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How To Care Snake Plant

How to care Snake plant – This is the first thing that comes to mind when you begin placing the plants indoors. Well, with your freshly painted homes for this festive season, It’s that time of the year when you can’t be without thinking of a perfect natural indoor air purifier such as the Devil’s Tongue Plant.

Stiff, upright leaves that range from 1 to 8  feet tall depending on variety – Sansevieria trifasciata is among the common indoor plants that you would almost see in every architecturally planned plant placements.

Where Are Snake Plants From?

Snake plants are often grown as indoor plants. It belongs to the Asparagaceae family with genus Sansevieria. Name origin is in New Latin, named after Italian scholar Raimondo di Sangro (1710–71).

These are great indoor plants very easy to take care with many benefits. They have their origin from Nigeria. These herbaceous perennial plants need sunny and warm climate. They grow to height of 2 to 4 ft and width of 3-4 ft. These are stemless plants have tall, erect, sword like, pointed, evergreen leaves, placed in rosette.

How Many Types Of Snake Plant Are there?

How To Take Care Od Snake Plants Indoor - A detailed Report
How To Take Care Od Snake Plants Indoor – A detailed Report

They have 70 types of naturally grown species. It is commonly called as the snake plant or mother-in -laws tongue because of its long, upright leaves.

The leaves are very thick, stores lot of water and a thick cuticle to prevent moisture loss by evaporation.

How To Plant Sanseveria?

They should be planted in wider clay pot so that plant is stable and don’t topple over. These plants must be protected from too much sun by moving it indoors. Sansevieria are drought resistant plants, does not need much water to survive. The watering Snake plants becomes less in winter.

Does Mother-In-Laws Tongue Plant Bloom?

When properly taken care, these leaves can survive for many years. In bloom they grow small, fragrant white flowers. But fruits can be rarely found to grow in indoor grown on the Plant.

Agave plants die after blooming but Snake plants cease to grow new leaves from bloomed plants, but new plant-lets will start to grow from their underground modified stem called the rhizome.

What Are The Health Benefits of Snake plants?

Recent research has proved that air pollutants and allergens indoors are more than outdoors. Sansevieria is a best natural air purifier especially snake plants absorb the particulate matter (PM) and the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that get locked within our homes and keep circulating inside.

They absorb carbon monoxide better than any other indoor plants. They are good at removing many toxins and air pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethylene and toluene.

Most plants produce carbon dioxide at night when photosynthesis is absent, but Snake plant or Sansevieria are different they continue to produce oxygen even at night.

Do Snake Plants Help To Sleep Better?

snake plant is an important indoor plant that needs less yet proper care
How To Care Snake Plant – A Detailed Report

These plants are good at absorbing carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Hence, they prove to be an excellent bedroom plant. Study says Sansevieria helps in sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

Since they produce oxygen at night make air better for brain and entire body to relax at night. Snake plant are great at removing toxins and make air more breathable.

Research On How Snake Plants Improve Air Quality Indoors

NASA has put forth a list of plants that enhances your mood, gives out more oxygen in indoor conditions, can grow among you in your home and even combat ‘sick-building syndrome – and Sanseveria has been in that list as one among the first few.

You must have seen people becoming tired at offices and at work places – well at homes too- this sick building syndrome arises due to monotonous work environment. In fact pollution, insufficient air circulation and reduction in the oxygen content in air seem to be driving force behind these effects.

To combat these condition and to purify air in closed environment NASA has come up with a list of plants after a series of research. Sanseveiria is one among the best of the chosen ones

Well, lets check on reasons why Sanseveiria was selected

Removes Formaldehyde From Air

According to a study conducted by Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia and the Institute for Environmental Research at Yonsei University in Seul, Sansevieria has a demonstrated ability to remove formaldehyde from the air.

Now aren’t we glad to read that – I truly am.

Formaldehyde is identified as a carcinogen and I simply would give any price to remove it from my surrounding.

How does Formaldehyde Enter Our Homes?

Formaldehyde is present in tobacco smoke. Newly constructed houses have formaldehyde in paints and furnishing. Some furniture like those made from plywood, particleboard, and laminate flooring also release these air pollutants. Formaldehyde is released from cosmetics, pesticides and detergents (Now you know why we keep stressing you to begin a natural lifestyle sooner).

Some drapes and curtains also contain formaldehyde. The symptoms for formaldehyde exposure are eye and skin irritation, breathing problem and dizziness.

How Many Snake Plants Should We Have In Bedroom?

