Oct 2, 2010

Snake Plant 101 - Taking 'Easy' to a New Level

Snake plant (Sansevieria), A.K.A Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is a succulent plant, which means the leaves retain lots of water, similar to a cactus. You can recognize snake plants by their long, pointed, upright leaves which look very much like snakes, giving the plant its name. It is green in color, but sometimes has yellow edges.

1) When it’s time to buy a new plant, be sure to select a healthy looking plant that is a deep green. Pale leaves mean the plant may already be suffering at the store, and there’s no reason to waste your money on snake plant that’s growing poorly before you even get it home!

2) Often times when you buy a new houseplant, you should repot it into a new pot with fresh soil ASAP. If the roots appear above the soil, the plant definitely needs to be repotted. Also, if the pot from the store is simply a cheap plastic pot, I recommend you repot your new plant. It will be much happier that way!

3) Give snake plant sufficient light. The plant will thrive in a sunny window facing east, west or south. If you have only a north facing window, don’t despair! Snake plant handles a variety of light situations very well. If you can only provide minimal light, the plant will be fine. Later, when the opportunity presents itself, move snake plant to a sunnier window. The more sun it gets, the faster it will grow!

4) Water sparingly. A succulent holds lots of water inside its leaves, and if you give it too much water, the plant will rot. By sparingly, I mean water every two to three weeks (In the summer time, the plant will use more water, especially if it's in a very sunny location. In winter, the plant uses less water, so be sure to adjust accordingly). Use room temperature water so the roots don’t get shocked. Wet the top of the soil thoroughly, but be sure not to drown the plant! You are better off watering the plant too little than too much!

5) Feed the plant with a tiny amount of general all purpose plant food (the kind you dissolve in water) in the spring and summer. Because this is the primary growing time for snake plant, it will thank you for the extra growth boost the fertilizer provides. Put the fertilizer in your favorite watering jug, and just fertilize every time you water. In fall and winter, stop fertilizing – snake plant doesn’t need to be fed at this time of year.

6) Snake plant is extremely forgiving, and in fact will thrive more on neglect rather than too much attention. If you miss a watering, don’t worry! Water the next time you remember. Snake plant will survive in low light conditions, or even full sun! Therefore, snake plant is one of the most common and easy-to-care-for plants you can buy.

Important tip: As I already mentioned, do not overwater! The plant will die if it can’t absorb excess water in the pot. Overwatering is the number one cause of plant death!

If you be sure to give good light and small amounts of water to snake plant about every two to three weeks, it will prosper and bring you joy for many years!

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  2. I was just reading up on orchids recently. There are some very good Youtube videos that may help (just search for orchid care.) I'll write an orchid post soon! In the meantime, how often do you water, how much, and where is the plant located??

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  16. I have a very old snake plant (over 30 years) and some of the leaves are curving over. I water it about once a week, less in the winter. Could the curling be from over watering? Also, It's pretty packed in it's pot (I don't remember the last time I re-potted it). So I bought a pot today that's about 3" wider, but not as deep. Is this going to be a problem? I was thinking about taking some of the newer pups off the outside to give the middle leaves more air...they're the ones that are curling, the ones on the inside.

    Thanks for any help you can provide,
    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rinse all the soil from your plants roots, trim the old dark roots (30 year old roots only used for anchoring) and leave the fleshy white roots (living roots) and re pot in fresh soil :)

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  22. Can I give mine a single (small) spray of water twice a day?

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  24. I have had my snake plant for at least 10 or 15 years, but about 2 years ago I needed to repot and ever since it has not done well. It falls out of the pot like it can not get the roots to take hold good. is it my dirt or what am I doing wrong. I have it in a plastic pot about 7 inches deep can you help with any tips I hate to give up on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try another type of pot. Plastic pots don't hold on to soil as well as metal or Terra cotta. The smooth surface and the way they flex is what makes them so easy to slip out of their nursery pots. Also you could adjust your soil mixture to be mor dense and/or place decorative rocks on top :)

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  25. Snake plant is a great plant for the beginners; it is easy to grow and hard to kill. It is also one of those plants that clean the air. I wrote about it in my post: http://www.sweetieandgeek.com/houseplants-that-clean-the-air/

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  34. My fairly new snake plant tipped out of the pot it was in (probably not enough soil) don't have any soil right now to replant it, can it stay in a jar of water for a little while until I can repot it?

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  36. Howdy! Would you please tell me where you bought the white pot your snake plant is sitting in? I love the minimal look. Thanks!

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  37. PLease Please PLease PLease PLease halp me with this since you seem like a plant expert. So I Just propagated my snake plant and 1) If it's rimmed with yeloow will the clone be solid green? LIke some people said? 2) What do we do after propagating? DO we repot? And How? Thank you so much...I Just need help cuz I seem to kill every plant I try to take care of. Thank you!

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  38. I just recently bought a snake plant and it needs to be re-potted asap. I'm wondering if I can use all Miracle Grow Potting Mix? Some say 25% MG and 75% perlite. That doesn't seem like very much soil for a hardy plant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi I just read a good summary of caring for these plants on another forum:
      "No plant likes to be rootbound. What they like is for their roots to NOT rot, which can happen so easily in a pot with dense soils, like ground dirt, or bagged mixes of predominantly tiny particles of peat, and especially in a pot without a hole in the bottom. Having very little soil around the roots makes it difficult for even the most dedicated plant-overwaterers to rot the roots of their plants. This gives rise to the myth that they "like to be potbound" or like a small pot. This is not ideal, just a way of coping with inappropriate soil mixes.

      A more porous, chunky soil (like cactus/palm, if one is buying bagged,) can have air in it even when it is moist. Roots need oxygen and moisture at the same time to function. When there are tiny particles of any kind in a pot, such as peat, sand, silt, clay, they filter into all of the tiny spaces in a pot, eliminating the air. "Overwatering" is the label and manifestation when roots have suffocated and/or rotted, combo of both. There is no one thing folks can put in to make soil better, but removing tiny particles of any type will definitely help. Over time, Roots fill pots, and organic bits decompose into smaller bits, so even the "best" soil, if it has organic components, will need to be replaced when this happens. The speed at which this happens depends on many variables, but on average, about 1-3 years.

      Sans are actually fast-growing plants, when conditions don't hinder that, and have huge, rhizomatous roots that need some room to roam. Without the confines of a pot, the pups don't come up right next to the mama rosettes. Having to twist/contort to find the soil surface can delay the appearance of pups".
      Hope this helps you! Regards, Liz

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    2. And this one!
      http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/2842847/container-soils-water-movement-and-retention-xxii
      Liz

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