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    How to Grow and Care For Snake Plant

    If you are looking for a low-maintenance houseplant, look no further than the Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata). This succulent houseplant hails from Africa and is sometimes called “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue” or “Bowstring Hemp”. The Snake Plant can thrive in a variety of light conditions including low light and as a succulent, it requires infrequent watering. This makes it a forgiving plant for frequent travelers or perhaps neglectful plant parents. 
    blog post authorLeslie Cramer
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    If you are looking for a low-maintenance houseplant, look no further than the Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata). This succulent houseplant hails from Africa and is sometimes called “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue” or “Bowstring Hemp”. 
    The Snake Plant can thrive in a variety of light conditions including low light and as a succulent, it requires infrequent watering. This makes it a forgiving plant for frequent travelers or perhaps neglectful plant parents. 

    What is a Snake Plant?

    A Snake Plant is a succulent with dark green leaves. The sword-like leaves grow straight out of the ground, so you won’t see a stem or a stalk. Beginners love this plant because it can grow quite tall and make a great accent in your home, even in low-light areas
    Other varieties of the Snake Plant include the Hahnii which is shorter and in more of a bird’s nest configuration. Snake Plant leaves can be solid, striped, speckled, and vary across subtypes. 

    Types of Snake Plant

    There are many different species of Snake Plant. Here are some of our favorites:
    • Sansevieria Cylindrica/Dracaena Cylindrica - The dark green leaves of this cylindrical snake plant looks less like swords and more like spikes. 
    • Sansevieria Laurentii/Dracaena Laurentii - A popular species, the yellow leaf margins make this type very distinctive. The center of the leaves have a zigzag pattern of dark and light green similar to typical Trifasciata.
    Sansevieria Trifasciata/Dracaena Trifasciata ”Bantel’s Sensation” -  this species has long white vertical stripes near the edges of the leaves.
    • Dracaena Pearsonii “Rhino Grass” - This is another cylindrical snake plant that grows together in what looks like an over-sized clump of grass.
    What are the benefits of Snake Plants?
    Having a Snake Plant in your home has lots of benefits.  Like all other plants, it produces oxygen and removes air pollutants for better air quality in your home. One NASA study found that Snake Plants in particular remove formaldehyde from the air.

    Snake Plant Care Guide

    Dracaena (Sansevieria)
    Snake Plant
    Asparagaceae
    Beginner
    10-24” per year
    Balanced all purpose fertilizer once a year in the spring
    Low light, medium light, bright indirect light
    Low water needs. Only water when completely dry.
    Succulent Soil
    Neutral to acidic (5.5. To 7.5)
    Leaf cuttings or division of mother plant
    Rare. Once per year in the spring
    55-85F
    North, East, West-facing
    9-11
    Toxic to dogs and cats
    Spider Mites, Root Rot, Mealybugs, 
    Botanical Name
    Common Name
    Family
    Difficulty
    Growth Rate
    Fertilizer
    Sun Exposure
    Water
    Soil Type
    Soil Ph
    Propagate
    Bloom Time
    Temperature
    Window Locations (Ideal)
    USDA Hardiness Zones
    Toxicity
    Troubleshooting
    Where to Buy
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    How to Care For Snake Plant

    Snake Plant "Sansevieria trifasciata" Black Gold Extreme snake plant on isolated white background
    Image Source:Photo by Bilal photos on Getty ImagesSnake plants are some of the easiest plants to care for and are fairly tolerant of low light conditions.

    Your Snake Plant likes dry air, and indirect light, and is drought tolerant. It will do well outside in USDA hardiness zones 9-11
    Easy to care for, this plant is perfect for beginners inside or outdoors!

    💧 Water

    This is a drought-tolerant plant. Only water when the soil of your Snake Plant is completely dry. Overwatering is a common issue with these and will lead to root rot. If you notice your leaves are getting squishy and start falling over, this is a sign of overwatering and root rot. 
    It is very difficult to underwater your Snake Plant. In the winter, they can go months without water. During the growing season, they only need to be watered once every 2 weeks approximately. It’s best to check that the soil is completely dry before watering instead of going on a schedule. 
    How often should I water my snake plants?
    In the summer, ~every 2 weeks. In the winter, once every few months. Generally, wait until all of the soil is completely dry. Snake plants are very much a set-it-and-forget-it type of plant.
    Can I water my snake plant with tap water?
    Yes, you can water your Snake Plant with tap water. We recommend letting the tap water sit for an hour or so to let the chlorine evaporate.
    Should I water snake plants from top or bottom?
    The snake plant is not picky about how you water it. It just only wants water when it’s dying of thirst. You can bottom water your snake plant if you wish by setting it in your sink and filling up the sink with water. Make sure that the top of your pot is not submerged in water. Allow your Snake plant to sit in water for 15-20 minutes. Remove the snake plant and allow the water to fully drain from the pot.
    When top watering, use a watering can and water thoroughly making sure all of soil becomes moist. Allow water to drain through the pot. If you're using a pot without a drainage hole, we recommend only watering with a measured cup of water half the size of your pot.
    What does an overwatered Snake plant look like?
    Overwatered Snake Plants may start to develop yellowing in their leaves. Their leaves may start to become squishy, limp and your snake plant may start to droop.

