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8 Snake Plant Growing Mistakes That You Can Avoid

8 Snake Plant Growing Mistakes That You Can Avoid

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Ah, the snake plant! Also known as the Sansevieria or Mother-in-law’s Tongue, it’s a favorite for many gardeners and indoor plant enthusiasts, including yours truly.

It’s known for its resilience, unique appearance, and its ability to purify the air. But even with its hardy nature, there are some common mistakes people make when growing this plant.

As someone who’s had their fair share of gardening misadventures, I’ve compiled a list of these pitfalls to help you avoid them and ensure your snake plant thrives.

1. Overwatering: The Silent Killer

The most common blunder? Overwatering. Remember, the snake plant is a succulent. Its thick leaves store water, allowing it to withstand periods of drought. Watering it too frequently can lead to root rot, a deadly condition for your plant.

Instead of sticking to a strict watering schedule, feel the soil. If the top 2 inches are dry, it’s time for a drink. Personal tip: I’ve always found it better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering with this one.

2. Ignoring Lighting Needs: Too Much or Too Little

While snake plants are often celebrated for their ability to survive in low light conditions, this doesn’t mean they thrive in them. Ideally, they prefer indirect, bright light.

Placing them in direct sunlight can cause their leaves to burn, while too little light might slow their growth and cause their color to fade. I’ve played around with various spots in my home and found that placing them near an east or north-facing window works wonders.

3. Using The Wrong Soil: Drainage Matters

Snake plants aren’t too fussy about their soil, but if there’s one thing they despise, it’s being waterlogged. Using soil that doesn’t drain well can lead to an array of problems, most notably root rot.

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Opt for a cactus or succulent mix, which offers excellent drainage. I’ve also had success mixing regular potting soil with perlite or sand to improve its draining capabilities.

4. Neglecting to Repot: Don’t Let It Get Cramped

Snake plants are relatively slow growers, but they will eventually outgrow their pots. A pot that’s too small can restrict the plant’s growth and cause the roots to become pot-bound. I usually check my snake plants every 2-3 years to see if they need a bigger home.

When repotting, choose a pot that’s 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. And remember, this is also a great time to inspect the roots for any signs of rot or disease and remove any damaged sections.

5. Incorrect Humidity Levels: Striking the Right Balance

Snake plants prefer a drier environment, which makes them perfect indoor plants. However, if your home is particularly humid, it could create problems. Too much humidity can lead to mold and mildew, which are harmful to the plant.

If you’re living in a humid climate, consider placing a dehumidifier nearby or ensuring that the room is well-ventilated. Conversely, if your home is too dry, especially during winter, you might notice the tips of the leaves drying out. In this case, a small room humidifier can help.

6. Fertilizing Incorrectly: Less is More

While snake plants do appreciate good feeding, they don’t require as much fertilizer as other plants. Over-fertilizing can lead to a buildup of salts in the soil, which can damage the roots.

I generally feed my snake plants every 6-8 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to half the recommended strength. And during the dormant season (fall and winter), I give them a break and skip the fertilizer altogether. They seem to appreciate the rest!

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7. Ignoring Pests: They’re Sneaky!

You might think that due to its hardy nature, the snake plant is impervious to pests, but that’s not entirely true. They can still fall victim to the occasional spider mite, mealybug, or aphid infestation.

These pests can suck the sap out of the leaves, leading to discoloration and potentially harming the plant if left unchecked. Keep an eye out for any signs of pests and wipe down the leaves regularly with a neem oil solution or insecticidal soap to keep them at bay.

Trust me, a little vigilance goes a long way.

8. Forgetting to Clean the Leaves: They Need to Breathe

Just like us, plants need to breathe. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the leaves over time, obstructing their pores and hindering their ability to photosynthesize.

Make it a habit to wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth every few weeks. Not only does this help the plant breathe, but it also keeps it looking vibrant and healthy. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to check for any pests or signs of disease.

By steering clear of these common mistakes, you’re well on your way to having a thriving, happy snake plant. Enjoy the journey and the unique beauty this plant brings to your space.

Happy gardening!