One question I have been repeatedly been asked. Well a simple thumb rule is to have 3 to 4 of these plants per person in your home to keep your family healthy and active. So you can place 8 plants in your room if you are three, just make sure they are placed at a height because snake plants are poisonous to pets.

Sanseveiria are capable of giving more oxygen than many other plants, this combined with their property of absorbing VOCs and formaldehyde makes them the best sickness avoiding plant.

Benzene Pollution In Homes

Benzene is a health hazard to humans causing tissue injury and irritation to eyes, lungs and skin. Other symptoms include vomiting, dizziness and fatigue.

Long term exposure to benzene lowers red blood and increases the chance of anemia apparently immunity decreases and one becomes more prone to infection.

Benzene also causes irregular menstrual periods and reproductive disorders. Varnishes, paints, solvents, cigarette smoke, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions release benzene into the air.

How much Benzene Can Be Removed By Sanseveria?

In a study conducted to evaluate the ability of sanseveria and other indoor plants to purify indoor air by observing the effective reduction rate among pollutant types of particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it was found that  9% of benzene, 75% of ethylbenzene, 72% of xylene, 75% of styrene, 50% of formaldehyde, 36% of acetaldehyde, 35% of acrolein with acetone, and 85% of toluene were reduced. Showing how effective the snake plant is in removing VOCs such as benzene.

Other Volatile Organic Compounds In Home and Their Effects

The other VOCs present in homes that harm our family are the following


Xylene can be found in number of consumer products. It is released into air from varnishes, rust preservatives, paints, automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke. Xylene causes changes in muscular function, heart, lung and nervous system. Long term exposure causes harmful effect on kidney and lungs.


Trichloroethylene is found as component in used as solvents in extracting tar and wax. It is also used in processing many textiles like wool, cotton and many other fabrics. Trichloroethylene is found in ground water. It can enter your body by while bathing.

Trichloroethylene contaminated water on evaporation enters indoor air by vapor intrusion. It is main component in paints, varnishes, adhesives and pesticides. Trichloroethylene exposure causes skin irritation develops as rashes, damage to nervous system, kidney and liver. It also cases hearing loss, blindness and heart disease.


Toluene exposure causes damage to lung and eye diseases. Toluene is used as solvents in paints, thinner, printing inks and dyes.

How To Take Care of Snake plant or Sansevieria indoors?

snake plant is an important indoor plant that needs less yet proper care
How To Care Snake Plant – A Detailed Report

Snake plant are easier to maintain when compared to other indoor plants. Snake plant can grow well full sun and limited sun light too. But ideal for snake plant will be growing them indoors.

They need a temperature of 40-85 degree Celsius and not too high temperature or too low temperature. In case of snow or frost move the plant indoors. They cannot withstand frost and snow.

Snake plant can be placed anywhere at home but when placing near windows keep them one foot away from window, too much light or heat is not good for plant. Snake plant needs to rotate around once a week, so all the sides of the plant gets enough light.

These plants, however, turns to wilt and leaves change color when they are deprived of sunlight totally.

2.Watering – Are Snake Plants Succulents?

Sansevieria is a low maintenance plant. They don’t require to be watered daily. They are succulents with water stored in their leaves. Watering should be done on the plant edges and avoid watering in the center.

Excess from plant saucer must be removed since this causes rotting of the rhizome or the underground modified stem. The water should in room temperature and watering is be monitored with no over watering.

The soil should be dry with proper water drainage in the pot. Snake plant can be watered less in winter maybe once in two weeks. When lack of water the plant will look wilted and leaves change color to yellow.


The Mother-in-laws tongue plant needs soil with less organic material and well-drained soil. These plants are more prone to rotting of roots. Snake plants grow great in cacti soil available in plant nursery or mix soil with some amount of sand to give good drainage.


Sanseveria is great house plant needs no fertilizer. Fertilizing twice a year would be good choice which helps them to grow very tall and healthy. The fertilizer can be any good plant fertilizer with important nutrients needed for snake plant. You can make fertilizer at home and use them.

5. How to Repot Snake plants 

Sansevieria can be repotted when they are huge for the pot. All it needs is find a bigger pot with good drainage like terracotta pots.

Fill the pot with ¾ with potting soil and rest with sand mixed, if you get cacti soil you can use it instead of sand. Remove the plant from smaller pot and repot in bigger pot. Make sure to water the repotted plant.