    ☀️ Sunlight

    When kept as an indoor plant, the Snake Plant enjoys low light to indirect bright light. In low light, the plant will be a slower grower. Increasing the light will increase the growth rate. 
    You can place your Snake Plant pretty much anywhere in your space - near north, south, east, or west-facing windows. Snake plants also make a great option for bathrooms.
    However, be careful to avoid direct sunlight which may cause sunburn on the leaves. If you notice yellow and brown spots on your plant after it has been in direct sunlight, this may be sunburn. 

    🌡️ Temperature and Humidity

    This African plant loves dry air. It will hold up in front of the vent which kills all of your other plants.
    It doesn’t want your humidifier. It likes to be warm and dry like other succulent plants.

    🌱 Best Soil for Snake Plant

    The best soil for your Snake Plant is well-draining succulent or cactus soil. This includes a mix of potting soil, peat moss, perlite, sand, and orchid bark in most cases.
    Soil is critical for your Snake Plant's health in particular because it determines how your plant will handle your watering schedule. Well-draining soil will ensure that your Snake Plant's soil doesn't become soggy which can lead to root rot.

    🌻 Fertilizer

    Your Snake Plant doesn’t need a lot of fertilization. It will appreciate a balanced fertilizer diluted in water once per year in the spring as it starts its growing season. 

    ☢️ Toxicity

    The Snake Plant is toxic to dogs and cats. It can cause nausea and vomiting. 
    Top view of Sansevieria trifasciata ornamental plants on the pot.
    Image Source:Photo of Elisa Irmalia on Getty ImagesTop view of Sansevieria trifasciata ornamental plants on the pot.

    How to Propagate Snake Plant By Leaf Cuttings

    Propagate by leaf cuttings. Step-by-step guide to propagating a Snake Plant from cuttings in soil:
    1. Cut a leaf in an inverted V-shape at the desired length with a clean cutting utensil. 
    2. Allow the cut end to completely callous (turn white and dry) over 24 hours.
    3. Place the cutting, callous side down in a pot with cactus soil mix. 
    4. Do not water until the cutting has sprouted roots. You will know it is rooted when it is stabilized in the pot.
    5. Place in bright indirect light until fully rooted and new pups have sprouted. 
    6. You can also propagate in water using the same steps and transfer to soil once the roots are 3-4 inches long. 
    How long does it take to propagate the Snake Plant?
    New roots will emerge from your Snake Plant cutting roughly 3-4 weeks for soil-based propagation and 2-3 weeks for water based propagation. Water-based propagation is a faster way to propagate than soil-based as it takes much less energy for the roots to develop.
    How do you propagate Snake Plants fast?
    The fastest way to propagate plants is through division rather than leaf cuttings.

    How to Propagate Snake Plant By Division

    Another way to propagate the Snake Plant is with the division of the mother plant. It is best to divide the plant in the spring before the growing season starts. Here is a step-by-step guide to propagating by division:
    • Gently grab the plant as close to the bottom as possible and tilt the pot and the plant sideways.
    • Pull gently to remove the plant from the pot without breaking the roots.
    • Gently break up the root ball and locate clumps and rhizomes under the soil. 
    • Pull apart at the desired location for your new plant. It can be just 1 rhizome, or a group of them. It will be easier to split the plant in half or in thirds versus a single rhizome at a time. 
    • Replace the mother plant to the pot and give the new plant(s) a new pot(s) with well-draining soil, a drainage hole, and water thoroughly.

    How to Repot Snake Plant

    The Snake Plant is medium growing and will require repotting every 2-3 years to maintain a healthy root system. Repotting will promote new growth and new leaves. 
    Here is a guide to repot your Snake Plant:
    • Grab as much of the base of the plant as possible and tilt the pot on its side.
    • Gently pull the plant and its soil from the pot.
    • Prep a pot that is approximately 2 inches larger than the previous container by filling the bottom with well-draining potting mix, perlite, and orchid bark. 
    • Break up the root ball so that the edges are loosened and will expand into the new soil of the net pot.
    • Place the plant and the root ball into the new container with a drainage hole.
    • Gently fill the edges with potting soil. Be careful not to compress the soil. 
    • Water gently. The soil may compress and you can add more if necessary. Do not water again until the soil is completely dry to avoid overwatering.

