I’ve become a little obsessed with plants in the past couple of years. They grace every corner of my apartment—on shelves, in big planters on the floor, and on my dresser. One of my favorite plants within an urban jungle is the snake plant. Over the years, I have collected a lot of different kinds.
Snake plants – also called Sansevieria because of their reptilian leaf pattern and shape – can be very fickle – even dying if overwatered or given insufficient light. They’re much prettier than the insect, but they’re just as tough. And I mean that as the highest compliment. Although it’s been a long, dark winter, my little guy’s thriving no matter what the conditions have been. He keeps sprouting new leaves year-round, no matter what the circumstances.
The snake plant is one of the easiest plants to care for, making it especially perfect for a beginner. Despite this, there are still a few things to keep in mind before bringing one home.
Snake plant care tips 4 will help your plant thrive
1. Ensure that the pot has proper drainage.
Marino says indoor potting mixes should be good for snake plants because they’re not too picky about the soil. But when it comes to pots with drainage holes, it’s really important not to overwater them. Otherwise, it can quickly get too soggy and cause root rot.
“If you have a heavy pour with your watering can, I recommend opting for a planter with a drainage hole and saucer,” she says. “If you want to opt for a planter without drainage holes—maybe you have something existing at home—you can line the bottom of the planter with a generous layer of lava rocks to provide a spot for excess water to pool into, away from your plant’s roots.”
2. Determine the optimal lighting situation
Yes, snake plants are fine in low light conditions. But do they love it? Well, that’s a different story. It is best to give your snake plant a little more sunlight so that it will grow like crazy.
“Often positioned as a ‘low light plant,’ snake plants actually prefer medium to bright indirect light. That being said, they’ll tolerate low light if they need to,” Marino says. “There’s a reason you see snake plants in a multitude of different spaces, from restaurants to doctors’ offices: They’re hardy and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. If you can give your snake plant medium or bright indirect light, awesome. If you’re looking for a plant for a low light spot in particular, that’s fine too. Your snake plant might not thrive there, but it’ll most likely survive—especially in comparison to other common houseplants.”
3. Avoid overwatering snake plants
You don’t have to water snake plants as often as you might some of your other houseplants because they are succulents.
“Exactly how often you water your snake plant will be largely dependent on how much light it’s receiving, as well as what time of the year it is,” Marino says. “Generally speaking, more sunlight and spring/summer means watering more frequently, while less sunlight and fall/winter means watering less frequently. My snake plants receive moderate to low indirect light and need to be watered about once every three to four weeks. I usually look for signs of thirst before watering, and for snake plants those signs are visibly wrinkling and/or curling leaves.”
4. Keep an eye out for pests
Plant moms’ worst nightmare comes when they find out their babies have a pest that may seriously harm their health. When growing snake plants, you need to watch out for over-watering and root rot before pests. Marino warns, however, that plants may get scale and mealybugs if other plants in the home have them as well.
Other common pests include spider mites, which spin webs and crawl around on the plant’s leaves and leaf joints. If you have an infestation, it is not long before they destroy your houseplant by sucking the sap from their leaves.
Regardless of which pest you discover, treat the plants immediately. Moreover, quarantine affected plants so the pests do not spread to new plants.
Where to buy a snake plant
These are some of the best places to buy snake plants online if you want one for your home.
1. The Sill, $65
You can choose the color and shape of the pot for this snake plant, which comes in a medium-sized pot.
2. Amazon, $20
This snake plant is fairly tall and comes in a six-inch pot, which is the perfect starter size. Additionally, it’s available on Amazon for a great price.
3. HOME DEPOT, $35
If you want a larger snake plant, this option comes in a nine-inch pot with an average height of 24 inches. It can grow much taller than that with time.
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