Snake Plant: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Caring for Sansevieria

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Are you tired of constantly killing your indoor plants? Do you want to add some greenery to your modern apartment without worrying about the upkeep? Look no further than the Snake Plant! This unique and hardy houseplant is not only easy to care for, but it also purifies the air and adds a touch of natural beauty to any space.

Snake Plant

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about growing and caring for the Snake Plant.

From its features and characteristics to how to propagate and pot it, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover how this wonder plant can replace artificial plastic plants and improve the air quality in your home or office.

Key Takeaways

  • The Snake Plant is a hardy and low-maintenance houseplant that purifies the air and adds natural beauty to any space.
  • This article provides comprehensive information on growing and caring for the Snake Plant, including propagation and potting tips.
  • The Snake Plant is a great alternative to artificial plastic plants and can improve the air quality in your home or office.

About Snake Plant

Snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a popular houseplant that belongs to the genus Sansevieria. This elegant plant is native to Asia and Africa and is widely used in Chinese, African, Japanese, and Brazilian cultures for its medicinal and traditional purposes. Snake plants are low maintenance and require little water to survive, making them a great addition to any home.

Their long, pointed, broad leaves are eye-catching and provide a beautiful artistic touch to any room. Snake plants are a great alternative to plastic artificial plants and can even be placed in your bedroom to provide fresh clean air at night. With over 80 varieties available, snake plants have funny nicknames such as bird’s nest and mother-in-law’s tongue.

One of the best things about snake plants is that they are not toxic to humans, pets, or children. However, if ingested at higher amounts, it can be toxic. It is always best to keep an eye on your curious pets and children.

Features and Characteristics of Snake Plant

The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is an evergreen and tropical houseplant that comes in 80 different varieties.

It has beautiful green foliage with sword-like leaves that can be long or short, broad or pointed, and have round, flat, concave, or pointed shapes. The leaves also have dark green, silver, light green, yellow, chartreuse, or white stripes, giving the foliage an artistic look.

The plant has rhizomes that promote new growth and extend the family, making them invasive in nature. Hence, it is recommended to keep them indoors.

How to Grow Snake Plant?

Potting Mix

Snake plants are succulents and require well-draining soil to avoid root rot. You can use a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents, or make your own by using less peat and more sand to ensure proper drainage. The pH of the soil mix should be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.


Overwatering is a common mistake when it comes to snake plant care. You should only water your snake plant when the soil mix is dry, which you can check by doing the finger test. Stick your finger up to 2 inches or up to your second knuckle in the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.

If it’s soggy, wait until it dries out before watering again. The frequency of watering depends on the type of soil mix, weather conditions, and pot size. In general, you can water your snake plant every 8 weeks if it’s in a large pot. Use room temperature tap water for watering and avoid using cold water.


Snake plants prefer indirect sunlight and can tolerate partial sunlight. Avoid exposing them to direct or no sunlight, as this can damage the leaves.


Snake plants thrive in temperatures between 55-85℉. If the temperature drops below 50℉, the plant cannot tolerate it.


Snake plants are not picky about humidity and can tolerate dry or stale air.


Snake plants have a narrow root system and can grow tall and heavy. Use a large container with appropriate weight to sustain the weight of your full-grown snake plant.

The container should also have enough drainage holes to promote appropriate drainage. If there aren’t enough drainage holes, you can use an electric drill to make a few more. Terracotta pots are recommended for snake plants because they promote drying of the soil.


You can add fertilizer to your snake plant once or twice a year during the growing season. Use mild cactus fertilizer or balanced liquid slow-release fertilizer (10-10-10) and dilute it to half-strength.


If you notice brown spots on the leaves, prune those leaves. Otherwise, pruning is not required.

Propagating of Snake Plant

If you want to expand your snake plant collection, you can propagate them in three ways: via rhizomes, via division, and via leaf cuttings.

Propagation via Rhizomes method:

Rhizomes are stems that underwent modification to propagate. They are whitish-grey in color and arise from the mother plant. You need to separate rhizomes from the mother plant using a clean knife or pruner. Keep these rhizomes aside for 2-3 days to heal from the wound.

After 2-3 days, plant it in a new terracotta container with fresh potting mix. Make a hole in the center and place the rhizome in it. Do not dig the rhizome too deep. Add more potting mix around the snake plant so that it stands upright.

Follow the growth conditions as mentioned in the ‘how to grow’ section. This way, you can welcome new baby snake plants in your home.

Propagation via Division method:

If you want to propagate your snake plant via division, take out the plant from its existing container and cut the crown with a clean knife.

The sections should be of medium size. Plant each section in different containers with fresh potting mix. Follow the potting procedure as discussed in propagation via rhizomes. Provide it with appropriate conditions as mentioned in the ‘how to grow’ section.