    Common Snake Plant Disease

    A small Dracaena trifasciata snake plant in a white pot
    Image Source:Photo by Adam Yee on Getty ImagesDracaena trifasciatas are typically disease and pest resistant making them a great beginner houseplant.

    The Snake Plant has relatively low amounts of pests or disease.

    Root Rot

    If this is your first time experiencing root rot, read our full guide on root rot.
    Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants including the Snake Plant. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms can include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base. If you’re seeing these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.
    • Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system.
    • If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.
    • Clean off the roots with sterile water.
    • Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.
    • You can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the roots.
    • Once cleaned up, repot your plant in fresh houseplant soil mix.
    Why is my Snake plant turning yellow?
    Snake plants will turn yellow typically because of overwatering. Check whether your soil is consistently moist or soggy. We recommend reducing your watering schedule and let the soil completely dry out and aerate. Always plant Snake plants in pots with drainage holes.
    Why is my Snake Plant drooping?
    Your Snake Plant is drooping due to overwatering. If your plant's leaves feel squishy and limp to the touch, it's likely that the soil is too soggy. Reduce watering and allow soil to completely dry.

    Spider Mites

    Spider mites feed on a wide range of plants. Spider mites can be red, yellow or orange, depending on species. They are tiny, but they can be seen with the naked eye. Spider mites attack plants through their leaves, sucking the nutrients out of them. They leave stalks behind as they feed. While feeding, spider mites create webbing, and drain the life from plants causing leaves on infested plants to turn yellow and brown. They can cover and kill an entire plant within a week or two if left uncontrolled in your garden.
    If this is your first time managing spider mites, read our in-depth guide on how to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants.
    To treat spider mites, quarantine your plant to prevent spread. You can wash your plant with water to clear out some of the infestations initially and then use insecticidal soap or neem oil to spray your plant and wipe off spider mites. Repeat this process daily until the infestation is gone

    Mealybugs

    These bugs look like fuzzy, white, colonies. They eat the sap of the plant and can damage the plant as it grows. 
    A light infestation is easy to treat, but a severe infestation may require you to toss your plant.
    Symptoms of mealybugs include stunted growth, bud drop, yellow leaves, and leaf drop. Mealybugs also produce secretions known as honeydew which can encourage development of sooty mold and other fungal infections.
    How do I get rid of Mealybugs on my Snake Plant?
    Wipe Mealybugs Away: Use a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol to remove mealybugs. This is good for light infestations.Spray Water: Use a strong blast of water to rid of mealybugs. You can also dip more sensitive plants in water to dislodge the mealybugs. Insecticidal soap: You can use insecticidal soap such as Ivory Liquid, Safer’s Insecticidal soaps. Mix a soap concentration with water (1 tsp per gallon) and spray on your plants focusing on leaf undersides.Neem Oil: You can use neem oil spray similar to insecticidal soap to spray and wipe away mealybugs. Neem oil has chemicals that act as a repellant to pests like mealybugs. An infestation may require a repeat treatment every 5-7 days until fully eliminated.
    Close up shot of the ornamental plant Dracaena Trifasciata
    Image Source:Photo by giuliano2022 on Getty ImagesClose up shot of the ornamental plant Dracaena Trifasciata

    Snake Plant Care Tips

    1. The Snake Plant is a beginner-friendly plant that is perfect for the plant parent that forgets to water or travels regularly.
    2. A drought-tolerant succulent, the Snake Plant prefers the soil to be completely dry before watering. 
    3. While the Snake Plant will grow healthy in low light conditions, it will grow faster in bright indirect light.
    4. You can propagate your Snake Plant with leaf cuttings or by division of the mother plant. 
    5. It likes a dry environment. So keep away from your humidifier for your other tropical plants. It will do well in the stubborn spot in your room where the other plants die.

    Where to buy Snake Plant?

    Having great plants starts with buying great plants from great vendors.
    At Enter Neverland, we partner with high-quality vendors to get you the best plants so that you can enjoy them without the hassle of trying to save them from day one! We add new products every day and have fast shipping times to get your plants to their new home quickly!
    Visit Neverland blog today for more tips and useful resources. Plants bring a lot of joy, so we strive to help you have the best plant growing experience possible!

    FAQs on the Snake Plant


    Why are my Snake Plant leaves falling over?
    Oftentimes, Snake Plant leaves will fall over due to overwatering. If the base of the leaf is mushy and yellow or brown, this is a good indication that your plant has root rot.
    Why is my Snake Plant turning yellow?
    Yellow leaves can indicate overwatering, not enough light, and/or pests. Check the soil and make sure it is dry. Move to bright indirect light. And check for mealy bugs and spider mites.
    How often should I water my Snake Plant?
    Water your Snake Plant sparingly. It is a succulent and has a water storage system. Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again to avoid overwatering and root rot. 

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