Snake Plant Easy Guide 101: How To Grow And Care For Sansevieria

Snake Plant, previously known as Sansevieria trifasciata and now called Dracaena trifasciata, is a popular house plant that is native to Asia and West Africa. It has other common names such as Golden Bird’s Nest, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, or Good Luck Plant.

We can easily spot this evergreen flowering perennial by its upright, slender leaves that are often variegated with yellow or white stripes. And yes, this plant is considered succulent because it stores water inside the thick and fleshy leaves.

In this post, you will find all you need to know about this plant, from how to grow and care for a snake plant, how to propagate, how to make it bloom, and enjoy the beautiful variegated snake plant images. Now, let’s dive in!

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Different types of Snake plants ( Dracaena trifasciata)

What Does A Snake Plant Do For Your House?

If you are looking for a beautiful plant to add more ambiance to your apartment or office, the snake plant or sansevieria plant is an excellent choice for many reasons.

  1. Taking care of snake plants is a piece of cake! They don’t need much light, so they’re perfect for darker spots in the house. Plus, they can go long periods without water – only needing a drink every 2-3 weeks or longer.
  2. Sansevieria plant can last for a good long time – sometimes up to a few decades! You can easily propagate this plant and make a good investment with this decorative plant if you want to.
  3. Fengshui experts recommend keeping this perennial flowering plant at home to bring good luck and block out bad vibes because it absorbs negative energy or unwanted feelings like stress, bitterness, and jealousy.
  4. Besides, they are amazing air filters that absorb toxins like CO2, formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. Keeping one inside your home is a great way to protect yourself from allergies & strengthen your immune system.
  5. Snake plant is different from other plants because it releases pure oxygen even at night time. This unique character makes it an ideal plant for your bedroom.

Is snake plant poisonous or How toxic is snake plant to cats, dogs and babies?

It is toxic to cats and dogs because its leaves contain Saponin, a poisonous substance, that in large quantities, may cause your pet to have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, it has low severity in this characteristic and may be the only snake plant disadvantage.

Pro Tip from the Kew Royal Botanic Garden:

You could use plants that have an upright habit but will not block out too much light to make a decorative screen in your bathrooms, bedrooms, or any room that is overlooked. Opt for plants such as snake plants, cast-iron plants, fern arum, and asparagus fern.

Snake plants have long, thin leaves that can grow quite tall – up to a few feet! You can combine them with other plants in your garden for a really cool look. I have some in my little garden and they look amazing along with the fiddle leaf figs, philodendrons, and other houseplants.

How to take care of a snake plant

How To Grow And Care For A Snake Plant

Snake plant is hard to kill and easy to grow and care for, so it is an excellent choice for all beginner gardeners.

The very first thing for you to note down is this tropical plant thrives in warm weather and prefers well-draining soil.

An important note is to avoid overwatering, it will make the root rot! Only water them when the soil feels dry.

Light

Do snake plants need sunlight?

These lovely plants are pretty versatile when it comes to light – they can handle both bright, and indirect sunlight as well as low lighting. They grow best in bright, indirect light though.

Water

How often do you water a snake plant? In fact, you don’t need to water your sansevieria plant often, as it’s quite drought-tolerant.

Let the soil dry out partially between watering sessions. Make sure you don’t overwater, which can cause root rot – overwatered snake plants will die. Let it dry out fully before giving it another drink!

Soil

Snake plants prefer well-draining soil with a slightly sandy texture. They can also grow in a variety of potting soils, as long as they are well-draining.

Temperature and Humidity

Sansevieria plants are pretty hardy when it comes to temperature.

They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Some varieties can even withstand temperatures up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit if necessary.

It’s best to keep your plant in a place where the temperature can stay between 70 and 90°F – anything below 50°F could be damaging.

Snake plants don’t need too much humidity, 40-60% is usually good. If it’s dry in your home or office, get a humidifier or put a tray of water near the plants to add some moisture. That should do the trick!

