How Often Do You Need to Water A Snake Plant?
A snake plant or philodendron is a great indoor houseplant. These plants don’t require much light and thrive in low-humidity environments. They also look good indoors year-round, regardless of climate. The downside is that these plants get thirsty, requiring regular watering.
You should water your Snake Plant fortnightly, letting its soil completely dry out between watering. If the soil is still moist after two weeks, you can water your snake plant monthly during winter. Dig in to learn more details about the snake plant.
How often do you water a snake plant?
In contrast to other indoor plants, snake plants are highly drought-tolerant. Because of this trait, snake plants only require 1-2 weeks of watering. Water is important, but don’t forget. Snake plants can survive without water for up to two weeks during water shortages.
They prefer dry intervals between waterings. Knowing when and how to water your snake plant will help you avoid watering mistakes. If you follow these tips, you will have no problem caring for a snake plant.
Things that influence the watering sessions of snake plants:
Snake plants don’t use sunlight to photosynthesize; rather, they indirectly absorb energy from the sun via a phytochrome process. They do this by opening and closing stomata and pores on the leaf’s surface. When the stomata open, they allow carbon dioxide into the leaf cells, which combine with water molecules to form carbohydrates.
When the stomata close, the plant releases oxygen and takes up carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis occurs when the stomata reopen.
It is important to keep snake plants watered according to the light they receive. They tend to wither away and die if they receive too little light. On the other hand, if they receive too much light, they put out roots to seek more light. In either case, they require additional moisture.
Temperature and Humidity
Snakes are among the most popular houseplants because of their easy maintenance, beautiful foliage, and ability to thrive indoors. But like many indoor plants, snakes require some special attention to keep them healthy and happy.
The main thing to remember about caring for snakes is that they prefer temperatures between 75°F and 85°F (24°C and 29°C). Anything hotter or colder than that could cause problems. And while snakes don’t mind humidity, they enjoy plenty of ventilation.
So, if you have a room that gets hot during the day and cold at night, ensure there’s enough airflow to prevent condensation. You can use fans or open windows to help circulate the air.
Alternatively, it will need to be watered more frequently if the air is dry or the heating is high, especially during the winter. Direct sunlight will also heat up the snake plant; although it doesn’t care about the light level, low lighting may be better.
Type of soil
Snakeplants’ health is also influenced by soil, which is important for watering. You won’t be able to grow a thriving plant with regular potty soil from Lowes. However, how does one know what to pick with so many different potting soils on the market?
It is common for manufacturers to include peat or coconut husks in potting mixtures to retain water for as long as possible. Peat absorbs moisture from the air and holds onto it. At the same time, the coconut husk acts like blotter paper, soaking up water and releasing it slowly as the surrounding soil dries out.
For most indoor plants, this works well. But some plants prefer a looser environment, and others dislike sitting in wet soil. In those cases, a loose soil mix might work better.
Snake plants need to be watered based on the pot they grow in. For example, plastic absorbs moisture; the soil dries out faster in plastic pots than terracotta pots. Similarly, pots with drainage holes will drain water more quickly from the drainage holes, resulting in drier soil than those without drainage holes. Consider the type of pot you have planted your snake plant and how its growth may be affected.
Also Learn: How To Treat Rainwater For Plants
How Snake Plants Hold Water?
Snake plants (Sansevieria) are renowned for their ability to withstand drought and thrive in low-water conditions. Their unique structural adaptations allow them to hold and manage water efficiently. Here’s how snake plants hold water:
1. Succulent-Like Leaves:
Snake plant leaves are thick and succulent-like, which means they can store water. These leaves have a waxy surface that helps reduce water loss through evaporation, further aiding in water retention.
2. CAM Photosynthesis:
Snake plants utilize a special type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). This adaptation allows them to open the stomata (tiny pores on leaves) at night when it’s cooler and less humid. This minimizes water loss compared to plants that open their stomata during the day.
3. Reduced Leaf Surface Area:
Snake plant leaves are often long and slender, reducing their overall surface area compared to broader leaves. This adaptation limits the surface area of air exposure and helps reduce water loss.
4. Water Storage Tissues:
Within the leaves of snake plants, water storage tissues can hold a significant amount of water. These tissues can retain water for extended periods, providing a reservoir during dry spells.
5. Shallow Root System:
Snake plants have shallow root systems that allow them to quickly absorb water from light rain or brief periods of moisture. This is particularly beneficial in their native arid regions where water availability can be sporadic.
6. Slow Growth Rate:
Snake plants tend to have a slower growth rate compared to other plants. This reduced growth rate means they have lower water requirements and can tolerate longer periods between waterings.
7. Tolerance to Underwatering:
Their ability to tolerate underwatering is a testament to their efficient water management. Snake plants can remain healthy even when water is scarce, making them excellent choices for low-water environments.
8. Adapted to Arid Environments:
Many species of snake plants originate from arid regions of Africa, where water availability is limited. Over time, they have developed these water-holding adaptations to thrive in such challenging conditions.
These adaptations collectively enable snake plants to store and manage water effectively, allowing them to survive and flourish in environments with limited water resources. It’s important to replicate these conditions when caring for snake plants indoors by providing well-draining soil, proper light, and a watering routine that mimics their native habitat.
The signs of an underwatered snake plant:
Snake plants are easy to care for. They don’t require much attention, but like many houseplants, they benefit from regular watering. If you notice the following signs, your snake plant may be underwatered.
Brown, crispy tips
If you notice brown, crispy tips on your snake plant, it could mean that the roots are getting dehydrated. To avoid this problem, make sure you regularly check your snake plant for moisture levels.
