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Growing plants indoors can be challenging, even for those of us with green thumbs.
Fortunately, the snake plant (aka mother-in-law’s tongue, Sansevieria, however now part of the Dracaena genus) is very easy to grow in almost any environment.
It could possibly be the easiest houseplant to grow!
I have seen snake plants in vacation homes we have rented.
In spite of neglect, they looked great!
|Get to Know Snake Plants
|Snake Plant, Mother-in-law's tongue
|Dracaena spp. (previously Sansevieria)
|Tropical Africa, Nigeria
|Garden Plant Type
|10 to 12 (U.S.)
|varies by variety
|varies by variety
|Overview of Snake Plant Care
|Bright, indirect light, acclimate to direct sunlight, tolerates low light
|Water soil thoroughly allowing all excess moisture to drain, tolerates drought
|Allow soil to thoroughly dry without becom ing hard and compacted
|Distilled, rainwater or low mineral, no fluoride water
|Tolerates lower humidity
|Does well in home and office environment
|Succulent mix, well-draining
|Low, 1 time per month in growing season
|With drain holes, remove excess water from saucers, doesn't mind being slightly pot bound
Its adaptability makes it great for rooms with low, medium, or high light levels.
In low-light conditions, it will grow slowly.
This is ideal for apartments, offices, dorms, or other small spaces.
Conversely, expect the plant to grow more quickly and flower when it receives bright light.
The sword-like leaves that resemble a snake will grow taller and multiply, filling its container.
As a succulent with thick leaves and a rhizomatous root system that stores water, snake plants can go longer between watering than a tropical plant can.
Actually, overwatering especially in the presence of low light, is the main way to cause it to decline.
Water when the pot feels light and most of the soil in the container is dry, but not hard and compacted.
Plants in the Dracaena genus have been found to be sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in water.
This appears as discoloration on the leaf edges.
Although snake plants rarely seem to have this problem, if it does appear, use distilled water or rainwater.
When watering, add water to the container until it drains through the holes. Repeat.
This will provide adequate moisture and promote deep root growth.
Remove all excess water from saucers and never allow snake plants to sit in excess water.
Dividing and Repotting a Snake Plant
The snake plant requires very little maintenance to keep it looking healthy and vibrant.
It doesn’t mind being pot-bound or filling up its pot completely with roots.
However, over time as the plant grows, it may be necessary to divide the clump and repot it.
This is very easy as there are natural separations between the leaves to create natural dividing points.
The root system is fleshy and thick rhizomes that spread throughout the container.
If needed, use a sharp knife or pruners to cut through the roots.
Snake plants are hardy and resilient, so no worries about harming them during this process.
Use soil designed for cacti and succulents when repotting.
This will allow for quick drainage and keep your snake plant healthy.
Since snake plants do not like to be wet, it is highly recommended to use containers with drainage holes.
There are so many decorative containers available, so it is a great way to express your decorating style!
Smaller pots (4-6 inches) of snake plants are ideal for desks, kitchen counters, or bathrooms.
Larger pots (8-10 inches +) work well as floor plants in any room.
Some varieties of snake plants can grow to 4 feet tall.
Therefore, they are often used to create vertical architectural interest next to a couch or to fill a corner.
As with many houseplants, they can be moved outdoors in the summer to decorate decks, patios, and outdoor living spaces.
They will require an acclimatization period both when bringing the plants outdoors in summer and when returning them indoors in fall.
This is placing the plant in its new surroundings for short periods of time each day to allow it to adjust to the change in environment.
Snake Plant Varieties
Since snake plants have become more popular, more varieties have become available to consumers.
Plant breeders are working to find new and unique color patterns and leaf shapes for snake plant collectors.
Here are some of the different snake plant varieties that are available.
This is one of the most common and popular varieties of snake plants.
It’s known for the lemon-yellow band on the leaf edges and lime and apple green leaf center.
This variety grows to about 18 inches high when mature.
Known to flower at unusual times of the year.
When it does, they are pale green and very fragrant.
Foliage is a rich, dark green color accented with silver-gray bands
Snake Plant’s Top Qualities:
- Has a modern architectural shape
- Many different varieties are available- many with striking, yellow, gray, and white variegated leaves for unique visual interest
- Very pest and disease-resistant
- Adapts to low light, but thrives in higher light levels and will flower
- Doesn’t mind being pot-bound
- Leaves can also be water propagated to create new plants
- Can thrive without regular fertilization
- Easy-to-grow- an ideal plant for the beginner indoor gardener