How To Care For a Snake Plant
August 20, 2020 by Kassi Kuppinger
Snake plants come in many shapes, sizes, colors and patterns too! In addition to being beautiful, unique looking plants, they are also very easy to care for, doing best when they are all but forgotten about. These plants are a kind of succulent, and make the perfect companions for busy people and dark corners. However, even though they are quite durable and can tolerate a variety of conditions, there are still ways you can go wrong.
These plants prefer medium, indirect sunlight.
Despite their preferences, they are often very happy in a variety of light conditions. They can handle anything from partial direct sunlight, to shady corners that only receive sparse indirect light. Be cautious of putting them in places that receive too much direct sunlight though, as the direct heat can burn the leaves of the plant. If you place your plant in a more secluded corner, you can expect growth to slow quite a bit. Also, be sure not to water it too much if you have placed it in a more shady area. With less sun and less growth, it will need much less water. If you do accidentally over-water your plant, or start to notice any symptoms of over-watering (mentioned in greater detail below), your snake plant might enjoy being placed in an area where it receives a little more light, as this will encourage plant growth and water usage, and will also help evaporate some of the water closer to the surface.
It is best to use a well draining soil.
Like with most other plants, snake plants need a well draining potting mix. You can use a potting mix specific to cactus and succulents, or you can also mix a little extra perlite or sand in with your standard potting mix. In general, it is not good to let your plant sit in wet soil, so as long as your soil drains well, you should be fine! If you do not have access to good, well draining soil, simply be wary to not over-water. If the soil really holds onto moisture, your plant will need a considerably smaller amount of water.
Generally, watering once every two weeks is just fine.
Remember, your plant is a variety of succulent, so it tends to soak up all the water it needs, storing it in its leaves. So, if there is more water in the soil than your snake plant can suck up, its roots will just sit in the soggy soil. When this happens, root rot becomes an all too likely outcome. This is why we plant them in well-draining soil, to help avoid the chance of developing root rot.
An over-watered snake plant will often start to get droopy leaves, or stalks that flop over instead of standing upright. If this starts to happen, simply avoid watering until it is completely dried out. Keep in mind, during the winter months, your plant will enter a state of dormancy, and will need considerably less water than during the summer. Always stick your fingers in the dirt before watering to see if you can feel any moisture beneath the surface. If so, hold off on watering for another week or so until no moisture can be felt in the soil.
If you are ever in doubt, it is best to water less. If the leaves start to look a little wrinkly or withered, it is easy to give your plant some more water. But if you water too much right off the bat, your plant could take weeks to dry out, increasing the likelihood of your plant developing root rot. And once this happens it is extremely difficult to combat and you risk loosing your entire plant.
Temperature and Humidity
Snake plants do not require humid environments, and prefer warm temperatures.
Snake plants grow very well in dry, arid climates, as they do not need any extra humidity. They do prefer temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so any typical indoor household temperature will do just fine, so long as it is not sitting in a window that gets direct sunlight for more than a few hours per day. In this case, the temperature near that window will reach a level that your snake plant might not enjoy, and could lead to some burn damage to your plant.
They can range anywhere from several inches to multiple feet!
These plants are wonderful in the way that they can take up wide variety of spaces, from very small to very large. Depending on the variety, they can fit nicely in a 4-inch pot and stay relatively short, or grow up to 12 feet tall. Don’t let this scare you… Sansevieria’s are very slow growing plants, and many of them will never reach this colossal size. Whatever size you purchase, you can expect a couple inches of growth per year out of a happy, healthy plant in optimum growing conditions.
Division is the most effective way to propagate snake plants!
Propagating plants is always so much fun, and with snake plants it can be very easy! The simplest method is through division. Simply remove your plant from its pot and gently pull a section of the plant apart, doing your best to cause the least amount of damage to the root system as possible. Once your plant is divided, plant each part in a separate pot, and ta-da! Give your plant a couple weeks to recover from the division and re-grow some roots that may have been damaged. Be especially careful not to over-water, and your plant will be back to its normal self before you know it!
If you do not want to divide your plant, but simply want to start growing a new snake plant, it is also possible to propagate through leaf cuttings, though this method is much more difficult and not quite as effective. Simply cut one of your plants leaves into 3-inch segments. You can place them upright in a glass of water if you would like to watch the roots develop, or you can place them in a new pot 1 inch deep in the soil and wait for the cutting to root and start popping up new leaves.
Snake plants ARE toxic to animals and humans!
Causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, ingesting any part of this plant is not recommended. So keep out of reach of pets and young children if they have a tendency to get into plants, and be sure to consult a professional if the plant is ingested.
Sometimes it can be very hard to tell what is going on with your plants, as one symptom can be the cause of multiple things. If this is the case, and you just can’t quite figure out what is going on, reach out to us!
Let us know what’s going on, send us pictures, bring your plant in, whatever it takes! We will do everything we can to help make sure your plant stays healthy and happy.