How Often to Water a Snake Plant: (Sansevieria) Watering Schedule

By: Matt Slaymaker
November 24, 2023
How to Water a Snake Plant
Share this post:

Snake plants are easy house plants to grow, which have straight, sword-like leaves and can reach 2 or 3 feet in height. They are both beautiful and hardy, which makes them a firm favorite among house plants. One thing that puzzles many plant lovers is how to water a snake plant. Proper watering is essential for keeping your snake plant healthy as they can develop root rot and die if overwatered.

Snake plants’ leaves come in many forms and patterns, with varieties like the Zeylanica snake plantLa Rubia snake plant, variegated snake plant. So, it’s important to check their particular watering requirements to ensure the health and longevity of your plant.

Getting to Know Your Snake Plant’s Watering Needs

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria trifasciata or Dracaena trifasciata, are succulents, which have moderate watering needs. You need to know how to care properly for your snake plant because overwatering can be fatal for it.

Do Snake Plants Store Water?

Snake plants, like other succulents, store water in their leaves. When dehydrated, a snake plant’s leaves may turn brown and brittle, whereas yellowing and soft leaves are a common sign of overwatering.

Can Snake Plants Absorb Water Through Leaves?

While all plants can absorb small amounts of water through their leaves, this isn’t an efficient way of watering them. Misting your snake plant isn’t recommended either.

How to Water Your Snake Plant

How to Water Your Snake Plant

Snake plants are drought-tolerant, and many plant specialists go so far as to say that these hardy plants thrive on neglect. The exact amount of water and how quickly it is absorbed may vary according to temperature, soil type, and your plant’s size and access to sunlight. 

Here are two ways of watering sansevieria:

Water Over the Soil

  • Make sure that the soil in the pot is completely dry (if it’s still moist, wait until it dries)
  • Water the soil evenly, going around the plant; avoid watering the leaves to prevent rotting and disease
  • Stop watering when water starts flowing out of the pot’s drainage holes

Bottom Watering Technique

  • Place your snake plant in a shallow container filled with several inches of water
  • Let the roots absorb as much water as they need for 10-15 minutes
  • Take the plant out of the container, wait until excess water flows out of the drainage holes, and replace your plant in its decorative pot

Get a Personalized Plant Recommendation

Take the Quiz

Do Snake Plants Like Self-watering Pots?

Like most succulents, the snake plant needs its soil to dry out thoroughly before it receives more water so planting it in self-watering pots isn’t a good idea.

Should You Spray Water on Snake Plants?

Misting your snake plant is not recommended. Spraying the leaves with water will not benefit the plant, and if the water collects inside the leaf rosettes or at the base of the plant, this can cause the plant to rot.

How to Water a Snake Plant After Repotting It?

It’s generally not necessary to water a snake plant after repotting it. If your snake plant’s leaves are brittle from lack of water or the top soil layer feels too dry, you can water the repotted plant moderately.

Watering a Snake Plant: Best Practices and Tips

Watering a Snake Plant Best Practices

Overwatering can damage a snake plant much more than keeping it dry for a few weeks. These handy watering tips will help you keep your snake plant thriving for many years.  

What Water to Use for Your Snake Plant

Tap water isn’t good for your snake plant because it contains chlorine. Rainwater, filtered, or bottled water are the best options. Also, letting tap water sit for 24 hours before you use it makes it suitable for watering plants as this allows time for the chemicals in it to fall apart. Another important thing to consider is the water’s temperature. Use lukewarm water instead of cold water whenever possible.

How Much Water to Use for Your Snake Plant

Your plant’s watering needs differ depending on its age and size. In addition to this, larger plants have a more developed root system which enables them to absorb more water while smaller plants need less water.

Watering Young Snake Plants

A young snake plant that is still growing and developing its leaves will need more water than a fully formed plant. It’s still important to let the soil dry out between watering, but you may need to check on your plant more frequently to water it as soon as it has completely absorbed the water.

Watering Mature Snake Plants

Mature snake plants store more water in their leaves and can be watered less often. Remember, however, that mature plants are usually larger and may need plenty of water to keep up their extensive root system.

Frequency and Schedule: When to Water a Snake Plant

Watering your plants on a schedule is handy, but it doesn’t consider their varying watering needs due to different seasons and light conditions. There are ways, however, to tell when your plant needs water.

How Do I Know When My Snake Plant Needs Water?

