Having houseplants not only improves the aesthetic of your home but has multiple health benefits too. Some houseplants can be hard to manage, but not snake plants.
A snake plant, or Sansevieria, is a tropical plant that has long leaves and color variations. It is a member of the Lily family and is a superb air purifier. Even better, it is the most tolerant of all decorative plants and can survive in the harshest conditions.
Advantages of a Snake Plant
A snake plant is low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing. However, these are not its only advantages. Studies have shown that a snake plant can also improve your health by acting as an air purifier. Few similar advantages of snake plants are:
- It is one of the most oxygen-producing houseplants.
- It absorbs carbon dioxide even at night.
- It even absorbs cancer-causing pollutants.
- It reduces the chances of airborne allergies.
- If placed in an ideal position, it is supposed to bring positive and protective energy into your home or office. Mainly due to its highly aesthetic presence.
- It does not take much space and attention.
The best part? Snake plants are supposed to thrive on neglect. If you are a forgetful planter, snake plants are the best option for you.
Bonus Read: If you want to know about other types of succulents, click here.
Taking Care of a Snake Plant
While snake plants do not require a lot of attention, you need to follow certain instructions to make sure your plant stays healthy and alive. Some steps for taking care of your snake plants are:
- Since snake plants are sensitive to water and prone to root rot, you should plant them in soil which drains well.
- You should let the soil dry out completely between watering the plant.
- You should water your plant once in every 10 or 14 days.
- Water your plant until water starts leaking out of the drainage hole.
- Try placing your plant near an east-facing window so that it gets the proper amount of sunlight it needs.
- It is recommended to not place your plants near direct sunlight as that can cause sun damage to the plants.
- Snake plants will not survive in cold temperatures.
- Anything below 40F degrees will cause the water inside their cells to freeze, causing damage to the plant.
- Fertilizing your plant once a month will lead to healthy growth.
Remember, snake plants are not tough to care about. They do not require a lot of attention and are one of the best air-purifying plants you can get.
Bonus Read: If you are considering adding snake plants to desert landscaping, check out these amazing desert landscaping ideas you can incorporate.
Propagating a Snake Plant
Propagating snake plants is an easy method. There are four ways to propagate snake plants. Each method has its pros and cons, and you can choose one which suits your gardening skills the best. Even amateur gardeners can opt for any one of the following methods when propagating a snake plant:
Propagating through cuttings
Propagating succulents through cuttings is by far the most common method. You should begin by selecting a healthy leaf from the snake plant, through which you will propagate. Cut the leaf off using a blade, closer to the bottom part.
Take the leaf and divide it into more cuttings. Further, mark the end segment of the leaves which were close to the bottom. “Bottom” of the cuttings refers to the part closer to the roots. You would be planting the ends which were closer to the bottom, hence making this step important.
You should leave out the leaves to dry before you plant them. Additionally, prepare pots with the soil mix for planting the leaves. Once the leaves have dried, you should dip the marked ends in water. You should follow this step by planting the leaves in the pots with the marked segments in soil, about half an inch deep.
After a few weeks, you will start seeing buds and roots grow out.
Rooting a snake plant in water
This method is a little riskier as compared to the others, but it is possible. You will need a much longer cut for this process. Do not worry, and allow the cutting to heal and dry just like you would for the soil method.
Take a jar or a glass and fill about an inch of it with clean water. Add the leaf-cutting, making sure the end is dipped in water. Do not forget to change the water in the jar twice a day to prevent any algae buildup. Once the roots are formed, you can transfer them to a pot with soil mix.
One drawback to this method is that there is a substantial risk of rotting.
Propagating rhizome cuttings
Propagating rhizomes is similar to propagating leaves. Rhizomes are roots that grow horizontally. You can cut the rhizomes to get a new plant. However, you should wait for a leaf to grow out of the rhizome before you use it for propagation.
Ideally, you should wait for a few days to let the rhizome dry before planting it.
Dividing snake plants
If you want your plants to have the same variegation, then division is the best method. In this process, you must cut your plant through the middle right down to the root. After that, plant each half in a pot with some soil mix to get your snake plants.
Propagating snake plants is easy and also not too inconvenient. You can choose whichever method you like and get started!
When Should you Repot a Snake Plant?
While most plants can live in the same pots for a long time, a few plants outgrow the pots fast and need to be transplanted. The snake plant is one such plant that needs to be repotted. That is why it is important to study how to repot a snake plant.
Gardeners should notice a few of the following signs when it is time to repot:
- Roots growing out of drain holes.
- Water running right through the drainage holes and pots during watering.
- Plants beginning to quickly wilt after watering.
Usually, the best time to repot a plant is during spring and summer, because that is when their growth cycles are most catalyzed. Keep in mind, you will have to repot your snake plant once every three to six years.
How to Repot a Snake Plant?
Repotting snake plants is simple, but you need to know a few tips on how to repot a snake plant. By following the given steps and instructions, be assured, you will be able to repot your plant well.
