Plants from the Sansevieria genus, better known as “Snake Plants,” are notorious for being hard to kill and easy to raise. With over 70 different varieties, these broad-leafed succulents generally aren’t picky. In fact, they’re one of the most recommended air-purifying plants because of their hardiness and durability in less-than-ideal conditions!
Each type of Snake Plant is a little different and will have its own set of preferences that you must meet for it to thrive. This quick guide will show you the specific ins and outs each of our lovely Snake Plants needs for the best possible care.
General Snake Plant Care
Snake Plants all have relatively similar general care needs, and these are a good baseline to start with when caring for your Snake Plant:
Like all succulents, Snake Plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. However, they can also tolerate direct sun and medium to low light conditions. For decent growth among all Snake Plants, keep them near an east or south-facing window to ensure they’re getting plenty of indirect sun.
Keep Snake Plants near an east or south-facing window to ensure they’re getting plenty of indirect sun.
Photo by Linda Raymond
You’ll only need to water your Snake Plant when the soil is completely dry to the touch. To test for soil dryness, stick your finger or a chopstick into the pot as deep as you can, and pull it out to check for moisture. When you water your Snake Plants, avoid getting water on the leaves using a single-hole watering can, bottle, or bottom watering method. Over time, you and your plant will develop a regular watering schedule, so you won’t have to test for moisture as often.
When you water your Snake Plants, avoid getting water on the leaves using a single-hole watering can, bottle, or bottom watering method.
Photo by Anna Ostanina
Snake Plants need well-draining soil above all else, and this is the one thing they’re picky about. Without proper drainage, Snake Plants are especially susceptible to root rot. To ensure you’re getting enough aeration, use a cactus or succulent potting mix from your local garden store. If you want to make your own soil mixture, use equal parts of organic material (peat or coir) and inorganic material (perlite, chicken grit, or coarse sand). After mixing your soil, add a little bit of compost and coarse sand to your mix.
Snake Plants need well-draining soil above all else, and this is the one thing they’re picky about.
Photo by Burak Karademir
Temperature and Humidity
Outdoors, Snake Plants do best in USDA agricultural zones 9 through 11. If your outdoor environment doesn’t fit these climate standards, it’s best to keep your Sanseveria indoors. All Snake Plants love warm temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and aren’t too keen on any cold drafts.
In terms of humidity, most Snake Plants aren’t super picky. However, your watering schedule will change based on your home’s humidity levels.
To fertilize, only do so during the very beginning of the spring or summer growing seasons. Use a slow-release, water-soluble succulent fertilizer (or a little compost) to ensure your Snake Plant has plenty of nutrients. Snake Plants, like all succulents, do best in nutrient-poor environments, so it’s best to avoid frequent fertilizing.
With these general guidelines, you’re already well on your way to becoming a Snake Plant expert! For the varieties we have available, here are some more specific care tips:
Sansevieria Gold Flame
The Sansevieria Gold Flame is a variegated variety of Snake Plant that most plant lovers associate with the genus. As the general blueprint for all Snake Plant care guides, this little guy doesn’t need much regarding care specifics. These types of Snake Plants do require higher amounts of sun (bright, indirect sunlight) and may benefit from a misting once in a while. If you see your Gold Flame’s leaves turn brown at the tips, give them a mist!
The Sansevieria Zeylanica is a highly variegated type of Snake Plant that grows long, emerald leaves. This variety of Snake Plant needs bright, direct sunlight, a semi-humid environment, and sandy, loamy soil to thrive. For the soil, modify your cactus mix using coarse sand and compost. This variety of Snake Plant also likes to be slightly root-bound.
The Sansevieria Laurentii has the yellow outlines of a Gold Flame but the gorgeous stripes of a Zeylanica. This variety of Snake Plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight and hates drafts of any kind. To ensure your Laurentii is happy, keep it in a sturdy pot with coarse soil, away from any drafty spaces. It’s also best propagated through its offshoots during the spring and avoid propagation through root cuttings.
Sansevieria Black Gold Superba
The Sansevieria Black Gold Superba looks a lot like the Gold Flame, but it’s much larger. Unlike the other members of its genus, this variety of Snake Plant actually prefers medium light conditions. It’s a slow grower and would much rather sit by north or east-facing windows instead of anywhere it may get direct sun. Like the Sansevieria Laurentii, the Black-Gold Superba is best propagated through offshoots and only flowers when extremely stressed.
Our final variety of Snake Plant at the BPF nursery is the adorable Sansevieria Hahnii, or “Ocean Star.” A shorter, fatter version of the Sansevieria Laurentii, this variety of Snake Plant is native to subtropical areas, including places around Europe! Thus, it can tolerate colder temperatures a bit better than others in its genus. This variety of Snake Plant also prefers being root bound and will only need fertilizer whenever you transplant it during the growing season.