How to Look After Sansevieria / Dracaena trifasciata (Snake Plant) - A Care Guide

Here's some tips on how to care for your Snake Plant, so that you can help this straightforward houseplant flourish.

A Large Snake Plant at the Garden Geeks store. | Garden Geeks UK
A Snake Plant at the Garden Geeks store.

The Snake Plant


Commonly called the Snake Plant due to its long, snakeskin patterned foliage that protrudes from the soil, Sansevieria is a historically recognised genus of plant known for its easy care and high tolerance.


Now included in the genus Dracaena, Snake plants are native to Africa, including Madagascar and Southern Asia. This easy-care plant will add shape, height and colour to a space in need of some character.

Light


Being a rather tolerant houseplant, your Snake Plant can survive in lower light conditions, though growing it in too heavy shade may result in loss of foliage colour and variegation.


Dracaena trifasciata prefer steady, indirect sunlight but can also adapt to brighter sun over time, be careful though, too much harsh sunlight can burn the leaves if your plant isn't used to it.


Soil


A loose and well draining soil mix will do your Snake Plant well. Adding some sand to your potting mix will also help to replicate the plant's natural environment while improving drainage.


A 1/3 perlite - 2/3 potting mix with a handful of sand is a good starting point for Sansevieria. If you want to buy pre-made, an all around cacti/succulent mix will work just fine too.


The main thing you want to avoid is too peaty soil, which can clump together over time, become hydrophobic and hard to drain.


Watering


Snake plants are relatively drought tolerant and make a good plant for someone who sometimes forgets to water things.


Let your Dracaena trifasciata's soil dry out between watering and get used to the weight of the pot when the soil is dry and when you've just watered it.


The main way you will harm your Sansevieria is by over watering it and causing root rot, so always err on the side of caution and reduce your watering regime in winter.


Humidity


Another reason Snake Plants make for a low hassle houseplant is that they don't have high humidity requirements (they're from the dry air of Madagascar remember). Normal household humidity is fine for Sansevieria. You won't need to mist this plant.


Temperature


Being native to Africa, your Snake Plant likes warmth. 21°C - 32°C is the optimal temperature range for Dracaena trifasciata and you should avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 10°C if you can as it may start to suffer.


Toxicity


Snake Plants / Sansevieria / Dracaena trifasciata contain a toxin named saponin which is toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal issues (vomiting etc) if ingested. So keep the plant away from hungry pets to avoid them getting poorly.

Growth


Depending on the species and conditions, Snake Plants can grow up to 8 feet tall indoors and even higher (up to 12 feet) when outdoors and can grow between 10-24 inches a year.


Snake plants have white flowers, though encouraging them out is rather rare.


If you like, during the growing season, you can try to propagate new plants via root division or via leaf cuttings.

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