Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them.
Even though it is usually quite relaxing, gardening can also be challenging at times, which is why you should take it slow if you want to start learning about it and care for your own plants. If you are a beginner, you’ll probably be interested to learn how to take care of Dracaena Trifasciata, also known as snake plant.
Therefore, today I am going to teach you everything I know about this lovely plant. Here’s what we shall talk about here:
- How to grow snake plant- three key steps
- Watering Dracaena Trifasciata
- Proper lighting
- Fertilizing instructions
- Pruning essentials
- Snake plant propagation
- Repotting Dracaena Trifasciata
- Snake plant problems and solutions
- Dracaena Trifasciata care highlights
- Related questions
How to Grow Snake Plant- 3 Key Steps
In order for you to be a successful gardener, you need to know something about growing plants you wanted to have in your home. Some plants are easier to grow than others. Some require special conditions and some can grow even without much attention.
Snake plant is one of the easiest plants to grow since you won’t have to spend too much time caring for it. You can even leave it for several days without having to water it.
Now, the first thing I want to talk about is how to grow a snake plant, in order for you to get a notion about what you are going to need to successfully plant and care for a snake plant.
1. Picking the right type of soil
Before planting a snake plant, you need to select a proper soil for it, in order to successfully grow a healthy plant. The most important thing to remember here is that you will need free-draining soil because snake plants don’t like being too humid.
In case you decide to use a common soil, then you should consider mixing it with a bit of sand, which should increase the drainage.
2. Finding the proper pot for your snake plant
After you decided on the soil type, you need an adequate container to plant your snake plant. When selecting a pot, you should consider those who are a bit wider, since the roots like to be free from the edges, and you don’t need to get a too deep pot.
However, make sure not to get a pot that is too large because it means that soil will take a longer time to dry, which could damage the roots by causing them to rot.
3. Putting your Dracaena Trifasciata at the appropriate spot
The good thing about snake plants is that they don’t require direct sunlight, so you can simply put them inside your house in some bright areas.
However, they can grow quite successfully outside as well, so if you want to beautify your yard, don’t hesitate to put a couple of them outside.
Also, you can use artificial light to keep your snake plant happy and strong. If your intention is to put it in your office, where the most common type of light is a fluorescent light, then you should know that it might work, but the snake plant might also need a bit brighter light to survive, depending on the light intensity.
Are you already intrigued by this Dracaena type? If so, meet some other interesting varieties:
Now, let’s find out how to take care of snake plant!
Watering Dracaena Trifasciata
Now that you know some general stuff about how to grow a snake plant indoors, let’s add some more details to the whole process.
First of all, let’s start by talking about snake plant watering in detail, which shouldn’t really be such a big problem, especially because the snake plant isn’t as demanding as other plants when it comes to the watering.
What type of water to use
When it comes to choosing the water for your snake plant, most indoor plants are perfectly fine with normal tap water. So, caring for a snake plant indoors is quite easy because you don’t have to use some special water, such as chlorinated water and similar.
The only thing you should keep in mind is the temperature of the water. It would be best to use water that is neither too cold nor too warm, in other words, room temperature is the key!
How often to water snake plant
As for the question of how often to water snake plant, you’ll need to learn more about it before you start watering it.
All plants are somewhat different in that regard, and so is the snake plant. They are quite easy to tend to because they can survive without water for weeks, sometimes even a month, depending on the season.
During warmer days, soil usually dries out faster, so you will need to water your snake plant every week or two, especially if you have indoor snake plant, which is still not much
However, during winter, the soil stays moist for a longer period of time, and in those conditions, you can water them once per month, and sometimes even once per two months.
How to know when to water?
Knowing how often to water is important, but knowing when to water snake plant is also crucial because you don’t want to overwater your plant since it could potentially hurt it.
The best time to water your snake plant is when the first 2” from the top part of the soil are completely dry. You can easily know when the right time is if you use some sort of soil moisture meter, which can be quite a useful tool.
