Updated April 16, 2022 by Mark Marino
A perennial evergreen plant, the snake plant is native to West Africa but is popularly grown as a houseplant today. Known botanically as Dracaena trifasciata, the snake plant is often called ‘indestructible’ because it’s such a great plant for beginners. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, the snake plant, sometimes known as the mother-in-law’s tongue plant is not difficult to maintain providing you meet its few care requirements. If you love plants, you’ll love how easy it is to grow snake plants–or even to propagate them from a leaf cutting. Snake plants are also great plants for removing toxins from the air.
Snake plants are attractive plants with tall leaves that grow between six and eight feet. Because there are many types of snake plants, they can vary in appearance. Typically, snake plants feature long, spiky leaves that are variegated. In addition to their green and white bands, they may also feature a yellow border around their edges. Many people prefer to place their snake plants on tabletops or, when larger, even on a low stool to brighten up a corner. You can also propagate snake plants to create a plant grouping for windows or special plant displays.
Types of Snake Plants
There are different types of snake plants you can choose to grow indoors from the cylindrical snake plant to the variegated snake plant. When purchasing a snake plant for your home, you might find favorite varieties like Dracaena trifasciata laurentii or sansevieria trifasciata. You can choose a plant based on its leaf pattern. As mentioned, most snake plants have dark green leaves with bands and yellow areas like yellow variegated edges. Some snake plants have narrow leaves while others have sword like leaves.
The Sansevieria cylindrical snake plant features upright greenish-grey leaves that resemble spears. You can choose a snake plant based on its coloring or its unique leaf growth habit. Some snake plants like those known as ‘rhino grass’ feature succulent red tinted leaves. Since snake plants don’t bloom easily indoors, their leaf patterns provide their main eye-catching appeal.
How to Grow a Snake Plant Indoors
Snake plants are easy to grow indoors provide you meet their care requirements. Keep in mind that these plants tend to grow slowly. However, if you place your snake plant in sunlight for a couple of hours, you can boost its growth rate. Otherwise, these slow growers are content with a low light setting. Given proper watering, light, and soil, your snake plant should thrive.
Snake plants have very strong roots, so it’s important to choose a sturdy pot; larger pots work swell for providing a strong base for the plant roots. Weaker pots are more vulnerable to cracking or breaking when housing a snake plant. If you decide to plant or repot your snake plant, be sure to provide it with fresh soil. If you choose the right pot from the start, you won’t have to remove your plant for repotting.
No matter why type of pot you choose for your snake plant, be sure it can easily accomodate the size of its root ball and root growth and the plant roots are not overwatered, which is why drainage holes in your pot are a must. Your plant should never be pot bound. A ceramic pot or stone pot may be ideal. A terracotta pot may be prone to cracking owing to the power of snake plant roots.
Snake plants tolerate shade very well even during their growing season. These houseplants can be grown in areas inside your home that involve shade or partial sunlight. Although snake plants are ideal for low light settings, you can maintain them during summer outdoors and the bright light will enhance their growth. ]
If you have a home without many windows, the snake plant is an ideal choice since it doesn’t require much light to thrive. Snake plants are slow growers though, so if you want to them to grow faster, place your plants near brighter light. Otherwise, a dark corner suits snake plants just fine.
When planting your snake plant, opt for well-draining, sandy soil that’s loose rather than compact, which is best for its roots. For best results, choose an all-purpose cactus potting soil. Loamy soil snake plants also tend to do well. A well draining potting mix should yield good results for growing snake plants indoors. When repotting snake plants, you can add more soil but it’s best to add new potting mix altogether to ensure its plant roots are treated to optimum conditions.
When it comes to your snake plant’s watering needs, remember that underwatering your plant is better than overwatering the soil in its case. Too much water can lead to root rot. Allow the soil to dry between waterings. Over watering is probably the worst thing you can do when caring for your snake plant. You can even reduce your watering amount during the winter season. Before watering your snake plant, make sure the soil feels completely dry. Only water your snake plant if the soil feels dry.
Snake plants are vulnerable to the cold. During the winter months, be sure it is not exposed to cold drafts. These houseplants will suffer if exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures drop, move your snake plant away from windows with drafts but be sure it still has access to good air circulation. During summer, you can place your snake plants near windows so they can get more exposure to light and good air circulation for best results.
You can feed your snake plant a slow-release liquid fertilizer via the soil or cactus fertilizer during its growing season. During the summer or warmer months, feeding your snake plants can improve their growth. You can feed your snake plants organic plant food or even use a fertilizer that’s specifically designed for snake plants. Add fertilizer to the soil as directed on the product’s packaging.
How to Care for Indoor Snake Plants: Snake Plant Care Tips
To care for your snake plant, you’ll want to follow the above plant maintenance tips. The snake plant features glossy white tubular blooms that stand out beautifully against its unique leaf patterns; you can encourage it to bloom by meeting its water and light requirements. However, keep in mind that these plants rarely bloom indoors. Remove dead leaves should they occur and replace compacted potting soil with new soil if needed. When caring for a new snake plant, be sure you understand its unique care requirements. Most snake plants will benefit by the plant care tips outlined here.
Be sure that you don’t overwater your snake plant or its root ball will become susceptible to root rot.If you suspect that your snake plant has developed root rot, you’ll want to act quickly. Repotting snake plants can help reduce root rot if you replant healthy rhizomes in a new pot. Leaf cutting propagation is another resort if the root rot is very advanced. Keep in mind that leaf cuttings are not the ideal means for propagation. Root cuttings are easier to manage for most gardeners. Use a sharp knife to cut away diseased roots when replacing your plant in a pot with new potting mix.
Also, these houseplants may be plagued by pests like spider mites, so be sure to inspect your snake plant periodically for signs of infestation. Check the soil for signs of fungus too. While this type of plant is hard to kill, pests and disease, when left unchecked, can sabatage new growth and wellbeing.
Growing Snake Plants Dracaena trifasciata FAQs
Is it good to have snake plant inside the house?
Snake plants feature long, attractive leaves that can add visual appeal to any space. With their yellow variated edges and white vertical stripes, these plants have eye-catching foliage that makes them popular in both residential and commercial settings. If you have pets, however, you should note that snake plants are toxic for cats and dogs. In these cases, keep plants away from pets.
Can a snake plant survive without sunlight?
Snake plants like sansevieria trifasciata need very little light to survive, especially in winter when the plant is dormant. This plant tolerates full shade. However, if you expose these houseplants to an extra few hours of sunlight daily, you can boost their growth. Most snake plant care guides suggest exposing your snake plant to indirect light for at least a couple hours each day. You may omit this step during winter when you don’t expect any new growth from your plant.
How do you encourage a snake plant to grow?
To encourage snake plants to grow, be sure to expose these houseplants to more direct sunlight. A few extra hours of sunlight and periodic fertilizer feedings can enhance its growth rate. Snake plants can also benefit from good air circulation, sturdy pots, and light watering. Do n not overwater snake plants because they can be vulnerable to root rot. Follow these care tips to keep your plant healthy.