Growing snake plants indoor – Best selling plant online
Snake plants are one of the top 10 plants grown indoors. It’s known for its air purifying benefits but it also adds as a decorative piece in homes. They look elegant, are easy to care for, thrive in various conditions, and require very little care. Categorized as a succulent, the snake plant is one of the few plants which can be neglected indoors or outdoors and you can expect it to fare well in most conditions. Except for flooded or freezing conditions, the snake plant is known to thrive, propagate itself and often flower too.
There are 3 common genera grown indoors and they have their beauty and benefits. Talking about benefits, the snake plant is known to be a great air purifier and lists the top ten indoor air purifying plants according to NASA.
There is one interesting thing about snake plants. Scientifically, the snake plants were categorized as sansevieria but recently they were recategorized or classifieds as the dracaena species. The snake plant is commonly known as the mother in laws tongue. They are also referred to as Saint George’s swords in some places.
While the snake plants may adorn homes today as decorative pieces and are known to be air purifiers, they had used in the past. They were also referred to as the Bowstring hemp. The plant’s fibers were used as drawstrings in bows in the past. Of course, these were nearly centuries ago and mostly in South Africa, nevertheless, it was a very useful plant for natives once upon a time.
While it may seem like a decent plant that has its kind of beauty, the snake plant is also known to be invasive. The root nodules tend to spread out giving rise to more snake plants, especially where the weather conditions are conducive. Consider treating a snake plant like bamboo. Just like bamboo plants, they do spread out, sometimes faster than you could think.
Snake plants are one of the easiest plants to grow and thus one of the best plants for beginners. They take very little effort or maintenance, are resilient to a range of weather conditions, can tolerate low and medium light, and theoretically, one of the few plants that you can kill unintentionally. The one way you could go wrong is by overwatering your plants. Snake plants don’t like wet feet and it’s recommended that you water the plant sparingly. Once in a week is usually good enough indoors in a pot. Once in a fortnight during winters or maybe once in a month will also work.
For a perfect growing condition, it’s recommended that you place your snake plant in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight tends to burn the leaves giving them an ugly look. Try to water the plants only once a week or oncfor e 2 days. Do not place the plants in an area where it’s dark. Kitchens without a window or bathrooms are usually not recommended for snake plants, especially because these areas are moist and humid. Choose an airy place for your snake plants. IF your kitchen has an open window with indirect sunlight, go for it. People who live in flats can usually use their rooms near the balcony for snake plants. A balcony is a great place for your snake plants.
Think of a place that does not have excessive rains, where the soil is fertile and the weather ranges between 18 and 35 degrees. This is one of the best conditions for growing snake plants. If you can create a system that meets that requirement, chances are you will find a perfect place for a snake plant. While this may seem complicated, most homes have indirect sunlight, the temperature is between 18 to 35 and as for soil, we always have control over it in our homes with a pot installation.
Indoor Snakeplant Care
When indoors, Snake plants require only 3 important things.
- Proper light
- Just the right amount of water
When you have these 3 things in place you need not worry about much when it comes to snake plant care. Of course, there are other needs like soil condition, fertilizers, and rarely, pests. But all these other factors are easier to control than you would imagine. To begin with, you could use soil with half organic matter. Vermicompost or leaf compost should work just fine. Do not add too many nutrients or cow manure. Cow manure, if not well composted will add a smell to the soil which isn’t ideal for indoor conditions. Dry cow manure, though is an excellent source of nutrition again, you don’t want the plants to grow too fast and outgrow the pots. The slow growth of plants is ideal for indoor conditions as long as the plants are healthy. Place the pot with the plant in an ideal space, where there is maximum sunlight indoors. Ensure that the plants are away from direct sunlight though. If there is a window with direct sunlight to the plant, avoid this area, but find a place just near the window where direct sunlight will not hit the plant. And most importantly ensure that the plant’s area is well ventilated. Closed rooms are ok if you have a running fan for at least 3-4 hours a day. And last but not the least, water the plants only once a week but when you water them, water them well. A 2 feet pot with 1 feet diameter should hold 1 to 1.5-liter water a week and that should be sufficient for 10 days during monsoon when the humidity is high.
How Snake plants Grow
Snake plants grow as stumps, very similar to bamboo. New leaves arrive from the root nodules and start creating a clump of leaves. The roots are not very deep and can usually begin from around 1-2 centimeters from the soil surface. They grow up to 2 feet tall indoors and sometimes if conditions are well can get up to 3 feet in height. This also depends on the variety of the snake plant. Some varieties are just over 3-6 inches tall and are apt for tabletop decorations.
Location: Locate your plant ideally near an indirect light source where the temperature does not exceed 35 degrees at any point of the day. Also, ensure that the plant is not directly placed under air conditioners or fans. Placing them too near to ventilation sources will dry the soil more rapidly and will require watering more than once a week.
Caring for Snake plants
The main reason people love snake plants, apart from their looks, is because of their care needs. Snake plants require little to not care at all. Once potted and set in place, they require watering once in a week or 10 days. Nutrients are rarely required. There is no pest attack in most cases and they grow very slowly Pruning is not usually practiced and will leave scars if you do try it. Repotting is usually required once a year or 2 years depending on your soil condition and the overall health of the plant. The only other thing which, though not mandatory, you need to do is wipe the leaves off once in a while to give it a glossy look. Some people also spray neem oil mixed with water and wipe it clean to give it a smooth shiny finish. Though this is not mandatory, it sure adds some great looks to the plants while also preventing pest attacks.