What are the best ways to water this plant
In order not to overwater your snake plant, you also need to think about what would be the best way to water it.
You should water the soil until the area surrounding the plant is completely soaked, and only stop once you notice that water is coming out of drainage holes on your pot.
There is another way of doing this, which is to completely fill the pot saucer with water and it will automatically be soaked through the drainage holes.
Do this until the water is no longer soaked into, then just dump extra water, so it wouldn’t cause overwatering.
Apart from that, you can use some of the best self-watering pots, which are quite handy, especially if you don’t have time or if you are a forgetful person.
You probably already know that snake plant is considered to be one of those plants that are almost impossible to kill, they belong to long-lasting plants.
Well, it is true, and the same thing applies to how much light you give it and whether it likes it or not. The fact is that snake plant, much like a spider plant, likes when it gets nice and indirect sunlight. If you put it in a nice and shady spot, it will be the happiest plant in the world.
But, if you happen to live in an apartment that doesn’t get that much light and for that reason you are avoiding to have any pet plants in your apartment, I must assure you that snake plant doesn’t mind a bit of darker places.
Another fact is that it doesn’t like direct light at all! And there is a common idea that all plants must bathe in direct sunlight all year round if you want them to grow well. Well, now you know this doesn’t work always.
I could say that the snake plant is quite thankful when it comes to fertilizing since there isn’t a need to perform it all the time throughout the year.
The best time to fertilize your snake plant is during the warmer days, such as during the spring and summer because, during that period, snake plants need to get extra healthy food.
As for the type of fertilizer, you should use classic plant food for all purposes, since it gives the most important nutrients to your plant.
Also, you can completely avoid fertilizing during the cold weather, in winter and fall, since during that time, the snake plant stays dormant and doesn’t need additional food to grow.
Pruning snake plants is not really necessary per se unless your plant is getting too big and if some parts of it are damaged. In that case, you want to avoid spreading damage to the healthy parts of the plant, which is one of the best ways to stop most infections.
You should always use clean and sterilized tools, such as knife and perhaps sharp sheers because you want to be as precise as possible.
Snake Plant Propagation
Propagation is a process through which plants multiply. In other words, if you want to propagate your plant, you basically want to create a new one from the existing one.
There are two main types of propagation, which are called sexual and asexual. Sexual propagation is only possible with plants that have floral parts, while asexual propagation is more common with plants without floral parts.
Now when it comes to the snake plant propagation, there are several ways you can do it, depending on your choice and conditions you have.
I’ll explain all three in detail, so you would know how to propagate the snake plant properly, no matter the method you choose, so stay with me if you want to know more.
1. Rooting in water
Knowing how to grow a snake plant in water will help you to do it as efficiently as possible, without having to worry about little details. Therefore, let me walk you through the entire process and help you grow a snake plant in water like a real pro.
The first thing you want to do is find a proper pot, container or something similar that will be used to store the leaf. It really doesn’t matter what you will use, as long as it is big and tall enough to hold the leaves of your snake plant.
Also, if you are using pot, try not to use pots with little holes, since you need water to stay in the pot after all. Once you’ve selected the proper container for your plant, you will need to find a leaf that is healthy enough to be used for propagation.
What comes next?
Make sure it is not too old as well because older leaves might not prove to be as good for propagating as younger and stronger ones. To remove it from the existing plant, use clean tools, preferably shears that are sharp enough to cut it as precisely as possible.
Now when that is done, make sure to put the bottom part of the leaf you just cut in the water but make sure that only one-quarter of the tissue is in water. After you do that, make sure to place the pot or container in a light area, which is preferably not exposed directly to the sunlight.
Don’t forget to change the water at least two times per week and soon you will notice that there are little roots. Once you notice those roots, you can take the leaf and plant it in a pot, after which you should just take care of it as you would of usual snake plant.
2. Propagating with cuttings
Quite similarly to the previous method, you can also grow a snake plant from cutting. The entire process is almost the same as the one with the water, with a slight change.
