Snake Plant Care – How to Grow the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

How to Grow & Care for Snake Plant

Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil

They’re one of the most popular indoor plants around. And, in all likelihood, you’ve seen their long, stiff, dark green leaves in homes and offices.

So why do people enjoy having them around?

That’s because not only are they easy to care for, they’re also very beautiful to look at. Even if you have a brown thumb or little time to watch over them, they won’t die on you.

Here’s how to care for snake plants.

About the Snake Plant

Snake Plant Care and Growing Guide

The snake plant, is also known as the mother in law’s tongue, which is among the many common names given to this popular houseplant.

Despite its somewhat scary names, these are some of the easiest plants to take care of indoors and outside. As long as you don’t give them too much water or expose them to cold temperatures, they’re fairly indestructible.

More importantly, they make for amazing indoor specimens, growing up to 8 feet tall (much smaller indoors). They likewise come with long, firm, dark green, sword-like foliage that’s adorned with white or yellow stripes on the edges.

This makes them very attractive, not to mention attention grabbers. And, their size and looks make them versatile enough to be displayed on the floor and tabletops.


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Cultural Implications

Besides their beauty, they also have some positive implications for some cultures. As such, you can keep them in your home for these purposes. Or, give them to others as gifts.

  • Chinese culture adores these houseplants because they’re believed to bestow the 8 virtues to the home. These include prosperity, long life, intelligence, and health among others.
  • In Africa, it’s likewise treasured for its ability to protect you from charms and bewitchment.


It Cleans the Air Around You

If that’s not enough, NASA also named the snake plant among those that can purify the air. Studies have shown that it’s able to remove benzene and formaldehyde from the air.

Thus, it helps clean the air your family breathes.


Snake Plant Care

How to Grow & Care for Snake Plant

Snake Plant Light Requirments

When it comes to light, the snake plant is very versatile. And, that’s one of the things that makes it a very popular houseplant.

While they thrive under bright, indirect light, they don’t have a problem being left in shaded or even dark corners of your home.

That said, they do grow a little slower in very low light conditions. Thus, you can take advantage of this as it allows you to keep them more manageable size-wise. Doing so reduces the frequency of repotting and pruning.

The one thing you don’t want to do is place it under direct sunlight for long periods. Although, it can adjust to it and tolerate short periods of it.


Snake Plant Temperature & Humidity

Snake plants enjoy warm temperatures. They do best when it’s between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, they like living in zones 8, 9, and 10.

So, if you live in the south, you’ll be able to enjoy them outdoors.

But, in cooler climates, you’ll need to keep them indoors.

In fact, most people grow them as houseplants. If this is the case, then you don’t have to worry much about the weather outside. They’ll be happy with average home temperatures.

The one thing you want to avoid placing them somewhere that’s cold. Once the temperature drops under 50 degrees, they’ll start struggling.

This is likewise the case for cold breezes, winds or drafts. So, it’s a good idea to keep them away from windows come wintertime. And, also from air conditioning systems that can blow gusts of cool wind at them.


Watering Snake Plant

While the snake place is quite indestructible, it’s two biggest weaknesses are cold weather and too much water. Those are the two things that can kill it.

Being native to the tropical regions of West Africa, snake plants not only like warm climates but also don’t need a lot of water.

In fact, they’re drought resistant.

As such, the key is not to water too often or too much. Instead, you want to allow the soil to dry before watering again.

To do so, stick your finger into the soil to feel what’s underneath the surface. The surface of the soil can sometimes look dry. But, if the top few inches are still moist, it’s still too soon to water.

Once it starts drying out, it’s a sign to get ready to water.

You can likewise water from the bottom. Albeit much slower than using a hose or watering can, it reduces the risk of overwatering. And, it encourages the roots to grow downwards.

Likewise, make sure that your pot has a drainage hole at the bottom. This will allow excess moisture to seep out. You can also go with a terra cotta pot or something porous which will allow water to escape through the sides.

Once winter comes around, you can scale back on watering. That’s because your snake plant won’t be actively growing.

Snake Plant Care Guide


In keeping with its issues with too much water, it’s key that you supply your snake plant with well-draining potting soil.

Sandy soil works well because it allows water to get through quickly. Or, you can go with a cactus and/or succulent potting mix as well. This will ensure that it won’t hold too much water.



Feed your snake plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Something that’s 10-10-10 works. Just make sure to dilute it to 50% of its original strength.

You can likewise go with a mild cactus fertilizer.

But, only fertilize during its growing season. When the cold weather comes around, your snake plant won’t need to be fed.


Snake Plant Propagating Snake Plants

These lovely houseplants can be propagated via division, cutting, or new shoots.

Division is your best bet since it’s the easiest way to grow a new plant from the parent. Plus, you don’t have to wait for the roots to develop.

The best time to do so is when you’re repotting. Since you’ll be taking the rootball out of the container, you can take that opportunity to separate sections of it and replant them.

Similarly, you can take new shoots that come out from the soil and put them in a pot of their own.

Of the three, cuttings take the most time since you’ll need to let it root.


Repotting Snake Plants

Depending on how and where you keep them, you may or may not need to repot your snake plant often. In places where there’s a lot of bright light, they may need to be repotted yearly. That’s because they grow fastest in these conditions.

But, in less well-lit areas, you may never or rarely need to repot them.

If you do, spring is the best time to do so.

Also, make sure to give it fresh potting soil. And, don’t forget to use a pot that’s made of strong material. The snake plant’s roots are can creak or break through weaker containers.



Snake plants are toxic to both humans and pets. So, it’s not a good idea to keep them were young kids, cats or dogs can get to them.

While they may cause skin irritation on rare occasions, the bigger danger is ingestion. This can cause stomach issues including diarrhea and vomiting.

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