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watering snake plant

Watering Snake Plant: When and How Much

If you want to get a tough and hardy plant for your home, a snake plant might be your best pick. These no-nonsense plants are known to have the potential to both decorate your plants and benefit your health simultaneously. 

With small houseplants being all the craze these days, it is important that we know everything there is to know about the green friends we decide to bring home and also what needs to be done when you own one. 

An important part of owning a plant is knowing about its needs and requirements. And on the top of the list, is knowing the watering needs of your snake plants, the when and how of it being the most crucial.

What do we know about Snake Plants?

Snake Plant

The snake plant or the Sansevieria trifasciata is native to Asia and Africa. It is known to be evergreen sword-shaped leaves that grow upright and almost resemble artificial leaves.

Snake plants are usually used as decorative plants since they’re pleasing to the eye, are easy to care for, and can survive on very little water. These plants can be neglected for weeks at a time, doesn’t mean that you have to. 

With their strappy leaves and architectural shape, they will still manage to look fresh. Additionally, they can do well in low light levels, and drought and have very few insect problems.

As was mentioned before, this plant is known to be extremely drought-tolerant, but too much water can become its Achilles’ heel. Snake plant works well with a well-drained potting mix that doesn’t hold a lot of water. In an ideal scenario, the snake plant likes to be in bright but indirect sunlight. 

However, you can park it in a dark corner and it’ll manage to fend for itself. In lowly lit conditions, the colour in some Sansevieria varieties can become washed out, and taller varieties of jades can become leggy and floppy, but usually, this isn’t usually much of a problem.

Under the appropriate conditions, a snake plant will bloom with amazing flowers. While not overly showy, these flowers are borne in large clusters, generally white with a greenish hue to them. 

Caring for snake plants

Perhaps one of the most popular reasons people make snake plants a part of their indoors is that they’re low maintenance, and require very little attention when they are growing. The plants are resilient, hardy plants and can easily survive in dry environments, indoors and out.

If you plan to move a snake plant in your home, here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overwater. Too much water is a weakness for the plant. Place your plant in a well-drained pot to avoid overwatering, as it can cause your root to rot. Only water the soil when it feels completely dry when you conduct a finger test.
  • Indirect sunlight works best. The partial sun does great for snake plants, though they can grow fine in darker corners or in brighter window areas. If kept in complete shade, the plant can become dull and the leaves might become a bit floppy.
  • Temperature and Humidity. Snake plants are known to prefer warm conditions and can suffer if they are exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the plant where it will not be exposed to drafts. The ideal temperature range between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Frost will kill your tough yet vulnerable plant.
  • Fertilizer. Feed your plant with a mild cactus fertilizer during the growing season or a balanced liquid slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer or a 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half strength. Make sure you don’t fertilise the plant during the winter season.
  • Soil. these plants are known to prefer a loose, well-drained potting mix. The plant does even better in sandier soils. Use a potting media low in peat content. Peat is known to work well in many situations, but it can become tightly packed and sometimes has problems rehydrating or draining. An all-purpose cactus potting soil is also a good fit for this plant.

Watering Snake Plants

Water is an essential part of taking care of a plant and you have to be careful so as to not take it lightly. Water is crucial when it comes to photosynthesis and the overall health of your snake plant. 

And no matter how tough and hardy your tiny green friend is, there are some things that you need to take very seriously.


How often should the plant be watered?

The snake plant is known to be extremely drought-tolerant, unlike a lot of other indoor plants. Due to this trait, the snake plant only needs to be watered every 1-2 weeks. 

If you forget to water, you don’t have to worry too much. In times when water seems scarce to your green friend, the snake plant will be just fine and can go without water for up to two weeks, sometimes even longer. 

The plant is known to like being completely dry between waterings. However, it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to your snake plant and know when and how to water it to avoid any watering mistakes. 

It is easy to care for a snake plant if you keep in mind conducting a finger test before you go on flooding your plant. 

What might impact the watering needs of your plant?

The snake plant more often than not respond well to the outside environment, whether it is grown outdoors or kept indoors. The seasonal cycles, especially the common growing season in the months of spring and winter, are known to affect your plant’s natural rhythm. 

The amount of light the plant receives, the indoor temperature and humidity of the household, the physical location of the plant, soil type, the size of the plant and pot size also has an effect on the watering schedule in different ways. 

When caring for a snake plant, it is important you consider all environmental factors and know how to respond to them.

Soil Type


Soil is one of the most important factors in watering and the snake plant’s overall health. Any bag of regular potting soil from a local nursery is not going to cut it if you want a thriving plant. 

However, with so many types of potting soil types making their way into the market, how do you know what is the best for your plant?

Many potting mixes are designed to retain as much water as they can and for as long as possible, it is known to include peat or coconut husk in the mix in order to accomplish the said feat. 

These two components have the ability to act as blotting paper, which soaks up water and then releases it slowly as the surrounding soil dries out. For most indoor plants, this tends to work really well. 

In the case of the snake plant, this type of water-retaining potting mix is not really ideal. Instead, you need to opt for a mix that retains nutrients but releases moisture more comparatively quickly.

Due to the native desert-like nature of the snake plant, a standard cactus mix might possibly be the best option. Obviously, in a cactus soil mix, your green friend will need to be watered more often as the soil puts no effort into retaining moisture. 

If you go for a more water-retentive soil mix, without a doubt, less watering will be required.

Check Out: What Is The Best Soil For Snake Plant?

Temperature and humidity


Temperature and humidity are 2 things that go hand-in-hand when it comes to caring for a snake plant. If the air surrounding your tiny green is too dry, the plant will begin to hurt. 

