How To Care For A Snake Plant

The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or Sansevieria trifasciata, is an evergreen perennial with stiff, upright leaves and a striking appearance. It is a popular houseplant because of its low-maintenance upkeep and air-purifying properties.

This article will provide a detailed guide on how to care for a snake plant, including information on light and temperature requirements, watering, soil and potting, fertilizing, and common problems. By following the instructions outlined in this article, one can ensure a healthy snake plant for many years.

Light and Temperature Requirements

Snake plants prefer bright indirect light and warm temperatures for optimal growth. They are well-suited for living in a wide range of lighting conditions from low to bright light, although they generally do best when planted in bright indirect light. To protect the plant from direct sunlight, use a sheer curtain or blinds to filter out some of the light.

Additionally, snake plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 65°F to 85°F, so it is important to select an area that does not get too cold or hot. Heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, or air conditioners should not be placed too close to the plant, as it may cause it to dry out.

Watering is an essential part of proper snake plant care, as the plant is prone to overwatering. It is important to ensure that the soil is completely dry before watering again. Additionally, snake plants do not require frequent fertilization and should only be fertilized once during the growing season. To prevent root burn, always dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength. As snake plants are susceptible to fluoride toxicity, it is important to use water that is low in fluoride content when watering.

To ensure that the snake plant remains healthy and grows optimally, it is important to provide the right environmental conditions. With proper light, temperature, water, and fertilizer, the snake plant can thrive and bring a touch of greenery to any living space.

Moving on to the next topic of watering, it is important to understand the optimal frequency and amount of water for the snake plant.

How To Care For A Snake Plant


Watering should be done sparingly and infrequently to ensure the soil remains dry between waterings. It is recommended to wait until the soil has become completely dry before watering again.

Snake plants have low water requirements and are very tolerant of drought conditions, so it is important to water in moderation. When watering, be sure to use lukewarm water and avoid any sudden changes in temperature. The frequency of watering will depend on the environment and the season. In summer, when the temperature is higher and the plant is actively growing, it may need to be watered more frequently. In winter, when the temperature is lower and the plant is in a semi-dormant state, watering should be reduced.

Watering methods also play a role in the health of the snake plant. To water, it is best to use a watering can with a long spout, allowing the water to be poured directly onto the soil. Be sure to avoid wetting the leaves, as this could lead to fungal diseases. Additionally, it is important to avoid using hard water, which contains high levels of salts and minerals, as this could cause root burn.

The soil and potting of the snake plant is just as important as the watering. An appropriate potting medium should be used, such as a well-draining, peat-based potting mix. Additionally, a pot with drainage holes is necessary to ensure that the soil does not become overly saturated.

With the correct soil and potting, along with appropriate watering, snake plants can thrive. Transitioning into the next section, soil and potting play a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of the snake plant.

Soil and Potting

Proper soil and potting of the snake plant is essential for ensuring the health and wellbeing of the plant. The potting mix should be well-draining and have a pH between 6 and 7 for optimal growth. It is important to:

  1. Replenish the potting mix every two to three years;
  2. Choose a soil that is lightweight and has good drainage;
  3. Choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent root rot.

When repotting, it is important to use a pot that is one size larger than the current pot, as the snake plant does not need a lot of space to spread its roots. Additionally, the pot should be shallow and wide to ensure that the soil dries quickly.

Fertilizing the snake plant is the next step in ensuring its health and wellbeing.


Fertilizing the snake plant can provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development. Planting depth and pest control are important factors to consider when it comes to fertilizing your snake plant. The following table outlines the different types of fertilizers available, their effectiveness, and potential drawbacks:

Type of FertilizerEffectivenessDrawbacks
Slow ReleaseLong-lastingMore expensive
LiquidFast-actingMay burn the plant
OrganicNaturalResults vary

It is important to consult an expert to determine which type of fertilizer is best suited for your particular snake plant. Be sure to follow the instructions provided on the fertilizer package, as too much fertilizer can be damaging to the plant. Additionally, always water the snake plant before fertilizing to reduce the risk of burning the plant’s roots.

