How to grow a snake plant

Snake plants, also known as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’, boast sword-shaped leaves, which are both smooth and waxy.

This easy to care for plant is ideal for the home environment and for those who have busy lifestyles, as they thrive on abandonment.

In warmer climes, it is often found outdoors as an ornamental plant.

How to grow a snake plant

Basic snake plant care

The snake plant isn’t too fussed about lighting, or humidity, but it is precious about the amount of water it gets.

However, too much water can kill this plant. It suffers from a few diseases or pest problems and flourishes in small pots. It doesn’t require fertilizer, but if you wish to feed this plant, use a simple mixture of houseplant food, half diluted, once a month during the growing season.

These unique plants boast a number of beneficial properties – they not only enhance the home with their tropical beauty, but they also clean the air.

How to propagate snake plants

Learning how to propagate snake plants is extremely easy.

Rooting a snake plant in water is one of the most foolproof ways to propagate it.

Alternatively, you can root the plant from cuttings. This particular specie of plant grows out from rhizomes, which form together in groups and reproduce, as the plant matures.

Rooting a snake plant in water

Begin by picking a container tall enough to house the leaf. Choose a healthy leaf, that is still quite young, and remove it from the existing plant with clean, sharp shears.

Once you have removed the leaf, place it in just enough water to cover the bottom quarter.

Once potted, place the container in indirect light and change the water every couple of days. In just a short amount of time, you’ll begin to notice a few new roots.

Propagating snake plants with cuttings

This technique is really no different from the water method, but it allows those with less time to skip a step.

First things first, allow the cut leaf to callus – this should take a day or two. The final step requires you to place the cut end into a container containing lightly moist sand. After a couple of weeks, the plant will begin to root on its own.


The snake plant can be susceptible to root rot and droopy leaves when overwatered, which is why you need to choose a container with good drainage holes.

This particular species of plant boasts thick, moisture-holding leaves, which allow the plant to thrive in its native region of the West African tropics. When watering the snake plant, do so when the top three inches of soil is completely dry.


This plant is able to withstand a number of conditions.

However, if you place near a sun-drenched window or heat vent, you’ll need to water the plant more frequently – every two to three weeks should suffice. Water the inside edge of the pot, to ensure the leaves are kept dry, then allow the pot to drain before replacing it on the saucer.

Avoid watering again until the top of the soil is dry. You’ll find your plant may need less water in the winter months. For best results, use a potting mix that is fast draining, or a quality potting soil combined with a handful of perlite or coarse sand – this will enhance the drainage.

Types of snake plant

There is an impressive number of snake plants to choose from, 70 to be precise, all of which are native to subtropical and tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

These species are all evergreen and can grow between eight and 12 feet in height.

The most frequently used species for gardens is Sansevieria trifasciata, sometimes nicknamed ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’. There are also a number of less common species, which include:

Sansevieria ‘Golden Hahnii’ – A short leaved variant with yellow borders

The Cylindrical snake plant, Sansevieria cylindrical – A dark green species with striped leaves, which can grow to three feet in height.

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Twist’ – A cultivar complete with twisted leaves, which are embellished with stripes. This variant can grow to 14 inches in height.

Rhino Grass, Sansevieria desertii – This version has succulent red-tinted leaves and grows to 12 inches tall.

White Snake Plant, Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’ – This cultivar has narrow leaves with white vertical stripes and grows to three feet in height.

Did you know?

The snake plant yields bowstring hemp, a fiber that was once used to make bowstrings!


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Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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