How To Care for a Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata is also commonly called the snake plant or the mother in law’s tongue. It is a very tolerant indoor plant that it is easy to care for.

The snake plant is also ideal for indoor landscaping because of its angular, geometric form. Its sleek tall lines are very attractive in corridors and formal office spaces.

Simple Care

Caring for a snake plant is very simple. It is a succulent so it does not require much water or humidity. You should wait to water the plant until the potting medium is dry to the touch. Unlike most indoor plants, if a snake plant’s leaves droop if it is getting too much water. When there is not enough water the leaves will have a wrinkled appearance.  Try not to water the center of the leaves. If they stay too damp the plant could succumb to root rot. Snake plants also require a bit more water during the summer growing season. In the winter you should let the potting medium dry almost completely before adding water.

The snake plant thrives in direct sunlight. However, it will tolerate lower light conditions as well. It is a slow growing plant that will benefit from fertilizer during the summer growing season. A balanced fertilizer at half strength should do the trick.


Snake plants also prefer to be pot bound and do not require regular repotting. When the plant becomes too crowded it can be divided and repotted in several containers. Take care because the pots can become very top heavy. You should use a well draining potting mix, preferably one that is formulated for cactus or succulents.


Snake plants are usually desired for their foliage. The plants only produce flowers very rarely when grown indoors. The leaves of the plant stand upright from the soil level. They are broad, stiff and glossy coming to a point at the end. They usually have some kind of variegation. Often the leaves have a marbled look in the middle with darker and lighter greens or silvery tones. Many varieties also have solid white or yellow around the entire leaf margin with greens in the center of the leaf.

  • ‘Laurentii’ for its golden yellow edges.
  • ‘Hahnii’ for a more compact plant. This variety only grows six inches tall and is ideal to use if space is tight.


Mother in Law’s tongue will look very attractive in tall angular containers. These plants will fit in particularly well with modern and contemporary decor.


For an easy, attractive plant add the snake plant to your indoor arrangements. How have you used the snake plant in indoor arrangements?


Photo “vert merge snake plant” courtesy of David Quigley

Photo “Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ 2” courtesy of scott.zona

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