How to Propagate Snake plants ?
Easy Tips To Grow Snake Plant Indoors
Easy Tips To Grow Snake Plant Indoors

Mother-in -law’s tongue are very hardy tough house plant. They can grow in any conditions. There are three methods of propagation

1.From roots are the rhizome underground modified stem

  • Dig Out Mother Sansevieria from soil
  • Take the rhizome cutting from plant
  • Place it outside for a day or two, so that it heals over.
  • Then place cut rhizome in potting soil in a pot ¼ inch deep inside the soil.
  • Snake plant needs less water but for initial few days when roots are formed, they need more water.
  • Keep the plant saucer drained and plant gets enough indirect sunlight.

2.How To Propagate Sanseveria From Leaf Cutting

Mother-in -law’s tongue or Snake plant can also be propagated by leaf cuttings.

  • First step is to cut long leaves of Snake plant into small pieces of 3 inches.
  • Leaf cutting is left to dry for 1 or 2 days till the plant tissue become kind of hardened or form callus.
  • Place leaf cutting in well drained, dry potting mix with roots side down and leave it for a day or two.
  • Transplant rooted leaves into little bigger nursery pots with well drained, potting soil mixed with succulent soil mix or cacti soil or some sand.
  • The soil should be well drained, because excess soil causes roots to rot.
  • After planting the leaf cutting water the pots and put young snake plant in the indirect sunlight. The snake plant 2-3 weeks to form roots from leaf cutting. So, the extra care is a must in leaf cutting propagation method


Sansevieria can be propagated by dividing the mother plant. The larger plant which must be propagated is dug out.

The plant is laid down flat and roots dusted of any soil. The plant is cut at in the middle of the rhizome or underground stem with roots. The cut plants are repotted in another pot with well drained soil.

The plants are then watered and kept in a indirect sunlight. This method of propagating snake plant is quicker and needs low maintenance.

What are the problems faced in growing snake plants or Sansevieria?

What Can Be Wrong With My Snake Plant
What Can Be Wrong With My Snake Plant

Snake plants have various names mother-in-law’s tongue or devil’s tongue. As name suggests they are very tough, can grow in any unfavorable conditions. They are low maintenance plants.

Sometimes on neglect these can be affected by root rotting, fungus, insects and too much of sun or cold.

1.Root Rotting

Root rotting happens when there is excess of water in potting soil and poor drainage.  When root rotting happens, all you have to do is remove the rotted plant from soil and cut away the rotted root. The remaining healthy plant can be left with root overnight to dry.

Next day pot the snake plant is in soil with good drainage. For watering this plant add 1 tablespoon of Hydrogen peroxide in 1-liter water. Hydrogen peroxide controls the growth of fungus in wet soil.


Fungal disease called Southern Blight can also affect snake plant. n this condition the leaf appears with wet white patches with thread like growth. These patches later turn brown and ultimately causes the death of the plant.

Fungicide can be used to kill the fungus on affected plants. These are mainly indoor plants fungicide are not highly recommended, it’s better to throw away affected plants. The best way to reduce fungus in snake plant is to reduce watering and maintaining good drainage.


Insects can also cause damage on Snake plant or Sansevieria. They can be bugs and spider. During early infestation, you can pick the insects and throw them away or use a brush to remove them.

However if the insects are persistent and grow in number the better choice would be throwing away the plant. The insect infestation can spread to the nearby indoor plants.

Bugs can be removed by hand picking and spiders can be removed by cleaning with water.

4.Extreme temperature

Snake plants need an indirect bright sunlight. When plants are exposed too much sun or frost/cold conditions, plants wilt and die from exposure to intolerable temperatures.

What are the Pros and Cons of growing mother-in-laws-tongue plant?

Pros of growing Snake plant

How to grow snake plant at home with less light
How to grow snake plant at home with less light

Snake plant is a natural air purifier. NASA says houseplants, especially snake plant removes toxins, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and releases oxygen into the air. This keeps indoor air breathable and prevents many lung and skin diseases in humans.

Snake plant proves to a best bedroom plant as it keeps indoor air clean, releasing oxygen while other indoor plant releases carbon dioxide at night.

This amazing hardy, houseplant is great stress buster with greenery inside your home.

Studies also have proved that having houseplants, creates a peaceful and stress relieving atmosphere inside your home.

Mother- in -laws- tongue plant also creates an aesthetically beautiful indoors. It is also good dehumidifier as removes moisture from air and keep indoor free of molds. Snake plant leaves can absorb moisture in the air.

Excess moisture in air causes growth of molds and fungus. Fungus and mold release allergens into air causing health issues.

Disadvantages and Cons of growing Snake plant

Snake plant is best suited to be an indoor plant. They can be messy, if plant topples over, so Sansevieria must be placed in spot away from windows and high movement areas.

