How To Grown & Care For Indoor Snake Plant (Complete Guide)

how to care for snake plant indoor

The snake plant is one of the most common houseplants. People often agree this plant is a must-have in their collections. This versatile, low-maintenance plant can add greenery to just about any indoor space.

While caring for a snake plant is straightforward, many of us plant enthusiasts agree that store care tag instructions are often oversimplified and even incorrect for the snake plant. This can lead to a lot of guesswork in keeping your snake plant healthy and thriving. Let’s dive into what they need and discuss the best snake plant care tips. 

Snake Plant Background

To understand how to care for a snake plant, it helps to learn about where it’s from and its natural habitat.

The snake plant was first grouped with the Aloe plants in 1753 due to its succulent-like leaves and similar care needs. However, it was later classified within the genus Sansevieria by David Prain in 1903. While many of us still think of the snake plant as a Sansevieria, it was re-classified once more in 2017 as Draceaena trifasciata.

The snake plant is native to rocky and dry areas in West Africa, where the plant is adapted to long periods of drought

different types of snake plant

There are over 70 discovered species of snake plants, and many of them have a combination of striped patterns on their leaves. These stripes are beautiful, but they also serve as a defense mechanism to help the plant blend into its habitat and avoid predation in the wild. 

Did you know that the snake plant also produces a useful material? Due to the strong fibers in its leaves, African communities use the snake plant to produce eco-friendly ropes, yarn, and textiles. They also use its sturdy fibers to make bowstrings, slingshots, and woven baskets.

The snake plant is toxic to pets and people. Therefore, it’s essential to keep this houseplant out of reach of small children and pets.

How To Care For A Snake Plant


As you may have heard, you won’t need to water this houseplant often. Only water the snake plant when the soil is completely dry.

Some big box store tags recommend watering when the soil is halfway dry or every week, but this is incorrect. The frequency of how often to water varies for each person depending on how much light the snake plant receives, temperature, and humidity levels.

In addition to dry soil, snake plants can show other signs of needing water. These include leaves curling inward and mildly drooping leaves

On average, many growers report only needing to water their indoor snake plants around once per month in the summer and once every couple of months in the winter. Again, this will depend on your growing environment. 

As long as you have well-draining soil and drainage holes in the pot, you’re safe to water your snake plant when the soil is dry throughout.

snake plant indoors

The number one thing that can kill the snake plant is too much water, resulting in root rot. Signs of root rot are drooping leaves. Understandably, preventing root rot can be one of the only aspects people may find challenging when caring for a snake plant. 

Any clean water, including tap water, will suffice when watering this houseplant. Additionally, the best watering method for the snake plant is top watering.

Since the snake plant is more prone to root rot than most other houseplants, top watering, as opposed to bottom watering, helps ensure there isn’t excess moisture left behind in the bottom of the pot. They do well when given a thorough watering from top to bottom, with plenty of time to drain completely.   


If you’ve ever been confused about how much light to give your snake plant, you’re not alone. Snake plant care tags from stores often advise you to provide low light, but many experienced snake plant growers strongly disagree with that advice.

How much light do snake plants require?

The snake plant’s ideal lighting conditions are medium (200-500 foot candles) to bright indirect light (over 500 foot candles). 

Providing more light helps the snake plant in the following ways:

  • Grow much faster
  • Dry out better between each watering.
  • Prevent root rot
snake plant light requirements

However, you still can grow your snake plant in an environment with lower light (50-200 foot candles). Since snake plants are native to areas that receive both shade and sunlight, this plant is versatile enough to grow in many light situations. Since low light is not the snake plant’s preference, you will see slower growth.

Additionally, it will be essential not to water your snake plant before it is completely dried out. This is because it will take your snake plant much longer to use up the water provided.

While the snake plant can still grow in low light, you must watch it more closely for root rot.  

What about direct light?

Yes, you can give your snake plant some direct light, especially the morning sunlight. The afternoon direct sun can burn this plant since it is too intense for the leaves.

Furthermore, snake plants previously growing in lower light should be transitioned slowly into locations that receive direct sunlight. Therefore, it works great to put this plant in an indoor area that receives some gentle morning direct sun at first. Then you can gradually move it to a window with more intense light if that works best for your plant setup. 

Temperature and Humidity

Snake plants enjoy warm temperatures between 70 and 90°F (21-32°C). They can become cold-stressed in temperatures falling below 50°F (10°C). Snake plants don’t require supplemental humidity and grow well in regular household humidity of 30-50%.

Soil Mix

Snake plants do well in soil mixes with plenty of filtration and aeration. There are several snake soil mixes that plant enthusiasts recommend, including our well-balanced recipe below. 

  • 40% Pumice 
  • 20% Coco Coir or Peat Moss
  • 10% Cactus Soil Mix 
  • 10% Worm Castings
  • 10% Fine Orchid Bark or Coco Chips
  • 10% Coarse Sand 

Fertilization and Growth 

Do indoor snake plants need fertilizer?

