How to Care for Snake Plant: A Comprehensive Guide

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Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria, are a popular, low-maintenance houseplant.

If you want an easy-to-care-for plant that thrives in various conditions, a snake plant is ideal.

Learn how to care for your snake plant here. We’ll cover planting, repotting, and long-term care.

Close Up image of a Snake plant on a white planter

Key Takeaways

  • Snake plants are a popular houseplant due to their striking appearance and low maintenance requirements.
  • Understanding how to care for your snake plant is key to keeping it healthy and looking its best.
  • From choosing the right environment to dealing with pests and diseases, there are several factors to consider when caring for your snake plant.

Understanding Snake Plants

Snake plants, also known as sansevieria or dracaena trifasciata, are native to Africa and are part of the Asparagaceae family.

One of the most popular species is the sansevieria trifasciata, also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue. This species has long, upright leaves that are dark green with light gray-green crossbands.

Scientific nameDracaena trifasciata
Common namesSnake plant, viper’s bowstring hemp, mother-in-law’s tongue
Native areaWest Africa
ToxicityToxic to cats and dogs
Light requirementsBright, indirect light or a few hours of early morning direct sun
Soil typeSandy, well-drained potting soil mix
Watering frequencyWater when soil becomes almost completely dry, then water thoroughly
Pruning and propagationPrune occasionally to remove dead or damaged leaves. Propagate by dividing the plant or cutting a section of leaves and roots
Growth and floweringSlow-growing indoors, can reach up to 12 feet tall in native habitats depending on variety. Rarely blooms indoors
Benefits and usesSlow-growing indoors can reach up to 12 feet tall in native habitats depending on variety. Rarely blooms indoors

Another popular species is the bird’s nest snake plant, which has shorter leaves that form a rosette shape.

Other popular snake plant varieties include:

  • Laurentii, which has yellow edges on its leaves
  • Cylindrica, also known as the cylindrical snake plant or whale fin, which has long, cylindrical leaves
  • Golden Hahnii, a smaller variety with variegated leaves
  • Moonglow, which has twisted, silvery-green leaves

Some snake plant varieties even have chimeras, which are leaves with two or more colors.

Snake plants are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions.

They can grow in low light and tolerate drought, making them a popular choice for indoor spaces. They are also known for their air-purifying abilities, making them a great addition to any home or office.

When caring for snake plants, it’s important to provide well-draining soil and to not overwater them.

Snake plants prefer to dry out between waterings and can suffer from root rot if they are overwatered. They also prefer bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions.

Choosing the Right Environment

When it comes to caring for your Snake Plant, choosing the right environment is crucial.

choosing the right env for Snake Plant

This section will cover the three main factors to consider when selecting the best environment for your plant: light requirements, temperature and humidity, and choosing the right container.

Light Requirements

Snake Plants prefer bright, indirect light. They can also tolerate low light conditions, but direct sunlight can scorch their leaves.

If you have a south-facing window, it’s best to place your plant a few feet away from the window to avoid direct sunlight.

On the other hand, if you don’t have access to natural light, you can use artificial light to keep your plant healthy.

LED grow lights are a great option for Snake Plants and can be found at most garden centers or online.

Temperature and Humidity

Snake Plants are native to West Africa and prefer warm temperatures between 70-90°F.

They can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F, but it’s best to keep them away from cold drafts.

As for humidity, Snake Plants are not too picky. They can thrive in a wide range of humidity levels, but they prefer moderate to low humidity.

Choosing the Right Container

Choosing the right container is just as important as selecting the right environment for your Snake Plant. The container should be heavy and have drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.

Ceramic or terra cotta containers are great options as they are porous and allow for air circulation. When selecting a container, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system and has enough room for growth.

It’s also important to choose a container that complements your decor and fits in with the overall aesthetic of your space.

Planting and Repotting

If you’re planning on growing a Snake Plant, you’ll need to know how to plant and repot it. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Soil and Drainage

Snake Plants prefer well-draining soil, so it’s important to choose a potting mix that allows excess water to drain away from the roots.

A cactus potting mix or a mix of peat and perlite works well. When planting your Snake Plant, make sure to spread the roots out evenly and cover them with soil.

To ensure proper drainage, make sure to add a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom of the pot before adding soil. This will help prevent water from pooling at the bottom of the pot and causing root rot.

Repotting Process

Snake Plants do not require frequent repotting, but it’s a good idea to repot them every few years to refresh the soil and provide more room for growth. The best time to repot a Snake Plant is in the spring.

To repot your Snake Plant, gently remove it from its current pot and shake off any excess soil. Inspect the roots for any signs of damage or rot, and trim them if necessary.

Choose a new pot that is slightly larger than the previous one and fill it with fresh potting mix. Place the Snake Plant in the new pot and add soil around the roots, making sure to leave enough space at the top for watering.

Propagation Methods

Snake Plants can be propagated through leaf cuttings or division. To propagate through leaf cuttings, simply cut a leaf into several pieces and plant them in moist soil. Keep the soil moist and in a warm location until new growth appears.

To propagate through division, gently remove the Snake Plant from its pot and separate the roots into two or more sections. Plant each section in its own pot with fresh potting mix and water thoroughly.

With these tips, you should be able to successfully plant and repot your Snake Plant. Remember to choose a well-draining potting mix, provide proper drainage, and use the right propagation method for your needs.

Caring for Your Snake Plant

Snake plants are known for their low maintenance and easy-to-grow nature.

They are perfect for those who want to add some greenery to their space without having to worry about constant care and attention.

However, neglecting your snake plant can still lead to problems. Here are some tips on how to care for your snake plant.


Snake plants are drought-tolerant, so they don’t need to be watered frequently. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can be fatal for the plant.

