How to grow and care for Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) Indoors

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Snake Plant Care, Dracaena trifasciata Care

Botanical name: Dracaena trifasciata
Synonym: Sansevieria trifasciata
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Common names: Snake Plant, Mother-in-law's Tongue, Saint George's Sword Plant

Snake Plant Description

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) also called Mother-in-law's Tongue or Saint George's Sword Plant is a slow growing, low maintenance and extremely hardy houseplant which is also a good air cleaner.

The Snake Plants are hard to kill plants which can withstand low light, dry air, draughts and periods without water. The major drawback for these plants is root-rot due to overwatering or soggy soil.

The leaves are stiff and succulent. These sword shaped leaves give an architectural look making Snake Plant ideal as a room divider.

The bold foliage in Snake Plant provides an excellent background for plants with a ferny foliage or small flowers.

Snake Plant Air Purification

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) has been shown to be excellent for air purification; for removal of formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toulene and trichloroethylene from indoor air.

Snake Plant is also produces high levels of oxygen at night as it is a CAM (Crassulacean Acidic Metabolism) plant.

CAM plants are plants that harvest Carbon dioxide at night and use it during the day to make their food. As the CAM plants make their food they store the oxygen they produce in the process and release it at night.

This is an adaptation of CAM plants to their drought-prone climate which enables then survive the harsh climate.

Snake Plant Origin

Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata) are native to tropical regions of West Africa from Nigeria east to Congo where they grow as evergreen perennial plants forming dense stands and spreading by means of rhizomes.

Snake Plant Varieties

There are many varieties of Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata), many of them are favoured for their variegated foliage with yellow or silvery-white stripes on the leaf margins.

Sansevieria trifasciata aka Dracaena trifasciata and Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii aka Dracaena trifasciata laurentii are the more common varieties.

The low-growing rosette varieties like the Sansevieria Golden hahnii and Sansevieria hahnii are much less common but they are ideal for the windowsill.

Snake Plants for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata) from Etsy.

Snake Plant Care, Dracaena trifasciata Care

Photo Credit: Plant Craze

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) Care Indoors

Snake Plant Light Requirements

Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata) grow best in bright light with some direct sunlight.

Though they easily adapt to shade and low light conditions but they grow more slowly in such conditions. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Snake Plant

Water Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) moderately during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for your Snake Plant during the cold season to maintain the soil barely moist. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot for your Snake Plant has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.


Temperature for Snake Plant

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) thrives in average warmth between 16-290C as it mimicks its natural environment.

Snake Plant is very tolerant to temperature changes but keep it away from draughts. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Snake Plant

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for these plants.

Occasionally clean the leaves of your Snake Plant by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Snake Plant

Feed Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) monthly during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

Withhold feeding for your Snake Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Snake Plant

Repot Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) at the beginning of the growing season only when it becomes crowded in its current pot. You can divide your Snake Plant during repotting to propagate new plants.

Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole for your Snake Plant to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Soil for Snake Plant

The best soil for growing your Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) should be soil that is rich in organic matter and is free-draining to avoid soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough. Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal for Snake Plant.

Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for your Snake Plant from Etsy.

How to Prune Snake Plant

Pruning Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) involves removal of any dead or diseased leaves. Cut the leaves at the soil level to maintain your plant neat and tidy. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) Propagation

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from splits or from leaf cuttings.

How to Propagate Snake Plant from Splits

Take out your Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) from its pot and using a sharp sterilized knife, cut through the roots and the rhizomes to divide the plant into sections.

Ensure each Snake Plant section has adequate roots and pot each section in its individual pot.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to rotting.

Place the pots in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new Snake Plants are well established after which routine care can begin.

How to Propagate Snake Plant from Leaf Cuttings

Take Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) leaf cuttings of about 2 in. length. Allow the cutting to dry out (callous) for a few days.

Insert the lower cut end in moist, free-draining soil and place in a warm, shaded place.

Maintain the soil moist until there is new growth from the base of the Snake Plant cuttings.

Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Snake Plants after which routine care can begin.

The new Snake Plant grown from a leaf cutting will lose its variegation; it will not resemble the mother plant.

Snake Plant Care, Dracaena trifasciata Care

Photo Credit: Carousell

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) Problems Indoors

Most of Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata) problems indoors are brought about by watering issues. The plants cannot tolerate overwatering or soggy soil. Read on for solutions and remedies to these problems.

Snake Plant brown and crunchy leaf spots

Brown and crunchy leaves in Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) are due to underwatering. If there isn't enough moisture in the soil, the leaves deveop brown and crunchy spots. Remove the affected leaves by cutting with a sharp, sterilized knife.

Water your Snake Plant immediately. Thereafter, water the plant moderately while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Snake Plant bloated and stinky leaves

Bloated and stinky leaves in Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) are due to overwatering or soggy soil. The excess water in the soil causes the plant cells to explode within the leaves leading to bloating and odor.

Remove the affected leaves by cutting with a sharp, sterilized knife or pair of scissors.

Check the drainage of both the soil and the pot for your Snake Plant. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Reduce watering for your Snake Plant and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Never allow the plant to sit in soggy soil.

Snake Plant brown leaf tips

The are two possible causes of brown leaf tips in Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata). Don't remove the brown tips as it leads to scarring.

One possible cause of brown leaf tips in your Snake Plant is inconsistent watering.

The second possible cause of brown leaf tips in your Snake Plant is overwatering.

The remedy is to adjust the watering schedule and to let the Snake Plant recover on its own. Water your Snake Plant moderately while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Snake Plant leaf scarring

The cause of leaf scarring in your Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) is too much touching of the leaves or brushing against them.

Avoid touching your Snake Plant leaves unnecessarily and place the plant away from the line of traffic.

Snake Plant brown blotches on the leaves

Brown blotches on the leaves of Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) are due to a non-infectious disorder which starts at the tips working downwards along the leaf. The cause is not know and there is no known cure.

Snake Plant rotting base, yellow leaves and die back

The cause of rotting base, yellow leaves and die back in Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) is root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil.

Take out your Snake Plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Cut off the affected moldy, mushy roots.

Treat the healthy Snake Plant roots with a fungicidal solution and repot the plant in fresh soil and fresh pot.

Thoroughly treat the pot or discard it to avoid future contamination.

Place the repotted Snake Plant in a warmer place and maintain the soil on the dry side.

If the entire Snake Plant is affected discard the plant as it cannot be saved.

Snake Plant pests

The common pests in Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) are Mealy Bugs and Spider Mites.

Isolated the affected plant to avoid spread to the other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Is Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) toxic?

Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata) are toxic to both humans and pets.

Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) contains saponins which if ingested may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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