The Ultimate Snake Plant (Sansevieria) Care Guide

Snake plant care is rewarding once you learn to follow all the maintenance tips you require. Fret no more if you’ve been on the prowl for a detailed and well-researched snake plant care guide because this is it.

Snake plants thrive outside their natural habitat if kept in an ideal environment, having indirect sunlight or proper lighting conditions, adequate watering schedules, humidity, temperature, and correct soil and potting with drainage.

This complete care guide will discuss all the dos and don’t tend to your snake plants.

How much sunlight do snake plants need?

Snake plants grow prostrate in the wild, clinging to rocks and crevices for support. In an ideal environment, they would receive light but indirect sunlight from a north-facing window.

If you’re growing your snake plants outdoors on the patio or in an enclosed conservatory with ample sun, then, by all means, keep it there. But most people grow it indoors in mixed light, where it will live for many years.

The plant retains its basic form and thrives even when grown under artificial conditions with no direct sun (in a dim corner near the floor). 

A snake plant beside a west-facing window should receive bright indirect sunlight from dawn to dusk. If the sun is too bright, the snake plant will lose its variegation and revert to solid green leaves.

An east-facing window offers less effective light than a west-facing one but should produce good results if the sun isn’t glaring directly into the room during afternoon hours.

A south-facing window receives full sun; your snake plant becomes leggy and unattractive if placed there. Snake plants are like soil somewhere between dry and wet. Snake plants don’t do well in cold drafts and should be kept away from cold exterior windows during winter.

Where should I keep my snake plant?

Snake plants can be grown in just about any room in your home, and they prefer a place with indirect sunlight to thrive like never before. The best part is that they can survive under artificial light when natural light is unavailable.

However, if you decide to grow your snake plants under shaded conditions, ensure they are exposed to at least four hours of daily indirect sunlight. They must also be watered regularly to keep the soil moist but moderate. Whatever you do, avoid getting the leaves or stems wet.

Invest in a well-draining potting mix with small pebbles added to increase drainage.

Snake plants can adapt to various temperatures and humidity levels, making them excellent plants for almost any household. The average room temperature in your home is generally okay, but you must protect your snake plant from extreme cold.

Snake plants play a vital role in reducing indoor air pollution, and they filter out chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene found in new furniture, paint fumes, and household cleaners.

Snake plants are a favorite food source for cats, but they contain a small number of toxic alkaloids and proteins, which can be harmful if ingested by dogs or children.

Be sure to keep your snake plant away from the reach of pets. Keep the leaves and soil away from the reach of children. 

Can a snake plant survive without sunlight?

Yes, but to certain levels. When there isn’t enough sunlight penetration, the snake plant will fail to photosynthesize adequately and may begin to die back. However, the best growth is achieved by significantly placing it in a sunny window if you grow indoors year-round.

If this is not possible, six hours of indirect sunlight per day should be sufficient. Keep in mind that as the light source is moved further away from the plant, the intensity of the light falling on it will also decrease and may fail to satisfy its lighting requirements.

The snake plant is grown indoors year-round and should be fertilized every two weeks with a half-diluted balanced fertilizer to supplement the low lighting levels.

Their need to manufacture food (photosynthesis) increases the need for adequately lit areas. A poorly lit environment with other obstructions only means that your snake plants won’t stand a chance to go through a healthy growth process.

One of the advantages of snake plants is that they are available in various species. You could opt for a different one if one proves too complex to nurture.

For instance, the Sanseveria Cylindrica adapts to environments with little to no sunlight access. You could adjust this one if your setting lacks sunlight, and you won’t have much to worry about.

Snake plants are naturally wired to handle neglect in terms of sunlight gracefully. If you want the best for your snake plants, strive to create a conducive environment where sunlight effortlessly finds its way into their spot.

How often should you water a snake plant?

Picture of man watering with hose pipe

If you lose track of your watering schedules, check the soil to ensure its moisture content is at par. Dry soil is a clear sign that your snake plants are falling back on their moisture content.

Avoid watering when the soil already has a significant moisture level will only lead to much-dreaded root rot and might be challenging to salvage what’s left of your snake plants.

Having a pot with holes at the bottom makes it easier to keep track of the amount of water you give your snake plants. They help drain excess water, leaving sufficient moisture to fulfill their duties effectively.

Infrequent watering is suitable for your snake plants as they are naturally wired to store excess water in harsh conditions. They use their thick leaves to store water to reduce water loss through evaporation.

When you notice that your snake plant is losing its lower leaves, try increasing the watering frequency to once or twice every week.

