Have you noticed your snake plant growing less in winter and wondered if it goes dormant?
The answer is yes; snake plants do experience a period of dormancy during colder months.
This happens because they rely on light intensity, temperature, and sunlight duration, which are typically lower and shorter in the winter.
Explore how your snake plant behaves during its dormant phase and get insights on optimal care practices for this quieter period.
Understanding Dormancy in Snake Plants: Do They Really Slow Down?
During winter, snake plants enter a period of dormancy due to reduced light intensity, fewer daylight hours, and lower temperatures.
In winter, however, temperatures often fall below this ideal range, dipping below 50°F, which is the lower threshold for their active growth.
As a result, the plants naturally slow down. This reduced activity during the colder months is a survival mechanism.
With shorter days and less intense light, the conditions for photosynthesis are not optimal.
In cooler regions with short winter days, the plant's growth may halt completely, conserving energy until spring's warmer temperatures signal a return to active growth.
For more insights on how to help your snake plant during cold shocks, check out this article.
How Do I Know My Snake Plant Is Going Dormant?
As you already know, it's normal for your snake plant to enter a period of dormancy during colder months, but how can you be sure it's going dormant and not facing any other issues?
One clear sign of dormancy is when the plant stops producing new leaves. This halt in growth is a natural response to the cooler conditions and reduced daylight.
During this time, you might also notice the leaves appearing slightly dull, a sign of the plant conserving energy.
However, be mindful to distinguish this from signs of distress like yellowing leaves, which could point to overwatering or root rot.
If you're unsure about the yellowing of leaves, you might find this comprehensive guide helpful.
How to Care for a Dormant Snake Plant
When your snake plant enters its dormant phase during the colder months, its care requirements change significantly.
Here are some guidelines to ensure that your snake plant remains healthy and well-maintained throughout this period:
Do Not Overwater
Overwatering is a common issue during dormancy when their water requirements significantly decrease.
It's advisable to let the soil completely dry out between waterings. Typically, the snake plant can go for a month or two without needing water.
Overwatering can cause problems like root rot, with early signs including yellowing leaves, sogginess, and mold on the soil surface.
The plant's leaves may also split due to excessive water absorption.
Be Mindful of the Temperature and Location
As we've shared, Snake plants prefer higher temperatures and longer sunlight duration.
During winter, it's important to keep the plant in a warm location above 50°F and away from drafty windows.
It's a good idea to place the plant in a brighter spot during the shorter daylight hours of winter to ensure it receives enough sunlight.
Don't Fertilize Just Yet!
Fertilizing your snake plant during winter isn't a good idea.
In dormancy, the plant isn't actively growing, so it doesn't use the nutrients in the fertilizer. This can lead to root damage and build-up of unused fertilizer in the soil.
Fertilizing during this time can also cause weak, out-of-season growth. It's better to wait until the plant starts growing again in the warmer months before adding any fertilizer.
Monitor Soil Moisture
Regularly checking the soil's moisture level is essential. Watering is only necessary when the top inch of the soil feels dry.
Using moisture meters can provide a more precise assessment, especially for those with a history of overwatering their plants.
Finally, be sure to avoid letting the plant sit in water, which can lead to root rot.
Nurturing Your Snake Plant Through Its Dormant Phase
Nurturing a snake plant during its dormant winter phase requires a different approach than in its active growing season.
Recognizing and adapting to this restful phase is key to keeping your plant healthy.
During dormancy, the reduced growth rate, changes in leaf appearance, and the plant’s need for less water and fertilizer are all natural responses to the environmental shift.
By adjusting your care routine - watering less, avoiding fertilizers, and monitoring soil moisture, you ensure your snake plant remains healthy.