Snake plant is a hardy succulent with plump leaves that store water. It needs less water only once or twice a week, or as the soil is parched and flourishes in low to high light conditions, growing faster in bright indirect sun. Direct sunshine can burn leaves when a snake plant is kept outdoors. Indoors, keep a snake plant 10 feet away from a west or south window.
What Are Succulents?
Any plant with thick fleshy tissues capable of water storage is called a succulent. Some succulents (like cacti) have only a stem for storing water-bearing a few or no leaves, whereas succulents like agaves store water in the leaves.
Most succulents have extensive root systems and are indigenous to the deserts or semiarid climates. There are about 60 plant groups that have succulent plants. Cactaceae, Crassulaceae and Aizoaceae are the families that include the most succulents. Crassula, Aloe, Echeveria and Kalanchoe are some of the succulents that are cultivated as ornamentals and houseplants.
What is a Snake Plant?
A snake plant is a succulent with wide, evergreen leaves that are ensiform, grow straight about 6″ to a few feets narrowing towards the top and looking almost artificial.
Because of the appearance of its leaves, Dracaena trifasciata, the snake plant, is also called “mother-in-law’s tongue or Saint George’s sword. Bow Strings are made from the plant fibres procured from snake plants, giving them the name “viper’s bowstring hemp”.
Are Snake Plants Succulents?
Snake plants are succulents, and this holds true for all the varieties of snake plants. Many succulents are small and sturdy, but a snake plant is a tropical plant with pretty, long leaves of various colours.
Some have broad, shiny, yellow borders on their leaves, while others have bold greenish bands.
Snake plants, like all succulents, are known for being very low maintenance, making them a favourite among fresh plantsmen who love succulents. Your snake plant can survive without water for a very long time period.
Sansevieria Trifasciata’s History and Origin
Snake plants are indigenous to tropical West Africa and Asia and play an important role in African culture. Nigerians use the plant in a ceremony to get rid of the evil eye. This succulent is also linked to a number of African gods, particularly the war deity.
The snake plant is considered to bring good luck, prosperity and longevity in China. Sansevieria is a genus of seventy flowering plants grouped together as they all have narrow, erect leaves and short, broad roots in common.
Sansevieria Trifasciata is the scientific name for the snake plant, belonging to the Sansevieria genus. Trifasciata is a word from Latin, which means “three bands.”
Snake plants are called Trifasciata because of their bright patterns.
Several snake plant types are variegated, their leaves have varied coloured streaks on them giving them the name Trifasciata.
Benefits Of a Snake Plant
Snake plants provide a number of health benefits:
Purify indoor air
Snake plants, like other indoor succulents, help to filter the air and can transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen during the night.
It regulates the healthy airflow, thus uplifting your mood, and making you feel relieved.
Eliminate toxic pollutants
Snake plants filter harmful toxins from the air and can absorb cancer-causing chemicals like CO2, formaldehyde, benzen, xylene, toluene and trichloroethylene.
Snake plants protect against airborne allergens due to their ability to absorb and eliminate toxic chemicals. Snake plants have more leaf surface area, thus removing air pollutants from air.
Improves mental health
Because of its therapeutic qualities, it is used in mental health care.
Indoor plants like snake plants are a low-cost, low-risk option to improve the environment in companies, schools, and medical facilities.
How to Care For a Snake Plant Succulent?
Being water-sensitive, snake plants are prone to root rot, growing in well-draining soil. Commercial succulent or cactus soil is ideal for them.
You can even create your own succulent soil with three parts potting soil, two parts gravel, and one part red clay.
Snake plants need less water than other succulents, water them every two weeks. Water your snake plant with a watering can by running it over the soil till it comes out of the drainage holes in the pot.
Ensure that you drain water by picking up the pot once or twice a day and emptying excess water from the saucer. Before watering the snake plant again, make sure that the soil is completely dry.
Snake plants prefer indirect sunlight but can thrive in both full sun and low light. Snake plants are ideal to keep indoors as they like to be in the indirect sun. An east-facing window is ideal to place a snake plant with a few hours of direct sunshine in the morning and indirect sunlight thereafter.
When placing it near a south or west-facing window, cover it with curtains to protect it from the sun’s rays or the snake plant’s leaves will be burned if exposed to excess sunlight. Outdoors, keep your snake plants in the shade.
