How Often To Water Snake Plant?

Snake plants are hardy plants that almost seem to thrive on neglect. However, they are not indestructible, and one of the most common reasons that people kill their snake plants is watering them too often.

How often you need to water a snake plant depends on the climate you live in. Generally, you can water a snake plant once every two weeks during summer and once a month in winter. Always check if the soil is almost dry before watering. Snake plants can easily suffer from overwatering.

Snake plants, or Sanseveria, are native to arid regions of Africa. They are adapted to tolerate drought, so you do not need to worry too much about under-watering them. This article is about how to determine how often you should water your snake plant.

When To Water A Snake Plant

It is important to only water a snake plant when the soil has almost dried completely. Allowing it to dry between watering simulates the conditions that these plants naturally grow in.

To check whether it is time to water your snake plant, dig your finger a few inches into the soil. If you feel that the soil is still slightly damp, wait a few more days before you water the snake plant. If the soil feels dry, water the snake plant.

How Long Can A Snake Plant Go Without Water?

Watering Snakeplants

Snake Plants require more water when they are actively growing. They grow during spring and summer when the temperatures are warm. During the fall and winter, temperatures drop, and these tropical plants go into dormancy. Therefore, snake plants can go longer without water in fall and winter than in spring and summer.

Summer Vs Winter

During the growing season, snake plants can survive without water for three weeks, or even more if temperatures are not extreme and the plant grows in shady conditions.

While snake plants are dormant, they can go without water for a month or two. They will survive perfectly well, only being watered once a month going into fall and once every 2 months in winter.

Low Light Vs Full Sun

Snake plants that are grown in bright, indirect sunlight cannot go without water for as long as snake plants that are grown in the shade. This is due to how these plants photosynthesize.

How Much Water A Snake Plant Needs

People often misunderstand the advice that snake plants do not need a lot of water. They interpret this as snake plants only needing to be watered with a small amount at a time.

This is not healthy for a snake plant because a small amount of water cannot penetrate deep into the soil to be absorbed by the whole root system. Watering a snake plant in this way can lead to stress from under or overwatering.

When you water a snake plant, it is important to give it a thorough drenching. You must then wait until the soil almost dries out completely again before watering.

Bottom Watering Benefits Snake Plants

Bottom watering is a brilliant way to hydrate snake plants. It allows the plant to suck up as much water as it needs. All the soil in the pot becomes saturated, encouraging the roots to grow deeper into the pot.

To bottom water a snake plant, fill a bathtub or other container with around an inch of water. Place the entire pot into the water and leave it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

When you remove the pot from the water, let it stand somewhere that the excess water can drain freely from the pot. Then return the snake plant to its original spot (remember to place a saucer back under the pot!).

Avoid Getting Water On Snake Plant Leaves

Misting snake plant

Many tropical houseplants require their foliage to be misted every day because they enjoy growing in humid conditions. This is not the case for snake plants.

Do not mist snake plants’ leaves. Also, be careful when watering a snake plant to only wet the soil surface and not the foliage. This is another reason that bottom watering is great for snake plants.

Water droplets on snake plants’ leaves increase their risk of contracting fungal diseases like red leaf spot, which can badly damage the plant.

How To Tell When A Snake Plant Needs Water?

An accurate way to tell if your snake plant needs water is to feel the soil with your finger. Either dig your forefinger a few inches into the soil or stick a finger through the pot’s drainage holes.

Your snake plant needs water if the soil feels dry to the touch. If it feels slightly damp, wait a few more days before checking again and then water.

Is Tap Water Okay For Snake Plants?

Depending on how your domestic water supply is treated, your tap water may contain high levels of chlorine. Many houseplants, including snake plants, are very sensitive to chlorine.

If at all possible, use rainwater or filtered water to water your snake plant. If tap water is your only option, let it stand in a watering can overnight. This will give the chlorine enough time to disperse.

Also Check: How Much Light Does A Snake Plant Need?

Symptoms Of An Overwatered Snake Plant

Overwatering is the most common issue with these drought-hardy African plants. Typical signs that a snake plant is overwatered are:

  • Foliage turns yellow and looks droopy and wilted.
  • Leaves feel soft and mushy at the base.
  • A number of leaves may fall over.
  • Roots look brown and mushy.
  • Soil smells funky.

Problems That Come With Overwatering Snake Plants

There are many issues and diseases that arise from overwatering snake plants. When snake plants live in soggy, waterlogged soil, oxygen cannot reach their roots. This causes them stress and increases the risk of pests and diseases harming the plant.

Some of the pests that affect overwatered snake plants include:

  • Root rot
  • Red leaf spot
  • Scale
  • Fungus gnats
  • Aphids

How To Prevent Overwatering A Snake Plant

Besides establishing an appropriate watering regime, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure that your snake plant does not suffer from overwatering:

  • Plant it in soil that is free-draining. You can buy a cactus potting mixture or create your own by mixing 50% potting soil with 50% perlite. Soil that has ample drainage will allow excess water to flow out of the root zone. This will help the soil stay aerated.
  • Choose a pot with drainage holes. The more drainage holes, the better. If excess water is trapped in the pot, your plant will definitely develop root rot. In a pot with no drainage, root rot can kill a snake plant in as little as 10 days.

Users Also Read: Why Is My Snake Plant Dying?

How To Revive An Overwatered Snake Plant

If you catch the problem in time, there is hope for an overwatered snake plant. If the leaves are just starting to droop or turn yellow, immediately stop watering the snake plant. Place it somewhere with indirect sunlight and wait for the soil to dry out.

In a case where the leaves have turned brown and mushy, you will need to take the snake plant out of the pot to assess the damage. If the root mass is completely mushy, brown and rotten, take cuttings from the healthy parts of the leaves to propagate and throw the rest of the plant and the potting soil out.

If only parts of the roots have turned brown and mushy, carefully remove those parts using a sharp, clean knife. Remove damaged leaves, leaving only healthy ones.

Repot the plant into a fresh, free-draining potting mix. Always choose a pot that is the right size for the plant. A pot that is too large can increase the risk of overwatering.

Conclusion

Snake plants are perfect for people who are new to caring for plants (or for those of us who are notorious for killing plants). They are incredibly hardy plants that can survive in a range of conditions.

They should be watered once every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season in spring and summer. During winter, these plants go dormant, and their growth slows, so they only require water every 6 to 8 weeks.

Resources

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/houseplants/2019/how-often-water-snake-plant