How Do I Know When My Snake Plant Needs Water

These are several warning signs that your snake plant is thirsty:

  • its leaves feel dry and brittle, and they’re going brown at the tips
  • its leaves are curling inwards  
  • the soil in the pot is dry (use the draining holes to check the soil at the bottom of the pot)

Always check the soil in addition to the leaves to make certain that your plant needs water and isn’t overwatered instead.

How Often to Water a Snake Plant

Water your snake plant every two weeks, making sure that its soil is completely dried out before watering it. This will help you prevent root rot from overwatering. In the winter months you may need to water your snake plant only once a month.

Environmental Factors Influencing Watering a Snake Plant

There are several environmental factors to consider when watering your snake plant, as it’s essentially a tropical plant.

  • Light

The more sunlight your snake plant receives, the more water it’s going to need.

  • Temperature and humidity

Your sansevieria will need more water when it’s hot and dry and less water in colder and more humid environments.

  • Seasons

The snake plant needs very little water during winter, when it enters into its winter dormancy stage, and more water during spring and summer.

The Role of Soil Drainage in Watering a Snake Plant

Since sansevierias don’t tolerate waterlogged soil, one of the vital conditions for keeping your snake plant healthy is to provide it with a pot that has drainage holes and to plant it in well-draining soil.

Do Snake Plants Like Fast-Draining Soil?

Snake plants thrive in fast-draining soil. It allows the plant’s roots to absorb all the water they need, and the rest of the water simply seeps out of the pot into the saucer.

Common Watering Mistakes to Avoid

Common Watering Mistakes to Avoid

 

Here are some frequent mistakes people make when watering their snake plants:

Wrong Pot Size and Its Effect on Watering

It’s tempting to select a large pot for your snake plant from the start to avoid repotting it. But being planted in more soil than it can handle is harmful to your plant. Smaller plants have proportionately smaller root systems, and surrounding them with too much soil will cause them to absorb more moisture than they need. Sansevierias are better off planted in snug containers. Let it fill the pot with roots and then repot it into a slightly larger container when necessary.

How Do I Know If My Snake Plant Is Overwatered?

If you’ve overwatered a snake plant, it’s crucial to know the signs so that you can stop watering it and save your plant.

Root Rot as a Silent Killer

Root rot develops when there isn’t enough oxygen in the waterlogged soil and your snake plant’s roots cannot absorb the excess water. If not taken care of at an early stage, the issue can be fatal to plants. That’s why noticing the signs of overwatering is decisive for rescuing your plant.

Tell-Tale Signs of an Overwatered Snake Plant in Leaves

Apart from soil dryness, your sansevieria’s leaves show the most apparent signs that it has been overwatered. A healthy sansevieria’s leaves are straight and firm. When you spot soft and drooping leaves, it’s a sign that the plant’s leaves are oversaturated with water. An overwatered snake plant’s leaves will usually turn yellow.

Underwatering Your Snake Plant

Although snake plant is a low water plant, underwatering it will normally result in browning, dry leaves, which sometimes also curl inwards. The soil in the pot will also be dry and crumbly.

Troubleshooting Watering Issues With Your Snake Plant

The most common issues with snake plants are the result of incorrect watering. If they’re noticed on time, you can usually save your plant. Here’s how to do that.

How Do You Revive a Dehydrated Snake Plant?

If you haven’t watered your snake plant for weeks, it may get dehydrated and start withering. To revive it, follow these steps:

  • place your plant in a shallow tub or other container filled with water
  • let it soak up as much as it needs for 15-20 minutes and then replace it in its saucer or decorative pot
  • cut off any dead, brown leaves
  • move it to a location with indirect sunlight and room temperature

How to Fix an Overwatered Snake Plant

To revive an overwatered snake plant, try the following:

  • remove excess soggy soil and cut off any rotting roots
  • repot the plant in well-draining soil; make sure the new pot has drainage holes
  • cut off any damaged leaves and stems
  • move the plant to a place with sufficient sunlight

Conclusion

Watering sansevieria doesn’t have to be hard – just remember that it’s a succulent and doesn’t need as much water as other plants. Plant your snake plant in well-draining soil and use a moderate watering schedule that will allow your plant’s soil to dry out before you give it more water. Take into account the changing seasons and varying light conditions and check regularly for signs of overwatering. These are the best ways to keep your snake plant thriving and enjoy its attractively lush look for many years!