How to Select and Care for Snake Plants

Snake Plant in a Red Pot

Snake plants are an attractive, hardy indoor plant that are very to take care of. Snake plants, also known as Sanservierias, are great houseplants. As long as they are kept indoors, they do well in Colorado’s cold, dry, arid climate. In this article, I will share a few tips that you can use to select snake plants. I will also share tips about how to care for snake plants. Basically, your biggest challenge with snake plants will be fighting the urge to water them more than necessary.

Snake plants have long sturdy, sword shaped leaves which will add vertical interest to any setting. The tips have sharp points.

Compared to most other houseplants, snake plants are extremely hardy plants. In fact, they prefer minimal care that borders on neglect. So, if you are a beginner, super busy, or just want a plant that doesn’t require a lot of fuss; the snake plant could be perfect for you. Below I will be sharing a snake plant’s care instructions.

As indoor plants, snake plants can handle the Colorado climate. Yet if you need to move to a different part of the country; you can take your plant with you since snake plants are versatile enough to do well in humid areas as well.

Although snake plants can handle a variety of lighting conditions, they won’t mind if you save your sunny windows for your flowering plants. Snake plants do not want to be heavily fertilized. They grow fairly slow and can be confined to their pot. You may be able to get by with repotting them once every 3 – 5 years. Snake plants are super easy to take care of.

Other names for Snake Plants:

  • Sansevieria trifasciata is the scientific name for the snake plant
  • Sanservierias
  • Mother-In-Law’s Tongue
  • Viper’s bowstring hemp

Sanservierias are succulent, perennial plants that are native to Nigeria.

They are three primary varieties:

  • There is a green form that has a slight marbling to the leaves.
  • A variegated form that has bright yellow stripes along the edges of the leaves.
  • A compact variety often referred to as a bird’s nest sansevieria

Where to buy snake plants?

Have you been wondering where to buy snake plants? If so, you will be happy to know that they are sold at most places that sell indoor plants or houseplants. I was surprised to discover that you can purchase snake plants online as well. Amazon sellers offer a variety of plants. The reviews on Amazon indicate that most people were very happy with snake plants they purchased online. I suppose that the plants are so sturdy and hardy they can handle being transported by mail with minimal problems. I haven’t ever ordered plants online but I do enjoy looking at the pictures.

I suppose the more I think about it. Even if you went down to a local big box store, it is highly probable that your plants were shipped from somewhere. So, I guess buying online isn’t too much different. (Granted, I am a supporter of buying from a local greenhouse if you can. It’s just that there are not as many local people that grow houseplants for resale.)

Anyway, if you purchase online, be sure to pay attention to:

1. The size of plant.

For example, Costa Farms looked to be one of the best-sellers of snake plants on Amazon. (As of today, they had 1005 reviews with a 4 star rating.) I’ve also seen their company website and liked it. I have their Amazon link just below. Anyway, if you look at the photos for their snake plant ad, they have a great chart that shows where you would most likely place each size of snake plant:

  • A baby plant in a 4-inch pot, will easily fit on a shelf.
  • A young plant in a six-inch pot, would work great on a coffee table.
  • A plant in a ten-inch pot will be large enough to serve as focal item that can sit on the floor. (Note, the largest size that I saw them Costa Farms selling was an 8.75 inch pot. You would probably want to set that pot inside a nicer more decorative pot or transplant your new snake plant into a larger pot.)

2. Pay attention to what states the seller can NOT ship to.

In the example above, Costa Farms said they can not ship the snake plants to AK, AZ,CA,GU or HI.

Yet, it looks like Burpee can ship to those states. Ok…. I”m into plant picture eye candy. So, I’m including a link to Burpee’s ad as well.

Their customers showed pictures of their snake plants in some interesting pots. One review mentioned that they order their plant during the winter. They said that Burpee’s included warmers in the package with the plant they ordered. The said the warmers kept the plant warm enough. (For those of us living in Colorado and other areas that have can have cold and/or snowy winters, it is comforting to know that Burpee cares enough about their customers and the plants to include the warmers.)


In case you are wondering, the mature size of a regular snake plant is generally 2-4 foot tall – per the Missouri Botanical Gardens. In Colorado and places were snake plants are grown indoors, they will only grow to be about 2 foot tall.

Snake plants can have a 1-2 foot spread. The larger the pot, the more that the snake plant will spread.

Snake Plant Care Instructions

The hardest thing about taking care of a snake plant to remember that you SHOULD NOT water it or fertilize it every time water your other plants. As a succulent, Snake plants thrive on what feels like neglect.

What type of lighting does a snake plant need?

Snake plants can handle a variety of indoor lighting situations. Snake will do best in a location with medium to bright indirect light.

They can adapt to areas with low light. Snake plants that are kept in areas with low light are likely going to turn a darker green color. Any variegation or patterns will become less noticeable.

When should you water snake plants?

Poke your finger about an inch or two into the soil. If the soil is dry and does not stick to your finger, you should water your plant. Pour the near the base of the plant, directly onto the soil. Give it enough water that the water starts coming out the hole at the bottom of pot.

-Do not pour water on the center of the plants rosette.

