When it comes to upping your home decor game, there’s simply no greater way than doing so with plants. Not only do they instantly make your space look beautiful and really up the feng shui, but they also offer a plethora of health benefits like boosting your overall mood, improving air quality, and even reducing stress and anxiety levels. However, finding plants that are both beautiful and easy to care for can be tricky. Lucky for you, we’ve got the perfect plant to get you started.
Introducing the Snake Plant: a plant that is low maintenance, visually striking, and can be left alone for weeks on end without you ever having to touch it. In fact, borderline neglect is probably the way to go, meaning the less you interact with it, the better. We know all too well how difficult it can be to keep a plant alive with a busy schedule, which is why the snake plant is one of our absolute favorites: all of the benefits without any of the effort.
Back to Its Roots: History and Origin
In order to better understand the snake plant, we’ve got to go back to its roots—yeah, sorry. The snake plant was first classified under the genus Sansevieria, which is made up of 70 different flowering plants but has since been reclassified under the Dracaena genus as Dracaena Trifasciata. Trifasciata is Latin for “marked with three streaks,” which is simply a fancy way of describing the stunning marks on their leaves.
Other common and familiar names for this plant include Sansevieria Trifasciata (former scientific name), Mother-in-law’s tongue for its resemblance to the sharp tongue of a Mother-in-law (accurate), Saint George’s sword, and even Viper’s Bowstring Hemp for being a source of strong fibers used to make bowstrings back in the day.
Whether you decide to call it a snake plant or Joe Schmo, one fact that remains unchanged is that they originate from the great continent of West Africa and are an important part of African culture. Nigerians believe these plants offer spiritual protection and are often used to ward off evil curses such as the evil eye.
And they’re not the only ones who hold a special place in their hearts for this plant. Many Chinese people also grow these plants because they believe that the Eight Gods would bestow their eight virtues (prosperity, beauty, long life, intelligence, health, art, strength, and poetry) as gifts to anyone who cared for them. They also believe these valuable houseplants offer positive feng-shui and strong protective energies from negative chi. Are we even worthy of this plant?
How To Care for Snake Plants
One of the main reasons why the snake plant is so easy and adaptable to nearly any environment is largely due to where it comes from. As a plant that has survived the harshest of conditions and droughts in Africa, it’s no wonder surviving your living room is a walk in the park.
Whether it’s drenched in sunlight, shoved into a dark corner, forgotten about over vacation, exposed to your Tinder dates, or even attacked by pests, chances are, this plant will survive it all. They even make for excellent patio plants and can practically be grown anywhere except outdoors in extremely cold regions.
So what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one really. If anything, one thing to be aware of is that they’re sensitive to water and prone to root rot, so it’s important to plant them in well-draining soil and be extra careful to not overwater them. Potting them in a succulent or cactus mix is ideal because they have the added sand that helps with drainage.
In a nutshell, you can think of them as angsty teenagers that simply need to be given some allowance every so often (water) and completely left alone for the most part. Here are some guidelines to help:
- Light Requirements: Snake plants can live in low light or bright, indirect light. We recommend avoiding strong rays of the direct sun unless you introduce your plant slowly, pushing it a little closer to the light source weekly.
- How To Water Snake Plants: Because of their succulent leaves, snake plants do not need to be watered often. We suggest saturating their soil once every two to three weeks, or when the soil has dried completely. Not sure how to tell? Grab a moisture meter, and never overwater again.
- Propagating Snake Plants: Using a clean, sharp tool, cut a piece of the leaf, make an upside-down V-shaped notch in the cutting, and place the base in water or soil. The cuttings will root best when placed in bright, indirect light. You can also propagate snake plants via separation. Remove your plant from the soil, find the thick stem connecting two pieces of the plant, and make a clean break. Repot them separately and care for them as usual.
- Repotting Snake Plants: Depending on their growing conditions, snake plants should be repotted into a larger planter every 12-24 months. You’ll know it’s time for a new pot when its roots are cramped and creeping out from the bottom drainage hole. Even if your plant hasn't grown much, refreshing the soil is recommended yearly to ensure they are getting the right amount of nutrients.
A Silent Air-Purifier
Looking for a silent and natural air purification system that improves the air quality of your home? Uh, yes, that’s a no-brainer—and no, we’re not talking about the latest Dyson model, we’re still talking about snake plants, silly.
The best thing about these plants is that you’re getting rid of toxins while adding beauty to your space. They absorb air pollutants such as formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides, reducing the overall amount of air pollutants and airborne allergies surrounding your home.
They’re also one of the few plants able to convert CO2 into oxygen at night, making it the multipurpose plant that works day and night to create a healthier living environment for you.
In addition to their air-purifying prowess, snake plants (and plants in general) can really improve your overall quality of life at home. As humans, we have a deep connection with nature so it’s no wonder that bringing some of the great outdoors, indoors, can have such calming and mood-boosting effects.
In the same way going on nature walks and forest baths can improve our mood, reduce fatigue, and lower stress and anxiety levels to even improve focus and creativity, living with houseplants can do the same.
Get Yourself a Snake Plant ASAP
Sure, the snake plant may not win all of the pageants for being the most exotic or beautiful, but it’ll definitely sweep any competition for “most resilient and easy-growing”. And that’s not to say they’re not beautiful either because these plants are as easy on the eyes as they are tough.
In case it wasn’t already apparent, we’re huge fans of snake plants for their low-maintenance demeanor, striking appearance, and the plethora of health benefits they provide—and you will be too if you aren’t already. Regardless of how or where you live, you can’t go wrong with getting a snake plant thanks to their tough and easy-growing demeanor.