Snake Plant, Dracaena trifasciata, Sansiveria, or mother in laws tongue is a very hardy and popular houseplant that originates from the countries of Tropical West Africa. It has beautiful long thick yellow and green variegated leaves with zig-zag patterns all over.
In this article, you will find a basic care guide for various parameters such as light, water, and temperature, how to propagate it, and some other interesting information and questions about Snake Plant.
Snake Plant is known as one of the easiest indoor plants to care for if not the easiest. It is extremely tolerant of neglect and we named it number 1 on our list of the top unkillable houseplants. Apart from not needing to be watered much, Snake Plant can also grow in a range of lighting and temperature conditions. Although it grows a bit slower than some other houseplants, it is spectacularly patterned and straightforward to propagate.
1. Light -
Snake Plant is versatile in terms of light requirements - it can grow in quite dark areas as well as in some direct sun. For best growth, place in an area with bright indirect light and even some direct sun in the morning for an hour or so. Snake plant will also grow in very dark corners with little to no light albeit, very slowly and with less colour. Some varieties have a higher requirement for light to maintain variegation.
It is possible to grow Snake Plant outdoors but be careful that it doesn’t receive too much water and direct sun which can damage the roots and leaves respectively. An easy way to tell if the plant is getting too much sun is that the leaves will turn brown and burn in certain areas. Whereas, without enough light the leaves will become pale and elongated.
2. Water -
It is actually better to underwater this plant than overwater it. Because the leaves are so thick and store a lot of water, Snake Plant can go for long periods without water. Let the soil dry out completely between waterings - if in doubt leave it another week. On average, water once or twice per month and less in Winter. It’s easy to tell when your plant really needs water as the leaves will start to shrivel and curl, but don’t worry it will quickly bounce back. A great way to see if the plant needs water is with a soil moisture meter.
3. Temperature and Humidity-
Snake Plant doesn’t have any special humidity requirements, although they don’t like when the temperature gets too low. Standard house temperatures are suitable but warmer areas are preferred.
4. Soil and Fertiliser -
A well-draining and aerated soil is very important for the health of the plant. You can either buy pre-made bags of soil or make your own mix with things such as potting mix, sphagnum moss and perlite. Good drainage helps prevent rot as the plant already has adapted to periods without water.
Snake Plants natural environment is also poor in nutrients so they don’t need fertilising often - just during the growing season with a liquid or slow release fertiliser.
5. Maintenance and Repotting -
Snake Plant is very low maintenance because of its average growth rate and doesnt need to be repotted often either. It will happily grow in the same pot for years.
Snake Plant is a relatively easy plant to propagate. Its ability to propagate quickly and easeily comes from how it has adapted. There are three methods for propagation which are all extremely easy and usually have very high success rates.
6. Leaf cuttings -
Take cuttings from the leaves of an established plant about 4-5cm and remember which are the top and bottom ends. Place the bottom ends in either soil, a jar of water, or in propagation stations and leave in a warm area to grow roots. Once they have roots they can be transferred to bigger plant pots.
7. Dividing -
Snake Plant produce small plant called pups under the soil which can be divided and separated into individual plants. Remove the plant from the pot and lightly brush off any excess soil. Then, take a clean sharp tool and cut the pup off from the parent plant - it should already have some roots growing and place into another pot. This method is quicker and more successful because the plants already have roots.