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Snake plants

Snake Plant: How to Grow It and Take Care of It

Dracaena trifasciata, also known as snake plant, is a popular and resilient houseplant with stiff, sword-like leaves that range in height from six inches to twelve feet in its native habitat, but typically grow to two feet when grown indoors. Numerous species have green-banded or variegated leaves with a yellow or cream margin. Snake plants are simple to cultivate and virtually impervious to damage. They grow slowly indoors, adapting to both intense light and dim corners, but a few hours of direct sunlight in the early morning can stimulate growth. Spring is the ideal season for planting and repotting. Cats and canines are toxic to snake plant.

Common NameSnake plant, Viper’s bowstring hemp, Mother-in-law’s tongue
Botanical NameDracaena trifasciata
Plant TypeEvergreen perennial typically grown as a houseplant
Mature Size6 inches to 12 feet tall in native habitat depending on variety; typically 2 feet tall when grown as a houseplant
Sun ExposureSun to part shade
Soil TypeSandy, well-drained
Soil pHSlightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Bloom TimeSpring
Flower ColorWhite
Hardiness Zones9–11 (USDA) 
Native AreaWest Africa
ToxicityToxic to cats and dogs

Care for Snake Plants

For beginners, snake plant is a good choice because it can grow in a lot of different circumstances. It’s a great plant for containers and adding height and interest to a room as a decoration. Snake plant does best in warm weather and can handle dry, but it can die if it gets too much water and does poorly in cold places. You should only water the plant when the dirt feels dry. In the winter, you don’t have to water these plants for two months. Water no more than twice a week during the hot months.

The sun’s rays (Light)

Snake plants prefer warm, brilliant light and thrive with eight to ten hours of indirect sunlight or a few hours of direct sunlight in the early morning. Too much direct sunlight causes leaves to wilt and can cause plant damage. They are tolerant of shade, but insufficient light delays photosynthesis, stunts growth, and dilutes leaf color. Ensure your serpent plant receives daily sunlight to keep it robust and healthy.

Soil Preparation

Snake plants do better in potted soil that is loose and drains well. All-purpose cactus potting soil is a good choice because it is sandy and works well for them. Soil mixes with a lot of peat should be avoided because they can hold too much water.


When the soil around your snake plant is almost totally dry, give it a good drink of water. Every two weeks in the winter, check the soil mix to see if it needs water. It’s possible that your plant only needs water once a month. If the leaves get dry and brittle, water them right away. During the growing season in spring and summer, once every two weeks is usually enough. However, remember that giving a snake plant too much water is the fastest way to kill it. The weak roots of a plant die when it gets too much water or sits in water for too long. If your plant’s leaves are turning yellow, it may be too much water.

Temperature and Moisture

The optimal temperature range for the growth of snake plants is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep plants out of breezes. They cannot tolerate frost, and protracted exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit will cause their demise. A relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent is adequate for the average home.


Feed once in spring and mid-summer with a balanced, slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer attenuated to half strength. Avoid fertilizing in the winter.

Variations of Snake Plant

  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, also known as bird’s nest serpent plant, reaches a maximum height of six inches.
  • This cylindrical snake plant, Dracaena angolensi, has round, rigid leaves that are several feet long and arch outward from a central crown.
  • The variegated cultivar Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ has creamy yellow leaf margins.
  • The Dracaena trifasciata cultivar ‘Twisted Sister’ Horizontal stripes with variegated yellow margins are visible on the leaves of a plant with a twisting morphology. It reaches a height of 15 inches.
  • Dracaena trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’: Leaves are narrow with white vertical stripes on this three-foot tall variety.
  • Dracaena pearsonii is a 12-inch-tall plant with succulent red-hued foliage that is also known as rhino grass.


During the growing season, prune serpent plant to promote new growth. To control plant height, use a sterile cutting instrument to remove the highest leaves at the soil line. leaves that have been damaged can be removed at any time, but winter pruning can be stressful.

Distributing Snake Plant

When plants are at least four inches tall, they are propagated in the spring or summer by cuttings or division. Emerging branches can also be potted independently. Follow these guidelines for both procedures.

Spread through root division

  • Gather a clean, pointed knife, a clean container, and cactus- and succulent-specific potting soil.
  • Remove the plant from its container and position it on a level surface. Brush the soil away from the root system or rhizome.
  • Using the knife, divide the plant into sections while preserving the roots of each section.
  • Replant sections in clean containers containing potting soil.
  • Water and position in a partially sunny area.
  • Offshoots or puppies are the young plants that emerge from the soil. Follow the instructions for root division to separate offspring and replant each in a separate container.
  • Use a sterile cutting instrument to eliminate the base of a long, healthy leaf.
  • Submerge the leaf’s cut end in a vessel of clean water and place the jar in a partially sunny location. Or, allow the cut end to callous over for twenty-four hours before planting it cut-end down.
  • When employing the water rooting method, water should be refreshed every two weeks.
  • In one to four months, roots will develop. Once the cuttings reach an inch in length, sow them in cactus potting mix.
  • Place in a partially sunny area and water.
  • How to Germinate a Snake Plant
  • Snake plants can be grown from seeds, but other methods of propagation are speedier and more reliable. Low germination rates can take between three and six weeks.

