The snake plant is one of the most popular indoor plants. It is known for its unique appearance, and makes for a fine addition to any room in the house. But, more importantly, you need to understand that snake plants require quite a bit of care.
Like all plants that are kept indoors, you will want to make sure that you follow a specific regime.
Snake plant care indoors is not as easy as it looks, and despite the fact that the plant is quite hardy and can withstand a wide range of conditions, you should know that appropriate care is necessary if you want the plant to thrive.
The snake plant is a species of flowering plants that are native to Western Africa. The plant is found from Nigeria in the east to the Congo.
It’s an evergreen perennial plant that usually spreads through creeping rhizomes. But, the real difference between the snake plant and the other plants is the fact that it looks really unique.
The leaves are pointy and tend to stick upward. They are also considerably harder, and have a green stripe running through the middle.
Because of their unique appearance, snake plants are sought after by many people who want something different in their houses.
The plant is also quite popular and used in houses, mainly because it is capable of purifying the air.
There are actually quite a few benefits that you get for putting a snake plant in your house.
Let’s talk about a few.
It Produces a Lot of Oxygen
One of the main reasons why so many people prefer putting snake plants in their house is because it produces a great deal of oxygen.
It’s one of the most popular oxygen producing houseplants in the world, so if you want to keep the air clean in your house, you might want to consider adding a houseplant in all the rooms of your house.
It Looks Beautiful
Another reason why so many people prefer keeping the snake plant is because it looks incredibly beautiful.
If you want something to boost the aesthetic appeal of your house, you simply can’t go wrong with the snake plant.
The leaves are unlike anything you might have seen, and the way it points upward means that you can use it in any setting you want!
Gets Rid of Air Pollutants
It’s important to understand that air pollutants in your house can cause a series of issues.
You need to make sure that you keep the air inside your house as clean as possible, and the snake plant can be of great benefit here.
It can help you get rid of air pollutants in your house, especially when you consider the number of different pollutants that it can absorb.
Apart from taking in CO2, it is also able to absorb formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and toluene. These are all pollutants that can potentially cause cancer, so having a plant in your house that contributes, even a little bit, to cleaning up the air, is an excellent idea.
In fact, during the night time, when most plants are making CO2 and releasing it in the air, the snake plant is going to absorb it. Throughout the night, your snake plant is going to continue producing oxygen and absorbing CO2.
This might come as a surprise to most people, but the snake plant is actually effective at dealing with allergies too.
This is a plant that releases oxygen in the atmosphere, reduces the amount of CO2 and also absorbs harmful pollutants.
Needless to say, it is an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies throughout the course of the year.
You might think that the snake plant requires a considerable amount of care, but when you compare the amount of care that it requires with other plants, you will realize that the snake plant is actually quite easy to maintain.
This is one of the low maintenance plants out there, and that’s primarily because of the fact that it’s capable of withstanding considerably tough conditions.
Now that you understand the many benefits that the snake plant offers, it’s time to talk about the care.
Snake plants have a relatively slow to moderate rate of growth, as the plant usually spreads through underground stems known as rhizomes.
If the plant is kept in stronger natural light, it’s going to grow much quicker.
The snake plant shouldn’t cause you too many issues as long as you are careful.
However, you should know that watering is a sensitive issue for the plant, and you need to be very careful when providing water to the plant.
In fact, following an improper watering regime is one of the biggest sources of problems for people who own the snake plant.
When it comes to watering the snake plant, you need to be very careful. It’s imperative that you do not water the leaves, but only focus on the soil.
This plays an incredibly important role in keeping the plants healthy. If you water on the leaves, the water is only going to accumulate over time, and this could cause the plant to rot over the passage of time.
Because of the fact that the snake plant has such long and large leaves, this is a serious problem, and you need to be particularly aware of the way you water the plants. Always water around the soil, and not on the leaves.
If the water slides down the leaves, there’s a strong chance that it’s going to accumulate at the base, and will eventually damage the plant.
Another thing you need to consider is the interval before the watering.
Remember, when it comes to the snake plant, easy does it. You do not want to overwater the plant, as that could cause it to die out.
Before you water the plant, you need to make sure that the soil has completely dried out.
The best way to check if the soil has dried out completely or not is by using your finger.
