How Old Is My Snake Plant? 3 Quick Age Estimation Tips

Are you curious about the age of your snake plant? There's a way to quickly know their age.

These plants are generally slow growers, making age estimation a bit tricky, but there are some indicators that can help you approximate their age.

An old snake plant outside the house

Below are some useful tips that can help you get an idea of how old your beloved plant is.

Understanding Snake Plant Growth

Growth Rate Basics

Snake plants are known for their slow growth. Under optimal conditions, they may grow a few inches each year.

This slow rate of growth is part of what makes them so low-maintenance, but it also means that determining their age requires a bit of detective work.

Factors Influencing Growth

Several factors can influence the growth of your snake plant, including the amount of light it receives, watering habits, the temperature of its environment, and the quality of soil used.

A plant in a well-lit area with proper watering and good soil quality will grow faster than one in less ideal conditions.

Snake Plant Growth Cycle

Learning a snake plant's growth cycle can help give you an insight on how old your snake plant is.

Understanding the growth cycle of a snake plant can assist in estimating its age, though this remains a rough estimate due to the plant's slow and variable growth rate.

Germination (If Grown From Seed)

If you know your snake plant was grown from seed and you're aware of when it germinated, this provides a starting point for its age.

However, since this is rare and snake plants are more commonly propagated through cuttings or divisions, this stage is often not applicable for age estimation.

You can actually get snake plant Dracaena Trifasciata seeds on Amazon!

Juvenile Stage

In this stage, the plant is establishing itself. If your snake plant is small, with only a few leaves and a less developed root system, it's likely in its juvenile stage, suggesting it's likely under a year or two old.

The leaves in this stage are also generally softer and smaller.

Mature Stage

A snake plant that has a well-established root system, several leaves, and a taller, robust appearance is likely in its mature stage.

If the plant has a significant number of leaves and a substantial height, it might be several years old.

For example, a plant that's around 2-3 feet tall could be several years old, given the slow growth rate of snake plants.

Snake plants typically grow at a rate of about 4-12 inches per year, although this can vary between different sub-species and under different growing conditions.


Flowering is rare and typically occurs in mature, well-cared-for plants. If your snake plant has flowered, it's likely quite mature, possibly over 5 years old.

Propagation (Pups and Offshoots)

The presence of pups or offshoots is a sign of a mature plant. If your snake plant is producing pups, it's likely at least a few years old.

The number and size of these pups can also give clues. A plant with multiple, large pups might be older than one just starting to produce small offshoots.

Dormancy (in some climates)

If you've observed your snake plant going through multiple dormancy cycles (often marked by a reduction in growth during the cooler months), this could indicate that it's several years old, as you're observing it over multiple years.

Remember, these are approximations. Factors like the plant's growing conditions (light, water, temperature, soil quality) and the specific variety of snake plant can significantly influence growth rate and development.

Therefore, while these stages can provide clues, they offer a rough estimate rather than a precise age.

Learn more here: What To Expect In Your Snake Plant’s Growth Cycle

Age Estimation Tips

Tip 1: Leaf Count and Size

One of the easiest ways to estimate the age of a snake plant is by looking at the number and size of its leaves.

Generally, a young snake plant will have fewer and smaller leaves. As the plant ages, it produces more leaves that are larger and thicker.

For instance, a plant with only 4-5 leaves might be relatively young, while one with over a dozen leaves could be several years old.

Tip 2: Rhizome Development

The rhizomes, which are the underground stems from which the leaves grow, can also provide clues about a snake plant's age.

Over time, these rhizomes become more extensive and complex, developing multiple offshoots.

By gently removing some of the soil from around the base of the plant, you can observe the development of the rhizomes.

Tip 3: Overall Plant Size and Shape

The overall size and shape of the snake plant are also indicative of its age. Older plants tend to be taller and may start to develop offshoots or "pups."

These pups can be used to propagate new plants and are a sign of a mature snake plant.

Limitations and Considerations

Variability Among Species

There are several species and varieties of snake plants, each with its own unique growth patterns and rates.

For instance, the Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii' grows differently compared to the cylindrical Sansevieria cylindrica.

You can check out these other types of snake plants: Variegated Varieties: The Different Types of Snake Plants

Care History Impact

The care history of the plant significantly impacts its development.

A snake plant that has been consistently well-cared for may appear older than it is, while one that has experienced periods of neglect might seem younger due to stunted growth.

Approximate Age Only

Estimating the age of your snake plant can be a fun and engaging aspect of plant care.

Using the tips above, you can get a general idea of how old your plant might be.

Remember, these are approximate methods and the joy of growing a snake plant lies not just in its age but in the beauty and benefits it brings to your home.

Happy gardening!

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