Mother-in-law’s tongue is an ideal plant for clean indoor air. Learn How to Grow Snake Plant Indoors in this detailed article!
Snake plant or mother in law’s tongue is a desirable houseplant because of its low maintenance nature and unique appearance. It is not only popular because of the way it looks, but it also holds many health benefits, one of which is its air purifying ability. It can remove air pollutants and VOCs like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene from indoor air, which has been proven in many studies–NASA clean air study is one of the examples. Let’s have a look at How to Grow Snake Plant Indoors!
Botanical name: Sansevieria trifasciata
Other names: St. George’s sword, Mother-in-laws tongue, Snake plant, Bowstring hemp
Here are some amazing snake plant benefits
Types of Snake Plants
There are approx 70 sansevieria species in existence. But the most popular one among them is Sansevieria trifasciata, which is also known as common snake plant. Some other important sansevieria varieties are:
- Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Black Gold’: Has dark-green foliage with golden-yellow edges. Grow 2-3 feet tall.
- Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’: Famous for its curly leaves. It grows just a foot tall.
- Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’: A dwarf variety with green striped markings. It also grows a foot tall.
- Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’: Has variegated yellow and green leaves. Attains a height of 2-4 feet.
- Sansevieria Ehrenbergii ‘Banana’: Another dwarf with thick, boat-shaped leaves. Grows just a foot tall.
Want to learn more? Check out the best varieties of snake plants here
Choosing a Container
The leaves of the snake plant go upright and attain a long height, just like a sword. As it also grows pups in the base, it will be better to choose a wider pot than deep. 8-12 inches pot will be more than sufficient for most varieties initially but you can start short varieties like Sansevieria ballyi in smaller, 6 inches pot. The container must have a proper drainage hole, so it can prevent root rot.
How to Grow Snake Plant Indoors
Growing snake plants indoors is super easy. It thrives in neglect and if you have a tendency to forget about your plants then sansevieria is a perfect choice for you.
If you’re already growing a snake plant in your home, you can multiply it to increase the specimens. For propagating snake plants, get it done either by leaf cuttings, through pups, or by dividing roots.
- Go for the simplest way of propagation by cutting pups that grow close to the plant. Remove the pups with the help of a knife and let it rest for 2-3 days. Then, pot them in well-drained soil.
- A division method is also a good option. You only need to remove the pups from the plant and propagate them in a wide container, into well-draining potting soil.
Check out our article on growing hibiscus indoors here.
Requirements for Growing Snake Plant
The snake plant will definitely grab the top spot if there will ever be a ranking to select the most tolerant houseplant.
Although they can tolerate full sun, it is advisable to keep the plant in shade. Where it can receive bright indirect sunlight. A north or east-facing window is going to be an apt choice. If you’re growing them near a south-facing window that receives a lot of direct sunlight, just keep them slightly away.
You can also position them in bedrooms as they’re CAM plants. Bright bathrooms are also a nice home for these succulents. While they can grow without direct sun, this doesn’t mean you should keep these plants in darkest corners. Also, exposure to a couple of hours of direct morning sun is good for the health of snake plants.
As snake plants are prone to root rot, it is best to grow them in well-draining soil. You can also go for a succulent or cactus mix added with 50% perlite. Avoid using Vermiculite as it holds water that succulents like snake plants do not like. If you are using regular potting soil, mix equal parts of coarse sand or perlite to make it free draining. Alternatively, you can also mix equal parts of sphagnum peat moss or coco peat, perlite or coarse sand and regular potting soil or sterilized garden soil and use the mixture as a growing medium.
The key is not to overwater your snake plant. As they are quite forgiving, it is best to wait until the topsoil goes dry between watering intervals. You can always feel the soil moisture by poking the index finger before watering again. Also, try to keep leaves dry by avoiding overhead watering.
Snake plants do best in a temperature range between 70-90 F (21-32 C). As they thrive in warmth, cold temperatures adversely affect them. As long as you keep them in a warm room, protected from cold drafts in winter, and maintain the soil in a drier side, they overwinter easily. They can withstand lower temperatures down to 41 F (5 C) easily.
Snake Plant Care
Snake plant care is easy, as this plant doesn’t require special attention. It can thrive in neglect.
As long as you are keeping the plant in an airy location that receives ample indirect, bright light, you don’t have to worry about anything. As the snake plant is a succulent, it’s better to fertilize less often than fertilizing a lot and killing it.
Fertilize your snake plant with liquid all-purpose fertilizer like 10-10-10 to 1/4—1/2 strength in spring. If the plant is showing signs of low growth, you can feed it again, once every 2 months is fine. Avoid fertilization during winters in a cold climate.
The snake plant loves humid conditions and warmth. Turn on a humidifier near it when the air is dry is an excellent idea. You can also place this plant in the bathroom so that it can get sufficient humidity.
Snake plants are fast growers, therefore, repotting must be done yearly by removing pups and growing them or by dividing. Choose a pot that is 1 or 2 sizes larger pot than the previous one. The best repotting time is spring and summer.
Pest and Diseases
Sanke plant is sometimes get affected by mealybugs and spider mites. These pests suck the sap from the plant and make it fragile. To prevent the plant from these insects, wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth or handpick them. To prevent infestation of mites, increase humidity in the atmosphere.
As per ASPCA, the snake plant is considered mildly toxic to humans and pets. It has Saponins, which may result in vomiting or diarrhea if ingested.