Dos and Don’ts: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for First-Time Snake Plant Parents

Being a first-time snake plant parent can be exciting and rewarding, but it’s also a journey filled with new experiences and learning moments.

Snake plants, also known as Dracaena trifasciata, are a popular choice for beginners due to their resilience and low maintenance requirements.

Snake plant in a white round pot inside the living room

However, there are still dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you embark on your journey to become the ultimate snake plant parent.

Whether you’re a green thumb or a budding gardener, continue reading to unravel the secrets of successful snake plant care.

What You Need to Know About Snake Plants

Snake plants are easy to care for and can adapt to a variety of indoor conditions.

They prefer a room humidity of 30-50% but can thrive in areas with increased moisture and humidity, like bathrooms.

However, they may get stressed if the humidity is constantly over 60% or below 30%.

They grow happily in average household temperatures of 65 to 75ºF, but according to the Central Florida Research and Education Center, good growth is observed between 70-90ºF.

Watering is simple; check the soil every 5-7 days during the growing season, and water only when the top 2-3 inches are dry.

In winter, they require less water as their growth slows down in autumn and halts in winter.

Adjusting the watering schedule with the seasons supports their growth, making snake plants a low-maintenance choice for any indoor space.

The Dos and Don’ts for First-Time Snake Plant Parents

Now that you already have an overview of how to care for your snake plants, let’s discuss some specifics that will help ensure your plants thrive.

Below, we’ve shared the dos and don’ts when caring for a snake plant.

If you want a quick guide without reading through all the details below, here’s a summary of the dos and don’ts for snake plant care:

Dos for Successful Snake Plant Parenting

Here are some of the dos of snake plant parenting to take note of.

1. Choose a Pot with a Drainage Hole

Selecting the right pot for your snake plant is crucial for its growth. 

Pick a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom to allow excess water to drain, preventing root rot and maintaining a healthy plant.

2. Use a Well-Draining, Airy Potting Mix

Opt for a well-draining, airy potting mix that provides the right balance of moisture and air circulation for your snake plant.

There are commercial cactus and succulent mixes available that are formulated to provide excellent drainage, which would also be suitable for snake plants.

If you prefer creating a custom mix, a blend of soil, perlite, and sand can provide the drainage and aeration necessary for snake plants.

3. Adjust Watering Based on Seasons

During the warmer months, your snake plant requires more frequent watering. This can depend on the size of the plant, type of pot, temperature, humidity, and rate of growth.

But generally, it’s advisable to feel the soil to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches. If it’s dry, it’s time to water​.

As the seasons transition into the cooler months, reduce the watering frequency since your snake plant enters a dormant stage, needing less hydration.

4. Place in Bright, Indirect Light

Provide your snake plant with bright, indirect light for best results. Direct sunlight can cause leaf burn, so opt for a spot near a window with filtered or diffused light.

5. Keep in a Warm Spot

Snake plants thrive in warm environments. As mentioned, ideally, you should maintain a room temperature between 70-90°F (21-32°C) for optimal growth.

6. Repot When Necessary

When your snake plant outgrows its pot or the soil becomes too compact, it’s time to repot.

Some indicators include the potting mix drying out quickly, roots growing through the drainage holes, and a slowdown in foliage and stem growth.

Be cautious not to damage the roots in the process.

7. Inspect Regularly for Pests and Diseases

Keep an eye out for signs of pests or diseases affecting your snake plant and act accordingly. Early detection and intervention can save your plant from significant damage.

8. Keep the Foliage Clean

To ensure proper photosynthesis and moisture absorption, wipe the leaves of your snake plant with a damp cloth to remove dust and grime.

9. Fertilize During the Growing Season

Provide your snake plant with an appropriate fertilizer during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer, to promote healthy growth.

Feed your snake plants minimally, as they require low amounts of fertilizer.

A bit of compost or vermicompost is adequate, but a serving of houseplant food can also be used if preferred.

