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Growing Snake Plants Indoors – A Full Guide

Growing Snake plants indoors

Snake plants are also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Sansevieria. Snake plants are one of the easiest houseplants to take care of. This succulent plant is forgiving and perfect for beginners. It is biologically known as Sansevieria trifasciata. One of the easiest houseplants to grow, Snake plant is one of the most attractive. The Snake plant is a hardy plant with long, broad leaves. Because of their adaptability and tolerance, they’re used as houseplants. Their broad leaves soak up toxins and carbon dioxide and make oxygen to help purify the air in the room. Although they are tough, they do need some care to stay healthy. If you select a healthy plant, set up the right environment, and maintain it properly, your Snake plant will have a long and healthy life. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Snake plants growing conditions
  • Tips for Growing Snake plant indoors
  • How do you care for a Snake plant indoors
  • Do Snake plants grow fast
  • Is Snake plant a good indoor plant
  • How often should I water an indoor Snake plant
  • How long does it take for a Snake plant to propagate
  • Snake plant care

A step by step guide to growing Snake plants indoors

Varieties of Snake plants

There are several different varieties of Snake plant. Some do not grow tall and others have a different coloration of the leaves. Try these Snake plants for different effects;

  1. Sanseveria canaliculate – The cylindrical leaves of this plant measure up to 3 feet long and an inch in diameter at maturity. The leaves grow singularly or two at a time.
  2. Sansevieria trifasciata – It is one of the most common types of Snake plant and there are quite a few cultivars to choose from. Some have deep green color leaves, while others have variegated or even curly leaves.
  3. Sansevieria gracilis – This Snake Plant is one of the more petite varieties. Typically, the leaves stay under about 18 inches in height. It typically blooms in late fall and produces clusters of greenish-white flowers.
  4. Sansevieria patens – This chunky Sansevieria is native to eastern Africa and grows in a rosette shape with short, cylindrical leaves. The grooved leaves can reach up to three feet long and about two inches in diameter.
  5. Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ – This variety of Sansevieria features deep green leaves with golden edges. At maturity, the plant can reach up to 4 feet tall.
  6. Sansevieria cylindrica – It is sometimes called ‘African Spear’. Larger than many other Sansevieria, the smooth rounded leaves can reach up to 6 feet tall.
  7. Sansevieria fischeri – The unique curved leaves of Sansevieria fischeri make it stand out among other types of Snake Plant. It is one of the smaller varieties of Snake Plant, measuring less than 16 inches in height at maturity.
  8. Sansevieria masoniana – This plant can simply be identified by its purple-banded sheath, but this is often below the soil line.

Choosing a location for growing Snake plants indoors

Snake plants need bright, indirect light and can even tolerate some direct sunlight. Though, they also grow well in shady corners and other low-light areas of the home. Keep the plant in a warm spot with a temperature level above 10°C. In the winter season, be sure to protect it from drafty windows. Here we discuss how to care for a Snake plant in your home.

The right pot for growing Snake plants indoors

Terracotta pots are great for Snake plants and any succulents as they are porous and allow the soil to dry more thoroughly. Snake plants are prone to rot when they are over-watered, terracotta makes the best choice. Snake plants need good drainage, so always select a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom. Also, a heavy pot works best because tall Snake plants can become too heavy.

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The right pot for growing Snake plant.
The right pot for growing Snake plant.

Soil for Snake plants to growing indoors

Snake plants do best with a free-draining soil mix, as they are easily prone to rot. And, a soilless potting mixture is best to ensure adequate drainage. And be sure to use a terracotta pot that won’t trap water inside and promptly remove any standing water from the saucer.

Basic Snake plant care

The Snake plant is flexible about lighting and humidity levels but it is fussy about the amount of water it gets. About the only thing that will kill a Snake plant is overwatering. It thrives in small pots with crowded rhizomes and has few pest and disease problems. It is not necessary to fertilize, but if you feel like doing something nice for the Snake plant, use a half dilution of houseplant food once a month during the growing season. These invaluable plants clean the air and enhance the home with tropical beauty and spread the love by propagating Snake plants and give your friends and neighbor a special treat. Snake plants can be located anywhere at home but when placing near windows keep them one foot away from the window, too much light or heat is not good for plants. This plant needs to rotate around once a week, so all the sides of the plant get enough light.

How to propagate Snake plants

Rooting a Snake plant in water

Select a container tall enough to hold the leaf. Choose a healthy leaf that is not too old and use clean, sharp shears to cut it off. Put the cut end of the leaf in just enough water to cover the bottom quarter of tissue and place the container in an indirect light situation and change the water every couple of days. Soon you will see little plant roots. Plant the rooted leaf in sand and peat moss and follow usual Snake plant care.

Propagating Snake plants by rhizome

A rhizome is a stem that grows underground. In Snake plants, this rhizome will send off new shoots known as pups. Even if you don’t have pups to grow into new plants, you can use the rhizome to produce new Snake plants. Carefully lay the Snake plant on its side and slide it out of the pot. Look for some rhizomes under the soil in the root area. Using a clean sharp knife, cut off the rhizome from the base of the Snake plant. Be careful not to damage the roots around it and allow the rhizome to callous over for a few days, just like you would in soil cuttings. Once a callous has produced, you can plant the rhizome in a new pot. Watch and then wait for the new growth to appear.

Propagating Snake plants with cuttings

This process is no different than the water method, but it skips a step. Let the cut leaf callus over for a day or two, and then insert the cut end into lightly moist sand in a pot. Wait a couple of weeks and the Snake plant will root on its own.

