Sansevierias (Snake Plants) are some of the toughest plants you can find. Whether indoors, in your garden or on your balcony, these spiky beauties can put up with almost anything. They’re easy to grow, but there are a few things you should know. Keep reading for Snake Plant care as a houseplant – you’ll see how low maintenance they really are.
These plants aren’t favored by everyone because of their strong, bold look and tough, pointed leaves. They’re definitely not the soft, “touchy-feely” kind of plants but certainly have character and present quite the striking silhouette.
I, on the other hand, love them and have quite a few of them. I’ve had many varieties, both growing in pots and in the ground in my Santa Barbara garden
Note: This post was updated in March 2020.
Their modern, edgy feel appeals to me along with how easy they are to take care of. I now live in Tucson, Arizona where I have them growing in my home along with a couple in pots outside in the bright shade on my covered patio. The strong desert sun will fry them but they handle the dry air like champs.
These evergreen perennials are very long-lived, unlike some houseplants. If you’re looking for your own Snake Plant, there are many different species and varieties on the market with more new ones being introduced each year
Snake Plants grown as houseplants and average in height from 8″ to 7′. You can buy them in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14″ grow pots.
They’re used as tabletop and narrow floor plants, as well as in dish gardens and kokedama.
Sansevierias have a slow to moderate growth rate. They spread by underground stems called rhizomes which pop up as new growth.
In stronger natural light they’ll grow faster and slower in lower light.
Snake Plant Care Tips
Easy does it with the watering. You want to be careful not to overdo it because your plant will rot out. Always make sure the soil is almost completely dry before thoroughly watering again.
Water your Snake Plants every 2-8 weeks. The watering schedule will vary for you depending on your home environment, type of soil mix, and pot size. You can read my guide to watering indoor plants to get a better idea.
I water my Snake Plants less often in the winter months (every 8 weeks for those in large pots) when the temps are cooler and the sun is less intense. This is the time of year when your houseplants like to rest.
Be sure not to let any water build up in the center of the leaves (where they form a cup) because this can lead to a mushy plant and ultimately rot.
So, if you travel or tend to ignore plants, this is the plant for you.
Even though Sansevierias prefer medium light (which is about 10′ away from the west or south window), they’ll also tolerate low light and high light. How versatile they are!
Note: In lower light conditions, the darker leafed species and varieties ( like S. trifasciata & Sansevieria hanhnii jade) do better and are the ones you should get. Snake Plants with brighter variegations will become less intense and patterned.
Just be sure to keep them out of the direct, hot sun because they’ll burn in a heartbeat.
These plants don’t mind the dry or stale air in our homes and offices. They’ll also do well in bathrooms where the humidity tends to be much higher. This is another versatility factor that gives this houseplant the label: “diehard”.
Sansevierias will tolerate a wide range of temperatures in our homes. I have 1 in a pot outdoors which does fine. We get very hot here in the desert in the summer and a handful of evenings can dip below freezing in the winter.
If yours is outdoors for the summer, just know they don’t tolerate frost or snow so get them indoors before the temperatures drop too low.
Snake Plants are highly pest-resistant but in poor conditions, they can get mealybugs and/or spider mites. If yours gets mealybugs, I’ve got you covered with this post on how to get rid of mealybugs and aphids. Here you can find spider mites control.
It’s best to take action as soon as you see any pest because they multiply like crazy. Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast so make you get them under control as soon as you see them.
Once you’ve got a Snake Plant you may never need to buy another one. They’re very easy to propagate. You can check this post and video I did about the three ways to propagate Sansevierias.
In the garden they’ll propagate on their own, spreading by underground stems called rhizomes. As a houseplant, division followed by leaf cuttings is one of the easiest ways.
Snake Plants are easy-going with their soil nutrients requirements. Because root rot is one of its main issues that kill these plants, I’d recommend a fast and well-draining soil to help prevent this.
I use succulent and cactus mix combined with potting soil in a ratio of 1:1. If the mix seems too heavy, I add in a few handfuls of pumice or perlite to up the ante on the aeration and drainage factor. I’ll also do this if the pot only has 1 or 2 smaller sized drain holes.
Note: I now make my own. Here’s a recipe for succulent and cactus mix.
I’ve never fertilized my Snake Plants. I feed them every spring with a topping of worm compost and compost.
I give most of my houseplants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 ” layer of each for a 6″ size houseplant.
Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.
If you prefer fertilizing, then an organic all-purpose houseplant food would be fine. Just be sure to fertilize in the spring and/or summer, twice at the most.
You don’t want to fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter because that’s their time for rest. And, avoid fertilizing a houseplant that is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.
Note: I now give my Snake Plants a watering with Eleanor’s vf-11 2-3 times during the warmer months. We have a long growing season here in Tucson and the growing conditions are tougher. I also use Max Sea once or twice in between feedings with Eleanor’s.
You don’t need to rush to repot your Snake Plants. They actually do better when pot-bound and I’ve seen quite a few which have broken their grow pots. Yes, the rhizomes and roots are that tough.
Generally, I repot mine every 2-5 years at the most. If yours is growing in low light, transplanting every 5-10 years will be fine.
Note: I’ve done a guide to repotting plants which I think you’ll find helpful, especially if you’re a beginning gardener.
Safe For Pets
My cats have never ever chewed on any of my Sansevieras, indoors or out. Their leaves are pretty tough so I imagine they’re not as appealing as a crunchy leaf like a Spider Plant.
I don’t test how toxic plants are on my kitties (thank goodness for them!) and rely on reputable sources to get info on this subject.
Snake Plants are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject and see in what way the plant is toxic.
Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way and I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic. Regarding this topic, I say do a little more research and come to your own conclusion.
Yes, they do, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the flowers to appear when grown indoors. It doesn’t happen very often and seems to be hit or miss. 1 of the varieties of Snake Plants growing in my garden in Santa Barbara would flower almost every year but the others wouldn’t.
The flowers are whitish to greenish and smell oh so sweet.
Reasons to Love Sansevierias
Sansevierias are one of the best plants when it comes to air purification because they take in toxins and give off oxygen. They’re great plants for the bedroom because they release it at night . Don’t expect 1 plant to purify your whole bedroom though – only the air around it.
They’re considered to be good luck plants, most likely because of their purifying nature.
Snake Plants are available in a wide range of sizes, forms, and colors and patterns. Mine run the gamut from 10″ to 5′ tall. Something to fit every decor!
Snake Plants make great office plants because they handle dry air better than most houseplants and don’t need much attention.
Are you a beginning houseplant gardener? Be sure to put this plant on your list.
To Sum It Up: Snake Plant care is a snap. They’re virtually indestructible unless you have a heavy hand with the watering can or place them in a hot, sunny window. They seem to thrive on the dry air in our homes, as well as neglect. The more you ignore them, the better they do.
I love Snake Plants because of their bold, architectural, sassy look. It’s a big bonus that they’re one of the easiest care houseplants. Give one a try and you’ll be hooked too!
Like This Content? Here Are More Snake Plant & Houseplant Care Posts:
- Repotting Snake Plants
- Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over?
- How To Plant Small Snake Plants
- Easy To Grow Houseplants
- Easy Care Houseplants For Low Light
- Easy Tabletop & Hanging Plants For Beginning Houseplant Lovers
You can find more houseplant info in my simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive.
You can also view our houseplant index here.
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