In recent years, snake plants have become a popular choice among new plant owners and seasoned plant owners alike. They offer benefits like air purification, aesthetic appeal, and are relatively low maintenance to take care of.
Snake plants should be watered every 7 to 14 days when the soil has completely dried between each watering. During the winter months, when the growing season slows, you can reduce watering to once per month. Snake plants will survive in soil that is allowed to dry out as opposed to constantly moist soil.
As a general rule of thumb, it is better to underwater snake plants than to overwater them. Look out for the following signs to know whether your snake plant is receiving the best conditions for it to thrive.
How to Tell if Snake Plants Need Water?
The best way to tell if your snake plant needs water is if the soil is completely dry. Although snake plants are fairly drought-resistant, you can tell if your snake plant has become too dehydrated because the leaves will start to dry out and drop.
How Do You Know When Your Snake Plant is Sufficiently Watered?
You will know your snake plant has been sufficiently watered from the moisture level in the soil and through the quality of the foliage. The soil should be allowed to dry out completely between each watering and when watering, you should look for water dripping out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Snake plants must be potted in pots with drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away from the plant.
The leaves of a sufficiently watered snake plant will stand upright without assistance and have a well-structured, lush green appearance. Some varieties of snake plants will have normal yellow striations around the leaves as well. Healthy roots will be white and firm and there should be some noticeable growth during the spring and summer months.
Can You Overwater Snake Plants?
It is possible to overwater snake plants and doing so can harm and kill your plant. Snake plants should only be watered once the soil completely dries out from the previous watering. Overwatering your snake plant will compromise the appearance of the leaves and potentially lead to root rot.
What are Signs of an Overwatered Snake Plant?
Signs of an overwatered snake plant include leaves that softened, are curling, and have discolored around the edges. Eventually, these leaves will die and fall off. Overwatering a snake plant also puts the plant at risk of root rot which will discolor and weaken the root system which will compromise the health of the plant overall.
How Long Can a Snake Plant Go Without Water?
Snake plants are low maintenance and can go upwards of two weeks to one month without water. You should allow the soil to completely dry between each watering. During the growth season, you can water your snake plant once every 1-2 weeks and during the dormant winter months, your snake plant will survive with a monthly watering.
Should Snake Plant Soil Be Moist?
Snake plant soil should only be moist in the days immediately after watering your plant. If the soil is kept consistently moist, your snake plant will likely drop leaves, discolor, experience root rot, and possibly die. It is important to only water snake plants when the soil has dried out from the previous watering.
Why is Snake Plant Turning Brown/Yellow?
Your snake plant may be discoloring for a few reasons. When a snake plant is dehydrated, the leaves will start to turn brown and crispy, eventually falling off.
Conversely, when a snake plant has been overwatered, the leaves will start to soften and curl, turning yellow around the edges. These leaves will also eventually die and fall off. When a snake plant has been overwatered, it is at risk of root rot which will also cause the leaves to discolor and lose their structured shape.
Why is my Snake Plant Droopy?
Your snake plant may wilt and appear to be droopy if it has been overwatered. It is better to underwater a snake plant than overwater it as overwatering will cause the leaves to soften, discolor, wilt, and eventually die off.
In some cases, your snake plant’s leaves may appear droopy if it is severely dehydrated though this is less likely the case than being overwatered.
Do Snake Plants Need Fertilizer?
Snake plants can be fertilized once or twice during the growing season with a mild cactus-specific fertilizer. During the winter months, your snake plant should not be fertilized.
How Much Sunlight Do Snake Plants Need?
Snake plants are fairly hardy and do best in areas that receive ample indirect or diffused sunlight though they will adapt to direct sunlight. If your snake plant is placed in an area where it receives diffused or indirect sunlight, it will last during all daylight hours in that spot.
If your snake plant is in an area that receives direct sun, it should be able to tolerate a few hours of morning sun however you may need to move it out of the harsher afternoon sun to prevent the leaves from scorching.
Will Temperatures and Humidity Affect Snake Plants?
Snake plants prefer warm and dry conditions and should not be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain the health of your snake plant, only water it and expose it to moisture when the soil has completely dried out from the previous watering.
Will Snake Plants Survive in the Winter?
As long as your snake plant is kept indoors where the temperature can be regulated between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it will survive the winter. During the winter you should avoid feeding your snake plant fertilizer and reduce its watering schedule to once per month or when the soil has completely dried out from the previous watering.
Snake plants kept outdoors will not survive winter conditions, including mild frost. Outdoor snake plants should be brought inside, remembering to isolate and treat them before placing them amidst your other indoor plants.
Will Snake Plants Survive in Direct Sunlight?
Snake plants do best in areas that receive ample indirect or diffused sunlight though they will adapt to direct sunlight. Be mindful of areas with direct sunlight, as your plant should be able to tolerate a few hours of morning sun but may need to be moved out of the direct afternoon rays to avoid leaf scorching.
Snake plants are a staple plant for many plant enthusiasts and are an easy starting point for new plant owners to build their confidence in their green thumb. As a general rule of thumb, it is always best to underwater snake plants rather than overwater them since they prefer warm and dry conditions.
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Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.