Since Victorian times, snake plants have been one of the most popular house plants since Londoners noticed that the hardier succulents imported from the tropical Western African region seemed indestructible. In the modern day, it is often believed that snake plants thrive on neglect. But if you take the time to provide proper snake plant care, you’ll be rewarded handsomely by their striking foliage and durable nature.
Introduction to Snake Plants
Snake plants belong to the genus Sansevieria, of which over sixty species have been identified. Sansevieria trifasciata is probably the most common and best-known of all snake plants, although it is commonly called by its common name simply Sansevieria due to its widespread distribution and well-known species.
Several common names for snake plants include mother-in-law’s tongue and Saint George’s sword because of their long, sharp-edged leaves. Viper’s bowstring hemp is the other common name, referring to the useful fiber that these plants produce.
Mature snake plants can reach over 5 feet (150 centimeters) in height. Snake plants have extremely dense, long, sword-like leaves that appear to stand straight in the pot. Those robust leaves are actually protruding upwards from rhizomes that are modified stems that grow upright while sending shoots and roots out of the bottom.
The snake plant’s leaves store water, enabling it to survive in its hot, arid natural habitat. Many succulents and cactuses, such as sansevieria, are able to store carbon dioxide in their pores only at night when they only open their pores to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, enabling them to keep water in their roots even when their pores open at other times.
Snake plants are incredibly tolerant to neglect. A snake plant’s low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for characteristics also make it a great houseplant that can thrive in a wide array of settings, no matter their surroundings.
Choosing A Snake Plant
Looking for a new snake plant? Look for an established plant that appears to have been well cared for, showing signs of new growth. Besides being dense, sturdy, vibrant and having smooth, rigid leaves, a healthy snake plant has shiny, colorful leaves.
Plants with yellowing leaves or curling at their tips, drooping leaves, rough spots, and lackluster coloring are best avoided. You should always check the leaves of any plant you are considering purchasing for insects.
Plants of this species such as Snake plants can appear to be crowded in their pot, however this is because their roots prefer to be quite crowded. The container with which the seed is cultivated should have an appropriate drainage hole.
Snake Plant Potting Mixture
Snake plants require a potting mixture with excellent drainage and aeration since they are accustomed to dry conditions. Snake plants that are grown in potting media like perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, loam, coco coir, pumice, and lava rock – as well as coarse sand – have a higher chance of surviving.
Where To Place A Snake Plant In Your Home
It is well known that snake plants are an easy plant to care for, and they are particularly good at adjusting to low light levels. However, your snake plant will thrive in a spot with indirect sunlight or filtered sunlight.
Set a sansevieria near a north-facing window (solarized gardeners, this might be a southern-facing window) or one with good diffused sunlight, or a bit away from bright sunshine.
Depending on the light, your snake plant leaves will turn crisp and yellow around the edges if the light is too intense. Despite the fact that your plant will survive in a low-light situation, too little light can result in stunted growth and colors that have become muted and your plant will become thin and weak as it stretches out in search of sunlight.
Temperature Range For Snake Plants
Plants should be grown between 50 and 85 F (10-30 C) and not subjected to drafts or cold air. If grown indoors, temperature is not usually a concern, though snake plants should be protected from drafts.
This plant can be grown outdoors except in a mild or tropical climate. Just remember that we recommend that it be kept in a pot compared to planting it directly into the ground.
Watering A Snake Plant
The best way to care for your snake plant is to water it under minimal circumstances.
Even though Snake plants do not appear to cause much fuss, they will rot rapidly if their growing medium becomes too moist. Under such a situation, the roots take up ever increasing amount of water, as they attempt to take oxygen out of the growing medium displaced by water.
In the absence of sufficient water, the water storage cells of the plant would become overfilled, which will result in irreversible damage to their structural elements, eventually causing leaf droplets and root rot.
It’s a good idea to let the potting mix dry out completely before watering again to determine how often you need to water snake plants. The summer is the time when sansevierias need particular attention to watering since they are undergoing active growth. Water the plant immediately if it dries out during this season. In order to determine the frequency, the amount of light, temperature, and humidity in the plant’s environment must be considered.
While your plant is resting during the winter months, ensure it is kept dry for longer periods of time. If their leaves start to curl in or turn an unhealthy shade of yellow, then you are under-watering your snake plant.
Water your snake plant with a narrow-spouted watering can to get water down to the roots and not water the leaves, as this will lead to rotting. Especially in cool, cloudy weather, water left on leaves can cause them to rot.
Make sure you water the pot thoroughly enough so that the soil is well soaked, and then allow it to drain well. You must empty the saucer after draining, and continue to avoid leaving standing water in it for longer than a few minutes.
It is difficult to find pots that are not only well-draining but also look great and match my home decor. In order to achieve this objective, I always choose the right pot for the plant I am growing, but then place it in a slightly larger container to make it more decorative. This gives me complete freedom to fit my pot into the room without sacrificing the care I can provide for my plants.
Fertilizing A Snake Plant
Snake plants are slow growers, making them light feeders, so they don’t need much fertilization.
Feed your snake plant either every 3 weeks with fertilizer made for houseplants that is thrice as strong as regular strength or once every 4 weeks with a fertilizer specially formulated for succulents.
The snake plant will need no food during the cold winter months, the time when it’s metabolism really slows down.
Snake Plant Pests And Diseases
There are two main types of pests to be aware of – spider mites and mealybugs. Both of these animals will suck sap from the leaves of snake plants and leave rough spots or small wounds. When caught early enough, you’ll be able to get rid of spider mites in the same manner as mealybugs, which can be eliminated by wiping them off with a damp cloth. It is possible, however, that you may not be able to save your plant if they are permitted to proliferate.
Snake plant diseases are commonly caused by rotting caused by excessive water. Soft, squishy, or drooping leaves are signs of over-watering. Once again, when you catch the problem early, you’ll be able to save the plant. When you notice damaged leaves, cut them off instantly with clean gardening shears. It may be worthwhile to repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil if the medium in which the plant is growing is soggy. Just make sure the roots aren’t exposed rotting anytime soon.
A different option is to take healthy cuttings of plant material and propagate new plants. Also, be sure to allow your snake plant to dry completely between waterings going forward.
Water-related problems include rust spots, which make it clear that decay is taking place in the leaves caused by water. You should cut the leaves in the bottom to remove such blemishes completely.
Snake Plant Leaf Care
To keep your snake plant healthy and robust, lightly dampen a soft, clean cloth with dust removed from its leaves. You should not use commercial products because they can damage the leaves’ coating.
As opposed to cropping a snake plant leaf to remove damaged areas, you should always remove the entire leaf from the base since a cropped one won’t regrow from where it was cut.
How long does a snake plant live?
It has been reported that snake plants live an average of five to ten years, but they have also been known to live longer than twenty-five years. By giving your plants what they need rather than stressing them out with carelessness or neglect, your particular plant will continue to beautify your house for many years to come.