Also known as Sansevieria, snake plants are common plants in most American homes. Most plant owners favor these plants because they're easy to care for and can withstand adverse conditions. This is probably because of their succulent-like nature.
If you have these plants in your home, then you should be interested in this post on how often to water snake plants.
Generally, snake plants need to be watered every 10 to 14 days. The simple guideline is to water the plant whenever the soil has become completely dry.
Read on as this post guides you through the water requirement of your snake plants and the best method of watering them.
What are Snake Plants?
For newbies, they might not exactly with the term 'snake plants.' Therefore, before we dive in on how often we should water these plants, we must highlight certain attributes of these plants.
Snake plants have the botanical name Sansevieria trifasciata and are also casually referred to as “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.” The plants have origin in South Africa and can grow up to 60 cm in the right conditions (note there are mini varieties that grow only a few inches in height.)
As mentioned earlier, snake plants are common household plants that are quite easy to maintain.
The plant is known for its upright green leaves that look gorgeous throughout the year (note that some snake plant varieties have leaves with yellow or white edges.)
Snake plants sometimes bloom outdoors with small white flowers at the base of the plant, especially when the plants are few years old; this rarely happens with indoor snake plants.
Conclusively, snake plants are low maintenance plants which makes them perfect for beginner gardeners.
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How Often to Water Snake Plant?
Why are snake plants referred to as low-maintenance plants? It is because they can survive for very long periods without being watered at all.
In fact, it is more likely that your snake plant is over-watered instead of under-watered. Also, most beginner gardeners make the mistake of wetting the leaves of their snake plant instead of watering the soil. A spouted watering can should be used in watering snake plants.
Now, back to the main gist, how often should you water your snake plants? As mentioned, snake plants should be watered every 10 to 14 days, but the main trick is to water your plants according to the weather.
For instance, you will need to water your snake plants more regularly if it is located in an area with plenty of sunlight. But when the plant is placed in a shady area, it will require less water to stay hydrated.
Apart from watering your plants according to the weather, the size of the plant’s pot should determine how often you water it.
You may need to water more regularly if your plant is potted in a bigger pot than when it is growing in a smaller pot.
In summary, you don't want overwater snake plants on your hand. Overwatering your snake plants can cause significant damage to the leaves and roots.
How Much Water Does a Snake Plant Need?
Various factors determine the amount of water your snake plant needs:
1. Weather: For instance, in the spring, you will need to water your plant more frequently. This is because, within this period, your plant will start to wake from its dormant period and begin to really put on some growth.
The same also applies to the summer period. At this stage, the plant will start to slow down that sudden burst of energy but will still need a regular supply of water.
2. Temperature: Snake plants thrive at a temperature of 55° – 85° F (13 – 30°C) range. For temperatures higher than this, you will need to water your snake plant more frequently.
3. Location of the Plant: If the plant receives more sunlight, you need to water more frequently than when it is located in a shadier position.
4. Type of Potting Mix: The potting mix also determines the amount of water your snake plant needs. If your snake plant is planted in a water-retentive potting mix, you may not need to water it so frequently. Although, a potting mix that retains nutrients is most suited for snake plants.
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How Do You Know When Your Snake Plant Needs Water?
As a new gardener or plant owner, you might be confused as to know when your snake plant needs to be watered. The steps highlighted below will guide you.
Step 1: The Soil Shines When You Water Adequately
Immediately after watering your snake plant, you will notice that the topsoil has grown darker and shinier (this depends on the type of soil).
Once it gets shiny, it means that you provided the soil with more than enough water to soak up for the moment. If you press the soil at this point, you will see water squeezing out of it above your finger.
Step 2: The Soil Gets a Bit Darker than Usual
If you have the time, hang around after watering your snake plant. In about 1-2 hours, you will notice that the topsoil stops shining but rather gets darker than it was before you added the water.
At this point, if you press the soil with a finger, water wouldn’t rise to the surface above your finger.
Step 3: Some Part of The Soil Lightens Up a bit
Within 24 to 36 hours, you will observe that while some parts of the soil are still dark black or brown, other areas have lightened up a bit.
At this stage, if you press the soil with a finger, water wouldn’t rise to the surface above your finger; it should feel moist to the touch.
If the topsoil is dry within 24 to 36 hours, it means that you have not adequately watered the plant, and it may need more hydration.
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How Long Can Snake Plant Go Without Water?
Remembered that we mentioned that snake plants are succulent in nature. If you are familiar with succulent plants, then you should know that succulents can go for a very long time without water.
The same applies to snake plants. Snake plants can go as long as 6 weeks without a watering session.
Not the amount of time mentioned here depends on the environmental factors such as temperature, light, humidity, and even as far as the specific variety of the snake plant.
In warmer months, make sure to water your plant at least once a month.
Can Snake Plants Be Overwatered?
Yes! Remember that we mentioned that snake plants are more likely to be overwatered than underwatered. In fact, most new gardeners make the mistake of overwatering their snake plants in a bid to take good care of them.
Generally, snake plants can go a long time without water, probably because of their succulent-like nature.
If the plant is overwatered, the soil becomes too saturated with water, thus pushing oxygen to the topsoil and making it unavailable to the plant’s roots.
Sometimes, overwatering will result in water pooling at the bottom of the pot's saucer leading to root rot and infections from bacteria and soil-borne fungi.
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