Spread via leaf-cuttings

To initiate a plant from seed, fill a three-inch container with seed starting mix. Sprinkle seeds over the mixture and position the container in a warm, sunny location. To retain warmth and humidity, cover the pot with plastic wrap or a plastic dome made of translucent plastic. Maintain moist but not waterlogged soil. When seedlings reach a height of three to four inches, remove the plastic and repotte them.

Repotting and Containerizing Snake Plant

Snake plants favor broad, shallow containers with numerous drainage holes. The container diameter should be roughly twice the size of the root mass. Place the snake plant at the same level as it was in the original container when repotted. Choose a pot made of ceramic, terra cotta, or clay, as strong roots can shatter and crack plastic containers. When roots become congested or the plant outgrows its original container, it is time to repot into a container two inches wider. Spring is the ideal time for repotting.

In wintering

Snake plant is a tropical plant that deteriorates at persistent temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are cultivating the plant outdoors, bring it inside and maintain it in a warm, draft-free room. Reduce irrigation as the plant enters winter dormancy and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering.

Frequent pests

Common houseplant parasites such as scales, gnats, spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies can infest snake plants.1 Most can be eliminated by hand or with a gentle water application. Neem oil is effective against pests.

How to Make a Snake Plant Flower

Continuously grown domestic snake plants rarely produce flowers. When growing conditions outdoors are optimal, they can produce delicate, creamy-white tubular flowers. Night-blooming flowers are aromatic and resemble lilies in appearance. Allowing the plant to become rootbound and exposing it to sunlight can stimulate the development of a flower stalk. Choose a cultivar that blooms, as not all serpent plants produce flowers.

Frequent Issues With Snake Plant

Snake plants are one of the most low-maintenance and long-lived vegetation. The majority of problems are due to overwatering, which can result in fungal infections and root decay.

Having a bad odor Soil

When soil develops a noxious odor, root rot is likely present.3 Remove the plant from its container and examine its roots to determine whether it can be rescued. Remove any brown, mushy roots and foliage, then repot the rhizome’s healthy portion.

Leaves that are yellow or brown in Color

The leaves of a healthy snake plant are green with cream, yellow, or white margins. The presence of yellow or brown leaves indicates overwatering, pest infestation, or root decay. Avoid these conditions by only watering your plants when the soil is completely dried.

Twisting Leaves

Thrips are a typical pest that cause foliage to curl.4 Remove severely damaged leaves and apply neem oil to the plant to repel these tiny parasites.

Leaves are Falling or Droopschreibung.

The leaves of a healthy snake plant grow upward and remain upright, but excessive water, insufficient light, or inadequate potting medium can cause the leaves to droop or fall over. Place the plant in a brighter area, reduce the frequency of irrigation, and replace the soil with one that drains better.

Advantages of Snake Plant

Growing a snake plant is a simple and effective method to develop a green thumb. Here are several advantages of possessing one.

  • This plant is simple to care for and ideal for beginning gardeners.
  • Unique form adds height and visual appeal to indoor plant collections.
  • Adapts to various light conditions and tolerates reduced light conditions
  • Plants are tolerant and nearly indestructible.
  • Eliminates indoor air contaminants5 Releasing oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide6 Plants with a habit of growth that is suitable for small locations
  • Drought tolerant

Are serpent plants simple to maintain?
Snake plants are one of the easiest houseplants to keep and need very little maintenance once you locate the ideal spot for them with lots of indirect sunlight. However, overwatering is the fastest method to kill this plant, so only water it when the soil is dry.

How quickly does serpent plant develop?
Snake plant grows slowly. Changes in the seasons stimulate growth, so situating plants in a shady or partially shady location outdoors during the summer typically stimulates development.

What is the lifespan of a serpent plant?
The average lifespan of a serpent plant is between five and ten years, but they can live for at least 25 years.

What distinguishes Nassauvia serpens from Dracaena trifasciata?
Although both species are known as snake plant, Nassauvia serpens and Dracaena trifasciata are unrelated. Falkland Islands-native Nassauvia serpens is a perennial shrub in the aster family.

How dangerous is the serpent plant to pets?
If you believe your cat or dog has consumed snake plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. If not treated promptly, gastrointestinal distress can result in more severe reactions.

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