Snake Plant: The Best Beginner Houseplant
Are you looking for an easy, beginner houseplant? Look no further than the snake plant. Not only is the snake plant almost indestructible, but it also purifies the air in your home. What can be any better than that?
About the Snake Plant
The sansevieria trifasciata is native to the desert regions of southern Africa.
The fibers from the plant provided strings for the hunting bows used by the Africans. The use of these fibers gave way to another common name, bowstring hemp.
The plant is held in high regard in Nigeria and China. Nigerians believe the snake plant gives spiritual protection and wards off the evil eye.
The Chinese believe their gods grant the person who owns this plant the eight virtues of prosperity, beauty, long-life, intelligence, strength, health, art, and poetry.
In feng-shui, plants with spiky leaves shield a person from negative Chi.
The snake plant is actually a succulent. Succulent plants hold water in their leaves.
The snake plant became popular in the United States when the Woolworth stores sold them in the 1920s and 30s.
The snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue has runner roots. The runner roots send offshoots underground, making them invasive if not contained in a pot.
How the Snake Plant Purifies the Air
The leaves of the snake plant contain tiny pores or holes called stomata. These pores open at night, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
Through this process, the plant absorbs the air pollutants. NASA performed The Clean Air Study showing that the snake plant removes common household pollutants such as formaldehyde from the air.
How to Care for a Snake Plant
As stated earlier, the snake plant is virtually indestructible. It thrives on low light and very little water due to its ability to hold water in its leaves.
Potting a Snake Plant
Plant your snake plant in a pot with a drainage hole. The last thing you need is to put your plant in a pot that does not drain properly. This lack of drainage leads to root rot and the death of your plant.
Soil that has sand also helps provide adequate drainage. Potting soils for cacti or succulents are best.
Watering a Snake Plant
Only water your snake plant once the soil is completely dry. Watering once a week during the summer months and once a month during the winter is all it needs. When you stick your finger in the soil, and the first inch (or to your first knuckle) of soil is still wet, there is no need to water.
Light for a Snake Plant
The snake plant tolerates low light but prefers bright, indirect light. They grow fine in a corner without much sun, but they won’t grow as fast.
If you notice your plant leaves turning black or getting crisp, move your plant to an area with less light. On the flip side, if your plant leaves sag or look droopy, move it slowly to an area with more light.
How to Propagate a Snake Plant
Snake plants are easy to propagate either through dividing the plant or taking leaf cuttings.
Dividing a Snake Plant
To divide a snake plant, remove the plant from the pot. Gently shake the dirt off the roots. Pull the plant apart, dividing it into two sections. Be sure to pull very carefully. The point is to untangle the roots without damaging them. Once the roots untangle, repot the newly freed plant into its own planter and then water it in.
Taking a Leaf Cutting of a Snake Plant
Water Propagation of a Snake Plant
Taking a leaf-cutting of a snake plant is so simple. Cut the leaf at the base of the plant. Remove the leaf and cut a “V” into the bottom of the leaf. This “V” provides more surface area for roots to form. Let the bottom callous over. Once it is fully calloused, place the leaf in a cup of water. The rooting of the snake plant takes quite a long time. Patience is your friend here.
Soil Propagation of a Snake Plant
Soil propagation is very similar to water propagation. After you take a leaf cutting, there is no need to cut a “V” in the bottom of the leaf. Just allow the leaf to callous over then plant it in soil. Be sure to water it in. Then wait. Again, patience is key here.
Types of Snake Plants
There are over 70 species of snake plants around the world. They range in size from 8 inches to 3 feet tall. These are the most popular varieties.
- Golden Hahnii
- Black Gold
- Futura Robusta
- Twisted Sister
- Ceylon Bowstring Hemp
- Starfish Sansevieria
- Mason’s Congo
- Futura Superba
- Blue Sansevieria
- Star Sansevieria
- Kenya Hyacinth
- Dwarf Sansevieria
Check out this article from the Leafy Place. The article includes pictures of all the varieties listed above.
Snake plants are a great plant to start your indoor plant collection or add to an existing one.
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Snake Plant: The Best Beginner Houseplant
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I’ve always loved gardening and recently started gardening full-time. I also enjoy tending to our chickens, dogs, and other family pets (a bird, a snake, and rabbits).