IMMORTAL SNAKE PLANTS 101: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

A snake plant? What do they slither and hiss? Or are they like....
*shoutout if you recognize this meme its a ~classic~*
Anyway, whether you're a newbie to snake plants, or an "expert", here is an all-encompassing guide to what snake plants are, where they come from and how to care for them!
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So A Snake Plant, eh? Why Are They Called That?

Many of you may be wondering, or have guessed why the snake plant is named such. Before diving into that, there is an interesting story on how the whole genus was discovered and named. 
In the late 1800s a Swedish naturalist named Carl Peter Thunberg brought the snake plant to the new world and named the genus after Raimondo di Sangro, the italian prince of San Severo. San-severo.......Sansevieria AHHHHH makes sense now! And though we found out years ago that the snake plant is technically a very close common ancestor to the Dracaena, making it in the Dracaena genus, the Sansevieria name has stuck and is still widely used.
Now onto the actual Snake Plant name. They actually have a few common names, being the Mother-In-Laws Tongue, the Viper's Bowstring Hemp and the Saint George's Sword. It gets these names from, I bet you guessed it, the snake-shaped leaves, as well as the fact that the fibers are so strong that they used to make bows from them-and still might in some places. The leaves of the snake plant are very long, sharp, slender, upwards pointing, and usually variegated with all green or green and yellow. The characteristic shape of the leaves has an impression on people, and over the years has reminded many of a snake or a sword (or your mother-in-laws sharp tongue). 
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Where Do They Come From?

Snake plants are native to a few regions, but all similar in climate/habitat. They live in dry, rocky, habitats in the tropics of Nigeria, Congo, Madagascar and also similar regions in Southern Asia. They actually grow in Australia too, but they consider them an environmental weed, which is capable of invading, out-competing and preventing the regeneration of native vegetation. Even if you are not in Australia, here in the US in warmer places (such as Florida, California, Georgia, etc.) they are also invasive due to the same reasons why they are a great beginner houseplant - they are tough as nails! This toughness allows them to outcompete native plants, reducing biodiversity and harming the local ecosystem. 
Now that we have covered why they're not good outdoor plants here in the US, let me tell you why they're one of the BEST houseplants! 
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How Do You Care For Them?

Finally, here's the good stuff. How to actually keep the plant alive! 
One thing to keep in mind about the snake plant is that the tips of their leaf-blades are CRUCIAL to their growth. If the tip of the leaf-blade is broken, it will stop growing, so be extra careful when handling them to make sure the tips are sharp and pointy!
Although this is the case, the snake plant has a good reputation due to it being very sturdy, hardy and durable. It is easy to care for and won't need too much attention to thrive! This is what keeps it as people's top choice for a beginner plant or for someone who's not home very much! It is also what gave the plant the nickname - "The Bulletproof Plant"! 
One more cool thing before we get into the care information - the snake plant is a great air purifier! While plants only purify a minuscule amount of the air in your home, the snake plants are known to be one of the best at doing this! They take chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds from the air and break them down for their own usage! This leaves less shitty air for you to breathe in your indoor space!
NOW we're actually going to get into the care information - sorry snake plants are just really cool!

Light Requirements:

Another reason why the snake plants are so popular is because they are so flexible when it comes to environmental conditions. Snake plants can tolerate a wide range of lighting levels, from low light to indirect bright light! Although, you should be careful because they cannot be placed in direct sunlight! This will scorch the leaves of the plant, leaving them with a nasty sunburn. 
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Watering and Humidity: 

Being that the native climate/habitat of snake plants is in rocky, dry environments, this means that they are very drought tolerant! Meaning that they prefer soil to be more dry than moist. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, and water thoroughly once the soil is very dry. The amount and frequency of water depends on the type of plant and the size of the pot, so be sure to consistently check the soil and only water WHEN NEEDED. Excess moisture in the soil of a snake plant will lead to root rot and eventually kill it.  
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Fertilizer:

The last reason that the snake plant is so popular is because it doesn't require much fertilizer. You actually should be more concerned about over-fertilizing rather than not fertilizing at all. This is actually one plant where its not required to fertilize it. Really though, the amount of fertilizer your snake plant gets is based on the amount of light its in and how fast its growing.
For a plant in brighter light, it will be growing faster, so fertilizing 3 or 4 times a year (during spring-fall months, not winter) will be ideal.
For a plant in lower light, it will be growing slower, so fertilizing 1 or 2 times a year would be ideal. 
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Now that you know everything there is about snake plants, you must be in love! Head on over to our home page to browse our selection of snake plants! 

 

 

 


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