If you’re finding that your snake plant’s not growing as you’d expect, chances are it’s either lacking in something it needs, or you have a miniature variety making it impossible for it to grow bigger than it already it is.
Did you know there are over 70 varieties of Snake Plants?
And some of those are dwarf varieties so if you can’t get your snake plant to grow, maybe it’s just because it can’t.
Snake Plant Species that Won’t Grow Tall
- TheTwisted Sister looks like a bird’s nest and has a mature height of 15”, sometimes maturing at 12”.
- The Golden Hahnii is another dwarf variety that grows in clusters with a rosette pattern. These mature at 12” maximum.
- Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Banana’ is a true dwarf species only reaching 6” in height.
- The Cleopatra species of snake plant matures at 11”.
- The Kenya Hyacinth grows similar to the Golden Hahnii but in larger clusters and can reach a mature height of 16”.
The 4 Most Popular Species of Snake Plants for Height
- The Laurentii should reach a mature height of between 2 to 4 feet.
- The Black Gold can reach a height of 35”.
- The Futura Superba can reach a height of 24”
- The Futura Superba might grow to 24” but can max at 12”. This is a miniature of the Black Gold variety. It has the same striking resemblance but has a lighter shade of green, and shorter and wider leaves.
How Long Do Snake Plants Take to Grow?
Snake plants are naturally slow growers. With the right care, you can expect a snake plant to grow by 2-inches per year until it reaches the maximum mature height for the species you’re growing.
As an example, the Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’ species will not grow taller than 12.”
Coaxing Growth of Immature Snake Plants that Haven’t Reached Their Peak
Give Them Space to Grow
This seems gleefully obvious but you’d be surprised how the simplest of things can be overlooked. Repotting your snake plant into a container that’s 2” larger than the current pot, and replacing the soil could be enough to spur your plant’s growth.
One tactic to coaxing snake plants into growing taller is to divide them, repot them in 1-gallon containers and use a 50/50 DIY mix of half well-draining potting soil and the other half a cactus potting mix.
Snake plants are naturally slow growers and since they do produce pups, you can (and should) propagate them so that more energy focuses on growing taller rather than flowering.
Snake plants are grown indoors to improve air quality or just for the beauty of them. Funny thing is, they need good air flow to be able to grow tall and strong.
One of things you can do to improve air flow is to grow your plant in a terracotta pot because those are porous contributing to improved air circulation in the soil.
Another thing to consider is the plant’s location. It’s better to have it situated near an air vent or window as the more air there is, the better the soil will dry, preventing soggy soil ruining the roots of the plant.
If you are placing the plant near an air vent, it might need to be moved in the winter, or when there’s cold drafts from strong winds because although they prefer good circulation, they don’t do too well with too much cold air.
They need temperatures to be consistent.
A selling point for some is that snake plants can grow in low-light conditions, such as a shaded corner of your room. That they can, but the growth will be ridiculously slow.
If you have your snake plant situated in a low light spot indoors, move it! The lack of sunlight will slow growth.
The preferred light conditions are plenty of indirect sunlight but they can cope relatively well with some direct sunlight, such as up to two hours.
Too much direct sunlight will cause leaf burn so after moving your plant closer to a window, watch out for scorch marks (yellowing or browning on the leaf tips) and if you spot it, either move your plant, or apply a window film to filter the sunlight.
This is the trickiest part of growing any houseplant, especially succulents. What you need to remember is that these plants absorb water from the humidity in a room. They are after all, air plants.
They require only a little watering to keep the soil moist. Not soaking wet, just moist.
It is better to underwater because it’s easier for them to drink than it is to get the soil dry. Growing any succulent in soaked soil is guaranteed to result in the leaves turning to mush, followed by rot setting in, completely ruining the plant.
The only time to water snake plants is when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. In the summer, this is usually weekly but it will differ based on the temperatures. Winter, less watering will be needed so don’t stick to a watering schedule.
When you do water these, make sure you’re using a planter with drainage holes and feed it with tepid water to avoid dropping the temperature of the soil. The proper way to water a snake plant is to drench the soil until water pours out of the drainage holes.
If you’re using a saucer to collect the water, remove it after an hour so that the water doesn’t evaporate causing the soil to continually absorb more moisture than it needs. An hour is long enough for a snake plant to drink what it needs.
Fertilizer Requirements and Precautions
Never apply fertilizer to a snake plant in the winter as they need to go dormant. The right time to apply fertilizer is in the spring, just before new growth is about to begin.
Throughout spring and summer, a diluted mix of 10-10-10 cactus fertilizer diluted to a quarter strength can be applied weekly up until September or October, then let the plant go into dormancy.
The growth periods are April to September.
The Two Pests that Will Stunt the Growth of Snake Plants
Spider mites and Mealybugs. Both of these plant pests will damage the plant and cause its growth to stunt. In a worst-case scenario, they’ll suck up so much sap that it’ll cause your snake plant to starve to death.
A mealybug infestation to the untrained eye can have you believe you need to let the soil dry out because mildew is appearing on the plant leaves. Naturally, when you see mildew or mold, you think it’s too much water.
Powdery mildew is different and usually covers large swathes of a leaf, whereas mealybugs look like white spores scattered at different parts. The look like white fuzzy spots.
The most effective way to treat a snake plant with a mealybug infestation is to treat the leaves with rubbing alcohol. Either spray it or use a Q-tip.
Mealybug prevention is one reason to use a balanced fertilizer on plants because too much nitrogen can make household plants prone to pest invasions so stick with a balanced fertilizer of either 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 to discourage mealybugs from feeding on your snake plant.
Spider mites are so tiny they’re able to go unnoticed for quite some time. An early warning sign of spider mites is the webbing on the leaves on snake plants that spiders leave as they move around. If you see the webbing, look closer and you’ll likely spot a colony of these tiny insects.
Just one female spider mite can lay up to 20 eggs in a day. Those will hatch in under four days, nymphs develop in the next 2 to 4 days and five days after that, they’re sexually active laying more eggs.
These critters are plant destroyers and will kill a snake plant relatively fast by eating the sap.
The fastest and most effective way to destroy a colony of spider mites is to use a systematic insecticide, but if you prefer to use natural solutions, use liquid soap (not detergent) mixed at a 40:1 ratio (40 parts water to one-part liquid soap), and also add 8-parts of rubbing alcohol.
Important: If you notice any signs of pest problems, the plant should be separated from any other plants as they will spread to other plants nearby. Ideally, isolate plants in a shower tray, bath or sink and continue treating them for one to two weeks until the pests are gone before reintroducing them to their usual spot.
Moisture Attracts Pests!
Always remember that moisture attracts pests. It applies to plants as much as it applies to a water leak that rots the wood on your home resulting in a termite infestation.
Overwatering any plant is an open invitation to insects to quench their thirst, then they find they can feed on the sap of the plant leaves, get warmth and shelter from the soil and under the foliage.
In no time at all, they will make it their home by laying their eggs and building a thriving colony of their young in the perfect conditions to thrive.
The best protection is prevention and with snake plants, you prevent pest problems by letting the soil dry out before watering it again.
Give your snake plant the care and attention it needs and it can continually grow year after year at a rate of up to 2-inches per year until it reaches its maximum mature height.