Your snake plant might look fine one day and suddenly die off overnight. If you notice dead leaves on your snake plant, water it immediately. When you see dried-up leaves, it could mean insufficient water is reaching the root system.
Hard, compacted soil.
If you notice that your snake plant’s soil is becoming hard and compact, you might want to repot your plant. You can use a small shovel to loosen up the soil and add some fresh dirt to the bottom of the pot.
Also Learn: Is Filtered Water Good For Plants?
Sign of an overwatered snake plant:
Snake plants are one of the easiest houseplants to grow and maintain. They don’t require much care and can thrive indoors or outdoors in many different climates. But like any other plant, snake plants do best when given proper care.
In addition to regular watering, snake plants benefit from occasional misting, especially during hot summer. To avoid overwatering, look for these telltale signs of overwatering:
- Yellowed leaves
- Moist soil
- Waterlogged soil
- Roots growing into the potting mix
If you see any of these symptoms, stop watering immediately. This could save your plant from drowning.
How do you water snake plants?
Before you begin watering your snake plant:
- Make sure you prepare the container first.
- Remove the old soil (if possible) and wash the roots thoroughly.
- Add a new potting medium, which should be half the size of the original container.
Use a fine sprayer attachment on your hose to apply the correct water. Do not let the hose touch the leaves. Keep your snake plant away from heat sources such as radiators and heating vents. This will reduce the chances of overheating. Ensure you don’t place your snake plant near strong electrical currents like power lines.
These could cause burns to your snake plant. You also want to avoid placing your snake plant near fluorescent lights because they emit ultraviolet radiation. It can burn the leaves to shreds. Try to use a misting system instead of a drip irrigation system. This method sprays water directly onto the surface of the soil rather than allowing it to run off into the drainage holes.
The misting system allows the plants to absorb more nutrients and moisture. Some snake plants require less frequent watering than others. But no matter what type of snake plant you own, there are some basic guidelines to follow before you start watering your garden.
When is the best time to water the snake plant?
The best time to water a snake plant is in the morning. This is because:
- The plant has all day to dry out and will be able to absorb water better. If you water it at night, it may not be able to dry out enough before it needs more water again.
- You’re less likely to over-water your snake plant if you do so in the morning as opposed to late at night when everyone else is asleep. Many people forget they watered their plants while sleeping and mistakenly overwatered them.
Here are some more tips for watering season snake plants:
1. Spring and Summer:
- Increase Watering Frequency: As snake plants experience active growth during these seasons, you can slightly increase the watering frequency. Allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Monitor Light Conditions: If your snake plant is placed in bright, indirect light during spring and summer, it might dry out a bit faster. Adjust your watering routine accordingly.
- Use a Well-Draining Potting Mix: Ensure that the potting mix provides good drainage to prevent waterlogged soil. Use a mix designed for succulents or cacti to maintain the right moisture balance.
- Reduce Watering: With the onset of fall, snake plants typically slow down their growth. Reduce the watering frequency and allow the soil to dry out more between waterings.
- Watch for Lower Light Levels: The plant’s water needs might also decrease as the days get shorter and light levels decrease. Adjust your watering routine based on how quickly the soil dries.
- Water Sparingly: During winter, snake plants enter a dormant phase. Water sparingly and only when the soil is completely dry. It’s important to avoid overwatering, as the plant is less active and requires less moisture.
- Provide Adequate Light: Ensure your snake plant receives sufficient indirect light during winter. Proper lighting helps maintain a healthy growth balance and prevents issues related to overwatering.
- Avoid Cold Drafts: Keep your snake plant away from cold drafts, as the combination of cold air and wet soil can increase the risk of root rot.
- Choose the Right Pot: Opt for a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom of the pot.
- Water at the Base: When watering, aim to water the soil directly at the base of the plant. Avoid getting water on the leaves or the center rosette to prevent rot.
- Check Soil Moisture: Always check the soil’s moisture level before watering. Stick your finger into the soil to determine if it’s dry or slightly moist.
- Use a Watering Schedule: Establish a consistent watering schedule that aligns with the plant’s growth and environmental conditions. This helps prevent both underwatering and overwatering.
Remember that individual snake plants and their watering needs can vary based on factors such as humidity, temperature, and pot size. By observing your plant’s response to your care, you can fine-tune your watering routine to keep your snake plant healthy and thriving throughout the seasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
1: Why are snake plants good at conserving water?
Snake plants have several adaptations that enable them to hold water efficiently. Their succulent-like leaves store water, they use CAM photosynthesis to reduce water loss, and their reduced leaf surface area minimizes evaporation.
2: How do snake plants use CAM photosynthesis for water conservation?
Snake plants use Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), a type of photosynthesis that allows them to open stomata at night. This reduces water loss as they can take in carbon dioxide during cooler, more humid hours.
3: What role does the leaf structure play in water retention for snake plants?
Snake plant leaves are thick, waxy, and often long and slender. These structural adaptations minimize water loss through evaporation and provide storage space for water.
4: Can snake plants tolerate dry conditions due to their water-holding abilities?
Yes, snake plants are well-equipped to tolerate dry conditions. Their water storage tissues, shallow root systems, and slow growth rate allow them to survive extended periods without water.
5: Are snake plants suitable for arid environments due to their water-holding adaptations?
Yes, many snake plant species originate from arid regions of Africa. Their ability to thrive in water-scarce environments is a testament to their efficient water management adaptations.
Snake plants’ remarkable ability to hold water results from their various adaptations that have evolved to thrive in arid conditions. From succulent-like leaves to CAM photosynthesis, these plants have developed ingenious strategies to store and manage water efficiently. Understanding these adaptations helps us properly care for snake plants, ensuring they thrive in their natural and indoor habitats.