How to Grow a Snake Plant

Don't let the name scare you away! These popular houseplants are guaranteed to slither right into your heart.

Snake plants are actually in the succulent family and count agaves among the members of their family tree. (Just don't try to harvest them to make tequila!) They have many of the same easy-care attributes as their agave cousins: They're very forgiving if you forget to water them, don't require much sunlight to grow, and do a great job purifying the air—perfect for a stuffy office. If you're cultivating an indoor garden of houseplants, a snake plant's upright, spiky habit will add a bit of interesting texture amid the ferns, palms, and spider plants.

Where to Grow a Snake Plant

Looking for an office plant or a bit of greenery for a dark corner of the living room? A snake plant is a terrific choice, as it doesn't need much light to thrive. It will also grow in bright, indirect light. Just don't leave it where sunbeams coming through the windows can burn its leaves. If yours is a variegated snake plant (one with green and white or yellow leaves), you'll actually want to place it in an area that gets bright but indirect light to preserve the colors. Variegated plants in very low light conditions will sometimes revert to green. While plants grow beautifully indoors, they will also grow outdoors in the shade in zones 10 through 12.

How to Plant a Snake Plant

  1. Choose a plastic container (with drainage holes) that's no more than ⅓ larger than the root ball of the plant. Why plastic? The roots of snake plants grow pretty aggressively and may actually crack a terracotta pot.
  2. Fill the container ⅓ of the way full with fast-draining Miracle-Gro® Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, which is specially designed to help low-water plants grow big and strong.
  3. Place the plant in the container, making sure the top of the root ball is about an inch below the rim to leave room for watering. Fill in more soil around the root ball and press gently.
  4. Water your snake plant and let it drain, then set it on a catch tray or saucer and move it to its new home.

How to Water a Snake Plant

Snake plants dislike sitting in constantly moist soil, so they don’t need a lot of watering. Allow the top 2 to 3 inches of soil in the pot to dry out before adding moisture. When it’s time for a drink, water thoroughly and let the plant drain.

How to Feed a Snake Plant

A month after planting, your snake plant is going to be hungry for some extra nutrition. Assuage its appetite instantly with Miracle-Gro® Succulent Plant Food, making sure to follow the label directions. Use 2 pumps for small pots and 5 pumps for larger pots (over 6" diameter).

How to Divide and Repot a Snake Plant

Happy snake plants will eventually fill their entire container home with roots, and when that happens, it’s time to re-plant. Remove the clump from the pot and pull it apart (don’t be shy!). Replant sections in pots that are only ⅓ larger than the root clump, using the planting directions above. Give some to your pals, or spread them out through the darker corners of your home.

How to Handle Problems with Snake Plants

Snake plants are almost comically easy to grow, so chances are you’ll encounter few problems with them. If the leaves of variegated types turn all green, move them to an area with more light. If plants outgrow their pots, re-pot them. Mostly, just enjoy!