Step 1: Preparing the pot
You should choose a pot that is tall and wide so that it can support the weight of the plant. It is best to get a pot that is 1-2″ wider than the pot the plant was originally in.
Terracotta pots look beautiful, and they tend to soak water fast making them a perfect match for snake plants. Beware, snake plants tend to rot if there is excessive water, thus choosing a terracotta pot would help.
Plastic pots do not soak water, but you can use a plastic pot too. Whichever pot you use, just ensure to make holes in it. These holes allow excess water to drain from the soil, keeping the plant healthy and rot-free.
Step 2: Removing the plants
You need to be very gentle with the plant in this step to not damage it. Carefully remove the plant from its prior pot without damaging the root ball. More than anything, gardeners should thoroughly water the plant before removing it from the pot to make it slide easily.
Gently squeeze all around the pot to loosen the grip of the soil, and release the plant.
You can use your hand on top of the soil such that the plant is supported between two fingers. Don’t forget, the root ball of the plant should come out once the pot is turned upside down.
Once the plant is out, you should observe the roots for any damage. If you notice any dark or mushy roots, it means they are rotten. Make sure you use a clean, sterile knife to cut those roots away. Also, cut any large roots encircling the root ball. The goal is to stop these roots from preventing the future growth of the plant.
Step 3: Preparing the soil
You will need to use a soil medium that drains well and dries out quickly in between watering. Try to buy succulent soil from the market or make your own. The process is simple – succulent soil can be prepared by adding extra perlite to regular potting soil.
Another option is to grow the plant in a soilless potting mix, which consists of perlite, vermiculite, coarse sand, and sphagnum peat moss.
Fill the pot one-third full with a potting soil formula for tropical plants and succulents. You may even add compost if you want but be sure to not add a lot. Compost retains moisture, and that may act as a risk for the roots of the plant.
Do not use soil from your garden as it will not have good drainage properties. The soil you use needs to be light and fluffy, with a good amount of compost and organic matter.
Bonus Read: Not sure what perlite and vermiculite are? Learn the differences between the two here.
Step 4: Repotting the plants
The plant should be at the same depth as it was in the previous pot. The top of the root ball should be one to two inches below the rim of your pot. Once you have placed the plant in the pot, fill it in around the soil until the plant is firmly in place. Further, water the plant thoroughly to settle the soil and to ensure that the potting media is moist.
You can add a saucer under the pot to catch the excess water from the drainage hole. If you are repotting in fall season, do not add fertilizer right away. It is recommended to wait until early spring to add fertilizer.
Do not tamp down the soil too firmly as that is not needed. If the soil sinks after watering, you can fill the pot back to bring it to the right level.
Step 5: Aftercare
It is important to avoid transplant shock, especially if you had to trim the roots of your plant.
You should place the plant in an area that receives indirect sunlight for two to three weeks after you have replanted it. One more thing, wait for the roots to re-establish before feeding the plant with fertilizer. Using fertilizer right after moving may burn the roots.
You can water the plant when the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry. Empty the collected water from the saucer/drip tray to prevent the soil from waterlogging.
If you have repotted your plant in later winter or early spring, sunlight is not a huge problem. But you should still place your plant in an area with indirect sunlight just for precaution.
Remember, repotting a snake plant is not tough if you are gardening in a step-by-step fashion.
1. What kind of soil should I use?
Snake plants like chunky soil with good drainage properties. They store water in their rhizomes and thick leaves so the soil cannot stay constantly wet. Thus, the soil should be fluffy and light.
2. When should you repot a snake plant?
You will notice certain signs when it is time to repot your snake plant. These signs are roots growing out of holes, water draining out of the pot, and wilting leaves. Another sign could be cracks appearing on the pot. For effective long-term maintenance, you should repot your snake plant every 4-6 years.
3. How long does it take to propagate a snake plant?
Snake plants are slow-growing plants, and it takes at least 6-8 weeks to see any root growth. It may even take two to three months to see any solid root growth if the plant is growing in a low-light area.
It can take around four to eight weeks after this for the plant to show growth above the soil line. All in all, you need to have patience to see healthy growth in your plant.
4. Are snake plants toxic?
Large doses of it can cause nausea and vomiting, and the poison found in the plant can have a numbing effect which may cause the tongue and throat to swell. The plants are more toxic to cats and dogs and can cause them to suffer from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
5. What size of the pot is appropriate for snake plants?
Snake plants do not need deep pots as the rhizomes spread out. A deep pot may lead the soil to stay moist which could cause the roots to rot.
Snake plants are highly susceptible to pests and diseases. For best results, you should start with a healthy plant. These plants do not require a lot of attention and maintenance. It is just the cuttings that require extra care for them to grow successfully.
Moreover, you do not have to go to the market every time you want to buy a new snake plant. It is easy to propagate snake plants through cutting, as mentioned in the steps above. As long as you are keeping your plant in indirect sunlight and watering it enough, your plant will thrive.