Put your finger at least an inch or two in the soil, and then check to see if it’s moist. Ideally, you should insert your finger up to the first knuckle, as that will give you an adequate idea about how dry the soil is.
Usually, you should water your snake plants between every two to eight weeks.
Obviously, this is a big timeframe, so it’s important that you check the soil from time to time.
The watering schedule is going to vary based on a myriad of different factors, such as the type of soil mix that you use, the size of the pot, and the general environment at home in which the snake plant is kept.
You need to address the watering needs of the plant if you don’t want it to die. A common mistake that many people make is that they tend to overwater the plant.
This usually happens if you have a set schedule in mind for watering the plant. For instance, if you have decided in your head that you are going to water the plant every Friday, you are doing it wrong.
The chances are very high that you are going to end up overwatering the plant. The signs will become apparent soon enough, as you will notice those large leaves falling off of the plant.
It’s important to revise your watering regimen if you notice the leaves wilting or losing color. It’s a clear indication that something is wrong and action needs to be taken.
When we talk about the plant’s watering needs, it’s also important to understand that the plant likes humidity.
If your house gets really dry and arid, you might want to consider investing in a humidifier.
Electric humidifiers are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased easily off the internet. You can place a small one near your plant, and keep the humidity at 40% for the plant to thrive.
Remember, its origins lie in Africa, so it doesn’t like too much water at all.
Figuring out when to water the plant is also a different story.
You might have seen the word “diehard” being associated with the snake plant. That’s because the plant is incredibly resilient and does not require a lot of water at all.
There are several ways to figure out when to water the plant. Let’s talk about some clear indicators.
You need to check the soil (as previously discussed). If the soil is damp from the previous watering session, you need to hold off and avoid watering the plant.
Depending on the conditions indoors, you might have to wait anywhere between two and four days before the soil becomes completely dry and eventually requires more water.
Now, if you notice that the soil is sort of dry but hasn’t entirely dried out, you should know that the watering time is relatively close. You need to check the following day to determine if the plant is ready to be watered or not.
Remember, the plant is incredibly hardy and resilient, so watering a day or two later isn’t going to kill the plant or affect it. But, overwatering definitely will, so it’s best to hold off until you are absolutely sure.
Now, lighting is another important part of proper care.
When it comes to watering the plant, you have to tread carefully. That’s a given when you consider that the plant is quite sensitive to water.
But, with lighting, you don’t need to be all that serious. The plant is actually quite forgiving if you don’t provide the adequate watering conditions.
To put it simply, the plant generally prefers medium light. But, it can also tolerate low or high light, though it is going to have an impact on its overall growth.
The snake plant is quite versatile when it comes to lighting conditions. If you want to keep the plant in prime condition and prevent it from sustaining any kind of damage, one of the best things that you can do is to keep it at a 10 degree angle from a window.
It’s an excellent way to prevent exposure to direct sunlight to the plant, and it’s also going to ensure that the plant gets an adequate amount of sunlight.
Remember, you can even keep the plant in the dark corner of the office; it’s not going to die due to the lack of light, but it’s definitely not the ideal conditions that you should provide for the plant.
You will notice some obvious effects on the plant due to the lack of light. For starters, it’s going to begin losing a bit of color over time.
Plants that usually grow in dim conditions are not able to develop adequate pigmentation, and you will see the effects because the plant is not going to be as colorful as you would like.
So, what kind of light does the snake plant prefer above all else? Indirect and bright sunlight works best for the snake plant.
However, this doesn’t mean you should place it on a windowsill and forget about it.
Instead, you need to make sure that you keep it near a window, where it’s going to get adequate bright light, but won’t directly be in the way of it.
If you notice the leaves drooping on your snake plant, it’s a clear indication that your plant is receiving a bit too much sunlight. You need to make sure that you take it out and keep it in some shade.
Ideally, you should keep the plant at a distance of anywhere between three and six feet from the windows. It’s going to ensure that the plant remains safe and sound.
Keep in mind that during the winter months, there’s considerably less light to go around, so you might want to consider relocating the snake plant. This will ensure that the plant is able to make up for the lack of light.
During the colder seasons, most indoor plants prefer being kept in windows that face toward the South. The snake plant is no exception to this.
