Snake plants — also known as dracaena trifasciata, sansevieria trifasciata, St. George’s Sword, mother-in-law’s tongue, or viper’s bowstring hemp — are trendy houseplants. Their boldly striped dark green leaves have a very unique and modern look. They are very easy to care for, and they bring a completely fresh look to your home or office.
Why is it Called a Snake Plant?
And if you’re afraid of snakes, don’t worry! These plants got their name because the shape and variegation of the leaves may resemble snakeskin, but they have nothing to do with the actual slithering animal.
Snake plants are resilient, low-maintenance plants that are easy to grow and live for a long time. They can be an ideal first houseplant for beginner gardeners and plant parents.
And if you’re worried about improving your indoor air quality, snake plants are a great option! Studies have shown that they can remove harsh chemicals from the air, including formaldehyde and benzene. NASA has even studied them as a way to do air purification in space. Doesn’t that sound like a breath of fresh air?
How Do you Take Care of an Indoor Snake Plant?
Indoor snake plants are straightforward to care for and work great in a variety of places. They can survive a wide range of temperatures and light levels and even handle infrequent watering — so it’s OK if you forget sometimes!
Snake plants are slow growers, so you don’t have to worry about your snake plant growing out of control. They will rarely need repotting. Just buy it a cool pot once, and you’re all set!
Where Did this Plant Come From Originally?
These plants are native to West Africa, so they thrive in warm temperatures. They don’t do well in the cold. It is best to keep your plant in a temperature-controlled room at temperatures well above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since they are from the desert, they don’t need a lot of water. The lack of water is good news for anyone who struggles to remember to water their plants! You can forget to water your snake plant sometimes, and it won’t die right away.
Should You Over Water the Plant?
One of the easiest mistakes when taking care of indoor plants is overwatering. Don’t overwater it, or the leaves might turn yellow, and the plant could get root rot!
When Should you Water the Snake Plant?
Let the soil dry completely between waterings. Be sure to use a succulent or cactus potting soil mix with perlite. Put your plant in a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom. If you like their appearance, terracotta pots can be a great option because they allow the soil to dry out more quickly. Doing these things will help the plant have good draining soil and remove excess water from the pot.
Since snake plants prefer dry soil, they only need to be watered every three to four weeks at the most. They’ll need more water in the spring and summer months when they are putting out new growth. The plant growth slows down in the winter months, so they might only need water every eight weeks.
Yeah — that’s right! You might only need to water your snake plant once every two months in the winter! Perfect for anyone who wants to keep houseplants but travels a lot or doesn’t want to dedicate a lot of time to taking care of a plant.
During the summer months, when the plant is in its growing season, you can also add a mild cactus fertilizer when you water it. This fertilizer provides nutrients to the plant while it puts out new growth. But be careful not to add too much! A little goes a long way.
Should I Mist my Snake Plant?
Snake plants do well in hot and humid climates, so you might think it sounds like a good idea to mist your snake plant. However, misting is not always a good idea!
Snake plants are from a desert climate, so they are accustomed to arid conditions without rain. Misting interferes with the plant’s ability to dry out in between waterings, which can cause health issues. Misting could lead to excess water in the pot and lead to health problems for your plant, such as droopy, discolored leaves, or root rot.
So while misting your snake plant is generally not a good idea, keeping your plant in a humid area of the home is recommended. If you think your plant could use a humidity boost, consider placing it in your bathroom. Snake plants tend to do well in bathrooms because it provides a humid environment for your plant without adding water directly to the pot.
Do Snake Plants Need Direct Sunlight?
Snake plants are hardy plants that can survive in both bright light and very low light levels indoors. But they do not need direct sunlight, and they do best with a lot of indirect sunlight.
It would help if you placed them in a room that gets a lot of sun throughout the day to grow. Place the plant away from the windows so that it gets a lot of indirect light, and the sunlight does not shine directly on the leaves of the plant for extended periods.
Snake plants can adapt to a wide range of light conditions, but how much your plant grows will depend on the lighting. Plants use light for energy, so brighter light will cause the plant to grow more quickly, and low light will cause them to grow more slowly.
In summary, snake plants are excellent houseplants for both beginners and experienced plant parents alike. They’re so easy to take care of, they help clean the air indoors, and they look great!