If there’s a virtually indestructible house plant, it’s the snake, or Sansevieria. This attractive relative of succulents thrives where other plants dare not tread. It shines happily in the lowest of indoor lighting conditions, or basks in full sun if appropriately acclimated to the outdoors. The best choice for the novice, forgetful or inept gardener, snake plant seems to revel in neglect. Even with its iron constitution, the snake plant does have one weakness. It withers, rots and dies when repeatedly over-watered.
Remove the outer pot cover from your snake plant immediately if you purchased it in one of these decorative items. Pot covers are often responsible for condemning an otherwise healthy plant to an early and untimely demise. They retain excess water, compelling the plant to stand in moisture. Snake plants hate wet feet and should never be allowed to stand in water.
Fill the bottom 1 inch of a clay pot with small stones or coarse gravel to maximize drainage. Plant the Sansevieria with a cactus or sandy potting mix. Clay will allow your plant to drain more freely than other materials can.
Poke your finger deeply into the soil near the rootball. If the top 3/4 to 1 inch feels dry, the Sansevieria needs a drink. Place it in your kitchen sink, and water it slowly and thoroughly. Stop watering when you see liquid running out of the holes in the bottom of the pot.
Allow the snake plant to drain freely in the sink for two or three hours. Scatter some gravel in the drain tray and set the pot on the gravel. Water will continue to drain from the pot, and the gravel will keep it from resting in liquid. Allow the plant to dry out completely before watering again.
Water about every seven to 10 days throughout the growing season, when the top 3/4 to 1 inch of the soil dries out completely. Don’t water more than once monthly during the winter.
Consider your watering habits if the snake plant begins to look unhealthy. If it’s not getting enough water, the leaves will take on an wrinkled appearance. If the leaves bend, wilt or droop, you’re watering too much.
Things You Will Need
- Clay container
- Small stones or coarse gravel
- Cactus or sandy potting mix