How to Care For Snake Plant

Need to make sure your plant thrives? Discover our article on how to care for snake plants.

By Tobias Holm
How to Care For Snake Plant

If you’ve got the blessing of owning a snake plant to liven up your home, you’ll want to give it the best food, water, sunlight, and other conditions it can get. With that in mind, you may be wondering how to care for snake plant specimens.

A snake plant requires shade or partial sunlight and as well as well-drained but loose, sandy soil and temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees in Fahrenheit. It is best cared for by pruning leaves that have drooped to the soil line during the spring or summer months, and can be propagated for more snake plant enjoyment.

In this article, we’ll give you a complete guide on how to care for a snake plant, including conditions for light, soil, water, humidity and temperature, fertilizer, propagation, and repotting. You’ll also have access to insight on how to care for your snake plant’s most common problems such as pests and diseases, and how to overwinter the plant. Let’s get right to it.

Caring For Your Snake Plant

The main aspects of care to remember when tending to a snake plant are listed in the components below:

  • Light
  • Humidity and Temperature
  • Soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Water

Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements and how they add up to a healthy, happy snake plant when properly paid attention to. 


Light is intensely important to almost all forms of plant life, and the snake plant is no exception. However, light is not exactly a critical issue for snake plants because they are so adaptive. For example, while snake plants thrive best under indirect sources of steady lighting with only the occasional glimpse of direct sun, they will not die if placed in full sunlight.

Instead, the hardy snake plant will simply adapt to direct, full sun. They may not thrive, but they can also handle dimly lit conditions, too, without dying. 

Humidity and Temperature

Because of their natural habitat in the wild, snake plants do their very best in warm conditions. As adaptive as they are to lighting changes, they don’t do so well if the temperature around them drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The best thing to do is to keep your snake plant in an area that is anywhere between 70 degrees and 90 degrees.

It is important to note that the snake plant also can’t handle a breezy area for very long, and will die if it encounters frost. 


As previously mentioned, the soil that a snake plant needs should be sandy and loose, with plenty of room for draining. You should look for a soil or potting mix that doesn’t have much, if any, peat. This is because peat is known for packing in tightly and causing a draining blockage, which can harm your snake plant.

Thanks to it’s natural habitat in the wild, your snake plant will probably do best if you find a cactus potting soil to do the job.


Fertilizer is the equivalent of a pant’s food. Plants are a bit pickier than even some of us humans, though, and the snake plant lives up to that trait. Snake plants need a very mild form of fertilizer, such as the ones used on cacti. They should be fed during growing season, and we advise selecting a fertilizer that is balanced, in liquid form, and slow-releasing. 

Make sure not to fertilize your snake plant in non-growing seasons, such as the winter.


Too much water on this desert-native of a pant can actually cause more harm than good. You should never add water to your snake plant unless the soil around it is entirely dry. When in the winter months, you could even stop watering altogether, or only water when the soil is bone-dry once each month.

Pruning Your Snake Plant

Your snake plant will need to be pruned if it is to survive and thrive. The most important thing to remember when pruning your snake plant is to keep the tools sterile. This is a good rule to follow whether you’re using a knife, specific pruning shears, or even scissors. It is a great idea to wear gloves even if you plan on removing leaves with the use of your hands.

To prune your snake plant, select a time in the summer months or spring months. Then, carefully get rid of the leaves that are at the soil line or exhibiting signs of damage. 

Remember that pruning can cause undue stress to your snake plant, and so it is most profitable to do it when your snake plant is still growing. You can also allow your snake plant to only grow to the height of your choosing by carefully pruning the highest leaves.

This may sound like you are hurting your plant, but rest assured, pruning a snake plant during it’s growth season will actually give it a helping hand while it creates new growth.


Propagating a plant simply means to grow the seeds, whichever method you decide to use. Snake plants are great subjects for propagation. You can even propagate new snake plants using the cuttings after a pruning job. They can also be divided after reaching a height of four inches and split between two pots. 

If you notice your snake plant producing baby shoots around it’s base, you can easily repot these and have yourself new snake plants.

Grow From a Seed

To grow your snake plant from a seed is actually one of the more difficult ways to propagate. However, this doesn’t mean it is impossible. Follow the steps below to grow a snake plant successfully from a seed:

  1. Get a 3-inch pot and fill it with cactus potting mix, then sprinkle the seeds on the top.
  2. Situate the pot of seeds in a sunny, temperate area, then cover the top with plastic wrap.
  3. As soon as you notice shoots after three to six weeks, remove the plastic.
  4. Make sure the soil of the seeds is kept damp, but not fully wet.
  5. Repot the seedling once it has reached maturity at 4 inches tall.

