Snake Plant: Care and Growing Guide

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snake plant

Dracaena trifasciata is popular as Snake Plant and is one of the most popular and hardy species of houseplants.

Up until 2017, it was botanically classified as Sansevieria trifasciata. However, its commonalities with the Dracaena species were too many to overlook.

This plant features stiff, sword-like leaves and can range anywhere from six inches to eight feet tall.

Snake plants can vary in color, though many have green-banded leaves and commonly feature a yellow border.

These plants are easy to grow and in most cases, are nearly indestructible.

Furthermore, they can thrive in very bright light or almost dark corners of your house.

Snake plants grow slowly in indoor light, however, increasing their exposure to light can help boost their growth if they receive a few hours of direct sun.

Planting and repotting are best in the spring.

Keep on reading to learn more about these plants in detail.

Snake Plant

Common Name Snake plant, viper’s bowstring hemp, St. George’s sword
Botanical Name Dracaena trifasciata (formerly Sansevieria trifasciata)
Family Asparagaceae
Plant Type Evergreen, perennial
Mature Size Six inches to 8 feet tall
Sun Exposure Shade to partial sun
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Bloom Time Spring (blooms are rare)
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 9–11 (USDA)
Native Area West Africa (tropical)
Toxicity Toxic to cats and dogs

Snake Plant Care

If you are a beginner gardener, then planting a snake plant is a great choice for you because it is difficult to kill.

It grows great in a container and also well on the floor or on tabletop displays.

snake plant 2

Moreover, snake plants tend to thrive in warm weather and struggle in cold conditions.

This plant is drought resistant, however, is susceptible to overwatering which can lead to root rot.

Make sure to water the plant only if the soil feels dry.

These plants can go two months between waterings in the winter months, while in warmer months, water them no more than every two weeks.

Light and Soil Requirments

It is important to note that snake plants prefer indirect sunlight with some direct sun.

They can adapt to full sun conditions and can also survive dimly lit situations.

Moreover, snake plants prefer a loss, well-draining potting mix.

This plant can do well in sandier soil.

Make sure to use media that is low in peat content. Peat works well in a number of situations.

However, it can become tightly packed and in some cases, has problems rehydrating or draining.

An all-purpose cactus potting soil is a good choice for them.

Water, Temperature, Humidity, and Fertilizer Requirments

Let the soil dry between waterings. During the winter season, reduce the number of watering to monthly, or whenever the soil is too dry to the touch.

Make sure to avoid going on the side of under-watering.

Moreover, remember that too much water can harm the plant.

Snake plants prefer warm conditions and will suffer if you expose them to a temperature range that is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

watering them

Make sure to set your plants in a place where you can protect their drafts.

A temperature range between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is best for these plants.

However, frost can kill this plant.

Furthermore, feed your plant with mild cactus fertilizer during the growing season or a balanced liquid slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer.

You can also use one with 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half strength.

But do not fertilize your plant in winter.

Types of Snake Plants

The most common type of snake plant foliage presents as slender, green leaves with grey or silver horizontal streaks.

This plant can grow several feet tall and thrives well in low-light areas.

Moreover, Sansevieria genus encompasses about 70 species. A few more common types of snake plants are:

Bird’s Nest Snake Plant: It is also known as Hahnii.

This plant is relatively small and grows about only 6 inches tall. Moreover, the leaves form clusters that closely resemble a cup, just like a bird’s nest.

Cylinder Snake Plant: The Sansevieria cylindrica consists of round leaves and can grow several feet tall.

The leaves of this plant can also reach outward to resemble a crown.

types

Laurentii Sansevieria: Popular for its green-colored center and yellow margins is another type of this plant.

Twisted Sister: The Sansevieria trifasciata “Twist” is a dwarf cultivator of Sansevieria trifasciata.

However, it only reaches about 15 inches in height.

Furthermore, this hard-to-find plant consists of twisting variegated gold and green leaves.

White Snake Plant: Another unique cultivatoe of Sansevieria trifasciata is Sansevieria trifasciata “Bantel’s Sensation”.

It boasts dark green leaves with white vertical stripes.

Rhino Grass: An attractive houseplant that produces a tight clump of vertical leaves is ansevieria pearsonii.

Sansevieria desertii: Also popular as Elephant’s Toothpick, this plant has a fan-like effect.

Benefits of Snake Plant

Many people refer snake plant as Mother in law’s tongue. It is a resilient succulent that can grow anywhere between 6 inches to several feet.

These plants have a number of benefits. Let’s discuss some of them.

Filter Indoor Air, Even at Night

Just like some other household succulents, snake plants help to filter indoor air.

What is unique about this plant is that it is one of those plants that convert carbon dioxide, CO2 into oxygen at night.

Moreover, this quality makes it an ideal plant for your bedroom as it can help regulate healthy airflow.

Remove Toxic Pollutants

These plants are popular for their ability to help remove toxic air pollutants, thus making them air purifying plants.

In small contribution, these plants can also absorb cancer-causing pollutants including CO2, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethylene, and toluene.

With this ability to absorb and remove harmful toxins, snake plants can act as an effective defense against airborne allergies.

Mental Health Booster

While the benefits of indoor plants on mental health still warrant further scientific research, the concept that plants play a positive role is well established, accroding to research.

