Growing Snake Plants

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Snake Plants

Snake Plant

Snake plants, also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Sansevieria, are one of the easiest house plants to take care of. This succulent plant is very forgiving and perfect for beginners. Here’s how to care for a snake plant in your home! 

Too much water is one of the few things that can kill this plant. Soggy soil will cause root rot. In southern regions of the United States, it can be grown outdoors, but may become invasive.


How to Plant Snake Plants

  • Use a well-draining potting mix. A succulent mix is ideal, as it will resist becoming oversaturated with water.
  • When planting, don’t bury the plant too deep. It should be planted as deep as it had been in its prior container.

Choosing a Location

  • Snake plants prefer bright, indirect light and can even tolerate some direct sunlight. However, they also grow well (albeit more slowly) in shady corners and other low-light areas of the home.
  • Keep the plant in a warm spot with temperatures above 50°F (10°C). In the winter, be sure to protect it from drafty windows.

Snake plant. Photo by Mokkie/Wikimedia Commons.
Photo by Mokkie/Wikimedia Commons


How to Care for Snake Plants

  • Let the soil dry between waterings.
  • Water from the bottom of the pot, if possible. This encourage the roots to grow downward, helping to stabilize the thick, tall leaves.
  • During the winter, water only about once a month.
  • Wipe leaves with a damp cloth as needed to remove dust.
  • In good conditions, snake plants are rapid growers and may need to be divided annually.
  • Divide and repot in the spring. Cut out a section containing both leaves and roots and place in a pot with well-draining potting mix.
  • If the plant is pot bound, it will flower occasionally. Fragrant, greenish-white flower clusters appear on tall spikes.


  • Root rot due to overwatering is the most common issue.
    • If this occurs, remove any dying leaves and allow the plant to dry out more than usual. Snake plants are resilient and typically recover. However, if the plant continues to die, remove it from its pot, discard of any rotted roots and leaves, and repot in fresh soil.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Snake plants, along with spider plants and peace lilies, are effective at cleaning the air, removing toxins such as formaldehyde.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata, a native of tropical Africa, yields a strong plant fiber and was once used to make bow strings for hunting.


Growing Snake Plants

Botanical Name Sansevieria spp.
Plant Type Houseplant
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Part Sun, Shade
Soil Type Loamy
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 8, 9, 10
Special Features