They can be grown in full light but may get sunburnt with brownish patches on the foliage. Water them more frequently as the soil gets parched due to scorching heat.
If you put this stunning succulent in a sunny area in your garden, watch it for any sun damage and cover it with a shade cloth.
Snake plants can’t tolerate temperatures below 40°F. In freezing conditions, the water in the cells may get frozen making the cells swell, and shatter their cell walls.
Tissue damage will occur, making the leaves discolored and pulpy in some places. Snake plants can die if exposed to the cold for too long. As the temperature becomes low (below 40°F) in your area, place your snake plant inside or cover it with frost fabric to make it cosy.
It’s perfect if you keep a snake plant indoors as snake plants thrive best at temperatures between 55° F to 85° F, making them ideal for interior environments. They reciprocate by purifying the air if you keep them indoors. Contaminants like formaldehyde are eradicated from the air by snake plants and they give oxygen.
Best Fertilizer For a Snake plant
Fertilizers initiate flowering and growth in plants. During the spring and summer, fertilise them once a month. Use a balanced fertiliser like 8-8-8 that has an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three main nutrients. Before applying an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 mixture to your succulents, dilute it to half strength.
Pests like mealybugs can affect any plant, but mostly outdoor and overwatered plants get infected with mealybugs. Mealybugs and spider mites can stop your plant’s growth and harm the leaves by sucking the sap.
The plant can be damaged if they remain on it for more time. It is necessary to get rid of these pesky little pests as soon as possible!
Mealybugs are white and fluffy, confused for fungus.
White, faint patches on your plant can be removed by putting some isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle or on a q-tip and then sprinkle or rub alcohol on the affected part. Repeat this if necessary to get rid of all mealybugs.
Spider mites are very minute, making them invisible on plants, but you can see the harm they inflict. Spider mites make little yellow and brown patches on your plant’s leaves. These mites make webs on the plant just like spider webs. On noticing such webs, spray your succulent leaves and lower sides of the leaves with water and neem oil or antibacterial soap.
Propagation of Snake plants
Snake plants can be easily propagated with the leaf or rhizome cuttings or by division method. The mother plant’s variegated designs can be secured by the division method in which you can divide the plant.
Propagation by leaf cuttings
For taking leaf cuttings, select a leaf from your plant and cut it with a honed knife or scissors. You aim to cut as near to the plant’s base as possible.
Now, cut this leaf into a few sections, remembering which is the lower part of each portion( As we cut, the lower part is near the roots). This step is crucial because if you put the top part of the cuttings into soil, they will not root.
You can mark the lower sides to avoid any confusion. Allow the cuttings to dry for some days. Take a pot or a tray filled with succulent soil and put the cuttings with the lower side into the soil. Gently spray them with a spray bottle to keep them moist and place them in the sun.
Propagation by rhizome cuttings
Propagation by rhizome cuttings is just like propagation by leaves. Rhizomes are similar to roots and develop horizontally instead of vertically. Rhizomes store the nutrients for the plants and can generate new leaves by sprouting through the earth near the mother plant. Cut them to grow new plants.
Cut a rhizome only when it develops a leaf. After that, cut the rhizome near the base with a sharp knife. Let the cutting dry for some days before putting its cut side down into soil. Water this cutting like the leaves cuttings.
Dividing a Snake plant
Use a sharp knife to cut your snake plant and its root system in two halves to get a fresh new plant. You can get the same variety as your main plant by dividing it.
Take pots filled with succulent soil and put each half of the snake plant into it. Wait for a few days before watering till these parts develop roots.
Is Sansevieria A Snake Plant?
All snake plants belong to genus sansevieria that are succulents known as best houseplants.
Sansevieria cylindrica, also called African spear plant, and Starfish Sansevieria have cylindrical round leaves with pointed ends. There are even snake plant varieties such as Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Black Gold’ that can be used as air filtering house plants.
Snake plants are low-maintenance plants that are easy to cultivate.
Their beautiful towering foliage, coloured variations, and greenish-white blooms will make them your favourite succulents. I hope this guide will give you an idea that a snake plant is a succulent and how to grow and take care of this awesome succulent.