If you are just starting out with houseplants or think you kill them, you should try growing sansevieria. This easy-care indoor plant almost thrives on neglect making it hard to kill. Learn how to care for snake plant with these simple tips.
Have you grown snake plants before?
If not, it is a must-grow starter plant for those just beginning their plant parenting journey or are in need of indoor gardening success.
So don’t grow anything else unless you’ve mastered growing a sansevieria plant.
Because you really have to go out of your way to kill them to not succeed.
And if you’ve killed them before? After reading this post you won’t kill them again.
Here’s how to properly grow and care for the snake plant.
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About Sansevieria Plants
Sansevieria is a tropical plant that is native to Africa, Madagascar, and southern Asia. They are hardy plants commonly known as snake plants, mother-in-law’s tongue, or simply sansevieria.
They are popular houseplants due to their ease of care, air-purifying qualities, and tolerance for low light levels.
Snake plants are an ideal choice for those with busy schedules. And it is the perfect plant for those who are just starting out with indoor plants or think they kill things.
Which is why I think they are the most popular houseplants to grow.
How to Care for Snake Plant
Growing snake plants is relatively easy because they are low maintenance and can thrive in a variety of light conditions.
Here’s what you need to know.
Plant in well-draining potting soil mix. But cacuts mix or regular potting soil mixed with perlite works well too.
Sansevierias like things on the dryer side so soil that is less likely to retain water is better for them.
Because some varieties grow very tall, make sure you pot them up in a heavy-duty planter that won’t topple over as they mature in size.
Snake plants prefer bright, indirect light, but can tolerate low light conditions too. Avoid direct sunlight because it can scorch the leaves.
I keep mine in many different areas of my home and they thrive in almost anything you throw at them.
Just make sure they get some sort of light. This means, don’t keep them in dark spaces or a room with no windows at all.
Where watering snake plants is concerned, less is more. Allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings, and be careful not to overwater.
Snake plants are drought-tolerant and can survive long periods without water. I water my snake plants once a month if that. Do not water these plants weekly as they do not like wet soil.
We have one plant in our Vermont cabin and sometimes it won’t get watered for a few months. So these plants almost thrive on some neglect.
Snake plants can thrive in low humidity, but a weekly misting can help keep the leaves healthy if you want to do that.
I don’t weekly misty my plants and leave them be while they are indoors. It’s a good idea to dust the leaves off every now and again though.
But I do bring them outside during the warmer months after all danger of frost passes so they can enjoy the heat and humidity of a long New Jersey summer.
While outdoors, keep them in an area that receives bright indirect light out of direct sunlight. I keep mine under a covered porch or roofline of the house.
Sansevierias benefit from their time outdoors by putting out more rapid growth. While they are still slow-growing plants, you’ll notice more new growth if you give them a summer vacation.
Fertilize snake plants once a month during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for the recommended strength and stop fertilizing in the fall so they can go dormant during the winter season.
Repot snake plants every 2-3 years, or when they outgrow their current pot. If left in their containers for too long, they can get root bound. And if you grow them in a clay pot they’ve been known to bust out of them if left in one for too long.
When repotting your sansevieria plant, it’s also a great time to propagate or divide them too.
Since snake plants are slow-growing, they do not require frequent repotting. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the root system and it’s fine to leave it be for a few years.
I think I’ve repotted my snake plants one time in the last 6 years of growing them. That said, it’s been a while so I should probably do it this year.
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What Does Snake Plant Do For Your House
There are a lot of benefits to caring for snake plants in your home.
They are known for their ability to purify the air as they can help remove harmful toxins. But they are also known to release oxygen at night, making them an ideal plant for bedrooms.
In addition to their air-purifying qualities, sansevierias are also low-maintenance, stress-relieving, and aesthetically pleasing plants that are easy to care for making them fun to grow.
Their interesting leaf shape and foliage color bring personality and style to any home decor. And to me, the leaves of the snake plant create drama in otherwise dull spaces. Thus, the plant adds great visual impact when styled in the home.
Sansevierias are tough and adaptable plants, requiring little water, and can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions. So growing them couldn’t be easier.
In short, growing snake plants indoors can increase oxygen levels, improve indoor air quality, and add to the overall ambiance of the space.
Do Snake Plants Need Sunlight?
While snake plants can tolerate low light conditions, they do need some bright light that is indirect to thrive.
What does that mean?
They can handle a range of light conditions, from bright, indirect light to low light. Just avoid direct sunlight.
Snake plants can go for periods of time without sunlight, making them a suitable choice for spaces that receive limited natural light. However, it’s best to keep them in a room that has a window.
I’ve come to learn they do well in any indoor living space that has some natural light. My snake plants have resided in rooms with south, north, east, and west-facing windows, and they’ve done well in each space.
The biggest thing to remember is to avoid overwatering and keep an eye on the plant.
How Long Do Snake Plants Live?