What you should do is simply let the cut leaf callus to stay like that for a couple of days, then just find some moist sand, put it in a container and insert the end part of the cut leaf in the sand.
Leave it like that for a week or two and roots should eventually appear. However, make sure that sand isn’t too moist or too dry. Otherwise, the plant might not be able to grow healthy and strong roots.
3. Propagating from division
Now that you know how to grow a snake plant from cutting, and whether propagating snake plant in waterworks, let’s move on to the last method for propagating snake plant, which is, of course, the division.
Before you move onto the process itself, you should know that the snake plant can also grow from organs named rhizomes, which are located under the soil.
So, how does it work?
Rhizomes are used to store the energy needed to grow the most important parts of the plant, such as leaves and stem. Now, to be as efficient as possible when trying to do this, you should use proper tools, such as shears that are pretty sharp, or even try using a hand saw.
Take the plant out of the pot and cut the base point into several different sections. Most of the time, you will need to cut it in half if your snake plant isn’t old. The proper balance is that you should have a minimum of three rhizomes, as well as at least one leaf that is healthy enough.
After you are sure everything is right, you can simply get another pot and plant the cut section as a completely new plant.
Repotting Dracaena Trifasciata
The most important snake plant benefit is that it will make your home or office more beautiful if you treat it the right way.
It is common for all plants to grow, and when they do, they usually need to be repotted. When it comes to repotting a snake plant, there are several important things to think about, such as knowing when is the right moment to report it, how to repot a snake plant and how to take care of it after it has been repotted.
Picking the right time to transplant
As for the season, it would be the best to repot snake plant during the last days of winter, or the first days of spring. During that period, a snake plant usually doesn’t actively grow, so by repotting, you wouldn’t potentially harm completely active and healthy specimens.
However, a repotting snake plant can be performed at any time if the need arises. It is quite easy to recognize the signs. What you should look for is the bottom of your pot and check if roots are coming through the holes used for drainage.
If that is the case, it means that the current pot is too small for roots to efficiently grow, so you should find a larger pot. Also, if you use a plastic pot, you might notice that it is becoming bulky, which is another sign that the plant should be repotted.
Snake plants per se usually prefer to be root bound, but when they get too big for their current pots, they should be transplanted into a bigger one, or they might die. Another solution is to propagate it if you want to grow more plants in order to beautify other areas of your home.
How to repot dracaena trifasciata
The first logical step in this process is to find a proper pot for your snake plant. Keep in mind that a snake plant can have quite large leaves, so the top part of the plant can be pretty heavy.
To avoid falling over and keeping the balance, you should get a wider pot, rather than just focusing on getting a deeper one. The best measurement is to take a pot that is around 2” wider than the previous one because you don’t want to get the too large pot.
If you get an oversized pot, that means that there will be more soil than needed, which could hold moisture for more time, and that could cause rotting of the root, which is not good for your snake plant.
Apart from that, you should think about using the best soil for indoor plants and focus on getting the one that has pretty good draining capabilities.
The most common type of soil for the snake plant can be found on our list of best soil for snake plant, and it would be a good idea to mix it with a small amount of sand, to increase the drainage ability.
Also, you can add a bit of compost, but make sure that you don’t overstep and add too much because it is known that compost can hold quite a bit of moisture.
Be careful when transplanting!
When removing the snake plant from the previous container or pot, make sure to be careful, in order not to hurt the root.
If you notice certain dark spots in the root area, that means that rot is developing there, so you should clean it first, by cutting the infected areas with the sterile tools.
After that is done, put your plant in a new pot, and make sure not to elevate it too much, since the depth should be the same as before.
Tap the soil until your plant is well-supported and water it. If you notice that watering causes the soil to sink, you should insert more soil, in order for it to stay at the right elevation.
How to care about snake plant after repotting
You can think of a repotting as a type of surgery. And just like humans need time to recover from the surgery, plants also need some time to recover from the repotting, especially if you had to remove certain unhealthy parts during the process.
