Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata) Guide – Learn About Types, Care, Watering, Propagation and More


Sansevieria trifasciata, or Snake plant as you may recognize, is probably one of the most conventional houseplants inside voluminous pots. Certainly, it is a great decorative piece for the homes in every style.

This drought resilient succulent plant has cared all over the world for ages. Because Snake plants survive almost any environment, they look splendid and eccentric, and they have a bunch of benefits for health. I believe it is the right choice for whom starting to take care of any plant ever.

All you have to do is to read through to learn about some of the tips & tricks that I collected here for you. Let’s roll!

Identification of the Snake Plant

Although many of you are quite familiar with Snake Plants, there is much more hidden behind these succulents and I hope you will get to know them in a better way.

Before we begin with the care guide, first see where the Sansevieria trifasciata come from and how do we identify this species.

Description

Sansevieria trifasciata is a large evergreen succulent that is usually cared as a potted houseplant. It has vertically growing, straight leaves which are changing in colors of dark green, pale green, cream and white. Sword-like foliage is constructed around a growing point in the shape of a rosette.

The common name of the Snake plant is derived from the pattern of the leaves, and also their upright growth elongating like a snake.

Taxonomy

As a member of the lily family (the family Asparagaceae), Sansevieria genus takes its name from a place in Italy, Sanseviero. And the name trifasciata means “three bundles”.

Even though these succulents are native to Africa, Madagascar and South Asia, they have historical roots in many locations around the world. It is possible to follow them throughout the Chinese, African, Japanese and Brazilian cultures.

Common Names

Snake plants are generally called the same in multiple languages. You might hear also names like mother-in-law’s tongue, and pike’s tail. Another naming for this species is viper’s bowstring hemp because fibers of the leaves are used to make a bowstring.

Additionally, in the far east, the pattern is more related to a tiger, so they are called “tiger’s tail orchid”. And in some countries like Turkey, Portugal, and Brazil they are named after the sword-like looking leaves.

Sansevieria Trifasciata Varieties

The genus Sansevieria includes almost 70 species of flowering plants. Besides that, these species have a variety of cultivars under this category.

Popular Sansevieria trifasciata cultivars look alike in most cases, sword-like upstraight leaves in wavy green color with a creamy white borderline. Some generic cultivars are Compacta, Goldiana, Hahnii, Laurentii, Silbersee, and Silver Hahnii.

Caring Snake Plant Indoors

Snake plant is a classic among all the houseplants for the bulky pots placed on the floor. I also think that it makes a perfect indoor plant in many aspects. They are durable, beautiful and easy to care. Moreover, they are considered to be one of the top air purifying plants for indoor spaces.

Temperature

Snake plants are resilient for a large range of temperatures, However, they would like it better warmer, as they are succulent plants. Also, try not to expose them to a sudden drop or rise of temperature. Unforeseen changes stress the plant.

If we have to speak of numbers, temperatures between 12 – 29 degrees Celcius is fine by the Snake plants. Be careful that they can get harmed under 10 degrees Celcius. Succulents are tolerant, yet they can not handle the cold weather well.

Lighting

A good, controlled light is super important if you want to have healthy succulents in your house, since indoor spaces never get as much of the Sun as the outdoors.

As I mentioned, Snake plants can tolerate low light, and they withstand the direct sunshine. Anyhow for the best, they demand indirect lighting if possible. Too much direct hot sunlight carries a risk of sunburn for the leaves.

Watering

Keep in mind that Snake plants will rot very quickly if overwatered. Even though they are hardy for the drought, they rarely recover if they are watered too much.

Snake plants have large, thick and juicy leaves, where they store water to use in the case of drought. You still have to give a good amount of water to them, yet occasionally. So they absorb the amount they need. After that, they live a long period of time without any watering.

Between two irrigations, You need to wait longer than other houseplants. I usually wait until the soil is dry from top to bottom. You can understand that with the help of a wooden stick. After a few irrigations, you possibly get to know how frequent your plant need the water.

Drainage

A good draining soil is very important for the care of a Snake plant. Succulents are more sensitive to overwatering other than any problem.

To avoid such thing, always use a specially mixed succulent soil for your Snake plants. Grainy and loose soil lets the excess water drain through and keeps the roots dry. Also, always choose a pot with proper drainage holes on the bottom in addition to the succulent soil.

Fertilization

Snake plants do not need additional nutrition. But if you prefer to fertilize your Snake plant, you can use a slow release fertilizer once a year during spring or summer. Another option would be adding some organic compost on top of the soil.

For more of it, check out my succulent fertilization guide if you haven’t read yet.

Propagation of Snake Plant

There are two common ways to propagate the Snake plant. One way is from the cuttings, and another way is the division.

Cuttings of the Snake plant should be taken from a healthy leaf by using a clean, sharp knife. Then you can eighter leave it on a dry surface, or place in water. Both ways, wait for it to give little roots before you plant it in a new pot.

Division of the Snake plant is an easy way to multiply it. These plants grow out of a rhizome under the soil. Take the rhizome out and split it into two, or more parts. Later, plant each new section separately.

How Big does Snake Plant Grow?

Snake plant goes a little extra in sizes because it grows really long leaves. The leaves are generally about 70–90 centimeters long and 5–6 centimeters wide. These slender leaves growing upwards from a center can sometimes reach up to 2 meters high. 

Are Snake Plants Poisonous?

While they do not create a fatal risk, it is a good idea to keep the Snake plants and the pets separate. Because these plants are said to be mildly toxic for cats and dogs.

If a small amount of the leaves are ingested by your cat or dog, it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some tell that the sickness can be deadly if it is ingested quite a bit. Better to visit a veterinary when your pets suffer from any of these. 

Does the Snake Plant Give Flowers?

In fact, Snake plants produce white-green sweet smelling flowers. Yet I have to say that flowering is not seen very often. The plant might blossom one year and it might miss the next one. Mostly, the chances depend on how lucky you are.

Benefits of Snake Plants

Sansevierias are used for many medical and mental treatments since the historical times.

Above all of these, it is proven that Snake plants are great at purifying the air from toxins. They improve the indoor air quality and the moisture level. Why wait any longer to get one Snake plant if you have allergies?

What is more, the Snake plant is considered as a Feng-Shui plant. In the Chinese culture, these plants are placed on the entrance, to let the positive energy enter the houses.

Disease Control

Although Snake plants are easy to grow, there are a few minor problems you might face to.

Yellow Leaves

I talked about it before, these drought-tolerant plants do not like overwatering. If you ever notice the leaves become yellowish and slightly transparent, your plant is trying to tell you that you give too much water.

As another sign of overwatering, leaves of the Snake plant feel squishy when touched and tend to fall off very easily.

You should simply cut out the water to avoid your plant rotting. In some time, it will recover if the rotting is diagnosed in early stages.

Scarring of the Leaves

If you see any black spots or scarrings on the surface of the leaves, that might be caused by the direct sunlight exposure for long hours.

I already mentioned that Snake plants like indirect lighting. While they can withstand the direct light, hot sun during the summer times burns the leaves. And I must warn you, sunburns are permanent and not possible to recover.

Pests

Snake plants might accommodate mealybugs and spider mites because of its sap inside the leaves. You can control mealybugs by dabbing or spraying some alcohol to the leaves. You can also wash the plant with water from time to time. So that you avoid spider mites while keeping the plant clean and shiny.

Sansevieria trifasciata is the most popular low-maintenance houseplant. It decorates our homes while When the ease of care comes together with an elegant look, Snake plants are a great choice for the beginner plant parents.