Fertilizer

You don’t need to worry about constantly fertilizing your sansevieria plants – just give them a little boost once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with some balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

Don’t fertilize it in winter though! A mild cactus fertilizer is recommended as it is gentle enough for this house plant.

Pests

Keep a lookout for bugs like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. They love dry, warm spots inside your home so watch out!

Potting and Repotting snake plants

You don’t need to put your sansevieria plant in a new pot very often. Generally, they just need repotting every 2-3 years when the roots are taking up the whole container.

Another PRO tip for you is to use an unglazed terra cotta pot as this will provide better drainage and reduce the chance of root rot. Additionally, make sure the pot you choose has a drainage hole at its base.

How to care for a snake plant in the winter

It’s important to give your Dracaena trifasciata extra love during the winter. Here’s what you can do:

  • Water it less, once every month or every two months.
  • Move it away from drafty windows, radiators, or air conditioning vents.
  • Place it indoors, frost will kill them.
  • Make sure the soil is not too damp.

That way, you can keep your lovely plants healthy and vibrant during the winter months!

How to Get Snake Plant to Bloom

This perennial flowering plant rarely blooms. When it blooms, often in spring, it’s a sign of good luck to the owner.

The flowers typically come in cream, green, or white color and come in different varieties such as narrow-petaled clusters, lily-like, and honeysuckle blooms.

These rarely-seen flowers are heavily fragrant with a distinct vanilla-like scent. The blooms also produce copious amounts of sweet nectar, often dripping down the stalks!

Flowers close up during the day and open when it is nighttime. The scent from the blossoms becomes very strong in the darkness of evening.

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If you want to enjoy the beauty of this plant when blooming, the very first thing to do is to make sure to give your plant plenty of sunlight.

To encourage the growth of snake plants and stimulate flowering, they need to be exposed to direct sunlight for 3 – 4 hours per day. This will help them grow taller and have a better chance of blooming flowers too.

Another way to get more light for your plant is to put them near windows or other locations that receive direct light.

The second step is to keep your plant in well-draining soil, as they tend to grow vigorously when placed in loamy and sterile soil. To get even better results, the pH of the soil should ideally be between 5.5 and 7.0 for optimal plant health.

Water it less. In spring and summer, water it about once a week. When the weather is cold, reduce your watering to once a month or even longer.

This will help it put more energy into growing tall and healthy, rather than protecting itself against drought.

As a general guideline, smaller types of the plant Dracaena trifasciata require less watering than bigger varieties.

Also, remember to keep your plant inside when the temperature drops, especially in autumn and winter. For example, take it inside before the temperature gets under 50 degrees Fahrenheit or before your first autumn frost.

Generally, snake plants rarely bloom when young. An aged specimen will be more likely to produce flowers, so it’s a good idea to buy a mature one for the best chances of seeing blooms.

Please note that even if you follow all these steps, it’s not guaranteed that your plant will bloom. The Dracaena trifasciata are known for being foliage plants with beautiful sword leaves, not for blooming.

How to Propagate Snake Plant (Step By Step)

If you want to grow snake plants by propagating, there are 3 methods to do that root division, leaf cuttings, and offshoots.

Remember that not all snake plant varieties produce offset, and you need to be patient, as the new plant takes some time to develop from cuttings or offshoots.

Among the methods above, root division and leaf cutting are proved to be the most reliable.

Propagating Snake Plant Through Root Division

Prepare a clean and sharp knife, several pots, and ideal soil such as cactus potting. Then follow these steps:

  1. Begin by carefully taking your plant out of the pot. Gently loosen the dirt around the roots with your fingers.
  2. Examine them and locate any divisions or sections within them.
  3. Use a sharp and clean knife or pruning shears to divide the root ball. Make sure to keep the root in each section remain intact.
  4. Plant each section into separate pots that are filled with cactus potting soil.
  5. Water it until the soil feels moist. Avoid overwatering or water-logging.
  6. Place them in a warm, bright, indirect light location.
  7. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and wait for a few weeks to see new growth.
  8. As the new plants grow, you can transfer them to larger pots or keep them in the same pot until they are big enough to be transferred.