It’s best to wait until the soil is completely dry before watering your snake plant again. During the winter months, you can reduce watering to once a month.


Snake plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer. You can fertilize your plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer.

However, if you want to keep your plant low maintenance, you can skip the fertilizer altogether.

Dusting and Cleaning

Dust can accumulate on the leaves of your snake plant, which can block sunlight and hinder photosynthesis.

You can wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or sponge to remove the dust. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to clean the leaves.

Avoid using any chemicals or cleaning agents on your plant, as they can be harmful.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Snake plants are generally hardy and low maintenance, but they can still fall prey to pests and diseases. Here are some common problems you may encounter and how to deal with them.

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Common Pests

ProblemDescriptionPrevention & Treatment
MealybugsSmall, white, cottony insects that suck sap from the plant. Found on the leaves, stems, and roots.Prevention: Keep the plant clean and inspect regularly. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Treatment: Wipe the plant down with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or a solution of water and dish soap.
Spider mitesTiny pests that can cause yellowing leaves and webbing on the plant.Prevention: Keep the plant clean and inspect regularly. Use insecticidal soap.

Treatment: Spray the plant with a strong stream of water or use insecticidal soap.
AphidsSmall, soft-bodied insects found on the undersides of leaves. Can cause stunted growth and distorted leaves.Prevention: Keep the plant clean and inspect regularly. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Treatment: Wipe the plant down with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or a solution of water and dish soap.

Common Diseases

ProblemDescriptionPrevention & Treatment
Root rotCommon problem for snake plants that are overwatered or have poor drainage. Roots become mushy and may have a foul odor.Prevention: Use well-draining soil and only water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry.
Treatment: Remove the plant from the soil, trim away any affected roots, and repot it in fresh soil.
Powdery mildewFungal disease that causes a powdery white coating on the leaves.Prevention: Keep the plant in a well-lit area with good air circulation.
Treatment: Wipe the leaves down with a solution of water and dish soap.

Overall, the best way to deal with pests and diseases is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Keep your plant in a well-lit area with good air circulation, avoid overwatering, and inspect your plant regularly for any signs of problems.

If you do encounter pests or diseases, act quickly to prevent them from spreading to other plants.

Snake Plant Safety and Toxicity

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, are toxic to both humans and pets if ingested.

The plant contains saponins, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested.

In rare cases, it can also cause dermatitis or an allergic reaction in some people.

Therefore, it is important to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets.

Air-Purifying Abilities

In addition to being toxic, snake plants are also known for their air-purifying abilities.

They are effective at removing formaldehyde from the air, a common indoor air pollutant.

However, it is important to note that while snake plants are effective at removing formaldehyde from the air, they are not the most effective plant for this purpose.

Other plants such as peace lilies and spider plants are more effective at removing formaldehyde from the air.

Pet Safety

If you have pets in your home, it is important to keep snake plants out of reach.

Dogs and cats are known to chew on plants, and ingesting even a small amount of the plant can cause gastrointestinal upset and other symptoms.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a snake plant, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Benefits of Snake Plants

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant that offers a range of benefits, a snake plant might be just what you need.

Here are some of the benefits of having a snake plant in your home:

  • Air purification: Snake plants are known for their air-purifying abilities. According to NASA research, snake plants can remove toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. This makes them an excellent choice for people with allergies or asthma.
  • Easy care: Snake plants are succulent plants, which means they store water in their leaves. This makes them very resilient and easy to care for. They can survive in a range of conditions, from low light to bright, indirect light. They also don’t need to be watered very often, making them a great choice for people who forget to water their plants.
  • Hardy: Snake plants are very hardy plants that can survive in a range of temperatures. They are native to West Africa and can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures. They are also resistant to pests and diseases, making them a low-maintenance choice for your home.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Snake plants are a popular choice for home decor because of their unique, upright leaves. They come in a range of varieties, from the classic Sansevieria trifasciata to the more exotic Sansevieria cylindrica. Their architectural shape makes them a great choice for adding height and interest to a room.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the best Snake Plant varieties for low light conditions?

A: The best Snake Plant varieties for low light conditions are Sansevieria Trifasciata, commonly known as the “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue”, and Sansevieria Cylindrica, also known as the “African Spear” or “Cylinder Snake Plant”. Both varieties can survive in almost any lighting condition, including low light.

Q: How often should I water my Snake Plant?

A: Snake Plants are succulents and can survive long periods without water. To avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot, it’s important to let the soil dry out completely between watering. In general, you should water your Snake Plant every two to three weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce watering to once a month during the dormant season (fall and winter).

Q: What is the ideal temperature range for Snake Plants?

A: The ideal temperature range for Snake Plants is between 60-85°F (16-29°C). Although they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, it’s best to avoid exposing them to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) or above 95°F (35°C) for extended periods of time.

Q: Can Snake Plants be grown outdoors?

A: Yes, Snake Plants can be grown outdoors in warm, tropical climates. They are often used as border plants or as part of a mixed planting. However, they are not frost-tolerant and should be brought indoors if temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).

Q: What are the benefits of having a Snake Plant in my home?

A: Snake Plants not only add beauty to your home but also have several health benefits. They are known to purify the air by removing toxins and pollutants, making them a great addition to any home or office. They also release oxygen at night, which can improve sleep quality. Additionally, Snake Plants are low-maintenance and easy to care for, making them a great choice for busy people or those new to plant care.

Q: How do I repot my Snake Plant properly?

A: To repot a Snake Plant properly, choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one and use a well-draining soil mix. Gently remove the plant from its current pot and loosen the roots. Place the plant in the new pot and fill in any gaps with soil. Water the plant thoroughly and let

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