After repotting, you should keep your snake plant in bright areas, but not on the direct sunlight. That is one of the reasons I told you that the best time for repotting is near the end of the winter or at the beginning of the spring because at that time, temperatures are quite normal and the sunlight is not too expressed.
Also, it would be best not to use fertilizers for the first month after repotting a snake plant because it allows the plant’s root to take hold and get familiar with the new personal space.
Watering is also quite important after repotting, so make sure not to water the plant if the first inch of the soil from the top is not completely dry.
Snake Plant Problems and Solutions
Even plants that are easiest to take care of can run onto some sort of problems, which you will need to address, in order for the plant to continue to grow as it should. The snake plant is no different in that regard. Therefore, I want to talk about the most common problems you can stumble upon when caring about a snake plant and how you can resolve them.
1. Rotting Root
One of the most common problems when caring for a snake plant is the issue of a rotting root, which can be caused mostly by too much watering. This problem occurs mostly during the winter and colder weather, so this is when you need to be really careful about watering your snake plant.
Roots die because they lack oxygen, or because there is too much fungus in the soil. If the soil is too moist, different fungi can spread inside the root and make the plant sick. After that, roots usually get a brown color and become weak, thus withering quite fast because they are not able to get enough healthy nutrients.
What makes this issue even bigger is the fact that it is really hard to notice it, since all of it happens under the soil, where you can’t see it, unless you take out the plant completely. To help with this problem, you might want to think about getting a pot with a good draining system, which should make your life much easier.
The most noticeable sign of rotting root is when root changes its color to brown and become really mushy. After that comes the effect on other parts of the plant, such as leaves, which can become brown and yellow, as well as crunchy, looking dead-like.
However, if you notice this on the leaves, then it might already be too late to rectify it, which can put the whole plant in danger.
If you manage to notice the symptoms early on, then the best solution is to completely repot the plant and remove harmful soil. Instead, you can add clean soil, as well as use some treatment for root, most of which contain useful mycorrhizae. Along with that, you could add sulfur powder, which can help your plant to stop the infection from returning again.
However, if you notice that the damage to the root is too high, then you will need to dissect the entire plant and keep only parts of it that are completely healthy, so you could propagate it and grow a new plant.
The best way to prevent rotting roots from even happening is to take greater care when watering a snake plant. You should only water it when the top of the soil, let’s say first 4” is completely dry. To help you with that, you should definitely get a soil meter. During the winter, this means that you will probably need to water your plant only once a month, perhaps even once in two months.
2. Cold Temperatures
Snake plant originates from Africa, more precisely, West Africa, so you could say that it likes a hot climate, and it can’t quite sustain cold weather if it is outside of the house. Cold weather can damage the snake plant’s leaves by creating a barrier that prevents the normal flow of healthy nutrients, which can lead to plant dying because there wasn’t enough moisture.
There are several quite noticeable signs on the snake plant that could point out damage received from the cold temperatures. The most common ones are those on the leaves, such as quite a noticeable scarring, leaves turning yellow, and becoming squashy.
The best way to deal with the damage caused by cold temperature is to prune parts that were damaged, in order to keep them away from other healthy parts. Dead parts can easily spread to the ones that are healthy, which can eventually lead to the early demise of your plant, so always try to avoid that, by removing damaged and dead plant parts.
To prevent that from happening, you can select a proper location for your plant, and get your snake plant indoor, where it will be able to thrive without issues, both during the warm and cold days.
The best temperature conditions for a snake plant are in locations where the temperature during the day is somewhere around 15 to 26 degrees Celsius, and from 12 to 21 degrees Celsius during the night.
3. Issue with Mealybugs
Mealybugs are quite annoying little insects that have pretty soft bodies, and kind of look like small cotton particles. That type of body makes them resistant to heat and capable of keeping the moist inside their bodies.
