20 Indispensable Facts About Snake Plants | Sansevieria Care

Snake Plant, Mother in Laws Tongue, Vipers Bow String Hemp, Devils Tongue are maybe not the sexiest names, but they do have a way of drawing attention! Here are 20 facts you must know about Sansevieria!

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1. Most of the Sansevieria available on the market are of the trifasciata species because these grow much more rapidly than the other non-commercially grown species.  Within this species there is so much variety of shape and color, that you could potentially acquire a very large collection if you are looking to find one of each! 

2. These indoor plants come from Africa, Madagascar, and southern Asia. They are found in arid climates and are very use to harsh conditions, and this in turn, makes them one of the easiest houseplants to care for. 

3. Snake plants are on the top of the list of air purifying plants. The unusual thing they do is that they actually release oxygen at night though a process called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (cam). They only open their stomata at night, to avoid dehydration.  They capture co2 and release o2, during the day they use the stored organic acids for use in photosynthesis.

4. Have you heard of Sick building syndrome? It is a medical condition where people who spend long periods of time inside buildings start feeling sick for no apparent reason.  The symptoms tend to increase in severity when people spend more time inside, and decrease with more time spent outdoors.

Although this illness in not medically not proven to exist, I can relate to this feeling and I believe that it’s true!

Thankfully plants can help us feel better indoors as they take out toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen oxides from the air.  Most workspaces and homes have built in air circulation systems, but the more snake plants in spaces like this will help especially when the air conditioning systems are turned off during the night hours.   A lot of green can do a lot of air cleaning!

Think about all of the carpets, furniture, glue, sealers, basically any man-made materials used to build our homes and offices.  They release fumes consistently over time and it’s nice to know that plants can assist in the filtration of these harmful chemicals. 

5.  On a lighter note, I consider Sansevieria essential design elements for interior design.  I have not yet found a sculpture or décor piece that can visually do what a statuesque snake plant can.

They take up little horizontal space and are great for small rooms and hallways.  They add a striking vertical element to blank walls and corners.  They are relatively slow growers and can remain in one spot for years compared to faster growing plants that need to be relocated.  Grouped or single, they are the staples of interior plant design.

6. Yes, these indoor plants can live in low light.  They are extremely resilient plants and will live in less than ideal conditions.  The thing is that they will not grow or will grow very slowly in low light.  If you are looking to keep your plant the size you purchased or inherited it, then low light is exactly where it should live.  Remember the less light your houseplants are getting, the less you should water it.  Oh yeah, low light doesn’t mean no light as most plants need a light source! 

7.  Ideally, Sansevieria love medium to bright light. If properly acclimated, they can flourish in direct light.  It’s when you take a plant that was living on a shady area and stick it right into the direct sun is when you run into leaf burning problems.

If you want your snake plant to grow faster and bigger, I recommend giving it as much indirect sunlight you can.  That said, they will do fine almost anywhere in your home. 

8. Because they store water in their leaves, they can go long periods of time without water.  They prefer to be dry.  They are from very dry regions and expect long periods of dryness.  The biggest mistake is to overwater them.  Overwatering promotes root rot and a very quick decline in the health of the plant.  Water them when the soil is completely dry.  Resist the urge to water just because you happen to be watering other plants nearby.

9. If they made stretch pants for plants, then I am sure snake plants would be the first customers.  The reason being is that they like a good tight fit.  Upsizing to a bigger pot too soon, often leads problems.  Let your snake plants develop a muffin top, they benefit from being slightly rootbound.  They will often bust open their ceramic pots, bulge out of their grow pots and then you will know when it’s time.  It might seem like you are neglecting them, but these houseplants like their alone time.

Again, the less light they get the longer it will take for them to get to this point.  It could be years before you need to go pot shopping.

10. Not sure if figured this out yet, but Sansevieria are one of the best living gifts you can give to someone, especially to someone with a newly found green thumb. This indoor plant will keep them in the gardening game.  It’s my go to housewarming gift, or parting gift, or an "I forgot to get you a present gift".  Either way, there is a Sansevieria for everyone.  Short birds nest types for the work desk, and tall zylanicas for the special, I really like you gesture.  It’s a plant that might last as long as your friendship or relationship!

11.  Yuck, I hate to talk about pests, but luckily snake plants don’t have that many to content with.  You might get the occasional mealy bug, or spider mites, but they are easily controllable with neem oil.  I recommend inspecting your plants when you can.

12.  While being on the subject of problems Sansevieria also can contact diseases.  The signs usually start with a little brown patch that start to spread.  Because there are no free plant clinics around you are going to have to step in and help.  I’ll list the names of the most common ones: Erwinia carotoura,  Fusarium moniliforme,  Southern blight, and Anthracnose.  There are a few things you can do to help avoid or remedy the issues.  Don’t overwater! Fungus develops in moist soil and foliar conditions.  Keep them dry.  Remove the infected parts and toss it out!  Do not throw them into the compost pile.  If it’s bad, then I would just get rid of the plant and start over. 

13.  Clean the leaves. It’s not that easy to see the dust and dirt on the leaves of Snake plants, but believe me, it accumulates.  Take a damp rag and slide up the leaves like this to remove any dirt build-up.  You will also get rid of any potential pests in the process while clearing the way for the sunlight to reach the chlorophyll.  A clean leaf is a happy leaf.

14.  The best type of soil for snake plants is well draining soil. You can make your own mixture if you like, using lots of pumice or perlite, or you can get a bag of potting soil and mix it with a bag of cactus soil.  Pure cactus soil will be too porous, so make sure you have enough compost mixed in to hold enough moisture, so the roots have a little time to absorb the water you give it. 

15.  The best way to water your Snake Plant is to soak the soil until the water seeps out from the drainage holes.  You’ll want to make sure that all of the roots have access to some water so water evenly!

16.  It’s really not that important to fertilize Sansevieria.  You can add worm castings in spring, or you can give them a complete liquid fertilizer twice during the growing season, but if you forget, don’t stress.

17.  These are some adaptable indoor plants to varying degrees of temperature. They can handle a bit of weather, either hot or cool, but when you think it’s going to snow, or have a frost and you have your plants outdoors, get those babies inside before it gets too cold!  The best indoor temperatures are between 60-85.

18.  Snake plants don’t require high humidity and can live in a wide range of air types.  Most houseplants will benefit from higher humidity levels as a general rule, but Sansevieria can handle less than ideal humidity levels.

19.  Snake plants are considered toxic and should never be consumed! Keep them out of reach of pets and children!

20.  Although it’s not common, snake plants will flower. Little yellow flowers dangle from a long spike and fill the surrounding air with a sweet scent!  They are not the showiest flowers, but who doesn’t enjoy watching nature give us a show regardless of the size and color!

A little bit of attention is all it takes to successfully grow a Snake Plant in your home! 


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