Snake Plant Watering

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Snake plants are tolerant of drought, so give snake plants a generous soak before watering again. The water should remain in the soil for longer before watering again to ensure water has reached the roots.

Native to Africa, snake plants require well draining, aerating soil and periods of dryness between waterings in order to keep healthy and avoid root rot.

Keep reading to find out how to figure out how much and how often you water your snake plants according to their climate and conditions.

Snake Plants: How Often Do I Water Them

Succulents like snake plants are adapted for heat, infrequent rain, and well draining soil.

Water is contained within snake plant leaves, which only open stomata at night so that the leaves don’t lose moisture through the day.

As a drought-tolerant plant, snake plants prefer drier soil conditions and less frequent watering than most houseplants and may be vulnerable to root rot.

As a sign of stress, snake plant leaves turn yellow or brown and have a soft texture if the soil is consistently moist.

Only water your snake plant when the soil is dry so that the roots will not become damaged. This usually means watering your snake plant every 2 or 3 weeks.

Please keep in mind that the rate at which the soil around your snake plant dries out can vary depending on a number of factors and at certain times of the year…

  • Climate factors include the humidity and average temperature.
  • A small pot will dry out quickly.
  • No matter whether the snake plant is directly exposed to the air conditioning or forced air (which can dry the soil and sap moisture from the leaves).
  • The ability of the soil to retain moisture.
  • Fluctuating indoor temperatures caused by the heating system.
  • The weather conditions (snake plants are deprived of moisture in Winter).

You can determine how frequently to water snake plants by feeling the soil through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.

It is a good idea to wait until the soil feels dry before watering, but in the event that the soil feels damp, water now.

After finding out how long it takes for the soil to dry out for your potted snake plant, you can establish a watering schedule that replicates the drought followed by a rain cycle of watering to which snake plants are accustomed in their native habitat in Africa.

Watering Snake Plants – How to Tell if you’re watering too frequently…

It is likely that you are overwatering snake plants if they are watered more than once a week as the soil does not dry between waterings.

If leaves turn yellow or brown or perhaps black that are mushy, they may be an overwatered snake plant.

To recover your snake plant when this happens, scale back the watering and allow the soil to dry out naturally.

Watering too lightly or too infrequently can lead to the snake plant’s leaves drying out and potentially curling or turning brown.

In order to absorb necessary moisture your snake plant will benefit from a generous soak and submerging its root ball in water for 10 minutes, allowing moisture to effectively infiltrate the soil and reach the roots.

Typically the leaves of the snake plant should return to a more plump appearance after two or three watering cycles with a generous soak each time.

Because snake plants are drought-tolerant, it is much easier to revive under-watered snake plants than over-watered ones so always keep snake plants on the dry side.

Winter watering of snake plants

Snake plants fluctuate in moisture demand throughout the year.

Snake plants require less watering in Winter because:

  • There are fewer hours of daylight.
  • The sun is less intense.
  • In Summer, water evaporates from the soil at a slower rate than in Winter.
  • Winter snake plants lose fewer drops of water than Summer snake plants.

Snake plants generally stop growing during the Winter as a consequence of these factors.

Check the soil moisture with your finger at the drainage in the bottom of the pot to evaluate how often to water your snake plant in Winter.

Sometimes the soil can remain moist longer, which means you should water your snake plant for a longer period of time than you would in the Spring and Summer.

For optimum watering, snake plants usually require watering once every three or four weeks in the Winter but you can adjust your watering schedule based on your specific conditions.

Also keep in mind that a plant that is close to a source of heat over the Winter can become dry much quicker.

Ideally, you should not place the snake plant near a source of heat, however, this can interfere with how quickly the soil dries out and how often you water your snake plant.

How much should snake plants be watered?

You need to know how much to water your snake plant.

How often you should water your snake plant will be influenced by the variability of climate, humidity, and air currents, but the amount of water you need stays the same regardless of conditions or time of year.

Snake plant plants should be soaked generously so water emerges from the bottom of the pot.

As a result, the roots can take in the moisture they require since the water has penetrated the soil properly.

Also, the roots of the snake plants are further strengthened by a generous soaking, increasing their resistance to drought further.

Too little watering causes the top inch or so of soil to stay damp, but the soil underneath can remain dry, which means that the roots cannot absorb the moisture they need, which results in drought stress which causes the leaves to turn brown as a sign of stress.

When watered generously followed by allowing the soil to dry, snake plants will recreate the watering cycle they would experience in their natural environment with a sudden deluge of rain followed by a period of drought and hot weather.

To avoid over-watering, the soil must drain well.

To keep your snake plant healthy and prevent root rot, the proper frequency and quantity of watering should be combined with the appropriate well draining soil.

When purchasing potting mixes, it is important to avoid mixes that contain peat because it repels water when it is completely dried out (which the soil is supposed to do between watering your snake plant), leading to moisture running off and the roots being deprived of moisture.

Typically, Snake plants are grown in a sandy or gritty soil that drains quickly and doesn’t hold much moisture.

It is much easier to achieve optimum humidity balance with potting soil mix designed specifically for succulents.

Water Snake Plants in Pots with Drainage Holes

Snake plants will not tolerate having their roots in damp soil, so drainage holes at the base of the snake plant roots are essential to allow excess water to escape after watering.

Snake plants that are not in a pot with drainage may have root rot caused by water pools around the roots of the snake plant.

The roots may still collect water if:

  • Compacted soil or roots may block the drainage hole. If your soil is draining slowly, make sure the drainage hole is clear so excess water can escape.
  • saucers and trays beneath the pot. If you use saucers and trays underneath your snake plant to prevent water spilling, then this can prevent it from leaking in the house. Empty the saucers and trays regularly so that the soil dries out.
  • The pots can cause drainage issues, so either empties the pot regularly or buy a pot with drainage holes. I have seen snake plants in plastic pots with drainage holes in decorative outer pots.


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