Propagation via leaf cuttings method:

To propagate snake plant via leaf cuttings, take a solid leaf section and cut it into 2-3 pieces using a clean sharp knife. The size of the leaf sections should be 2-3 inches.

Make a point at the end of each leaf section using a black marker. It is essential to plant the cut leaf sections in the same direction in which it was growing. Keep these leaf sections aside for 2 days.

Take a terracotta container and fill it with fresh potting mix. Dig shallow holes in the potting mix and keep it aside. After 2 days, look at the marked side of the cut leaf section. This marked side will go in the potting mix. Provide it with appropriate conditions as mentioned in the ‘how to grow’ section.

Potting and Repotting

When it comes to potting and repotting your snake plant, there are a few things to keep in mind. Snake plants prefer to be root bound, so you can wait 3-5 years before repotting. When you do repot, choose a terracotta container with enough drainage holes to allow appropriate drainage.

Fill two-thirds of the pot with potting mix and dig a well in the center. Carefully remove your snake plant from its existing container and place it in the center of the soil mix. Be sure to hold it upright and avoid damaging the roots.

When placing the plant in the new pot, avoid digging the roots too deep, as this can increase the chances of root rot. Instead, dig the roots at a similar height as they were in the previous container. Fix your snake plant by adding more soil mix if necessary, and water it if needed. Remember that snake plants are succulents and do not like soggy roots.

After repotting, place your snake plant under indirect sunlight and in appropriate temperature conditions. For more information on how to grow your snake plant, refer to the “how to grow” section.

Common Problems and Solutions

Yellow and Brown Tips of Snake Plant Leaves

If the tips of your snake plant leaves are turning yellow and brown, it is due to root rotting. Overwatering is the main cause of root rotting.

To fix this, dry the soil immediately. Follow this guide to know how to water and how often to water.

Attack by Spider-mite and Mealybug

If you notice an attack by spider-mite and mealybug, it is due to overwatering. Overwatering invites these pests. Follow this guide to know more about snake plants and how to grow them.

Use organic fertilizer to get rid of it. You can use alcohol-based control methods to get rid of mealy bugs. In case of spider mites, you can clean leaves with a clean cloth or wash leaves. You can also get rid of it by increasing humidity around.

Brownish, Dry, Crispy Patches on Snake Plant Leaves

If the edge of your snake plant leaves has brownish, dry, crispy patches, it appears to be burnt. This is due to under-watering. Follow this guide to know about watering.

Curling and Rough Patches on Snake Plant Leaves

If your snake plant leaves are curling, rough patches even after adequate watering, it is due to thrip infestation. Remove all leaves infected with it. Otherwise, the infection will spread to other plants as well.

Pale and Floppy Snake Plant Leaves

If your snake plant leaves are pale and floppy, you should give it proper conditions to grow. Refer to the above guidelines.

Uses of snake plant

Air cleaner

Snake plants are known for their air-purifying properties. They absorb toxins such as formaldehyde from the air, making them an excellent addition to any home or office. These plants also release oxygen into the air at night, making them a great choice for bedrooms.

According to NASA, snake plants are one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality. The Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia and the Institute for Environmental Research at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea also support this claim.

In addition to their air-cleaning properties, snake plants have been used for various purposes throughout history. African tribes have used the stiff and durable fiber from the leaves to make bowstrings, and the plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.

In China, snake plants are believed to bring blessings such as long life, prosperity, and health to those who plant them in their homes.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are snake plants toxic to pets?

Yes, snake plants can be toxic to cats and dogs if ingested. They contain saponins, which can cause gastrointestinal issues in pets. Keep your snake plant out of reach to ensure your furry friends’ safety.

How long do snake plants live?

Snake plants are long-lived plants, and with proper care, they can live for decades. They grow slowly, so it may take several years for them to reach their full size.

Can snake plants purify the air?

Snake plants are known for their air-purifying abilities. They can remove toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene from the air, making them great additions to indoor spaces.

Why are my snake plant’s leaves drooping?

Drooping leaves can be caused by several factors, such as underwatering, overwatering, or exposure to cold temperatures. Identify the cause and adjust your care routine accordingly to help your plant recover.

Can I grow a snake plant from a leaf cutting?

Yes, you can grow a snake plant from a leaf cutting, as mentioned in the propagation methods section. Just keep in mind that it may take several weeks for roots and new growth to appear, so patience is essential.


Incorporating snake plants into your home is an easy way to add some greenery to your space while enjoying your favorite Netflix shows.

With their low maintenance and easy care, snake plants are a great addition to any plant collection. This guide has provided you with all the information you need to successfully grow and care for your snake plant, so you can enjoy their benefits without any worry.

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