10. Learn about Different Propagation Methods

Snake plants can be propagated in various ways, such as by division, leaf cuttings, or rhizome separation.

Familiarize yourself with these methods to create more plants for your collection.

For a detailed guide on propagating snake plants, check out The Snake Plant Owner’s Guide To Multiplying Your Plants.

11. Trim Dead or Dying Leaves

Remove any dead or dying leaves from your snake plant to maintain a healthy, attractive appearance and to prevent diseases from spreading.

Don’ts for Successful Snake Plant Parenting

There are also some important “don’ts“ to keep in mind to ensure that your snake plant thrives. Here are a few:

1. Use a Pot Without a Drainage Hole or Heavy, Water-Retentive Soil

Choosing the appropriate pot is critical for your snake plant’s health.

Avoid using a pot without a drainage hole, as it can cause root rot due to water accumulation.

Similarly, opt for a well-draining soil mix rather than heavy, water-retentive soil to prevent overwatering issues.

Learn more about drainage requirements in this article.

2. Water on a Strict Schedule

Snake plants prefer a more flexible watering schedule. Overwatering can harm them, so it’s essential to let the soil dry out between waterings.

Pay attention to your plant’s moisture needs and adjust the watering accordingly.

3. Shift Abruptly from Shade to Sunlight

Transferring your snake plant from a shady spot to direct sunlight abruptly can stress the plant and cause leaf scorch.

Gradually expose the plant to brighter light conditions to avoid shock.

4. Place near Drafty Windows in Winter

Low temperatures and cold drafts during winter can harm your snake plant.

Relocate the plant away from drafty windows and keep it in a warm, consistent temperature during colder months.

5. Repot too Frequently

Snake plants enjoy being root-bound, so repotting too frequently can stress them.

Repot only when necessary, and choose a pot slightly larger than the current one to accommodate the growing roots.

6. Ignore Signs of Infestations

Pests can damage your snake plant if left unchecked. Act promptly to treat and prevent the recurrence of pests.

7. Over-Fertilize

Snake plants require minimal fertilization. Over-fertilizing can harm their roots and cause foliage discoloration.

Stick to a balanced, diluted fertilizer during the growing season and avoid heavy applications.

If you’re searching for the ideal fertilizer for your snake plant, explore the Best Fertilizers For Snake Plants to find the perfect match that will nourish your plant without overwhelming it.

8. Rush the Propagation Process

Propagation of snake plants requires patience.

Ensure your plant is healthy before taking leaf cuttings, and give the cuttings ample time to develop roots in well-drained soil.

Rushing the process may lead to unsuccessful propagation.

9. Neglect Regular Inspections

Inspect your snake plant regularly to detect any issues early. Check for signs of disease, pests, and stressors, such as inadequate light or incorrect watering practices.

Early intervention can prevent more significant problems and keep your plant thriving.

How Do I Know If My Snake Plant Is Happy?

A happy snake plant is one that exudes visual health and shows signs of growth.

One of the most evident indicators that your snake plant is thriving is its firm and erect leaves, which signify that it’s receiving adequate water and light.

In contrast, if your snake plant’s leaves start to droop or curl, it might be a sign of inadequate care.

Another crucial factor in determining your snake plant’s happiness is its coloration. Lush, green leaves with yellow or cream borders indicate prime condition.

However, if you notice your snake plant’s leaves starting to turn white or lose their vibrant color, it could be a sign of overwatering or light overexposure.

Concluding Thoughts on Snake Plant Parenting

Congratulations on becoming a proud snake plant parent! As you continue on your plant parenting journey, always keep in mind the importance of a well-rounded approach.

Stay attentive to your snake plant’s needs, ask questions, and never be afraid to learn more.

With your dedication and care, you’ll soon find your indoor space transformed by the beautiful and beneficial presence of your snake plant.

Dos and Don’ts The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for First-Time Snake Plant Parents

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