If you’re not sure how to take care of your plants, here are 11 tips to care for a snake plant. And if you go away on vacation, there’s no need to worry about if this plant will be dead when you come back. It can easily handle neglect well up to two weeks.
Snake plant (aka Mother in Law’s tongue, Saint George’s Sword, snake plant & vipers bowstring hemp, Golden Birds Nest, Good Luck Plant)
Botanical Name & Family: Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii from the Asparagacea family – a relative of the garden asparagus.
Other snake plant species include: Sansevieria trifasciata “Hahnii” (bird’s nest snake plant), Sansevieria cylindrica (cylinder snake plant), Sansevieria trifasciata “Twist, ” Sansevieria trifasciata “Bantel’s Sensation,” and Sansevieria desertii.
Photo: Kelly Sikkema
11 ways to care for a snake plant
- Light: can thrive in low or high light. Avoid placing in strong direct sunlight to prevent leaves from burning.
- Best Grown: Great indoors, on a porch or balcony because it does well in pots
- Benefits: Getting one of these plants is like having your own air purifier. At night it absorbs pollutants like formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide and then releases oxygen into the air. So if you have allergies this is a great plant to have in the bedroom.
- Soil: 50% commercial potting soil with 50% cactus/succulent mix.
- Watering: Water when soil is completely dry. In the winter you may want to water only once a month. With this plant I’d tend to water with less frequency to avoid over watering.
- Fertilizer: Requires a 10-10-10 fertilizer twice a year, in the spring and summer with summer being its growth season. Avoid giving it fertilizer in the winter since that is when this plant is more dormant. You can fertilize with a mild cactus fertilizer or a liquid slow release fertilizer half diluted
- Repotting: It’s a slow growing plant so if placed in low light it’ll require repotting every 5-10 years and 3-5 years in high light
- Toxicity: Not toxic to humans but are considered toxic for cats and dogs. It can display symptoms like mouth pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- How big it will grow: Can grow anywhere from 2 to 6 ft.
- Propagating:You can take new shoots popping up through the soil and pot independently in a separate pot. Or you can place a cut leaf in about 2 inches of water then sit near light and wait for roots to form in about 2-3 weeks. An old family trick passed down is to put two cracked eggshells in the water along with the leaf cutting.
- Temperature: Best in temperature between 70° – 90° F or 21° – 32°C. This plant can suffer damage if exposed to temperatures below 50°F/10°C for more than a few hours.
I hope the 11 tips to care for a snake plant I’ve provided shows you that this plant is simple to care for.