It’s important to note that it may take several weeks or even months for the new plants to become established, so be patient and keep an eye on the soil moisture and light conditions.

Propagating Snake Plant Through Leaf Cutting

  1. First, select a healthy leaf from the base of the snake plant. Use a sharp, sterile knife or scissors to cut the leaf as close to the base of the plant as possible.
  2. Allow the cut leaf to callus over for a day or two by placing it in a dry, warm place. This will help to prevent rotting and promote root growth.
  3. Once the leaf has callused, fill a small pot with well-draining soil.
  4. Plant the leaf cutting about 1 inch deep into the soil. Be sure to plant it with the cut end facing downward.
  5. Water the soil until it is moist, but not waterlogged.
  6. Place the potted leaf cutting in a warm, bright, indirect light location.
  7. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and wait for a few weeks to see new growth.

Regularly checking on the moisture and light conditions of the soil can aid in the successful growth of the roots. This process may take a few weeks or even months.

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Be patient and enjoy happiness when your new roots grow every day. This is a simple joy that we gardeners all relate.

Also, it’s worth noting that not all leaves will grow new plants, so it’s better to take many cuttings to increase your chances of success.

Propagating Snake Plant Through Offshoots

  1. Look for the baby pups or offshoots growing at the base of the parent. They will have their own roots and leaves and can be detached from their parent with relative ease.
  2. Gently pull the offshoot root off the parent, or use a clean and sharp knife or pruning shears to cut it away. Make sure to keep as many of the roots intact as possible.
  3. Plant the offshoot in a small pot filled with well-draining soil.
  4. Water the soil until it is moist, but not waterlogged.
  5. Place the potted offset in a warm, bright, indirect light location.
  6. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and wait for a few weeks to see new growth.

To ensure the best chance of success for your plants, you should propagate multiple offshoots when replanting them.

The rooting and growth process could take several weeks or even months, so be sure to keep the soil moisture and light levels at adequate levels while being patient as it grows.

How to solve common problems with snake plants (sansevieria)

Brown tips on leaves, brown/yellow leaves

The leaves of a healthy snake plant are usually bright green, with thin strips of yellow or silver running along the edges.

Yellow and brown leaves can signify a variety of issues, with overwatering, pests, and root rot being the most common.

To prevent these from occurring and harming your plants, you should always make sure to not over-water them. It’s essential to make sure the soil isn’t overly damp before watering again. Also, having drainage holes in the pot will ensure the extra water can escape instead of staying in the plant’s roots.

Curling Leaves

Thrips are particularly known for causing leaves to curl, making them look unhealthy.A magnifying glass can be useful for examining the leaves of your plants.

Small black bugs may be present, so make sure to cut away any severely curled leaves and prevent their return by spraying Neem oil or vegetable soap. Soon enough, new healthy leaves will appear.

Leaves Drooping

Snake plants generally have upright, healthy leaves. However, too much water or a lack of light can cause the leaves to droop or sag.

Additionally, if the potting material is incorrect it can also result in the same symptom. Improper drainage can be an issue for potted plants, resulting in soggy soil which can harm the foliage.

To fix this, you should move the plant to a brighter location and reduce watering frequency. You may also need to switch out your soil for one that drains more effectively.

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Gold flames – A stunning variety of snake plant

Root rot

A tell-tale sign of root rot is when the soil smells like it’s rotting. The reason for this issue is too much watering or poor drainage.

For confirmation, take a handful of soil and smell it. A foul odor is an indication that root rot has infected your plant. To save the plant, it is essential to examine the root system. Gently remove the plant from its container & inspect the roots.

If you identify any discolored, soft roots or foliage, then cut them away immediately.

If you choose to save the healthy root rhizomes, replant them in fresh cactus potting mix or a well-draining soil.

Otherwise, discard them instead. You could propagate a new snake plant from leaf cuttings, follow the instructions above.

Pests

Sansevieria plants are generally pest-resistant but may be exposed to thrips, mealybugs, and spider mites.

Thrips are particularly known for causing leaves to curl, making them look unhealthy. A magnifying glass can be useful for examining the leaves of your plants.