If you want to be extra cautious with your snake plant, try using water-absorbing polymer crystals in the pot once every three months to reduce watering frequency.

Avoid overwatering your snake plants when using polymer crystals, as they tend to hold excess moisture.

How Will You Know When A Snake Plant Is Healthy?

The outward appearance pretty much tells you all you need to know about the general state of your snake plant. Depending on your definition of healthy, there are many ways to determine if your snake plant is healthy.

Some believe that when they notice tiny plants growing with big roots attached to them, they are healthy because they have multiplied. It’s right to conclude that your snake plant is healthy because the root system is strong enough to support not just one plant but multiple.

Some may not agree, but leaves falling off signify a healthy snake plant. They do this to make room for more healthy-looking leaves as the old ones have outlived their growth limit.

However, you might want to dig deeper when leaves prematurely fall off your snake plants. There could be hidden diseases and conditions that need urgent attention to prevent further complications.

To elaborate further on the shedding of leaves, another way to know your plant is healthy is by monitoring the leaves attached to it and seeing whether they are affected.

If they aren’t, you might as well do the victory dance because there’s nothing to worry about.

Can You Spray Snake Plants?

Picture of hand spray bottle

Caring for your plants must be done in moderation when it comes to home gardening. Snake plants are not an exception, as there are some things you should never overdo. One of them is spraying the foliage of snake plants. Whether indoors or outdoors, snake plants are bound to gather dust, which might be a limiting factor in their quest for growth.

You could either spray water or insecticide, depending on what your snake plant needs at that moment. They are susceptible to destructive insects such as aphids and other bugs. 

To be safe, ensure you first research the ideal products and how to use them. Spray the foliage, as this is where most bugs are fond of hiding.

Your consistency is all it takes to stop destructive agents from waging war against your snake plants’ well-being because most insects are just too stubborn and won’t go away at the sight of a single spray session.

If it’s nothing serious, picking them with a well-protected hand is an effective and time-saving method of getting rid of bugs. If they outnumber you, help from a friend might be all you need to keep your snake plants looking good as new.

How Do You Care For An Overwatered Snake Plant?

One common mistake that occurs when growing snake plants is overwatering them unknowingly. Rather than write it off completely, please think of how you can revive it by returning it to life. First, transfer the plant to a sunnier spot to help dry off excess moisture that has led to its current state.

Carefully remove your snake plant from the pot and leave the roots exposed to fresh air. Once you’re sure that excess moisture has been drained off, please get a new pot and fill it with fresh soil with ample drainage capacity.

Avoid watering it immediately since the snake plant is still recovering from an overwatering episode. Place the pot next to a window with access to the right amount of sunlight. 

Resume watering after a few days when you’re sure your snake plant could use a good pour. Do this lightly because the soil is also trying to gain footing and wouldn’t want to relive the rough episode it’s been through.

When going away on a trip, install ample watering techniques such as water spikes to help your snake plants stay hydrated at the recommended levels.

More On The Snake Plant Care Guide

Snake plants are regarded as succulents, meaning they can store up as much water as possible also means that ardent snake plant gardeners need not worry much about water.

However, you need to consider other vital issues to see your beloved plants thrive. There are different species of snake plants, each with a specific set of care guidelines.

Everything falls neatly in place when you know where yours lies and provide the requirements for growth. The critical factors for the healthy development of snake plants are;

  • Adequate watering schedules
  • Proper lighting conditions
  • Soil with proper drainage

Adequate Watering Schedules

It’s no longer a secret that snake plants don’t need much water to survive. Theirs is a bit complicated when it comes to watering. Knowing your snake plants all too well helps get rid of the confusion.

What’s meant by an adequate watering schedule is the ability to recognize when they have had enough water and when they are in dire need of it. When planning your watering schedules, the soil and the season are key areas to focus on.

The Soil

The soil clues you how your snake plant is doing regarding moisture content. The appearance may give some rather apparent hints, but you need to dig deeper in the real sense. Don’t rely heavily on the outward appearance of the soil that grows your snake plants.

You can detect the moisture content by sticking your finger a few inches deep into the soil or using a wooden stick for the same reason. If either comes out dry or moist, this should give you the answers you seek.

Avoid doing so on the foliage when watering since it already has all the water it needs. Adding more might only cause the snake plants to adopt a rather unsightly and droopy appearance in the long run.

Aim for the roots, as this is where the snake plant draws its strength from and promotes proper growth of the roots downwards, which is the correct direction.

Watering from the roots also helps in the profound growth of the plant, facilitating its stability as it develops. The type of soil you choose for your snake plants matters greatly.

