The Complete Guide to Caring for Snake Plants

If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant, the snake plant might be what you’re looking for. These versatile plants are hardy plants that are nearly impossible to kill. Snake Plants are strong air purifiers. Research at NASA showed that they were able to remove pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from your home.

In this guide, we will discuss how to take care of snake plants, and how to replant snake plants. We’ll also answer some common questions about these plants, such as “are snake plants toxic to cats?” or “what do underwatered snake plants look like?” If you’re unsure whether snake plants are right for your home, keep reading and discover everything you need to know!


  • Name:  Sansevieria patens,  Dracaena trifasciata, Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Common Name: Snake Plant, Mother in Laws Tongue, Golden Birds Nest, Good Luck Plant
  • Type: Houseplant, Succulent
  • Region Of Origin: Eastern Africa

Caring for Snake Plants

How much light do snake plants need?

Snake Plants are hardy plants that have made it on our list of plants that don’t need sunlight. They have the ability to tolerate low-light environments, although they prefer a warm and bright location. However, it should be in partial shade and should not receive more than 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

How often do you water Snake Plants?

Snake plants can be overwatered which causes the roots to rot. In the spring, you should allow the soil to dry before watering. According to NC State’s Plant toolbox, it’s critical in the winter, to only water your Snake Plant once or twice a month.

How to tell if a Snake Plant needs water?

The soil of your snake plant should be dry to the touch. If the dirt sticks to your fingers, it is likely still moist and too soon to water.

What is the best soil for Snake Plants?

Well-drained soil is critical. Snake Plants are succulents, so this succulent soil mix would be a perfect choice.

Are Snake Plants toxic houseplants?

Snake plants contain the toxic principle of Saponin. This is a principle that is toxic when ingested. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the severity is low in Snake Plants

Are Snake Plants poisonous to children?

Yes. According to the University of California, Snake Plants have minor toxicity and can cause dermatitis in children. This means ingesting Snake Plants has the ability to cause minor symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Control Center or your doctor. The sap or juice of these plants may also cause skin irritation.  Wash the affected area of the skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. 

Are Snake Plants poisonous to dogs?

Yes. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Snake Plants are toxic for dogs. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Are snake plants toxic to cats?

Yes. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Snake Plants are toxic to cats. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or dilated pupils (cats).

Are Snake Plants poisonous to rabbits?

Likely. While they are not listed as a poisonous house plant on The Sacramento House Rabbit Society’s list, Snake plants do contain Saponin principles. Saponin has the ability to kill a rabbit’s red blood cells, causing anemia. After ingestion, keep an eye for lethargy or reduced appetite.

Are Snake Plants poisonous to guinea pigs?

Yes. Snake plants can cause mouth pain, burning of the throat, difficulty swallowing, drooling, and tongue swelling. Given the low severity in snake plants, your guinea pig will likely be able to handle having one bite but watch their appetite and for any signs of lethargy after ingestion.

How do you propagate Snake Plants?

Snake plants grow easily. In fact, the specific word patens in “Sansevieria patens” means “spreading” in reference to their growth habit.

You can propagate Snake Plants by leaf cuttings and placing them in water. We love to put ours in this propagation station since the vases are large enough for our Snake Plant leaves. Alternatively, you can divide offsets from your existing pot and replant them.

How to pot and repot Snake Plants

Potting your Snake Plant

Pot Snake Plant in pots with drainage holes. If you’re potting a Snake Plant for the first time, be sure to use a succulent soil mix to allow proper air and drainage.

The best pot for snake plant

Snake Plants are spreaders, so they will grow to the size of your pot. We like to choose a raised floor pot larger than 10-12″ to give our plant room to grow, while keeping our furry friends away.

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Here’s how to repot a snake plant

Take your new growth and secure it into your new pot with soil. If diving an offset, try to match the level of the soil with the leaf. Make sure your leaf is securely packed to stay upright.

Common Issues

Why is my snake plant turning yellow?

Yellow leaves are often a sign of overwatering your Snake Plant. Your leaves may also fall over, and brown decay may be apparent at the root of your Snake Plant.

How do I tell if I have an underwatered snake plant?

An underwatered Snake Plant’s leaves will start to fall over. If this is the case, increase the cadence in which you are watering your Snake Plant.

Why are my Snake plant leaves falling over?

Snake Plant leaves falling over are a tell-tale sign of improper watering. If they are accompanied by rot, it is likely overwatering — otherwise, it is likely underwatering. If this is the case, adjust the cadence in which you are watering your Snake Plant.

What are these brown spots on my snake plant?

Brown spots are often a sign of overwatering, pests, or fungal diseases. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, mealybugs and spider mites are the most likely pests for a Snake Plant.


Is a snake plant a succulent?

Yes, Snake Plant is a succulent.

Can snake plants live outside?

Yes, your indoor Snake Plant may be moved outdoors during the summer. Make sure the plant is placed in a shady location. Your snake plant should come back indoors during the cold season.

How fast does a snake plant grow?

The snake plant grows 4-12 inches per year on average. However, the growth rate between different sub-species varies greatly.

What is a snake plant’s temperature tolerance?

Snake Plants tolerate low humidity and cool temperatures to around 50 degrees. Any colder than this and it should be moved to a new location. This plant is quite durable, easily grown, and difficult to kill.

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