The snake plant is a low-maintenance houseplant that can be used as an alternative to traditional plants. It’s also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, and for good reason: it has long, slender leaves that resemble the tongue of a snake!
And though this plant might not look like much at first glance, it packs some pretty cool benefits. For those looking to purchase or grow their own Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), we have 7 essential tips to help you grow the plant as a beginner.
So, what are the essential growing tips for snake plants as a beginner? Becoming an expert at snake plant growth and care starts with picking the right varieties. Ensure you have done proper propagation, drainage, and placing it under natural low light.
Look out for common pests like mealybugs and aphids while ensuring proper watering to avoid root rot. Picking suitable indoor varieties based on your region’s temperate zone is also helpful.
Looking to plant the sake plant at home for the first time but not sure what to expect? This article will help you get started with Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) care and propagation.
1. Picking Ideal Snake Plants For Indoors
Snake plants can be grown outdoors, but they thrive best indoors. If you’re looking to grow snake plants indoors, pick up a low-light requirement variety that you can place in your living room. Growing snake plants indoors requires high humidity and good air circulation, so find a spot near a window or vent.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the leaf, the higher the light requirement it has. This means that a plant with large leaves will thrive in brighter rooms while smaller-leafed varieties can survive in darker spaces.
When positioning your snake plant indoors, consider possible contact with children or pets. Ensure the plant is out of reach, especially with children and pets to avoid the risk of poisoning. You should also avoid placing your snake plant next to a radiator as the heat will dry out its soil and scorch its leaves.
A common snake plant variety can grow in low-light and bright light conditions, making it a good choice for beginners who are unsure about the amount of sunlight their living spaces have to offer. These plants do best in rooms that get medium or indirect sunlight exposure, but they will also survive in shades.
2. Best Propagating Practices for Snake Plant
Once you have your ideal indoor snake plants, it’s essential to propagate them before they become overcrowded in their pot. One of the best ways is to divide up an overgrown clump into several separate plants by cutting through its roots with a sharp knife. This will help ensure that each new snake plant has its own space to grow big and strong.
Alternatively, you can propagate snake plants by using leaf cuttings. Here, you simply take a leaf from an existing plant and place it in a moist, soilless potting mix. Make sure the bottom of the cutting is touching the soil. Roots will grow along their underside, providing you with new snake plants to love!
3. Troubleshooting Snake Plants
Snake plant care for beginners also extends to looking after its unique traits, such as its ability to store water within its leaves and roots. Overwatering is one of the main reasons your snake plant will die over time, so make sure to keep the soil moist but not wet.
If you notice your snake plant is not doing well as expected, check for root rot or fungal damage signs. These can be identified by black, dried-up leaves falling off the plant and/or mushy roots covered with dark brown spots.
If you notice any issues like these, it’s time to take action! For example, if there is a problem with its drainage system, repot the plant with fresh soil in a larger pot. If too much water is surrounding its roots, simply take out some of the excesses and let it dry up before re-watering.
4. Pot Drainage
Another important factor in snake plant care is ensuring that your pot has proper drainage, which will prevent root rot or fungal diseases from taking hold of your new friend. Any good quality potting mix should have enough aeration for roots to breathe properly, so it’s important to avoid those that contain peat moss.
Additionally, it is best to repot your snake plant into a pot with several drainage holes at the bottom so water can drain out properly and not sit around its roots for too long. Unlike most other succulents, the snake plant can store water in its roots, so it can survive for several days without water. This means that you will want to avoid having wet soil sitting around the plant’s root system at all times.
5. Light Requirements
Snake plants are low-light requirement varieties that make them perfect houseplants for a variety of homes, from apartments to dorm rooms. For best results, avoid extreme light levels such as those found in direct sunlight. Instead, place your snake plant near a window where it will receive bright but indirect light throughout the day.
Snake plants can tolerate prolonged shade but will do best under filtered, strong light. For starters, any spot that allows your snake plant to receive bright, indirect sunlight for about six hours a day should suffice.
If you have a naturally low-light home or apartment with minimal windows and no direct light source, try placing it by an artificial grow light on the lowest setting instead. Snake plants prefer warm temperatures between 70°F (21°C) and 80°F (27°C), but they can survive in temperatures as low as 40°F (40°).
6. Dealing With Pests and Diseases
Since snake plants are known for their durable leaves, they’re often used as natural insect repellent. However, this doesn’t mean that pests won’t try to get inside your snake plant at some point or another. If you notice any bugs on your new plant, use a cotton swab or an old toothbrush to gently remove them from its leaves.
Your snake plant should be safe in terms of diseases and other problems as long as you keep it healthy with nutritious soil and proper watering practices. Unfortunately, snake plants are not immune to fungal infections or common houseplant bugs like spider mites, aphids and mealybugs.
These can be identified by their webs or by seeing them carried around your plant. If these are spotted, use insecticidal soap to kill off the insects. If you do notice any signs of disease, such as black spots or leaf drop-off, promptly take action to remove the affected leaves and roots.
7. Popular Snake Plant Varieties
Not all snake plants are created equal. Each of these has their own unique features that make them perfect for different homes. Among some of the most popular options for growing as indoor plants include:
Common snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) – This is often considered a classic option for those looking to grow as indoor plants. These have long, narrow green leaves that are serrated and connected by multiple stems.
Bird’s nest snake plant (Dracaena trifasciati ‘Hahnii’) – This snake plant type features short dark-green leaves with a white stripe down the center.
Variegated snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’) – This type is noted for its unique foliage which features short dark-green leaves with a yellow or cream-colored striping from top to bottom of each leaf.
Cylindrical snake plant (Dracaena cylindrica) – This type stands out with bright-green leaves that are narrow and tall, often growing up to eight feet in height.
Moonshine snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata’ Moonshine’) – This snake plant’s foliage features short dark-green leaves with a yellow striping from top to bottom of each leaf.
Most snake plant varieties thrive in soil that has a pH range of around five to seven, so it’s important to test the acidity levels in your potting mix before planting. While most varieties prefer moist but well-draining soils with minimal water retention capacity, they also like their roots and crowns to be slightly on the dry side. Pick a medium that provides the snake plant with just enough moisture for its needs without letting it get soggy and wet.
The snake plant can be a great addition to your indoor garden. However, this can only be possible if you have the right snake plant care information. This unique succulent houseplant stands out with its grassy leaves and is known for thriving in low-light conditions.
As a beginner, you may want to focus more on getting it right the first time as this will determine how best you will fair for subsequent care planting regimes. With these tips, you should have a better idea of how to care for your snake plant even if you are new to this.