Snake plants (Dracaena trifasciata, formerly Sansevieria trifasciata) are a great way to add some life to your home or office. But now that you’ve bought one, you may be wondering “how do I take care of a Snake Plant?”
Luckily, Snake Plant care is very easy once you know a few basics. I’ve had my Snake plants for many years, and I love seeing the new pups sprout up year after year!
If you follow my simple care tips below, you’ll be able to keep your Snake Plant looking healthy and vibrant for many years to come.
This article may contain affiliate links to products I know and love. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
PS: Love the seagrass basket in the picture above? Me too! You can buy the basket here (there’s also different sizes and colors!)
How to care for Snake plants
In case you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of how to take care of Snake Plants:
- Light: Provide moderate to bright light. Your indoor Snake Plant will do best in front of an east- or west-facing window. These plants can also handle moderate light or even low light, but they won’t grow very fast in low light and will need much less water. If you have an outdoor Snake Plant, it can be acclimated to any type of outdoor light from shady locations to full sun.
- Water: Water your Snake Plant once the soil has mostly dried from your last watering or when your moisture meter reads 2 or 3.
- Soil: The following soil recipe is great for Snake Plants: 1 part all-purpose indoor potting mix, 1 part coco coir, and 2 parts pumice or perlite or coarse sand (or a combo of these three as long as the total amount of all three is about half of the mix). This will improve drainage and airflow around the roots. Also, use a pot that has multiple drainage holes to improve drainage and airflow.
- Temperature: Snake Plants can handle temperatures of 45 to 90°F or 7 to 32°C.
- Fertilizer: Fertilizer isn’t critical for Snake Plants, but I’ll fertilize mine once a year (spring or summer) with worm castings.
- Toxicity: Snake Plants can be toxic to cats and dogs if chewed/ingested.
Now, let’s dive deeper into all the details of Snake Plant care!
IN THIS POST
How much light does a Snake Plant need?
Snake Plants do best in moderate to bright light locations.
Your indoor Snake Plant will do best in front of an east- or west-facing window. These plants can also do well with moderate light near a north-facing window.
Snake Plants are also known for being able to tolerate low light conditions better than the average houseplant, but they won’t grow very fast in low light and will need much less water.
If you find your Snake Plant starts to decline after a year or two of being in a low light location, that’s a sign that it’s not getting enough light and you should consider relocating your plant to a brighter location if you want it to survive.
Also, keep in mind that low light does not mean no light. All plants need some form of light to live. If you don’t have a window, you can use artificial light such as a grow light.
Snake Plants can also do well outdoors and can be acclimated to any type of outdoor light from shady locations to full sun. Just remember that the more sun they get, the quicker they’ll use water.
So, a Snake Plant in full sun will need water more often than one in a shady location (more on this later in the water section.)
Lastly, keep in mind that moving your Snake Plant to a location with drastically different light could shock the plant. For example, if you move a Snake Plant from a shady location into a full sun location, the leaves will likely burn.
Instead, move your plant gradually to the desired location to ease it into the new light conditions over the course of a couple weeks.
What kind of soil do Snake Plants need?
Snake Plants are a type of succulent, so they need a very well-draining potting mix.
Here’s the soil recipe I use for my Snake Plants that works great:
- 1 part Indoor Potting Mix
- 1 part Coco Coir
- 2 parts Pumice or Perlite or Coarse Sand (or a combo of all three as long as together they total 2 parts of the mix)
Adding these extra components will improve drainage and airflow around the roots of your Snake Plant, helping to prevent root rot.
Also, use a pot that has multiple drainage holes, as this too helps with drainage and airflow around the roots.
I personally use these clear plastic nursery pots for most of my plants because they have lots of drainage holes, and they’re clear so I can keep an eye on the root health and soil moisture level.
The 6 inch clear pots linked above fit perfectly into this decorative 6.1 inch cover pot!
