The Perfect Houseplant for the Happy Traveler: The Snake Plant
If there was an award for the most forgiving and easy to grow houseplant, snake plant would take home the prize. These plants can be neglected for weeks at a time and show no ill effects. Snake plants can survive low light levels, drought, dry winter air, and are rarely bothered by insects. In fact about the only way to make a Snake plant less than happy is to over water it. The more you ignore them, the better they do. If you travel a lot this is the plant for you. You can be away for weeks and when you return your Snake Plant will look as happy as the day you left.
NASA research has shown that snake plants are able to help keep the air inside your home clean, removing toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and Nitrogen Oxide. They do this at night making them great plants for the bedroom. You can go to bed and sleep soundly knowing this plant is cleaning the air around you.
Whether you call them Snake Plants or Mother-in-laws tongue or even Sanseveria after you bring one home you’ll soon grow to call it “the easiest to care for houseplant I’ve ever had”.
Sanseveria combines well with other plants, especially succulents and Cacti. Alone or planted in a group they make great accent plants and give a modern, architectural feel to any apartment, home or office.
Snake Plants have a rich history of cultivation. In China, it was kept as a treasured houseplant because the Eight Gods bestowed their eight virtues on those who grew them. These virtues include long life, prosperity, intelligence, beauty, art, poetry, health, and strength. The plants were kept near the entrances inside the home so that the eight virtues could pass through.
Snake Plant Care
Sanseveria store water in their leaves and roots. They are native to hot, dry environments a good watering once a month will do it unless your home is kept very warm then twice per month is recommended. Snake Plants do not like to sit in water so make sure the pot has good drainage and its setting on a bed of gravel in the saucer.
Bright, indirect light is best. Snake Plants take low artificial light situations well but every once in a while they appreciate some natural light. Do not place your snake plants in direct sunlight such as a south-facing window as they tend to burn in bright direct sunlight.
Unlike other houseplants which require misting or pebbles in saucers filled with water, these babies can take all the dry air your home can offer in the winter. Sanseveria loves dry air.
Snake plants rarely if ever need to be fed. If you must, then use a high-quality water soluble fertilizer like Jack’s Classic Houseplant Special Fertilizer mixed at half strength.
Pruning is rarely ever needed. However, if a leaf gets damaged remove it at the base. Snake plant leaves do benefit from the occasional bath or wipe down with a soft cloth to remove the dust that may accumulate on the surface of the leaves. This also helps the plant breath which in turn helps it clean the air.
Snake plants can actually stay in the same pot for years with no stress. If your plant does eventually outgrow its pot and you need to put it in a larger pot, then use a loose organic potting soil. Cactus soil such as Espoma Organic Cactus Soil is often our favorite option for soil.
All things considered, you’ll have a hard time finding a plant that is easier to grow, cleans more air and offers more variations than the Snake Plant. Just an FYI its common name mother-in-Law’s Tongue comes from its “sharp edges” I, however, do not see the resemblance. 😉
Until Next Time see you among the snake plants,