However, since these plants are tropical and desert-dwelling, they can be susceptible to mold if the air is too humid. This is not usually an issue as this plant is known to be quite resilient.

This can, however, be a problem in homes that have central air conditioners or heat. Both of which have the tendency to dry the air or exaggerate the humidity levels of a house. 

When the snake plant is watered in the correct manner, it will fare better against these changing levels, even if they don’t match what the plant usually requires. The main thing to keep in mind is that when the air is more humid, the less the snake plant should be watered. 

Alternatively, if the air at your place is dry or the heating is higher, especially in the winter months, it will likely need more water than it usually does. If you place your plant in direct sunlight will also increase the temperature, and even though the plant isn’t that particular when it comes to the light levels, low light may be more ideal.

Size of the Pot


The size of the plant as well as the pot size is an important factor in how often to water snake plants. The bigger your plant is, naturally, the more water it will require. The larger leaves have the tendency to transpire more, and as a result, the plant will need more frequent watering than when your greens are smaller.

Pot type is also an important factor that needs to be considered. A glazed or plastic pot will not give water the space to evaporate through the sides, and therefore, hold water better. 

A more porous pot, made of terracotta or clay, will allow some water to be lost as it will seep through and evaporate through the walls of the pot itself. The size needs to be kept in mind too, if the pot is much larger than the root ball, there will be more space for soil and will hold more moisture when wet. 

But again, situations like these run the risk of overwatering. Snake plants do not appreciate having “wet feet” so a properly sized pot without too much extra space is ideal.

Also Check: How to Choose the Best Pot for Snake Plant?

How to water a Snake Plant


The next question that comes to mind is, how much water is necessary? To know this, you need to know the right method of watering too!

There are two, quite specific methods, on how to water your plants correctly. 

The first way to go about this is to pour water on the surface of the soil using a watering can or jug. Keep your pot in a sink or basin and keep pouring water until you see it running down the holes in the bottom of the pot. 

You can also use a plant saucer to get a hold of the excess water. Be careful in avoiding the beautiful cylindrical leaves and focus only on the soil. 

Another way is to place the pot in a plant saucer or a sink of water, and the water will eventually be soaked up by the process of osmosis. Make sure you drain the excess water from the saucer or sink to avoid issues like mold and root rot.

Signs of Underwatering


Underwatering the snake plant can very quickly lead to plant death if not addressed. Although this plant is known for not being too needy in terms of water, it will suffer if left in direct sun or going without water for too long. 

Here are the signs a plant lover like yourself needs to look for to tell if your snake plant is underwatered, pay close attention to the plant’s tall leaves:

  • Wrinkled leaves;
  • Leaves begin to turn brown and crunchy;
  • Leaves have brown tips;
  • Leaves fall off;
  • Leaves curl up.

When the plant needs more water

  • The plant is placed in direct light: Your plant will need continuous monitoring and will need to be watered more often if it is in direct sunlight, or near an artificial light source, which might be drying the plant. Snake plants don’t usually need too much light to thrive, and can grow just fine in low light.
  • There is active plant growth: When your young plant is in a growth spurt, it will consume more water. This is a very critical time to keep the soil moist at all times rather than letting it dry out completely.
  • If the plant grows in dry air: Central heating can be extremely drying for a snake plant. If you live in sort of a cold environment that requires you to use heating, be sure to keep an eye on your plants and continue watering your snake plant if it looks dry.
  • If the roots completely fill the pot: If the roots completely fill the pot or the pot is on a smaller side, there is very little space for soil and it will become drier faster. Until you can start with the repotting, provide more water.

Signs of Overwatering

overwatered snake-plant-1

Unfortunately for us, the signs of both overwatering and underwatering a snake plant are similar. An overwatered plant is most likely to develop root rot. 

The fungi that are a known cause of root rot thrive in wet soil and even infect nearby plants if they are in close proximity, so if you want to fix your snake plant’s root rot you need to have a keen eye for any signs of distress. 

The moisture level of your plants needs to be monitored closely. These are some early signs to look out for in an overwatered snake plant:

  • Young and old leaves fall over at the same time;
  • A rotten smell or roots disappear due to lack of oxygen;
  • Mold appears on the surface of the soil;
  • Leaves turn yellow or brown and have a mushy texture;
  • Water stagnates in the pot after watering;
  • Healthy white roots change in colour to brown.

Check Out: Our detailed blog Overwatered Snake Plant – Signs and How to Save

When the plant needs less water

  • Plants are grown in a cool room: Just as heating can dry out a plant, a plant grown in a cooler room will not dry out as quickly and can go longer without being watered again.
  • After transplanting: As was mentioned above, a newly repotted snake plant will not need further watering as the soil will most likely already be damp.
  • Leaves show signs of overwatering: If your snake plant is showing any signs of distress like in overwatering, such as yellow or mushy leaves, you may need to hold off on water and allow the snake plant’s soil to completely dry out. 
  • Soil is damp or dark in colour: When determining the watering needs of your snake plant, perform the touch test and look closely at the soil. If the soil appears dark or feels damp to the touch, the snake plant does not need to be watered at that time. Conduct a finger test just to be sure!


Should I spray water on the leaves too?

When you are watering your snake plants, it is important that you focus on watering the soil only. Your snake plant absorbs water, along with the liquid, nutrients from fertilizer and soil, primarily through its roots.

Should the soil be dry before the next watering?

A snake plant does not like having “wet feet”. Your snake plants will like the opportunity for the plant’s roots to soak up the water and dry out a completely little before watering again. 


No matter how hardy a plant is, it is important that you know what your plant exactly needs. Be it soil, temperature or more importantly water! Keep all the quirks in mind and you will ensure a happy and healthy plant for your happy and healthy plant.

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