Snake plants are light feeders. You can use half-strength liquid fertilizer once at the start of spring and once in mid-summer.

They don’t grow much in the winter, and you won’t need to fertilize your snake plant during those low-light months.

When you first learn how to care for a snake plant during the winter, be sure to prevent cold drafts, use well-draining soil, and only water it when the soil is bone dry

How fast will my snake plant grow?

The growth rate for the snake plant varies depending on its environment. They are relatively slow growers.

In optimal conditions with plenty of light, you might see your snake plant grow 1-2 feet per year. Additionally, snake plants typically produce 2-3 new leaves each growing season, while they may go dormant in the fall and winter. 

Does a snake plant have a flower?

You may see your snake plant flower on rare occasions.

Flowers grow as a long stalk with silky, thin, white petals. This can happen in the spring, but many snake plants never flower. Growing conditions affect snake plant blooms, and they can flower when they have high light, slight stress, or when they are root bound. While you should keep an eye on your snake plant when it flowers to ensure it remains healthy, you can still consider yourself lucky to see such a rare sighting. 


Snake plants prefer snug pots and don’t need to be repotted very often. Depending on growing conditions, your snake plant may only need to be repotted every 2-5 years.

Only go up one pot size and use a proper filtrating soil mixture. Always use a pot with at least one drainage hole when choosing a pot for your snake plant.

Never put this plant in a pot with no drainage hole, as this creates a risk of root rot. 

You will need to repot your snake plant when you notice these signs:

  • Roots growing out of the drainage holes
  • The pot is cracking or bulging
  • The snake plant has put out several pups


There are a few ways to propagate a snake plant, each relatively simple. 

  • Water propagation: cutting a single snake plant leaf horizontally and placing it in water to develop roots.
  • Soil propagation: cutting a leaf where it emerges from the soil on the mother plant and placing it into the soil to develop roots. 

Other Mediums to Grow a Snake Plant In


Although snake plants have roots that are susceptible to root rot in water-logged soil, they can actually grow well in clean water. The key is to change the water once weekly to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. 

snake plants live in water


You can also grow your snake plant in LECA.

Use a clear pot to view water levels, and keep the water level at approximately 2-4 cm. The water depth will depend on your pot size, but the goal is to have the water level directly below the roots. This will allow your snake plant to absorb water through the clay without sitting in water.

To prevent bacterial growth, flush out your water and replace it with entirely fresh water once monthly. 

Common Snake Plant Pests

The most common pests to attack snake plants are mealy bugs and aphids.

While snake plants are not immune to indoor pests, they are less susceptible than plants with thinner foliage. Their pest resilience is another aspect that simplifies snake plant care.

Furthermore, pest removal is also easy due to its leaf structure. If your snake plant becomes infested with pests, clean the leaves thoroughly with water and treat them accordingly for the pest type.

Most pests can be eliminated with repeated treatments of neem oil

If you have other infested houseplants, quarantine them and treat your snake plant preventatively with diluted neem oil. While neem oil is present on your snake plant leaves, be sure to remove the plant from direct light to prevent sun scorching

Common Snake Plant Problems

  • Drooping leaves: can be a sign of advanced thirst or root rot. Since these problems are opposite, it is crucial to check the soil. If the soil is very dry and the rest of the plant looks healthy, give it a watering. If the soil is not dried out, it’s best to check the roots for rot.
  • Yellow leaves: can occur when your snake plant has not received enough light. The leaf can die off due to inadequate light. Yellow leaves can also occur when leaves are burned from receiving too much direct sunlight. They can scorch and turn yellow. If you have ruled these out, other causes can be cold stress, pests, and root rot. It’s best to check for all of these if you have ruled out lighting conditions as a cause. 
  • Brown spots: are most commonly caused by fungal diseases and improper watering. However, you should also check your snake plant for pests and ensure that it is not being sun-scorched in its growing location. 
  • Wrinkled leaves: can happen with the snake plant is thirsty. It is usually one of the first signs of thirst before leaves start to droop mildly. Usually, you can observe these wrinkles near the base of the leaves, similar to the “puckering” effect you might see in succulent plants when they are thirsty. 

    However, if your snake plant has been recently watered and is not thirsty, check it for root rot. As a snake plant develops root rot, this can travel up through the affected leaves and cause the tissues to rot. Leaves can wrinkle as they begin to deteriorate. 

Different Types of Snake Plants (& Why You Need One)

As you have read here, the snake plant can grow just about anywhere in your home without much fuss. This houseplant is a staple in every plant collection, and there are many varieties to choose from.

Since snake plant care is straightforward, growing a large snake plant is simple and rewarding. Since they are easy to propagate, they also make excellent gifts for friends and family. 


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