- Light: Snake plants require bright indirect light. Though they can survive in a partially shaded area, they grow best in bright indirect light. Direct light is often harmful to them. Leaf spots and burns in leaves could be the result of direct light. Avoid completely dar areas. You can also use artificial light to keep the plants healthy. Its growth depends on the quality of the light source. Normal grow lights can usually do the trick if the indoor lights are not sufficient.
- Temperature: Indoor temperatures are usually suitable for Snake plants. A temperature between 20-35 degrees is perfect for snake plant growth. Air-conditioned rooms should be avoided when possible. If you live in a hot area, you can always put the snake in any room without a problem. Snake Plants do not like too cold or areas that are too humid
- Soil & Growing media: Snake plants are not usually picky about soil but they grow best in soil with moderate to high organic content. Also, ensure that the soil is well draining. Adding pieces of wood bark and wood chips could help better drainage. Also, consider adding small pebbles to help the water drain well. Normal garden soil mixed with compost should be a perfect soil source for snake plants. You can also pick any succulent mix from your garden store for soil mix for snake plants though it is an overkill for these plants. Snake plants do not like to be too wet and you should ensure that the soil is dry for most of its cycle.
- Watering & Misting: Water sparingly. Weekly once is good. Once in 10 days is great if you provide it with sufficient water. A large pot can be drenched completely and let dry. Leave it dry for a week before watering again. Though you may find the top soil dry, chances are there is lots of moisture below the surface. With organic content, the chances of root rot are always high when it comes to succulents. Avoid watering too much. If you have a soil mix with Less organic content, chances are you will need lesser water. Do not misy your plants as they develop small smudges which look ugly.
- Humidity: Snake plants can tolerate moderate humidity. Unlike orchids and other tropical plants, the snake plant does not thrive well in high humid conditions. Root rot is a common problem with high humidity conditions. If the humidity in the air is high, that’s usually ok, but with high humidity, soil tends to get dry slower than in low humid conditions. With humidity for a longer period in the soil, chances of fungal disease and root rot are sen in most plants. This could affect the health of the snake plant. Low humidity to moderate humidity is recommended in most cases. High ventilation could help maintain humidity in most cases.
- Fertilizer & Nutrition: while Fertilizers are rarely used for snake plants, they are a moderate requirement. The application of liquid fertilizers is best for snake plants. A normal 20:20:20 NPK at 5 ml per month should be sufficient for most cases. If you are ok with using cow manure, use dry cow manure and add them to the soil. This application should be enough to last 3-4 months. Ensure that the cow dung is completely dry before applying to prevent foul smell at home and also prevent pests and diseases in plants.
- Potting and repotting: repot your snake plant only if you find the plant is either unhealthy due to soil conditions or if the snake plant outgrows the pot. Snake plants can tend to clump up and get a bit bushy over a year if they are fertilized and maintained well. This is often the case in healthy plants with healthy soil conditions, the right nutrition, and water. When repotting, ensure that you repeat the same soil condition if you have a great plant and it thrives in that kind of soil. Divide the clumps into smaller pieces and pot them separately. You will have more than enough plants each year when you divide.
- Pruning & Training: There is no need for training or pruning the plants. Every year or two, you may need to report your snake plant, and that’s all that is required. The plants are generally very free from maintenance and care.
- Air Circulation: Provide proper ventilation for your snake plants. Humid conditions especially require air circulation and proper ventilation. Providing proper ventilation prevents problems like root rot.
- Dormancy: Snake plants are dormant during winters. Avoid watering them during winters or provide very little water. Once a month or once in 3 weeks should suffice. During dormancy, you will notice poor growth. This is due to lower light conditions and lower temperature added to lesser daylight time and longer nights. Don’t worry, but just care for the plant in dormancy like you would normally. Just ensure that the quantity of water is reduced.
- Propagation: Commercial propagation of Snake plants is done through leaf cuttings. It’s as easy as cutting leaves into pieces and placing them in the soil. New shoots emerge in a few weeks to months. In normal propagation at home, we can divide the plants once in a year or two when they are thick and clustered. Each leaf will develop into a full bunch over time. Dividing is very effective and fast. But with cuttings, you can propagate more plants though it takes a lot more time
- Cleaning The leaves: Snake plants look good when clean. It’s not uncommon for indoor plants to accumulate dust over time. The dust prevents proper photosynthesis and also does not look good. Occasional cleaning with water and vaping thoroughly make the plant look vibrant. Adding a bit of neem oil to the cloth before vaping also ensures that pests are kept away. This can be practiced once a month or when you find the leaves to be dull.
- Encourage blooming: Snake plants do bloom when provided with the right conditions. Though it’s rare for snake plants to bloom indoors, they are known to produce whitish green flowers once in a while. You need not cut the flowers off as they will dry out and fall eventually. Trying to induce flowering is usually hard unless you can control all the factors including light and water.
Common Varieties: There are numerous varieties of snake plants but the most common ones are as below.
- Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Mother-in-law’s Tongue’
- Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Twist’
- Sansevieria ‘Golden hahnii’
- Sansevieria ‘Futura robusta’
- Sansevieria ‘Black gold’
- Sansevieria ‘Cylindrica’
- Sansevieria ‘Laurentii’
- Sansevieria ‘Bantel’s sensation’
- Sansevieria zeylanica
- Dracaena angolensis
- Sansevieria bacularis
- Sansevieria francisii