Snake Plant: Expert shares tips for looking after plant
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Snake plants are a common houseplant found in many UK homes. They are also known as Saint George’s sword, mother-in-law’s tongue, and viper’s bowstring hemp, among other names. They are native to tropical West Africa so are perfect for our homes. However, there are key things gardeners need to be aware of in order to get the most out of this beautiful houseplant.
For those looking for an easy houseplant option, look no further.
Jo Lambell, founder and plant expert at Beards & Daisies told Gardening Etc that snake plants are great for beginners as they are very low maintenance.
She said: “Don’t let the name fool you though, as there’s nothing sly about these plants.
“They’re actually one of the best plants for beginners as they’re so incredibly easy to care for.”
Here are three tips to ensure snake plants stay “healthy” and “thriving”.
Avoid overwatering it
It’s such an easy plant to grow that the only real danger is overwatering a snake plant.
Always keep the compost on the dry side and water sparingly, just enough to prevent the soil drying out completely.
Jo said: “You could go weeks without watering your snake plant and it would still be healthy and thriving.
“We told you it was one of the best low maintenance indoor plants!
“As a rough guide, allow the soil to dry out each time before watering.
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“Pour the water directly into the soil rather than over the leaves.”
However, in summer, water snake plants moderately, leaving the top half of the soil to dry out in between watering times.
Always make sure you let the water drain away first.
If the plant is left to sit in water it may cause the root rot.
Choose the right spot
When it comes to snake plant care, the plant will do best in full sun but will thrive in shaded situations too – it’s really not that fussy.
It doesn’t mind darker spots like hallways and for those who like plants on the stairs it works well because of its upright habit and the fact it doesn’t mind drafts either.
Jo explained: “The snake plant isn’t too fussy or particular about where it is homed.
“Access to bright, indirect light is best, but it can tolerate shadier spots, too.
“It’s one of the best plants for bedrooms as it’s a fantastic air purifier, removing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene from the home.
“It will also store oxygen throughout the day and then release it back into the atmosphere at night, ensuring your breathing good quality air and aiding a restful night’s sleep.”
Use a soil-based compost
Choose a soil-based compost for larger snake plants where the weight of the soil is needed to balance the quite heavy, tall leaves.
Add some horticultural grit if the snake plant is tall, as well as planting it in a heavy pot to prevent it toppling over.
Smaller plants and the dwarf variety Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’ will do well planted in an all-purpose cactus potting soil.
As snake plants are slow growing it’s usual for the roots to really fill out the pot so there’s no hurry to repot it.
Strong roots can easily crack plastic pots when the plant outgrows its space though and that’s the time to find out how to repot a plant to make sure gardeners are doing it properly.
The best time to repot snake plants is in spring.
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