Snake plants can survive for several decades with proper care. The lifespan of a snake plant can vary greatly depending on factors such as lighting, watering, and temperature.
While they are a slow-growing plant, on average, I’ve read that snake plants can live for 20-25 years, but with proper care, some snake plants have been known to live for much, much longer.
Avoide overwatering, provide good air circulation and some natural light are key to maintaining a healthy snake plant and ensuring a long lifespan.
How Fast Does a Snake Plant Grow?
Snake plants are slow growers and typically grow at a moderate to slow pace. The growth rate of snake plants largely depends on factors such as light, temperature, and soil conditions.
In optimal growing conditions, snake plant growth can reach 1-2 inches per year, but they can also go several years without growing much at all.
I’ve noticed mine put out the most growth when they summer outdoors.
That said, slow growth rate of a snake plant is normal. Providing bright, indirect light, well-drained soil, and not overwatering are the best conditions for the plant to thrive.
5 Snake Plant Benefits
Now that we know how easy to care for and grow snake plant is, what are the benefits of having them in our homes?
- Air Purification: Snake plants remove harmful toxins such as formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides from the air.
- Low Maintenance: They are tough and adaptable plants, requiring little water and can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions.
- Stress Relief: Snake plants have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels in people who have them in their homes.
- Great Beginner Plant: Snake plants are easy-care, low-maintenance plants making them perfect for beginner gardeners, those who think they kill things, or don’t have the time to coddle a plant.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Snake plants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a versatile and attractive addition to any home or office.
How to Propagate Snake Plant
There are several ways to propagate snake plants. And they all work equally as well as the other.
- Division: Carefully separate offsets or baby plants from the parent plant and replant each in its own pot.
- Leaf Cuttings: Cut a healthy leaf into pieces, let the cut end dry for a day, then plant it in well-draining soil.
- Root Cuttings: Cut a section of the root system and plant it directly into potting soil.
Regardless of the method, it is important to make sure that the soil is well-draining when repotted, keep out of direct sunlight and avoid overwatering.
How to Divide a Snake Plant
I’ve mostly divided my snake plant through the years. It’s easy to do because the rootball breaks apart fairly easily.
Here’s how to do it.
- Remove the sansevieria from it’s container.
- Break apart the rootball and rhizomes with a sharp shovel or knife. When I did this last, the roots pulled apart pretty easily.
- Repot each plant in a new container with fresh well-draining soil.
- Water well and care according to the above.
How to Grow a Snake Plant From Cuttings
The easiest way to propagate a snake plant is to take a cutting, stick it in the soil, then wait for it to root. Growing snake plants (Sansevieria) from cuttings is a simple and effective method of propagation but takes time to root.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut a healthy leaf using sharp, clean snips, pruners, or scissors to cut a healthy leaf from the parent plant, about 4-6 inches in length.
- Allow the cut end to dry for a day or two. This will help to prevent rot when planting the cutting.
- Fill a pot with a well-draining potting mix.
- Insert the cutting into the soil, making sure that the cut end is buried beneath the surface of the soil.
- Water well and wait for roots to develop. This may take several weeks to several months, so be patient.
- You’ll know it is rooted when you gently tug on it and there is little give.
- Once the cutting has developed stronger roots and has started to grow, transplant it into a larger pot with fresh potting mix.
Provide bright, indirect light for the cutting and do not overwater. With proper care, the cutting should grow into a healthy snake plant.
How to Propagate Snake Plants in Water
Another easy way to propagate snake plants is in water. I’ve never propagated it this way, but I’ve heard it works well.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut a healthy leaf using sharp, clean snips, pruners, or scissors from the parent plant, about 4-6 inches in length.
- Leave the cut end of the leaf to dry for a day or two. This will help to prevent rot when planting the cutting.
- Fill a container with water, making sure that the water level is high enough to cover the bottom of the cut leaf.
- Insert the cutting into the water, making sure that the cut end is fully submerged in the water.
- Wait for roots to develop, which may take several weeks to several months. Change the water every two weeks to prevent rot and promote healthy root growth.
- Once the cutting has developed roots, transplant it into well-draining potting soil mix.
Don’t they sound super easy to grow and propagate? I started with one plant several years ago and now have many.
I’ve propagated them from leaves that fell over and snipped off. And I’ve propagated my snake plants by dividing them too.
It was one of the easiest plants to acclimate in our new home after we moved and never skips a beat.
When my Vermont sansevieria doesn’t get enough water, the foliage puckers a little and doesn’t feel as tough to the touch. While that sounds bad, the plant is very resilient and bounces back after a good watering. That’s a sign the plant isn’t getting enough water (which sometimes happens if we don’t get up there for a while).
When caring for a snake plant, lean towards neglect as opposed to watering it all the time. The plant will let you know if you aren’t caring for it enough.
But if you overwater it and maintain soggy soil, the plant will eventually die.
More About Snake Plants
Do you grow snake plants? What is your favorite variety? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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