Taking Care of a Snake Plant

The snake plant is one of the best houseplants you can have. Especially if you’re a plant beginner like us and you are getting started in populating your space with some leafy friends. However, despite its friendliness, many people wonder what is the proper care for a snake plant to flourish. So here’s the big picture:

Snake plants can be grown indoors or outdoors. Only water them if the soil is completely dry and do it from the bottom of the pot. Snake plants will thrive with or without direct sunlight and they should be kept at temperatures between 55 and 85 Fahrenheit (12 to 30 Celsius).

Despite this brief summary, we’re sure you have other questions. You may be wondering how do you know if a snake plant is overwatered. Or if it is true that snake plants can have babies. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. In this blog post, we’ll go through all the details related to snake plant care.

Snake Plant Care Guide for Beginners

Although snake plants are one of the most beginner-friendly plants to grow, they still need some basic care in order to grow healthy. But yes, fortunately, they are very forgiving with amateur mistakes. However, like any other plants or trees, you will need to keep an eye on the following things to make sure you’re doing your job right:

How much light do snake plants need? 

This succulent species can tolerate a wide range of light exposure levels. Although they will tend to thrive more with more light, they can also do well under low light. Just avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for long periods of time, especially during summer, as their leaves are very sensitive to light, and they could overheat or burn.

Snake Plant Leaves
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

How long can snake plants go without water?

One of the most remarkable characteristics of snake plants is their ability to grow with little to no watering needs. In fact, some users have reported that snake plants can survive up to 6 weeks without water. Nevertheless, there is no one size fits all rule here and this drought-resistant period may vary according to the place where you live, humidity and light levels.

How do you know when your snake plant needs water?

You should check the soil moisture at least every other day. If you notice that it is completely dry, then that means your snake plant needs some water. 

How much water do you give a snake plant?

One beginner mistake in all plant care is to be very sloppy, meaning: unaware of what is being done – they just want to get the task (for instance watering) out of the way. So, try to be very mindful when performing these tasks and take it easy. Pour some water until you see that the top soil layer moistens. Beware of not causing standing water to stay on the pot, as this could put the roots in risk of rotting.

How do I know if my snake plant is overwatered?

If you see seated water (a small puddle) on the soil, that is the clearest sign of overwatering. Also, if you want to check, you can quickly smell the drainage holes of your snake plant, if you notice a weird smell, there is a high chance that a part of the rooting system is rotten.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you might need to consider re-potting your snake plant.

Can I put my snake plant in water?

Despite the fact that overwatering can kill your snake plant, there is an exception. In fact, rooting a snake plant in water is one of the most effective methods for propagation. We will cover more details on rooting in water below.

What kind of soil is best for a snake plant?

Due to its root resiliency, most snake plants do not need any special soil nutrients. However, due to its sensitivity to root rotting, seasoned snake plant owners recommend to use a fast-draining soil. A tip some experts recommend, to increase aeration and drainage in the soil, is to add a top layer of pumice or perlite.

Is a snake plant an indoor or outdoor plant?

What I like most about snake plants is that they are pretty easy going and can thrive at different temperature levels and locations. For instance, I have one in my balcony where it gets pretty warm during the morning. On the other hand, I have another snake plant in my room which is at a cool temperature most of the time. Both are doing just fine. 

Snake Plant in Balcony

Just bear in mind that if you keep your snake plant outdoors, even they can grow more because of more sunlight exposure, you will need to bring it indoors depending on the season, since this type of plant does not tolerate frost or snow.

Snake Plant in Living Room

When should I fertilize my snake plant?

Fertilizing needs are minimal for a snake plant, although it is not a bad idea to fertilize them every now and then. This will aid their growth, especially if done during the spring or summer season. Another option you can rely on is to use a Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix when planting your snake plant.

Do snake plants need deep pots?

You will be surprised by how fast snake plants can grow, especially as their foliage can go sideways. Therefore it is recommended to choose a pot that is larger in width, rather than depth. Needless to say, the pot should have a drainage hole to avoid the most common issue that snake plants have, which is the risk of root rotting. 

How often should I repot my snake plant?

It depends. If you notice that your snake plant starts breaking your pot, then you should look for a bigger container. However, most snake plants can stay in the same pot for more than 2 years without showing any signs of trouble.

If you do feel that repotting is necessary, just make sure to hold the plant  firmly from the base of its leaves, so you can extract the whole plant structure, including its roots. Then place it in the new pot and cover it with soil mixture.

Do snake plants have babies?

Short answer: yes. 

One of the hottest topics around snake plants is their propagation, as it can be very straightforward to manage to reproduce them.

There are two main methods to perform a snake plant propagation:

Snake plant propagation via Cuttings (if you want to grow a new plant from an existing leave):

The key element here are their rhizomes, which is a white part that forms between the stem and the leaves. Rhizomes on their own can basically give birth to new baby snake plants. 

So, if you choose this method, grab a sharp knife and cut off leave, including the rhizome, as shown below. Allow it to get a couple of days of air before replanting it. After you’ve allowed that, you can then plant it in its new location. 

Snake Plant Propagation

I’ve been doing this process myself lately. I chose a medium pot to plant the new babies. Alternatively, you can put the baby in a container with water before planting it, as this will promote faster root growth.

Snake Plant after propagation
Snake Plant after propagation

You can also cut a leave and seed the parts as shown below:

Snake Plants Leaves Cuttings

This is how they look when planted:

Snake Plant Leave Cuttings after propagation

Snake plant propagation from Division:

With time, your snake plant will probably become very large for its pot. When this happens you can use the division method to pretty much split the plant and grow it in separate parts. 

With this method, you should be more careful. Extract the plant from its soil carefully and look for the main rhizome that is connecting all the leaves. Gently cut it in half and separate all the roots. Finally, you will be able to replant each part on different pots if you provide a good amount of soil. 

Related Questions:

How long does a snake plant live?

According to hunker.com, the average lifespan for a snake plant ranges from 5 to 10 years. However, if you take good care of them, they can live up to 20 or 25 years.

How can I make my snake plant grow faster?

From our research, most sources report that snake plants tend to grow faster if they have adequate sunlight exposure. 

How many weeks does it take for a snake plant to grow from cuttings?

It can take up to six weeks from the moment you plant the rhizome as described above.

Why is my snake plant dying?

The most common reason for snake plants to die is overwatering, which can cause the rotting in the root system. So most probably you should reduce watering your snake plant so often.

Do all snake plants clean the air?

Yes. All snake plants can purify the air as they can absorb toxins and produce oxygen as a byproduct. Also, this amazing property makes snake plants an ideal bedroom partner as they don’t secret carbon dioxide like other plants. 

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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