Snake plants (or sansevieria, or mother in laws tongue) are becoming more popular as the days go on and it’s easy to see why. Their striking upright foliage makes a statement in the home and due to their easy care nature, even the most proficient house plant killer should be able to keep this one alive.
Not only known for their beauty but also for being an air purifying plant, they are able to remove toxins from the air during the day and then release oxygen at night while we sleep.
To learn how to take the best care of your plant and keep happy, healthy and flourishing keep reading our snake plant care guide.
How to Care for Snake Plants
How to tell if your snake plant is healthy
Depending on the variety, a healthy snake plant should be a mostly dark green colour. If you notice that the foliage is becoming pale or a light shade of green, this could be a sign that it needs some extra TLC and is feeling a little under the weather.
Soil for Snake Plants
Snake plants are generally easy going in all areas, even down to the potting mix they’re planted in.
While these plants won’t make a fuss about their compost, bare in mind that snake plants are prone to root rot so heavier soil mixes that stay wet for too long are less preferred.
To be safe, opt for a soilless potting mix. These tend to be lighter and more aerated therefore having much better drainage. Cactus and succulent potting mix also works well.
If you can’t find a soilless potting mix, worry not. You can help improve the drainage of compost in a variety of ways.
- Add a layer of stones to the base of the pot before plants to allow excess water to drain away freely.
- Plant into a porous material such as terracotta as this will allow more water to escape.
- Add something grainy to the potting mix such as perlite or pumice, this will also help to aerate the soil.
- Add extra drainage holes into the base of the pot.
Repotting Snake Plants
Believe it or not, snake plants prefer to be a little pot bound. This means you don’t need to repot your plant that often. A general rule of thumb is to repot every 2-5 years but it can be left even longer depending on your plant.
Snake plants send out roots known as rhizomes which, in the wild, allows the plant to spread over the land. These rhizomes roots often cause snake plant pots to look slightly misshapen and some have even been known to break right out of them!
To repot your snake plant simply follow these instructions:
- Choose a pot that is slightly bigger than your plant's current pot, be mindful not to go too much bigger though. A couple of inches larger should suffice.
- Find the appropriate potting mix and add a layer to the base of the new pot.
- Remove your snake plant from its current pot and loosen the roots slightly.
- Place the root ball of your plant into the new pot and fill around the edges with compost. Make sure the top soil level is at the same point on the plant, avoid planting too shallow or too deep as this can negatively affect your plant.
Watering Snake Plants
Although snake plants are basically indestructible, the one thing you need to get right is the watering. Always wait until the soil feels dry before you water the plant again and never leave standing in excess water. When watering, only water at the base of the plant and avoid getting it on the foliage.
Snake plants are drought tolerant and we’ve found that they tend to flourish when basically left alone. Overwatering is definitely one of the main killers, so get your watering schedule on track and your plant will remain happy and healthy.
If you have overwatered your snake plant and the soil just isn’t drying out, try repotting into some fresh compost. This absorbs any excess moisture, allowing your plant time to recover and remedy any root rot.
Snake Plant Light
Snake plants are versatile and will tolerate both higher light and lower light conditions. That being said, they will do their best in bright indirect sunlight.
Bear in mind that darker leaved varieties are the most tolerant of low light conditions as variegated plants (such as sansevieria trifasciata) tend to lose their bright colour and markings.
Ensure to keep out of bright, direct sun. This can lead to leaf burn and scorching.
Snake Plant Feeding and Fertilising
Feeding and fertilising isn’t a must when it comes to snake plants but it may give them a well needed boost during the growing season.
Try adding a fresh layer of compost to the pot to give your plant a healthy dose of nutrients that filters through the soil slowly.
If you do want to add some liquid feed or fertiliser then any organic indoor plant feed will do. Just simply follow the feed packet instructions and add during the spring and summer months.
Feeding is great for plants that have been in the same pot for a few years, it replenishes any nutrients in the potting soil that may have been lost through watering.
Avoid feeding too late into the year and over autumn, winter months. This is your plants time to rest and adding feed may force it to grow.
How to Propagate Snake Plants
Propagating snake plants is easy! Once you have one, you will never need to buy another.
There are 2 main ways to propagate your plant:
- Separating the rhizomes; This is more common for outdoor snake plants but you may notice some smaller plants shooting up from the base of your indoor snake plants. These are rhizomes which are roots that grow from the mother plant and sprout a new baby plant. If one of these pops up then they can be separated and planted into new pots.
- Take leaf cuttings; Cut around 2-3 inches from the top of one of the leaves and plant about 1 inch deep into soil (make sure it’s facing the way it should be growing) and in no time it should start to sprout roots. Viola, easy propagation!
With indoor plants, propagation can be done at any time of the year but we suggest the springtime for best results. Spring is the start of the growing season so will allow your plant to put as much energy as possible into growing new roots.
Are Snake Plants safe for Pets?
The ASPCA states that snake plants can be toxic to cats and dogs if the leaves are ingested. The symptoms consist of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Check out our pet friendly plants for more information.
Humidity and Temperature for Snake Plants
This is again where snake plants show their true versatility. They will be happy in most areas of the house and don’t mind the dryer air of offices and homes. If the air in your home is particularly dry then mist your plant every now and again.
The bathroom is a great place for snake plants as they love the extra humidity.
Temperature doesn’t affect snake plants too much either so any location in the home will do.
Snake Plant Pests
Snake plants are pest-resistant but can suffer from mealy bugs or spider mites. If you spot any on the foliage simply spray with a mild soap and water mixture and wipe them away. Continue this until your plant is pest free.
Another way of keeping pests at bay is with a mixture of neem oil and water to spray on the compost. This is a fantastic and natural way of keeping all indoor plants pest free.
Send a snake plant as a gift
All in all, snake plants are easy to care for and rewarding to grow. They look absolutely stunning in the home and are so low maintenance they can happily grow almost anywhere. We rate them as the perfect choice for a plant newbie (or plant killer) and as long you don’t get too splash happy with the watering can your snake plant will live for many years.
We absolutely adore our snake plant and think they are perfect for adding bold style to the home. Plus, the fact that they’re so easy to look after makes them a winner in anyone's eyes. Order one from our website today, you won’t regret it!