-In the winter, a snake plant will need to be watered less frequently than in the spring and summer.

Be careful not to over water your Snake plant. A snake plant can handle a drought better than it can handle having wet feet aka wet roots. Be sure that you snake plant is pot that will allow the water to drain out. For example, I water most of my houseplants once or twice a week. On the other hand, I water my snake plant once every two or three weeks.

Should I fertilize a snake plant?

If you want the healthiest, prettiest snake plant possible; apply an all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season. Follow the packages instructions. I have used All Purpose Miracle Grow in the past. Once again, you will not want to fertilize a snake plant every time you water and fertilize your other plants.

I saw on Amazon that Miracle Grow does make a fertilizer for succulents that is not as “strong” or nutrient dense as it’s regular all-purpose fertilizer. So, that could be worth trying if you feel the need to pamper your plants.

What is the best soil for snake plant?

Ideal soil: An all-purpose cactus soil mix. These mixes have coarse sand and perlite.

You want to use a soil mix that is fast draining and on the sandy side.

You should avoid a soil mixture that has lots of peat, or garden soil from outside since those will not drain very well. Ideally the soil should be slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.

Looking at Amazon again, the most highly rated succulent soil mix was Hoffman’s organic cactus and soil mix, which is sold in a several different sized bags. There was actually 727 reviews with a 4.5 star rating for this 4 quart bag size of this soil mix. Wow… a lot of people are willing to purchase dirt, oops, I mean soil mixes online…..

<ifram< p=””>

What is the BEST pot for a snake plant?

Snake plants spread by sending out rhizome root stalks. Their roots and these root stalks are strong enough that they can break weak pots. As result, plastic posts are not recommended. Additionally, the snake plants can be top-heavy. The plant will tip over if a pot is not wide enough. With these things in mind look for:

  • A heavy clay or ceramic pot
  • The pot should be wider than tall
  • It should be one size larger than the current pot
  • It’s color and style should work with your home decor

Troubleshooting problems with your snake plant

Problem: The leaves are healthy but they are falling over instead of standing up.

Solution: You can place a stake in the pot to help support the leaves. As the plant grows and fills the pot, the leaves will get support from other leaves.

Problem: The pot is tipping over.

Solution: Repot the plant into a heavier pot that is wider than it is tall.

Problem: The leaves are turning yellow.

Solution 1: Ensure that the plant is not in direct sun. It may have gotten sunburned.

Solution 2: Immediately reduce the amount of water the plant is getting. Dump out any standing water. If necessary, pull the plant and root ball out of the pot so that they can get some air and start drying out. Ensure the pot is draining properly. If necessary, repot the plant in a soil that will drain better. Do not water the plant until the top inch of the soil is dry to touch.

Problem: My snake plant’s leaves are getting some brown spots. They are turning brown.

Solution1: Ensure your plant is not getting over watered. See above under the section that discussing the leaves turning yellow.

Solution 2: You may be over fertilizing the plant. Stop.

Problem: My snake plant’s leave was damage and broke off. It is not growing back.

Solution: Sorry but there is nothing that can be done. Once damaged or broken, a snake plant leaf will not grow back. If necessary, the leaf can be cut at an angle to make it blend in with the other leaves. Or it can be cut off to propagate new plants. Lastly, you can cut it down as close to the base as possible and remove it.

Problem: My snake plant has little bugs on it.

Solution: Even though snake plants are one of the hardiest houseplants around, they can attract meal bugs and spider mites. You can kill and/or control the meal bugs by dabbing them with alcohol. To get rid of the spider mites, wash the leaves with a weak soap mixture. You can also try increasing humidity around the plant.

Problem: People say that it is nearly impossible to kill snake plants. Yet, mine is not doing very well.

Solution: You are most likely over watering it. Remember, snake plant can handle drought conditions better than can handle getting watered too much. If you leave your house in the winter, ensure that the temperature does not drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

To conclude:

I hope you enjoy your snake plant. As long as you do not over water it, a snake plant is a super easy plant for someone that does not have a lot of time to take care of houseplants. It is also a plant that is well suited for beginners.

About me, the author:

I have always loved plants. Back when I was in high school, I wanted to be an agriculture education teacher. My favorite college classes were the horticulture classes that I took at Texas A&M. However, at the time I was a single mother. I felt that I would have the best chances of supporting my children if I became an accountant instead. So, I have opted to just enjoy decorating my home with plants.

Last weekend, I purchased some houseplants that I found at estate auction. Overall, most of the plants at the auction were in great condition or simply in need of repotting. Yet, in the group was a snake plant was had a bunch of yellow leaves. It was also water logged. I am hoping that I can save it.

Yet, I could tell that for a while it had been loved enough that the prior owner had been able to get it to flower. It still had dried flower stalks. I’ve read that it is somewhat rare for indoor snake plants to flower. Anyway, thinking about my newest snake plant motivated me to discuss snake plants.

Snake plants do make great houseplants, especially for people that live in Colorado. If you have just gotten a snake plant or if you are thinking about purchasing a snake plant, I hope that these tips help.

If you have any questions, please let me know.



Snake Plant in a stylish red pot

Snake Plants are Great Houseplants for People that live in Colorado

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.