Propagating Snake plants by division

If you need more Snake plants in a hurry, you can try propagating the Snake plant by division. This means separating a single plant so that it becomes two or more plants. Gently lay your plant on its side and then slide the plant out of its pot. You’ll probably want to put down the newspaper or do this outside. Inspect the plant roots carefully and look where the rhizomes are. If the plant is smaller, you’ll probably only separate it in half, but if it is a large plant, you can separate it into more pieces. Using sharp shears, cut the plant so that there are at least 3 rhizomes and one good, healthy leaf per section.

Make sure there are a couple of plant roots in each section, as well. If there aren’t, then plant is not ready to divide and you probably should give it more time to grow more roots and rhizomes before you split it. After you have split the Snake plant, repot each separate plant into a fresh pot with succulent soil. Give each one a small drink of water and then do not water plants again until the soil is thoroughly dried out.

Steps to planting Snake plant

Step 1) First, choose a good quality potting mix that is well-draining. Sand, perlite, and vermiculite are main ingredients added to package potting mix to improve drainage.

Step 2) Fill a container two-thirds full with potting mix. With hands or a garden trowel, dig a well in the center of the soil.

Step 3) Remove the Snake plant from its nursery container and loosen the roots. If the plant roots are tangled and circling the pot, use garden snips or a trowel to reduce the growth.

Step 4) Place the Snake plant in the container and then press in the soil. Add more soil around the sides, covering the top of the plant roots up to an inch of the rim of the container.

Step 5) Put the Snake plant in a location with indirect light. Lightly water the plant. You’ll know it’s the right amount when you can touch the top of the soil and fingers will feel slightly damp. Check the saucer for any water that drains away from the Snake plant. Then, discard the water to keep down bugs, mildew, and the potential for root rot.

Fill the right amount of water to the Snake plant

Fill watering can with room temperature water and give the plant a drink. Give the Snake plant an hour or so to drink up the water that drains into the saucer. Discard any water that sits out for any longer. Alternatively, you can place the Snake plant in a sink or bathtub and run cool tap water over the soil. Let the plant fully drain before placing it back in its location.

When dealing with succulents of any sort, particularly Snake plants, you are more likely to cause problems by overwatering than by under-watering. These drought-tolerant plants thrive on neglect, so if you forget to water them, they will most likely be just fine.

Though, overwatering can cause a host of problems such as rot, fungi, and mushiness in the leaves and roots. Only water the plants when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is completely dry. Then water thoroughly, until water runs out the drainage hole and wait until the soil is dry to water again.

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Right temperatures for growing Snake plants indoors

Snake plants grow well indoors as they are a tropical plant. They like temperatures between 16-27°C. If temperatures drop below 10°C, the Snake plant may yellow and die or turn brown at the edges and tips of the plant leaves. A Snake plant cannot withstand frost or freezing temperature levels.

Snake plant growing problems

Keep an eye out for pests on the Snake plant. Mealybugs and spider mites are the main pests that like to feed and make their homes on these plants. Whenever you water your Snake plant, inspect the leaves for any insects. You can get rid of mealy bugs by dropping a small drop of alcohol onto them. Wash the plant leaves with warm water and a cloth to remove spider mites.

Common Snake plant problems

Too Much Water – One of the main problems that growing Snake plants face is overwatering. Water-logged soil can affect rotting roots and the decline of the plant. Growing a Snake plant in well-drained and gritty, sandy soil, such as cactus mix, can prevent this. Water the Snake plant regularly during the growing season.

Cold Damage – Exposure to the right temperature levels can be the difference between a thriving plant and a plant that looks ugly and unhealthy. Leaving a Snake plant outside when the temperature might go below 10°C can result in scarring of the leaves. Achieve this by keeping the Snake plant in temperatures between 16 and 27°C.

Insect Pests – This plant is prone to mealy bugs and spider mite infestations. These pests suck sap from the plant, weakening it and causing small wounds and shedding of the plant leaves. Heavily infested Snake plants are better off discarded because pest control would be lengthy and you risk infection of nearby plants. Handpicking mealy bugs or dabbing them with alcohol can be an effective control process. Spider mites are best eliminated by washing them off the plant and increasing the humidity around the Snake plant. For pests, insecticidal and biological control is another possibility.

Commonly asked questions about growing Snake plants indoors

Why is my Snake plant not growing?

The most common disease for the growing Snake plant will be a root rot due to over-watering. It is common because gardeners tend to treat Snake plants like other types of houseplants that aren’t succulents, watering on the same schedule.

Why is my Snake plant fading?

The most common reasons why Snake plant is dying are root rot, exposure to extreme temperature variations, insect infestations, or fungal problems. Troubleshooting problems with plants are fairly straightforward and most problems can be identified and treated easily.

Why does Snake plant turn to light green?

One of the major problems that Snake plants face is overwatering. Monitor the leaves of the plant to detect whether you are doing a good job at watering. If they’re bright and green, you’re doing a good job. Though, if they seem slightly dull, you might have to provide more water.

Why Snake plant leaves folding?

Your Snake plant can go weeks between watering, so overwatering is extremely common. Overwatering and improper drainage will cause plant leaves to fold but generally not curl. Curling can occur when the Snake plant is under-watered and left dry for too long.

How long does it take to propagate a Snake plant?

Snake plants are slow-growing plants. It will easily take at least 6 to 8 weeks just to see root growth. It may even take 2 to 3 months to see any solid roots if your Snake plant cuttings are growing in a low-light area.

How long does a Snake plant live?

Some Snake plants have lived from 20 to 25 years. About 5 to 10 years is an average lifespan for a Snake plant, but with good care, it will live for many years.

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