Cut away any severely curled leaves. To keep them at bay, you could clean your plant’s leaves with a mixture spray of water and vegetable soap, or organic Neem oil.

Slow growth

Generally, the snake plant is a slow-growing type of house plant, so do not worry if it seems so long for you to see any remarkable growth.

However, if your snake plant is not growing as expected, it could be due to insufficient light or bad soil. To address this issue, move the plant to a spot with abundant indirect sunlight and provide it with a high-quality, well-draining potting mix.

Keep in mind that snake plants are resilient plants, and they can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. With proper care and attention to the plants’ needs, most problems can be prevented or solved.

Types of Snake Plant

There are about 70 different snake plant varieties. They have one thing in common: being easy to grow and care for.

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Moonshine snake plant and starfish snake plant are well-loved by many people.

The common snake plant types are:

  • Sansevieria Cylindrica, commonly known as the cylindrical snake plant or African spear plant, has cylindrical leaves that are tightly packed together.
  • Sansevieria Laurentii, also called the golden snake plant, has leaves with a yellow edge.
  • Sansevieria Masoniana, or the whale fin snake plant.
  • Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, commonly known as the bird’s nest snake plant or Hahn’s snake plant, which has smaller leaves that stay shorter than the normal snake plant.
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The rare types of snake plants are:

  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’: This cultivar has variegated leaves with a cream-white and green coloration. It is a slow-growing variety, and its leaves are narrower than the common trifasciata.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Futura Superba’: This cultivar has leaves that are dark green with a thin, yellow margin. It has a more upright growth habit than the common trifasciata.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’: This cultivar has short, stiff leaves that are tightly packed together and have a bright yellow coloration.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Futura Robusta’: This cultivar has wide leaves that are dark green and have a thin, yellow margin.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Ceylon Gold’: This cultivar has variegated leaves with a green and yellow coloration. It is a slow-growing variety and has a more compact growth habit than the common trifasciata.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Twist’: This cultivar has twisted and curled leaves that give it a unique, sculptural appearance.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Moonshine’: This cultivar has variegated leaves with a yellow and green coloration. It has a more upright growth habit than the common trifasciata.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Futura Durable’: This cultivar has wide leaves that are dark green and have a thin, yellow margin.
whale fin snake plant, hahnii, twist, variegated snake plants,

FAQs about Snake Plants

Snake plants are exceptionally resilient when it comes to drought and do not require a lot of water. It is best to water only when the soil is dry and avoid overwatering, as that can cause root rot in the plant.

These plants are tolerant of a range of light levels, ranging from low to bright indirect sunlight. They can also handle short periods of direct sun exposure (3 – 4 hours each day). However, it is best to avoid too much as this may cause leaf burn.

Yes. One of the best snake plant benefits is this plant filters air by absorbing toxins like CO2, formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene through its leaves, then releasing oxygen. This process happens at nighttime also, which makes this plant a great choice for your bedroom.

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Snake plants, in fact, are considered succulents. They are not in the cacti family.

This plant could live for a few decades.

Snake plants usually take a long time to reach their maximum height. With the proper care, they can reach 2 inches in growth annually, depending on the species. As an example, Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’ will not grow beyond 12 inches.

Yes, snake plants can be grown outside in warm climates, but they are not cold and hardy and should be brought indoors or protected during freezing temperatures.

Some common problems with snake plants include brown leaf tips, which can be caused by low humidity or hard water, and yellowing leaves, which can be caused by too much direct sun or over-watering.

Also, you may find thrips attacking your plant. If that’s the case, try to remove those insects, and prevent them from coming back by using a mixture of water and vegetable soap or Neem oil.

Snake plants can be propagated through offsets, stem cuttings, and leaf cuttings. Root division is also possible.

Snake plants are very easy to take care of. They can thrive in different temperatures, do not need a lot of sunlight, and can go for longer periods without being watered. When it is time to water them, make sure the soil has dried out before doing so. For best results, they should be placed somewhere with indirect or low light exposure.