Caring for a Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law's Tongue / Sansevieria

Snake plant, also known as Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is the easiest houseplant to take care of. This plant needs no extra care, frequent watering, wet soils or direct sun light. It works as an air purifying plant and is considered a symbol of prosperity, beauty, health and strength. Caring for a snake plant depends on the optimum supply of light, water, soil, temperature, humidity and fertilizer.

caring for a snake plant sansevieria mother-in-law's tongue plant

Water

Watering plays a key role in the care of a snake plant. Technically, snake plants are a succulent which means they hold water inside their leaves for a long time. Therefore it is wise to try not to over-water as that is not recommended. Otherwise, the leaves become super-soft, soggy or droopy and the plant starts dying due to root rot. Make sure the pot contains proper drainage to avoid extra water accumulation at the bottom. However, if you under water too much, it can result in brownish coloured leaves which will all eventually dry out to the point of no return. 

The best practice is to water snake plants when the soil is completely dry. Ideally, the watering frequency for a snake plant is once every two weeks. In summers, a 2-3 week gap is sufficient. While in winter, the plant can survive 4-5 weeks without water. This unique feature indicates their sense of forgiveness and lazy people can easily accompany them.

Light

Snake plant light requirements are very simple as it thrives best in indirect bright light. Optimum photosynthesis is required for its care and survival. Usually, 0.5-1m distance away from the window is recommended. Insufficient light results in leaves drooping down and colours fading. In this case, the snake plant is starving for light and you should shift the plant to a well-lit area for proper hardening and leaf erection.

Temperature

When it comes to temperature, the ideal range for a snake plant is 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit (12-13 degree Celsius). Don’t let your snake plants freeze as they need to keep warm, otherwise this leads them to die. Snake plants resist a range of humidity. Generally, it survives best at normal humidity.

Fertiliser

A fairly diluted fertiliser solution is needed twice a year to meet its fertilisation requirements. New plant growth appears in pots after fertiliser applications. However, the snake plant also sustains well in the absence of fertilisers for nutrients.

Potting and Repotting

Snake plants grow well in small pots and discourage over repotting. However, it necessarily needs a repot after a specific time as nutrients are depleted from the soil. Repotting of snake plants encourages their growth in an ample and fresh potting mix. If roots emerge from the drainage holes or the plant looks unstable in the current spot, divide and repot them in a new pot. Commonly, snake plants require repotting annually. Terracotta pots are highly recommended for repotting due to optimum moisture absorption ratio.

Propagation

The division method is advised for the propagation of snake plants. For this purpose, pull the entire plant out of the soil and cut from the underneath horizontal rhizomes. Shift it to the new potting medium and leave it planted there until the new snake plant starts growing roots. The best soil for snake plants is a chunky soil mix that is well aerated and drains freely. If propagation is carried out in water then don’t forget to change the water regularly. Otherwise, the plant growth won't be optimal, plus rotting can occur with the cuttings turning yellow.

Overall, snake plants are an easy pick as a plant grower’s top friendly houseplants and are highly recommended for plant beginners as it requires less attention and has a more forgiving nature than other plants.

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