Only go for the ones with superb drainage abilities, which prevents your snake plants from enduring root rot due to poor drainage when watering from the roots.

The Season

Snake plants thrive best during spring and summer, so avid snake plant growers should pay more attention to their watering schedules.

You are encouraged only to water once a month to avoid overwatering during the winter. Ideally, you should follow the standard watering rule every two weeks when the snake plants are on good terms with the season in progress.

As much as the season tells where a snake plant stands in moisture content, check on the foliage and soil if your species fails to adhere to the standard growth patterns.

Avoid watering in excess when you come across dry soil, as this will only cause root rot. The roots are the most basic determiners of your snake plant’s ultimate appearance.

You will also encounter cases where the soil displays sufficient moisture content even when you haven’t watered your plants in a long time. No worries, adjust the lighting, as this might also be a factor that triggers your plants to respond this way.

According to the season, one more thing to consider about watering is that it might not apply if yours is an indoor project. You might want to create conducive surroundings such that the natural ones outside won’t play much of a role in the growth of your snake plants.

Proper Lighting Conditions

Growing your snake plants indoors requires utmost care and precision when handling the lighting requirements. Snake plants are pretty sensitive to the light that they are exposed to.

Exposure to direct sunlight only causes scorched leaves due to the high intensity. Home-grown snake plants are not strong enough to handle that level of light.

Instead, you better check the light intensity to ensure your plants’ leaves are safe. The ideal amount of light ranges between low and high, and anything that goes beyond will be detrimental to the growth of the snake plant and its overall appearance.

Nowadays, lovers of snake plants can adopt a wide variety of lighting options. They include; 

  • LED lights
  • Incandescent lights
  • Halogen lights 
  • Fluorescent lights

LED Lights

Light-emitting Diodes (LED) lights are gaining popularity due to their easy accessibility when gardening. LED lights provide a lower source of heat that nurtures plants that are overly sensitive to the harsh rays of natural sunlight.

What’s more, you can easily adjust them to suit the ones that will enhance the growth of your snake plants. Technology has ensured that LED lights produce red and blue light at variable wavelengths that favor your snake plants’ development.

Let’s not get started on its durability factor. It can last as long as you want, and the ultimate results are incomparable. LED lights are also energy-efficient, but it’s up to you to invest heavily and wisely, as they can be expensive.

Incandescent Lights

These lights are not a luxury as they focus more on root formation and ensure the whole process is seamless. However, relying solely on incandescent lights may destroy the outcome of your snake plants due to their strong wattage.

They tend to produce more heat than they should. Using incandescent lights requires you to be on your toes to avoid over-lighting your snake plants.

Halogen Lights

Though they provide the full light spectrum, Halogen lights generate excess heat. When opting for Halogen lights, place them as far away from your plants as possible. 

Fluorescent Lights

Last but not least, fluorescent lights are usually the most preferred artificial lighting technique due to their ability to support average foliage growth. You are pairing them up with full-spectrum lights such as Halogen improves your plants’ root formation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do snake plants purify the air?

Another popular houseplant, the snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue), has many air-cleaning tricks up its sleeve. It removes formaldehyde, xylene, and nitrogen oxides from the air and continues its hard work at night.

Do snake plants attract mosquitoes?

One of the biggest problems many people have with growing plants is that they tend to bear insects and mosquitoes. But if you grow a snake plant, you will have no problem. The snake plant has a chemical called Saponin, which repels mosquitoes.

Is the snake plant lucky inside the house?

The plant is often considered in Feng Shui circles as a harmful plant, but when placed in a secluded area in a crowded home, the plant provides a strong positive vibe in the environment. The plant also improves indoor air quality by removing toxins from the air.

Do snake plants keep bugs away?

Also called mother-in-law’s-tongue or snake plant, sansevierias are nearly the toughest houseplants. Seriously, if you can kill one, you’re a plant assassin. Plants with leathery leaves in pretty cream, yellow, and green variegated patterns. Because of the tough leaves, bugs stay away.

Do snake plants need fertilizer?

Avoid overfertilizing because snake plants are native to poor, rocky soil. Premium plant food such as Pennington UltraGreen All Purpose Plant Food 10-10-10 fed once each spring gives your snake plant the primary, secondary, and micronutrients it needs. Then it keeps gently feeding for up to four months.

Conclusion

Caring for snake plants is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your free time when treated with utmost seriousness by following all the requirements listed above.

Be sure to include all the requirements in your sake plant care routine but with moderation. Also, be fully aware of the snake plant species you are growing. Each may string along a variety of care requirements you must be familiar with.

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