They can usually be seen around the surface of the soil, as well as on the leaves from time to time. The most commonly known type of these insects is the citrus mealybug. They usually just lay a lot of miniature eggs and then die in around a week.
So, how mealybugs can hurt your snake plant and how will you be able to notice it? There will be few quite noticeable symptoms. For example, leaves will grow in unnatural, somewhat deformed way.
Apart from that, mealybugs tend to use snake plant’s fluid as food, so when they feed, they can leave a trace of honeydew, which contains a lot of sugar and it is quite sticky.
The problem with this is that honeydew can instigate the growth of another harmful thing, which is sooty mold, which can cause additional problems and, if not treated on time, can lead to the demise of your snake plant.
By now you might be wondering how to deal with these little annoyances, am I right?
Luckily, the treatment is pretty easy, especially if you notice the problem on time. You simply need to wipe your snake plant parts where mealybugs are with clothes and alcohol. However, before you do that, make sure that your plant is strong enough for that, since you don’t want to accidentally kill your snake plant.
The only thing you could do to prevent mealybugs from infecting your plant is to regularly check if they have appeared. If you have some other plants nearby, make sure to check them as well, since mealybugs like to go from one plant to another, thus damaging all of them.
In case you notice them on some of your plants, make sure to put that plant in the isolation, so mealybugs aren’t able to infect other plants.
4. Spider Mites Problems
Another pretty common pests that could invade and completely damage your plants are, of course, spider mites. They are very small and can usually be seen on the bottom side of plant’s leaves, where they stay and feed on pretty tasty fluids, which can be found there.
Spider mites can be quite hard to notice, since they can invade your plant, without showing any symptoms at first.
One of the most common symptoms your snake plant can show is the yellow color of leaves, which may or may not be proven to be caused by spider mites. Apart from that, you can notice that there are some sort of webbings in areas close to leaves and at the bottom base of the snake plant, which look like spider made them.
A quite simple solution to this problem is to apply insecticidal soap on your plant or try using water at first, after which you should find some soft and quite clean cloth, and really carefully go across the leaf area.
If you feel like your plant is strong and stable enough, you can also simply turn the pot upside down and try to use shower or kitchen sink to try to remove these pests.
One thing you should know about spider mites is that they like dry places, so always try to keep high enough humidity in the environment where you snake plant is. Also, dust your snake plant from time to time, thus not leaving enough space for spider mites to take hold of and give them time to lay their potential harmful eggs.
5. Southern Blight
The cause of Southern blight is one pretty nasty parasitic fungus that is usually called Sclerotium rolfsii, which can invade a lot of types of both indoor and outdoor plants.
Estimates show that this fungus can attack more than 500 species of different types of plants, and in most cases, it has quite deadly effect on most plants, especially if we are talking about plants that are grown in hot climates with a high humidity and quite moist conditions.
Southern blight directly attacks the stem, and can have extremely negative effects in short amount of time, usually from 7 to 10 days, after which there are certain signs that could signify that your plant has some issues.
The most usual symptom of Southern blight is the appearance of white markers on the snake plant’s leaves, which have a tendency to change to dark brown later on. Also, plant tissue may become quite weak and too soft, thus becoming less durable, which is an indicator that infection is really taking place.
As for the treatment, you basically have two options. You can simply prune infected parts, thus keeping the healthy parts of the plant alive, which is the recommended solution for most plants.
Another solution is to use some sort of chemical substance, such as different types of fungicide, in order to fight the infection. However, it is known that chemical treatments can also have some negative effects on all kinds of plants, so you should only use them as your last measure.
To prevent Southern blight from happening, make sure to regularly check the health of your snake plant, by looking at the possible signs of fungal infection. Also, never use the soil from pots where previously infected plants were residing, since it might be contaminated as well.
6. Red Leaves
Sometimes, you might notice a red spot on leaves of your snake plant. It is one of the most common fungal diseases that attack snake plants.
The most common cause of this problem is Drechslera erythrospila, and it usually attack plants during warm temperatures, mostly during the spring and summer, but it can also appear throughout the year as well.
