Step-by-Step Guide to Grow and Care for Snake Plant

Mother-in-law’s tongue, or snake plant, is a common and resilient houseplant with stiff, sword-like leaves. It comes in a variety of types, many of which have leaves with a yellow or cream border and green bands or stripes.

This eye-catching, low-maintenance houseplant is the best choice for areas like workplaces because it can withstand drought and low light levels.

Common Name Snake plant, mother-in-law plant, mother-in-law’s tongue
Botanical Name Dracaena trifasciata
Family Asparagaceae
Plant Type Evergreen perennial is typically grown as a houseplant
Mature Size 6 in. to 12 ft. tall in native habitat; 2-5 ft. tall as a houseplant
Sun Exposure Sun to part shade
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 9–11 (USDA)
Native Area West Africa
Toxicity Toxic to cats and dogs

How to Snake Plant Care

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Because it can withstand a variety of growing situations, snake plants are an excellent option for novices. When placed indoors, this low-maintenance container plant provides visual intrigue.

Light

Eight to ten hours of indirect sunshine or a few hours of early morning full sunlight are ideal for snake plant growth. A plant that receives too much direct sunlight risk burnt leaves. While some shadow is OK for snake plants, too little light will hinder growth and dilute the plant’s color.

Soil

Snake plants are houseplants that do well in a loose, well-drained potting soil mixture. All-purpose cactus potting soil is an excellent option because it thrives in sandier soil. Steer clear of soil mixed with a lot of peat since it may hold too much water.

Water

When the earth is fully dry, give your snake plant a thorough watering. In the winter, check the soil mix every two weeks or so; the plant may only require monthly watering. Water right away if you see that the leaves are dry and brittle.

Remember that the easiest way to destroy a snake plant is to overwater it. The plant’s root system will rot if it receives excessive water or is left in the water. An early warning indicator of overwatering is yellowing foliage.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal growing temperature range for snake plants is between 70°F and 90°F. Plants should not be near chilly drafts.

Frost will not harm them, yet extended exposure to temperatures below 50°F can cause the plant to die. Humidity levels in the typical home between thirty and fifty percent will be fine for them.

Fertilizer

Feed your snake plant once in the spring and once in the middle of summer using a half-strength, balanced, slow-releasing 10-10-10 fertilizer. Fertilize nothing in the winter.

Snake Plant Varieties

  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Hahnii’:Hahnii, often known as the bird’s nest snake plant, reaches a height of only six inches.
  • Dracaena angolensi: The spherical, rigid leaves on this cylindrical snake plant are several feet long. emanating from a central crown in an arc.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’: This variegated cultivar has creamy yellow leaf margins.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’: Twisting leaves bear horizontal stripes with yellow variegated edges. It grows to 15 inches tall.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’: Leaves are narrow with white vertical stripes on this three-foot tall variety.
  • Dracaena pearsonii: This succulent plant, which can reach a height of 12 inches, is sometimes referred to as rhino grass. Its leaves have a red color.

How to Propagate a Snake Plant?

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When the plants grow at least four inches tall, divide or take cuttings to propagate your snake plant in the spring or summer. Emerging shoots can also be potted on their own. This is how you grow more snake plants.

How to Propagate Snake Plant by Division?

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  • Get a clean pot, potting soil made specifically for growing succulents and cacti, and a sharp, clean knife.
  • Take the plant out of the pot and set it down on a level surface. Remove dirt from the rhizome or root system.
  • With the knife, cut the plant into sections, being careful to preserve the roots of each section.
  • Sections should be replanted into spotless pots with potting soil inside.
  • Add water and set in a partially sunny area.

Baby plants known as pups or offshoots emerge from the ground. Remove pups by following root division instructions, then transplant each in a separate pot.

How to Propagate Snake Plant from Leaf Cuttings?

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  1. Remove a long, healthy leaf from the base of the plant using a sterile cutting tool.
  2. Place the jar in a partially sunny area and immerse the chopped end of the leaf in a clean glass of water. Alternatively, put it cut-end down after letting the cut end callus over for a full day.
  3. Refresh water every two weeks while utilizing the water rooting method.
  4. It takes a month or so for roots to form. Plant the cutting in cactus potting mix after they are one inch long.
  5. Put the water in a location with indirect, bright light.

Pruning

During the growing season, prune snake plants to promote new growth. Using a sterile cutting tool, trim the highest leaves at the soil line to regulate height. Any time is a good opportunity to remove damaged leaves, but winter pruning can be stressful.

Potting and Repotting Snake Plant

Every three to five years or when roots begin to emerge from the pot’s holes, repot your snake plant. Additional indicators that your plant requires repotting include stunted growth and a drab appearance, roots filling the entire container, and water draining out too quickly.

Type of Pot

Wide, shallow pots with lots of drainage holes are preferred by snake plants. Roughly double the size of the root ball should be the diameter of the container. Strong roots can shatter and damage plastic pots, so use a durable pot made of clay, terracotta, or ceramic. Because terra cotta pots wick away extra moisture, overwatering may be avoided.

When to Repot

When the plant outgrows its original pot or the roots become too crowded, it’s time to repot it into a container that is two inches wider. Spring is the ideal season for repotting. A snake plant should be replanted at the same height as it was in the original container.

How to Get Snake Plant to Bloom?

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Although houseplants seldom flower, you can encourage your snake plant to bloom indoors by providing ample sunlight and letting it get rootbound.

Under optimal growing conditions, they can produce beautiful, creamy-white, tubular flowers. Fragrant night-blooming blooms resemble lilies in appearance.

Not every variety of snake plant will blossom, so make sure you select one that does.

Overwintering

Lower than 50°F is intolerable for snake plants. If the plant is being grown outside, move it inside and position it in a warm location shielded from chilly air drafts. Reduce watering as the plant goes into winter dormancy and wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

Common Pests

Common houseplant pests that affect snake plants include mealybugs, gnats, spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies.1. The majority are easily removed by hand or with a light mist of water. Neem oil is used to treat pests.

Common Problems With Snake Plant

Among the simplest plants to care for, snake plants have a long lifespan. Overwatering is the primary source of most issues, as it can result in fungal infections and root rot.

Foul-smelling Soil

If the soil starts to smell bad, the plant probably has root rot.3. Take the plant out of its pot and look at the roots to see if you can salvage it. Remove any mushy, brown roots and leaves, and then transplant the healthy section of the rhizome into a new container.

Yellow or Brown Leaves

The leaves of a healthy snake plant have green borders that can be cream, yellow, or white. Brown or yellow leaves can be a sign of root disease, pests, or overwatering. If you follow a correct watering plan and water only when the soil is dry, you can avoid these circumstances.

Curling Leaves

Curling leaves can be caused by a common bug called thrips.4 To deter these little pests, remove any seriously damaged leaves from the plant and use a neem oil spray.

Leaves Falling Over or Drooping

When a snake plant is in good health, its leaves grow upward and stand tall; however, when it is not, it may droop or fall over due to excess water, inadequate light, or bad potting soil. Relocate the plant to an area with more light, water it less frequently, and replace the soil with a blend that drains more easily.

Benefits of Snake Plants

Possessing a snake plant has several advantages. It’s a simple and useful method to begin developing your green thumb. These are a few advantages of having a snake plant as a pet.

  • For novice gardeners, this is an excellent first plant to take care of.
  • A distinctive form gives houseplant collections height and interest.
  • Adapts to various lighting situations and endures low light levels
  • Plants are resilient and nearly unbreakable.
  • Compact growth habit is ideal for cramped areas.
  • Resistive to drought

Also Read: Step-by-Step Guide to Grow and Care for Dragon Tree

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