When properly fertilized, the snake plant can flourish and look its best. However, without proper fertilizing, the plant may not grow and develop as expected. Knowing the right type and amount of fertilizer to use is essential for ensuring your snake plant gets the nutrients it needs. With the right care and attention, your snake plant can be a beautiful and vibrant addition to your home.

Common Problems

Incorrect watering and fertilizing practices can lead to common problems for the snake plant, such as nutrient deficiencies and pest infestations. One of the most common problems is overwatering, which can cause root rot, a condition in which the roots of the plant become waterlogged, causing them to rot and die. It is important to water the snake plant sparingly and to allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions.

Additionally, incorrect light conditions can cause snake plants to become weak and pale. It is important to find the right balance of light for the snake plant, as too little light will cause the leaves to become weak and too much light can cause sunburn.

Other common problems include nutrient deficiencies, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow and become weak. To prevent this, it is important to regularly fertilize the snake plant with a balanced fertilizer. Additionally, pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids can cause damage to the plant and must be eliminated with an insecticidal soap.

Finally, it is important to pay attention to the environment and health of the snake plant. Rotting leaves should be removed from the plant and any signs of disease or pests should be addressed immediately. Regularly cleaning the leaves of the plant and ensuring that the environment is suitable will help keep the snake plant healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I repot my snake plant?

Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) are attractive houseplants that are relatively easy to care for. Repotting is a necessary part of caring for a snake plant, however, it is not necessary to do it often. Depending on the size of the pot, snake plants may only need to be repotted every two to three years.

When repotting a snake plant, it is important to choose a pot with proper drainage and to use a potting mix that is well-draining, such as a cactus or succulent mix. Additionally, it is important to remember that snake plants prefer bright, indirect light and to water them infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

What type of soil is best for a snake plant?

Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) are a durable and low-maintenance houseplant, able to thrive in a variety of soil types. However, for optimal growth, it is recommended to use a soil with good drainage that can retain moisture without becoming waterlogged.

A potting mix that is rich in organic matter is best, as it will provide the nutrients required for fertilizing requirements. To ensure proper drainage, consider adding a layer of gravel or coarse sand to the bottom of the pot before planting.

Is it safe to keep my snake plant outdoors?

Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) are a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor gardens due to their drought resistant care, making them an ideal choice for those looking for low maintenance plants.

Though they are able to withstand some outdoor conditions, there are a few considerations to take into account before keeping a snake plant outdoors. Snake plants can survive in temperatures ranging from 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit but can be damaged if temperatures drop too low. The plant also prefers partial to full shade and should be protected from excessive wind and direct sunlight.

It is important to monitor the soil moisture levels of the snake plant and if it gets too dry, water generously. If properly cared for, snake plants can offer both indoor and outdoor gardeners many benefits.

What kind of lighting is best for a snake plant?

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria, thrive under indirect sunlight and bright, indirect light. For optimal growth, direct sunlight should be avoided.

For indoor plants, light intensity should be moderate. The best placement for a snake plant is a spot that receives bright, indirect sunlight. When placed in a spot with too low of light intensity, the plant may start to lose its patterned leaf colors and become dull.

If the plant is placed in too much light, the leaves may become discolored or burned.

Can I propagate my snake plant?

Snake plants are easily propagated through division.

The best way to propagate them is to divide the rhizomes and the roots of a mature plant.

It is important to note that the plant must be watered regularly to ensure that the roots can be easily separated.

Furthermore, fertilizing the soil is recommended to promote healthy growth.

It is also essential to ensure that the plant receives the appropriate amount of light for its variety.


Snake plants are a great addition to any home. They are low maintenance and thrive with minimal upkeep. Taking care of a snake plant is easy, but there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

Light and temperature requirements should be monitored, as too much or too little can cause the plant to suffer. Watering should be done sparingly and soil and potting should be chosen to allow for proper drainage. Fertilizing can be done once or twice a year with a balanced fertilizer.

If properly cared for, a snake plant can provide years of enjoyment. With a little bit of effort, it can be a beautiful and lasting addition to any home.