Home with kids and pets should make a right choice in placing snake plant. There is high chance of accidents by plants getting knocked over.

Snake plant contain saponins, to protect from flies, bugs, fungus and plant diseases. These components are mildly toxic to pets like dogs and cat. They may have stomach upset, like vomiting, nausea and dizziness.

When placed in the right place the devils tongue plant is natural healer for many diseases.

Where should a Snake plant be placed indoors?

Chi Point And Vasthu To Place Saanseveria Indoors
Chi Point And Vasthu To Place Saanseveria Indoors

Some consider Snake plant brings in ill health and poverty. The reason is, when the plant is ingested (by mistake of course) it causes gastrointestinal issues. However you need to remind yourself that these are great indoor air purifiers.

According to Feng Shui plant, Snake plant have spiky horny leaves which protects from bugs and is aggressive in nature. This aggressiveness prevents negative Chi enter indoors. Their placement should be in less crowded spot. They can be placed in bedrooms and in bathrooms. Bathrooms have high formaldehyde toxins released from cleaning agents and necessarily require these indoor cleaning agents.

Another Chi point is the tall and upright leaves of the devils tongue plant. This is another positive Chi meaning always rising and moving forward. Their placement in office or work area is best idea.

According to Feng Shui placing these plants in southern or eastern direction brings in positive Chi. Snake plant is placed in many Chinese homes as they bring in eight important aspects of life into the homes like health, strength, long life, beauty, intelligence, prosperity, art and poetry.

How long does a Snake plant or Sansevieria stay live?

Snake plant are very typical in longevity. They live for 4 to five years. They grow slow and mostly like to be potted plant. But with proper care they can even live up to 20 to 25 years. They are diehard plants; without much care they thrive well. It is more suited for those travelling a lot when watering plants becomes impossible. Sansevieria are great ready to go house plant.

How to buy a good Snake plant or Sansevieria?

Snake plant have long evergreen leaves with white stripes. These are succulents with lot of water stored in their fleshy leaves. So, when buying these plants try to buy younger plants and fresh with no wilted or yellow leaves. These plants may need potting or repotting. Repot them in well drained porous terra-cotta pots.

Quick tips to buy healthy sanseveria plant

1.Buy plants which are healthy with no insects or bugs.

2.Do not buy plants which is deprived of water or affected by extreme temperatures. The leaves will look withered and yellow in color.

3.Try to choose a younger plant.

4.Make sure to check if pot has proper drain holes and made of porous material.

Can You GrowSansevieria outdoors?

Snake plant or Sansevieria is best indoors with limited sunlight. But this plants from Africa will be grow outdoors in hot, summer days. They cannot withstand cold temperature below 45 degree Celsius and frost.

Snake Plant Care – Quick Tips

  1. Find the right spot to put your plat. The placement should be less crowded, with bright indirect sunlight.
  2. Watering can be less frequent during winters but try to water once in 2 days in summer. There should be good drainage for the plant with no excess water in plant saucer. This causes plant root to rot and plant death.
  3. Do not water the plant leaves or in center of the plant. Try watering on the edges of the pot and try not to water excessively
  4. Fertilizer is not required. They thrive well without fertilizer. But adding fertilizer makes the plant to grow bigger and more dark green leaves.
  5. Repotting is done when plant is big for the pot. This helps the plant to spread out their root system and grow healthy.
  6. Take care when pets are around home. Snake plant causes stomach illness when ingested.

Can Monther-In-Laws Tongue Plant make your lifestyle better and healthy?

The mother-in-laws tongue is low maintenance plant. It will add to your homes’ natural beauty. Apparently, it is a great stress buster with more oxygen in air. It helps to purify air from allergens, toxins and air contaminants.

As Earth’s atmosphere is getting destroyed by many pollutants. Sansevieria is a natural wonder plant has the beautiful capacity to clean air. The best gift we can give our next generation would be good environment and health.

So, what are you waiting for, pick you sanseveria plant today and place it to bring in health and happiness into your homes.

 I am taking part in this blog hop #wordsmatter . This month, we have 38 participants. The Blog Hop is spread over three days (4, 5, 6 October 2019). I received this tag from Amrita Basu at Health Wealth Bridge. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Sunita Saldhana at

Dr Menaka Bharathi
Dr Menaka Bharathi
Dr Menaka Bharathi aka Simple Indian Mom is an Agricultural Microbiologist and helps moms to keep their family and kids naturally healthy both mentally and physically.


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