The Ideal Soil
Like most indoor plants, the soil conditions that the snake plant requires must also be chosen carefully.
If the soil isn’t selected properly, you risk running the chance of your snake plant dying a premature death.
Ideally, this plant prefers soil that has fantastic drainage, and should be potted while keeping this in mind as well.
Instead of using conventional soil for your snake plant, you should consider making use of a potting mix that is generally soilless.
Soilless potting mixes are becoming more and more popular over the passage of time, mainly because it’s quick draining and doesn’t require a lot of work.
This type of potting mix usually includes sand or sometimes bark, along with perlite, vermiculite, as well as peat moss.
There are quite a few kinds of potting mixes that also contain coconut coir in place of peat moss.
Most people consider that to be a disadvantage, but it’s not. In fact, when you look at the ingredients included in the potting mix, the peat moss is the only thing that tends to expire.
Ideally, you should avoid using any kind of soilless potting mix that is older than two years. It’s not something that you want to do, as it’s going to have a dire effect on your snake plant, and could also affect its growth.
If you don’t have a potting mix that’s soilless, that’s alright too.
Instead, you can make your own African violet soil mix without much of a problem. You won’t even need to invest a lot of money, because the plant doesn’t require a whole bunch of ingredients.
You are only going to need access to perlite and builder’s sand, which must be mixed in two parts. Then, you are going to want to add one part peat moss, and finally, add one part garden soil.
Mix everything together, and you will have your very own African violet soil mix at the ready. Now, most people are worried because it’s not exactly “soilless.”
Thankfully, you don’t need to worry about this, because the mixture also contains peat moss and perlite, both of which are incredibly good when it comes to drainage.
Perlite is going to ensure that the soil does not compact easily. It’s important that you prevent the soil from getting compacted too often, because that could cause the plant to suffocate and eventually die a premature death.
Peat moss is capable of holding large amounts of water when compared with its overall dry weight, so you don’t need to worry about your plant becoming oversaturated with excessive amounts of water.
So, while it’s great if you can go soilless, using such a soil mixture is also a great idea, and will keep your plants in healthy condition.
There are quite a few problems that you might have to experience with the snake plant, and it’s important that you make sure to care for it adequately.
The snake plant, as mentioned before, doesn’t require a lot of care, but the conditions in your house might change so quickly that the plant could end up sustaining damage.
In the following few paragraphs, we will talk about the most common issues that your plant might be exposed to, and then focus on how to resolve these problems.
Insect pests can cause extensive damage to your snake plants.
Insect pests will attack all kinds of plants if you are not careful, so if you don’t pay attention to the plants, it won’t take long before other plants in the house begin to die as well.
There are some very harmful insect pests that you should know about, the most common of which include mealybugs and spider mites.
Spider mites can suck the sap out of your plant and weaken the entire structure.
You are probably going to find traces of spider mites on the underside of the leaves, usually near the stem. These pests like to hide away from the light and are going to continue sucking on your plant until it is on the verge of death.
The problem arises when you are not able to identify exactly what’s wrong with the plant and fail to look at the underside. If you are not able to do that, it won’t take long before the plant begins to die and the leaves start to wilt and fall off.
Then, you have mealybugs.
Mealybugs tend to feed on the plant juices and can multiply very quickly. If you are not careful, a small number of mealybugs will quickly multiply and turn into a large colony.
They can infect trees and houseplants, so your snake plants are at a considerable risk.
You need to make use of liquid-based fertilizer and make sure that you use high-quality insecticides to get rid of the problem.
These pests aren’t very difficult to get rid of, but they can pose a threat if you don’t take action quickly.
The snake plant is also prone to fungal issues, and you might notice these issues from time to time. You might notice a southern blight or a red leaf spot.
These problems are serious and need to be resolved as quickly as possible. The fungal issues can cause the plant to wilt over time, and can eventually kill it too.
You need to make sure that you take remedial action as quickly as possible. Keep the leaves dry and maintain proper cultural methods at all times.
As long as you ensure that the soil is dry, the plant won’t cause much of an issue.
These are just some of the things that you should know about caring for a snake plant indoors. Make sure you follow this guide to keep your plants in prime condition!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.