Welcome to the first in a regular series designed to help you care for your beautiful plants. Each edition will feature a different plant and tell you exactly how to make it thrive. Through our tips and techniques, you'll learn how to nurture your nature so that it lives its best life—and so that you can reap its many benefits.
Let’s turn the spotlight on the remarkable snake plant. This plant is occasionally known as the “mother-in-law’s tongue.” If that name alone doesn’t make you whip your head around, the snake plant itself surely will. As something of a tough cookie, this herbaceous plant is a favorite for its decorative value. And with its tall, slithering leaves, it more than lives up to its name.
The beauty of the snake plant isn’t just in the fact that it’s so easy on the eyes. It’s one of the few plants out there that’s virtually impossible to eradicate from existence. Even the least prepared green thumbs can’t go wrong, and with good reason. The snake plant is decidedly low-maintenance and easy for even complete novices to handle.
A Natural Air Purifier
What else is special about this reptilian greenery? For starters, it’s an incredible air purifier—so much so that it could well rival the electric version perched in the corner of your room. It simply absorbs harmful contaminants infiltrating your indoor air, like xylene, formaldehyde, and benzene. It also produces oxygen at night—a rarity among plants overall, which generally release carbon dioxide during the overnight hours.
This benefits you and your family in countless ways. Harmful toxins of all kinds appear in the very same products that most of us use without much thought on a regular basis. Everything from toilet paper to beauty products may leave your indoor air vulnerable to pollution, so the addition of a snake plant can be hugely effective in improving conditions and even minimizing issues like allergic symptoms.
Low Maintenance TLC
But to take advantage of these benefits, your snake plant needs a little TLC—really, just a little bit. It’s tough enough to handle any environment, whether you want to keep it in the bedroom or the bathroom. It’s also relatively compact, making it a contender even for smaller spaces.
To give your snake plant the attention it truly deserves, bathe it in indirect, bright light. It’s more than okay if the lighting is lower, however! Snake plants are very tolerant of varying conditions. That includes watering, which should be done at least every two to three weeks. Just make sure that the soil is completely dry—and avoid oversaturating during wintertime.
The soil itself should be light and airy. The best options are cactus/succulent or African Violet mix, but you can use an all-purpose potting product too. Just be sure to add sand, vermiculite, or perlite to promote more porous soil. You should also apply a cactus/succulent fertilizer at least monthly during growing season. If needed, trim away any damage periodically all the way to the base.
In general, your snake plant feels best in warmer conditions. A minimum of 50 degrees is ideal; avoid positioning your plant next to drafty windows and air conditioner vents to prevent constant exposure to cold air. Since this beauty grows relatively slowly, you don’t have to worry about it overwhelming your small space. With a bit of TLC, your little air-purifying companion is sure to thrive.