Potting and Repotting

To pot your snake plant, remember that this is a species with very strong roots. It may break your pot if you don’t have a strong enough material. Also remember that your snake plant needs plenty of drainage when selecting a pot. 

If you decide to repot, do so in the months of the spring for the greatest chance of maintaining your snake plant’s health. Do not forget to add in completely new cactus potting mix to your new pot.


A snake plant may be very hardy when it comes to lighting conditions and even the amount of water it needs, but it’s one big condition-related weakness is temperature. This plant is meant to be in tropical environments and will definitely die if it is kept in a climate below 50 degrees or exposed to frost at all. 

When winter time rolls around, make sure to bring any snake plants you keep outdoors inside. Do not worry if your snake plant ceases all growth: this is actually normal for the snake plant, and is called “dormancy.” Remember that you only need to water the snake plant once every two months, if that, during the winter. Keep it warm and dry and wait for spring.

Pests and Diseases

Here is a list of the common pests associated with the snake plant:

  • Gnats
  • Scales
  • Spider Mites
  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Whiteflies

Each of these insects are not only potentially harmful to your snake plant, but can be very annoying for you to encounter in your home. Most of the above-listed pests only swarm a plant that is unhealthy, so by keeping your snake plant in a great environment, you’ll avoid an infestation. 

However, if you do come into contact with any of these bugs, remove them with gloved hands or chase them away using a water spray. Neem oil is also a great repellent of insects and is healthy to use on a snake plant.

Now that you know which pests to watch out for, it is a good idea to be on the lookout for the diseases listed below, too:

  • Root Rot – To avoid rotting roots, make sure your snake plant’s pot is draining well and never overwater the plant. You can also avoid this state by making sure your soil has a low peat content. Clean and dry out the roots during a repotting process to combat this issue.
  • Southern Blight – This disease can kill your snake plant very easily. If you notice large brown spots on your plant, sterilize all pruning tools and gloves and apply fungicide to the roots while repotting to a fresh soil. You should also get rid of any affected leaves you can see.
  • Red Leaf Spot – Another infection of fungus that you should watch out for, the red spot will blister the leaves of your plant. Keep your snake plant in an area with appropriately humid conditions and spray your snake plant with Bordeaux mix for five minutes once a month. Also apply tea tree oil after the Bordeaux mix treatment.

How to Get Snake Plant to Bloom

Snake plants do bloom out into tubular, lily-like flowers every year. This is the sign of a snake plant that is getting exactly the right amount of sunlight, water, and humidity. An indoor snake plant does not always flower because it is the changing of the seasons that triggers the blooming process.

 To prompt blooming, try letting your snake plant spend a few days in ideal, but outdoor conditions for the first few temperate days of the spring season each year.

Common Problems

Even though snake plants are easy to care for, they do come with their share of problems, as listed below:

  • Curling Leaves – If you notice this, it is probably due to a thrip infestation. These bugs are small, black, and usually only visible through a microscope. All you need to do to help your snake plant out with this problem is spray the plant with veggie soap once each week until the issue is resolved.
  • Soil that Smells Bad – A foul odor coming from your soil is one of the first signs of root rot. Pull the root ball free of your pot and look for mushy, brown-colored roots. Cut these away with sterile instruments, then pot any surviving roots in a fresh, well-draining mixture. You may have to discard these and start your snake plant over.
  • Discolored Leaves – If your leaves are yellow or brown, check for pests, root rot, or make sure you’re not overwatering your plant. If you are, let the soil dry and remember to only water once or twice a month, at most.
  • Dropping Leaves – If your snake plant looks like it is wilting, it’s conditions are likely not correct. Be sure your snake plant is getting indirect sunlight, the pot and potting mixture is draining well, and it is not receiving too much water.

In Conclusion

To sum everything we’ve learned up, snake plants require certain levels of care concerning their conditions and the avoidance of pests and disease, but all in all, they are a hardy plant that is great for beginners.

As we’ve covered the most common problems this plant faces are root rot as a result of too much watering, or exposure to temperatures that are too cold. You can also face pests and diseases, but these are usually avoidable by keeping your snake plant in 70 to 90 degree temperatures and only watering once or twice each month.

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