If you find over time the soil becomes compacted, you can use a stick or chopstick to help loosen the soil a bit. This allows water and air to flow through the soil easier and more evenly.
How often should I water my Snake Plant?
It’s important to note that Snake Plants are a type of succulent, so they will store water in their leaves. This means they can tolerate drier conditions than tropical houseplants.
Also, Snake Plant water requirements will vary depending on the type of pot, amount of light and humidity they receive, season, temperature, etc.
That’s why it can cause problems if you simply water your plant on a set schedule, because you may be over- or underwatering depending on the conditions.
Thus, the best way to water a Snake Plant is to check the soil moisture and only water your plant once the soil has completely dried from the last watering.
To test the soil moisture, stick your finger a few inches into the soil to feel for moisture, and feel the soil around the drainage holes of the pot.
Or, you can use this moisture meter to check if the soil is wet or dry.
If you use the moisture meter, make sure to take measurements in different spots and at different depths to get an accurate assessment. If the readings are showing dry, it’s time to water.
If the plant is in a pot with drainage holes (which it should be), water thoroughly and allow the water to drain out of the drainage holes for a few minutes. This will help leach out any built-up salts in the soil.
Then, let the soil dry out completely before you water again.
If you pay attention to the soil moisture like I’ve described above and let your Snake Plant tell you when it needs water, it will stay happy and healthy!
How to repot Snake Plants
Snake plants are fairly slow growers and don’t mind being a little root bound, so you’ll probably only need to repot every 2 to 3 years to refresh the soil.
When you repot your snake plant, choose a pot that’s about 2 inches larger in diameter than the old pot if you’d like your plant to grow larger.
If you want your Snake Plant to stay the same size, then use the same pot but change the soil so it can get fresh nutrients. You may also need to separate some of the Snake Plant stalks if you’re having trouble fitting the plant back into it’s pot.
To repot your snake plant, first remove the plant and shake away as much dirt as you can from the root ball. Add a little soil to the bottom of your new pot, and place the plant in the center of the pot. Then, fill in the remainder of the pot with fresh soil, and water thoroughly.
Use the same soil recipe that we discussed above in the soil section.
You can also plant any stalks you had to separate in a new pot and either gift it to a friend or keep it and have multiple Snake Plants.
What temperatures can Snake Plants tolerate?
Snake Plants can tolerate and survive at temperatures of 45 to 90°F or 7 to 32°C.
However, for optimal growth and for propagation, ideal temperatures are 70 to 85°F or 21 to 29°C. So normal indoor temperatures are fine for this plant.
Snake plants also prefer dry environments, so there’s no need to worry about providing extra humidity.
The only time you’ll really have to worry about temperature is if you keep your Snake Plant outdoors. If you’re in an area that freezes or gets temperatures over 100°F, you may need to bring your Snake Plant indoors during those times to prevent damage.
How do you fertilize Snake Plants?
Snake plants don’t really need much fertilizer. But I will fertilize my Snake Plants with worm castings about once per year.
I just add a 1/4 inch of worm castings on top of the soil and then water as usual. The castings will work their way through the soil over time and provide the nutrients your Snake Plant needs.
The best time to fertilize is in the spring or summer.
Is Snake Plant toxic to cats or dogs?
Yes, Snake Plants can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if chewed or ingested by your pet according to the ASPCA.
So, it’s best to keep this plant out of reach of pets to keep everyone happy and healthy.
Where to buy Snake Plants
There’s many options for buying Snake Plants, and there’s also many different varieties. I’ve linked a few of my favorite online options, but you can also check your local plant nursery.
Best low-cost option (small, 1 foot):
A small snake plant for purchase in a plastic pot from a reputable plant seller.
Best high-end option (large, 2.5 to 3 feet):
A large snake plant for purchase that includes a ceramic pot, a wood plant stand, and access to their “Plant doctor” if you need help. This is a very reputable seller with great customer service.