It is quite easy to recognize this disease, since your leaves will have tiny red spots, which can spread throughout the longer period of time, which results in the appearance of big lesions that are quite sunken, and liquid-like.
The easiest and the most efficient thing you could do to fight red leaf spot is to prune the leaves that are affected by it. That way, you will reduce the chance of spreading the infection to parts of your snake plant that are still healthy.
However, if the infestation is not quite severe, you could also try to use a sulfur spray, or different type of fungicide, such as for example the one that contains copper. Applying chemical solutions cannot cure your snake plant from the ongoing infestation, but it can completely stop it from spreading.
This problem can occur if there is a standing water residing on the surface of the leaf area, so you should always try to ensure that there is the optimal airflow in the environment surrounding your snake plant. Apart from that, you should regularly check the plant for potential infections and pests, as well as keeping it clean and healthy.
Dracaena Trifasciata Care Highlights
My snake plant won’t grow! Why is that?
There are several reasons why your snake plant might not be growing as fast as you expect it. Depending on the season, it can grow slower or faster. During the winter or cool fall days, snake plants will grow at a much slower rate than usual, and even completely stop growing for some time because it needs to save some energy to survive cold weather.
However, if the growth is decelerated during the warm days, then you should check if the plant has some problems. Apart from that, snake plant light is quite important because if it is not good enough, snake plant will grow at a slower pace, so make sure to know how much light snake plant needs.
It is not demanding too much in that regard, just like a spider plant, but still, if you want it to grow faster and be healthy, inform yourself.
Can snake plant hurt my pets or children?
Most parts of snake plant are tiny bit toxic, which means that in large amounts, it could cause some unpleasant symptoms, such as skin swelling and numb tongue if you eat it. Because of that, it is recommended that you keep your pets and children away from the snake plant, so there aren’t any problems.
Therefore, as a simple answer, snake plant and dogs, and snake plant and cats don’t go well together, even though consumption in small doses is pretty much harmless.
I think my snake plant is in a good form, but some leaves keep falling. What could be the problem?
If that is the case, then the most probable reason for falling leaves is that your plant suffers from overwatering. In order to keep your plant healthy and beautiful, you should wait until it is completely dry between watering sessions.
Also, plants grow older over time, so it might be normal for some parts to wither, so just make sure to remove them, once you notice it, so they don’t cause harm to other healthy parts.
Does snake plant have flowers?
Yes, under the proper conditions, snake plant can get flowers.
Why are leaves on my snake plant leaning over the pot?
That’s usually one of the most common signs that you need to repot your snake plant. To maximize the growth, don’t forget to bury the plant a bit lower in the next pot. Also, if you don’t like the sight of bent leaves, you can always cut them off since that will not hurt your snake plant at all.
There are white dries patches on a couple of leaves of my snake plant. What could that be?
The most common problem associated with this symptom is some sort of fungal infection. To prevent this, you should know how often to water snake plant, since the plant is classified as a drought-tolerant plant, which means that it doesn’t like to be wet all the time.
To fix the issue at hand, you can simply add peroxide to the water, so the ratio would be 3/4 water and 1/4 peroxide, which should be enough to remove the infection from your plant.
Shall I use a big pot, so I wouldn’t have to repot my plant multiple times?
Repotting snake plant is easy enough, but you should keep several things in mind. Most importantly, don’t use big pot right away because it would take much longer time for soil to dry out, which could hurt your plant, since snake plant doesn’t like being moisty too much.
Therefore, it is better to use smaller pots, and then when the plant is ready for repotting, you can simply take a slightly bigger pot and put it in there.
And there you have it, my dears!
If you ever wanted to have a beautiful snake plant in your indoor garden but you were just unsure how to take care of it or if it requires a lot of time, now you know.
Are you already a proud owner of Dracaena Trifasciata snake plant? I’d like to hear from you so share your thoughts with me in the comments section below!