Snake Plant: Best Air Purifying Plant – Details and Care Tips

Snake Plant: Best Air Purifying Plant – Details and Care Tips
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Snake plant is one of the best air purifying foliage plants. This is one of the toughest indoor plants which provides some amount of oxygen even at night. Snake plant can be used as a table top plant or for decoration purpose at home or office.

Quick Details of Snake Plants:

Other NameMother-in-law’s tongue, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Sansevieria trifasciata
TypeIndoor/Outdoor
Maintenance Low (Just keep the soil moist)
LightIndirect Light (Very much direct sunlight can burn the leaves)
WaterNormal
Temperature Can survive the harsh climate up to an extent
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer like Compost, Seaweed liquid solution
HabitatTropical West Africa from Nigeria east to the Congo
ToxicitySnake plants contain saponins which are mildly toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to gastrointestinal upset if consumed.
Common DiseasesRoot Rotting, Fungus on soil if kept indoor
Scientific nameSansevieria trifasciata

Snake Plant Overview:

Snake plant is an evergreen perennial plant. NASA recommended the Snake plant in its famous clean air study for its natural capacity to remove toxins (Formaldehyde, Toluene, and Xylene) from air. There are multiple varieties of snake plant with short and long leaves. Many of the varieties are known for variegated foliage with yellow or silvery-white stripes on the leaf margins.

Snake plant is commonly recommended for the beginners who are interested in gardening or growing houseplants for its easy care. Snake plant grows a little slow but can cover the pot with multiple shoots that come from the roots. It can be grown in balconies or indoors as well.

Usage/Benefits:

  • Snake plants are air purifying plants and can used to keep the indoor air clean and fresh
  • Snake plants can be used for decoration purpose at home and office
  • It requires very less care which can survive even weeks without care and water
  • This plant sometimes is used for making ropes and baskets because of its fibrous leaves.
  • In Nigeria which is the native place for snake plant, it is commonly linked with Ogun, the Orisha of war, and is used in rituals to remove the evil eye.

Special about Snake Plant:

Snake plants exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide using the crassulacean acid metabolism process, which is only present in a small number of plant species. It allows them to withstand drought. The microscopic pores on the plant’s leaves, called the stomata and used to exchange gases, are only opened at night to prevent water from escaping via evaporation in the hot sun. As a result, stored oxygen is released at the opening of the stomata at night, unlike most plants which continuously exchange gases during the day.

General Care:

Snake plants can be grown in soil and water both but it grows best in soil.

Growing/Flowering Season: Snake plant is an evergreen perennial plant, it can be grown in any season. Normally flowering is not common for the snake plants grown indoors but it flowers in spring if provided appropriate conditions. Small, greenish-white flowers come on the snake plant with some fragrant. 

Soil: Native to tropical west Africa, snake plant grows best when given acidic soil with a pH of between 4.5 and 7.0. We can use a well drainage potting mix to grow snake plants. 

Light: Snake plants like indirect sunlight but can be grown in full or partial sunlight. It can grow even in very low sunlight as well. If possible we should avoid direct full sunlight for the plant.

Water: Don’t water your snake plant too much. It can survive without water for weeks but too much water can cause root rotting. Allow the 2 inch top soil to dry in between waterings. 

Temperature: Best temperature range for a snake plant is 20 -40 degree Celsius.
Fertilization: Snake plants don’t need much fertilizer, but  we can fertilize them a couple of times for the best growth in the spring and summer. We can use basic fertilizers such as seaweed solution or compost.

Pest Control and Other Problems:

It is a hardy plant with very few issues related to pests. Mealybugs and spider mites are the two pests which can infect your plant but rarely. 

Main problem we face for snake plants is from over watering. Over watering can cause root rotting and your plant may die. We should not over water this plant at all.  We should also save this plant from harsh cold weather.

Propagation:

Snake plants can be propagated from leaf cutting or from by dividing the rhizome. 

Leaf Propagation: Once we put leaf cuttings in water, roots come out and gradually it turns into a new plant. Keep changing the water every 5-7 days to avoid root rotting if you are propagating plants in water.  The major disadvantage of this method is that the variegation in the leaves will be lost.

Propagation through dividing the rhizome: Rhizome is also known as root stocks. This is a type of plant stem situated either at the soil surface or underground that contains nodes from which roots and shoots originate. We can divide the rhizome and put it under the soil. New roots and leaves will grow from each rhizome.This is the best method as leaf variegation will be maintained in this method.

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