The Sansevieria Trifasciata Black Gold, more commonly referred to as a snake plant, has thick sword-like leaves of dark emerald green with light greenish-grey horizontal stripes. These Asian and Chinese native plants are commonly used for home decor because of their eye-catching shape. Not only are they easy to care for plants, but they also have a lot of benefits for their owners.
Snake plants were first introduced in 1794 by Carl Peter Thunberg, a Swedish naturalist who named this plant after the Italian Prince Raimondo di Sangro. In 2015 the plant was reclassified as a Dracaena, but the name Sansevieria is still just as popular. The Snake plant’s close association with good luck and fortune may be one of the many reasons it is a beginner favorite.
Snake Plants are known to help improve the air quality around them by filtering the air even at night. Very few plants can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, but this beauty can! These plants are also effective at removing toxic pollutants or allergens that may linger in your home.
These plants are also recognized for their ability to improve mental health. Horticultural therapy is commonly used in mental health due to the therapeutic effects found in nature. Snake plants are also commonly found in “Feng Shui,” which is the practice of creating a balanced space within the natural world. The Chinese believe that creating this sacred space is important to the health of everyone. This follows a practice called “Tao,” which is the way of nature; inviting nature into your home is a huge step in this process.
Snake Plants are often marketed as “low-light” plants, but the truth is, this may not be the best thing for them. It is true that they can survive in the shade but do they truly thrive there?
Exposing snake plants to some indirect light makes them flourish and can cause flowering. The less light you give your snake plant, the darker and less variegated the leaves will be, and you can almost guarantee that it will not bloom this way.
If your plant is already in a shaded area, try to avoid moving it too quickly to a brighter location, as this can cause shock to your plant. Be sure to slowly move it for several weeks to prevent your plant from going into shock.
When it comes to these plants, humidity is not a huge concern, and they tend to be happy no matter what you offer them. Snake plants can survive in almost all humidity levels but prefer 30 – 50%, which is the average in most homes.
Snake Plants will show signs if they are unhappy with the humidity level. You can look for things like drooping leaves, brown edges, or yellowing of the leaves. In this case, a simple home humidity test can tell you where you need to go to make your plant thrive again.
Since Snake Plants are considered succulents, they store water in their thick leaves instead of using it all at once and because of this, learning how to water these may be a little tricky. As a rule of thumb (or index finger), inserting your finger about 2-inches into the soil to check the dryness of the soil is the perfect method for determining if your plant will need watering.
Succulents use special photosynthesis that allows them to go into photosynthesis at the right times of day to avoid using too much water in the heat of that day. Because of this, water storage is essential for them. Unlike most plants, this also allows them to continue purification into the night.
Snake plants grow great in various temperatures; however, like any plant, those grown in higher temperatures will require more water, and those grown in colder temperatures will require less. These plants will do best in temperatures between 60-70℉. These hardy plants can survive in temperatures as low as 55℉ and temperatures as high as 100℉.
Be on the lookout for signs of injury to your plant caused by drafts, heat stress, and low temperatures that can include leaving curling, wrinkled leaves, sunburn, and brown edges. Inadequate temperatures will also slow the production of growth and new leaves on your plant, sending them into their dormant state.
While these hardy plants can withstand almost anything, neglectful soil is not one of them. Choosing the best soil for your plant is key to unlocking the full potential of this gorgeous plant. Generally, an all-purpose or succulent soil will be perfect for your plant.
Snake plants prefer light, well-draining soil without any kinds of pests or bacteria, so grabbing some dirt from your front yard probably isn’t the best idea. A soil pH between 5 and 7 makes your snake plant thrive.
Providing adequate drainage, no matter the plant, is extremely important. Creating a drainage layer in the bottom of your pot with small clean rocks will ensure the drainage holes at the bottom do not become impacted, leaving your plant unable to drain.
Since these snake plants can tolerate synthetic and organic fertilizers, the list is endless here. However, since these plants are native to poor, rocky soil, it is imperative not to over-fertilize them. A good fertilizer of your choice will provide all the needed nutrients to your plant once a year.
Snake plants prefer an N-P-K or Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium rich fertilizer with a 1-1-1 ratio. This just means that there is 1% of each ingredient.
When choosing a fertilizer, there are a few things to consider. If a liquid is your go-to, be aware of fertilizer burn from undiluted fertilizer. If you choose to use granules, thoroughly flush out the soil with each watering to ensure that salt doesn’t build up in your soil. Lastly, if you decide on fertilizer stakes, note that the fertilizer only gets delivered to that specific location, so make sure to rotate the sikes locations each feed.
Potting and Repotting
Snake plants are very slow-growing plants that rarely need repotting, but when it finally begins to overflow from their pot, you know it’s time. These plants can get as tall as 8 feet! Another way to tell if it’s time to repot is when your roots begin to grow out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Snake plants do well in tighter pots, so when moving up a pot size, try to only go up by about 2 inches, or you may shock your plant. Repotting is a great time to inspect the roots for any fungus or root rot which you should treat before planting your snake plant into its new home.
Prepare your pot, soil, and any other supplies before you remove your plant, as you shouldn’t expose its roots to air for extended amounts of time.
While you still have your plant out of its pot for repotting, check for any smaller sprouts or pups that are the beginning of new plants. These should be removed and planted in their pots as these are new individual baby plants.
If you can’t wait and want to propagate your plant right away, you can cut off a leaf into sections about 6-inches and place the cut end directly in fresh, clean water. Continue providing fresh water daily and thoroughly clean the container once a week to ensure algae doesn’t begin to grow. Once prominent roots are visible, you can plant your new plant in a pot and soil.
Pests and Diseases
You are likely to encounter some pests at some point while owning your plant, but many are easy to cure if caught early on. Some of the most common pests you can see are spider mites, aphids, or whiteflies.
Yellow sticky traps are effective at treating the early stages of pests. Horticultural oil or soap is plant-safe and used to suffocate pests, so they have to come in contact with the bug. Late-stage infestations can be cured with synthetic pesticides and should be used with help from your local plant nursery.
The most common disease of a snake plant is root rot. This happens when water sits in the pot and can not drain. Rinse off your plant’s roots, cut off any infected roots, and repot with plenty of drainages in the new pot.
You should keep these beautiful plants away from children and pets as their leaves can be dangerous. Snake plants have a toxic sap that, if ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, and even numbness or swelling to the mouth and throat. These toxins are even more detrimental to pets as their bodies can’t even begin to neutralize the toxins.
Sansevieria “Black Gold” vs “Laurentii”
Sansevieria ‘Black gold’
This is by far the most unique snake plant variety; this plant has thick dark green leaves that are edged in a deep yellow that resembles gold.
This larger variety of plants grows up to 30-inches when given proper care. This plant can be spotted by its distinctive yellow zig-zags across the leaves.