which prevents rotting and fungus.

Like all plants, there’ll come a time where you have to repot your snake plant. There are two ways to know that it’s time to repot it.

The first is if you see the roots growing out of the drainage hole. The second way is if the ceramic pot cracks or plastic pot bulges out.

For size, the pot should be one size up from the plant size. If you have a 6-inch snake plant, it should go in an 8-inch pot. If you have a 10-inch snake plant, it should go in a 12-inch pot.

Since snake plants spread out when they grow, focus on getting a wider pot instead of a deeper one.

Water

Water your snake plant every 2 to 4 weeks. The frequency depends on the environment that you live in. However, the rule of thumb is to allow the soil to become dry before watering it again.

When you water your snake plant, do so until the water drains. That’ll ensure you did it thoroughly. Also, make sure you water the soil and not the leaves because it can build up in the middle.

Overwatering will cause the roots to rot. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’re overwatering, check the leaves. If the snake plant has droopy leaves, it’s likely due to soggy soil and too much water.

During the winter or colder weather, scale back the frequency of watering. When it’s warm or during the summer, you may need to water more frequently. The key is to allow the soil to dry between watering sessions.

Soil

The best soil for snake plants is one that drains freely because their roots are prone to rotting. Well-draining soil, such as a mix made for succulents, and cacti is perfect.

It provides better drainage and evaporation. Regular potting mix can trap the air and water, which causes the soil to maintain moisture.

You can also make customized soil for your plant by combining potting soil with compost and succulent and cacti mix.

Light

Snake plants love bright, indirect light. However, they’re versatile and can thrive in low light and direct light. Their versatility and ability to adapt are what make them great houseplants.

When given brighter light, they’ll grow more quickly. However, too much bright sunlight and the leaves may burn.

Temperature

Being a tropical plant, it loves warmer temperatures. 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot for new growth and a happy plant.

While the snake plant is forgiving and tough, it doesn’t do well with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s cold, keep your plant away from windows and anywhere that cold air flows, including the air conditioner.

Propagating a snake plant

There are several ways to propagate your snake plant. The first method is to put the plant in water. To use the water method, take the following steps:

  1. Fill a cup or container large enough to hold the plant with clean water.
  2. Cut a leaf from the snake plant with shears or sharp scissors.
  3. Wash the cutting with water.
  4. Place the cutting in the cup or container of clean water.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 for 3 or more cuttings.
  6. After 4 weeks, you’ll see the roots begin to grow. Take them out of the water and plant them into a small pot with soil.

The second method is to pot the cuttings. To do this, take the following steps:

  1. Prepare a pot with potting mix.
  2. Cut 3 or more leaves with shears or sharp scissors.
  3. Plant them into the pot with soil.
  4. Water the soil once every two weeks.

Both methods of propagating work well. After you plant them into a pot, it’s important to allow the soil to completely dry before watering them again.

Propagating snake plants is straight-forward and you can end up with many plants to keep or give as gifts.

Pests and problems

Snake plants are resistant to pests, and they’re easygoing. Overwatering and poor conditions are the two factors that’ll result in pests and root rotting.

If you notice pests on your plant, take action immediately because they’ll cause your plant to weaken and stop its growth.

You don’t need to use pesticides or harsh chemical. Instead, give your plant a shower with room temperature water and allow it to fully drain. Then, make sure it’s getting at least 6 hours of bright and indirect sunlight.

You can also spray or water your plant with a homemade solution. The following are three effective methods:

  • Hydrogen peroxide. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with four parts water. Then, water your plant like you normally would. The water will fizz when you pour it on the soil.
  • Rubbing alcohol. Mix water and rubbing alcohol at a 1-to-1 ratio. Spray your plant or wipe the leaves.
  • Dish soap. Mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap with 1 cup of water and spray your plant.

Conclusion

Snake plants are one of the easiest houseplants to take care of. They’re vibrant green and yellow succulents that have sword-shaped leaves. They look great, but they also help to purify the air. If you want a low-maintenance plant, this is the one to get.

More resources:

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola and Luna, the destination for home improvement and decor. He launched Nola and Luna to share DIY how-to’s, inspiration, reviews, shopping guides, and expert advice to help you create a beautiful home.

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