Moreover, you can add indoor plants to workplaces, schools, and medical facilities as a low-cost and low-risk way to improve such environments.

Easy to Care and Low Maintainance

These plants are common houseplants and are easy to care for.

As undemanding plants, you can grow them on windowsills, apartments, and different public buildings.

Effectvie Agasint Allergies

As these plants release oxygen and add moisture to the air, they can help to reduce the effect of airborne allergens like dust and dander.

Since poor indoor air quality is linked to a number of health issues like allergies and asthma, this is a definite benefit.

Other Benefits

Some other benefits are:

A Little Feng Shiu can go a Long Way

According to experts the Chinese love snake plants for their ability to absorb negative energy.

Moreover, according to Feng Shui, placing Sansevieria in a classroom helps to facilitate learning.

Relieves Minor Physical Ailments

It is important to note that experts share that there are a number of other benefits of snake plants that are not scientifically proven.

However, they are widely accepted by plant experts.

These are:

  • it helps to heal skin wounds and burns
  • reduces inflammation
  • support standard blood pressure
  • help strengthen the immune system
  • help flush out parasites
  • relieve headaches

Also, you can apply the sap from the plant to the wounds, burns, and inflammation, while aromatherapy can help you get rid of headaches.

However, it is important to note that their leaves contain saponins, which are poisonous substances in large quantities.

Saponins are commonly part of diuretics, choleretic, and laxative drugs.

Pruning and Propagation

Use sterile pruning shears, scissors, or a sharp knife, to remove the leaves at the soil line.

or you can cut off the damaged or mature leaves to encourage new growth.

Moreover, the best time to prune is during the growing season, often during spring or summer.

You can prune during the off-season, however, as pruning can stress the plant, it is best to do it when the plant is in the growing season.

In order to control the height of the plant, make sure to remove the tallest leaves.

Furthermore, remove any leaves that are marred.

Removing leaves spurs new leaf growth.

It is best to propagate these plants during the growing season in the spring or summer.

The Dracaena plant can be divided easily during repotting if the plant is at least four inches tall.

Alternatively, new shoots may emerge from the soil and can be potted independently.

However, you can also propagate these plants via cuttings.

Propagation via Root Division

To propagate via root division, follow the steps below:

Gather a sharp knife, a clean pot, and cactus potting soil.

Pull the root ball out from the old plant and place it on a flat surface.

Use your hand and gently brush the soil away from the root structure or rhizome.

Moreover, using a sharp knife, divide the plant into sections, making sure the roots for each section remain intact.

Cut through the plant and remember, that it will not kill the plant.

Then renew the new plant section into a clean pot with cactus potting soil.

Water it and place it in a partly sunny location.

Leaf-Cutting Propagation

To perform this procedure, follow the steps below:

Using sterilized scissors, a sharp knife, or pruning shears, slice off a long, healthy leaf from the plant.

Then root the leaf cutting in water by placing it in a clear jar of water.

Submerge the cut end, and place it partially in a sunny spot and look for root growth.

Every few days. top off the water and keep it level.

Moreover, every two weeks, dump the oil water and refill it will clean water to inhibit bacterial or algae growth.

Once the roots develop at least an inch long, plant the root end in a well-draining cactus potting mix.

Water it and place it in a partially sunny spot.

However, you can also skip the water rooting method.

After cutting a healthy leaf, from your plant, allow the cut end to callous over 24 hours.

then, pot it, cut-end don in the cactus potting mix.

It is a slow-growing snake plant and can take about two months before you notice new growth.

Propagating new Off Shoots of Snake Plant

To do this, follow the steps below:

In case you notice new pups or baby offshoots, you can plant them separately.

As with root division, you will need a sharp knife, a clean pot, and cactus potting soil.

Moreover, pull the root ball out of the pot and locate the offshoot’s roots.

Cut off the pup and plant the cut root in the cactus potting soil.

Lastly, water it and place it in a location with indirect bright light.

Potting and Repotting Snake Plants

When potting these plants, make sure to choose a sturdy pot material as strong roots can easily crack and break weaker pots.

Dracaena is a generally slow grower.

Moreover, it rarely needs repotting. However, if you give it ample sunshine, it may grow rapidly and require repotting or dividing.

snake plant 1

The best time to repot these plants is in the spring.

When repotting them, make sure to use

  • fresh potting soil,
  • a cactus potting mix,
  • or a mixture of both.

Common Pests

Snake plants are susceptible to a number of common house plants.

These include:

  • scales
  • gnats
  • spider mites
  • aphids
  • mealybugs
  • whiteflies

You can avoid an insect invasion if you keep your plant healthy.

Moreover, usually insects attack a plant when it suffers from environmental issues like incorrect water levels, humidity, and air circulation.

However, if you notice insects on your plant, make sure to remove them by picking them off.

Or you can use a gentle spray of water, or organic neem oil to keep the insects at bay.

Final Thoughts

Snake plants can develop creamy-white, tubular flowers that look just like lilies. It flowers annually when its water, sun, and humidity need are ideal.

However, when you grow then indoors year-round. they rarely grow flowers. The change of seasons, the beginning of spring, when dormancy starts and spurs its growth.

Its flowers are fragrant and bloom at night like dracaena species. While some common problems with snake plants can be foul-smelling soil, yellow or brown leaves, curling leaves, and leaves falling over or dropping.

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