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When you hear the word “snake plant” what comes to your mind, you’d think it’s a plant that looks like a snake or attracts a snake, Well you’re not far from the truth!
The snake plant (sansevieria trifasciata) often referred to as a mother-in-law tongue or Saint George Sword is given those names because of the plant look. The snake plant has a stiff sword-like shape and margins on the leaves.
This perennial plant is a native of the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, it consists of evergreen sword-shaped leaves with some species having yellow borderlines on the leaves.
Snake plants have different types which may include, twisted sister, birds nest, rhino grass, and white snake plants.
Like all house plants, the snake plants often face problems that make the plant unlucky sometimes.
In this article, we are going to discuss 7 snake plant problems, the advantages and disadvantages of snake plants, and how to keep snake plants healthy.
7 Common Snake Plant Problems
Some common problems snake plants face is listed below:
- Curling leaves.
- Leaves dropping and falling.
- Temperature sensitivity.
- Root rot/fungal infections
- Slow and stunted growth
- Mode of propagation
1. Curling Leaves
Snake plants are stiff and have straight sword-shaped leaves when healthy, snake leaves curling is often a result of the poor health of the plant that can be caused by pest infestations and overwatering.
Pests such as shrimp can infect a snake plant by feeding on it and causing black spots to appear on the plants, with time the plants will start curling.
If the leaves look damaged, it is advisable to cut the damaged parts to avoid infestation. To check for pests, a magnifying glass should be used to scan the leaves.
2. Leaves Drooping And Falling
Like the name sword plants, snake plants are straight and pointy, that’s why they stand out from other plants.
When the leaves of snake plants start to droop and fall, it is a sign of snake plants facing ill health.
Proper identification of the cause can make it easy to offer a solution, some causes of snakes plants may include.
- Overwatering: snake plants store their water content in their leaves, when the plants are overwatered, the snake plants become heavy and will droop.
- Insufficient light: snake plants can thrive in a shaded environment or partial shade, but when they are left in dark environments for long periods, the leaves will start to fall over. Snakes plants can thrive in medium light and other artificial lighting conditions such as a fluorescent lamp.
Snake plants are drought resistant plants that can survive harsh conditions and varying temperatures. Irrespective of that, snake plant leaves can curl and wrinkle when they are exposed to a sudden change in temperature.
Snake plants thrive more in partial shade environments, artificial lighting and require a temperature of 50-80 °F.
When these plants are exposed to sudden extreme high temperatures, the snake plant can enter a state of shock and cause the leaves to wrinkle and have brown spots on them.
4. Root rot / Fungal infections
Another Common problem snake plants face is root rot and fungal infections. Most causes of root rot are overwatering and excess moisture in the soil, this is because snake plants require minimal watering.
Fungal infections will occur when the leaves have excess moisture, this provides the right conditions for fungi to grow and attack the plant. To check if your snake plant is suffering from root rot, take notice of some signs stated below
- Yellowing of leaves: it is a visible sign that the roots of your plants are beginning to rot and decay. Most snake plants have a deep green colour so when the colour changes, it is a result of root rot caused by overwatering.
- Smelly soil and: if you notice that your soil have a weird and bad odour, it’s a possible indication of root rot. When plant roots decay especially when the moisture content is excess in the soil, it produces a foul smell.
- Mushy roots: Healthy snake plants have white rhizomes that are just beneath the soil, when snake plants suffer from fungal, the roots appear mushy, flaky and brown, it is important to observe their roots to check for these symptoms.
5. Slow And Stunted Growth.
Most snake plants can grow as tall as 4 feet or more when placed under conditions favourable for the plants.
When snake plants are grown indoors, they have a disadvantage; the plant will have slow and stunted growth.
Another cause of stunted growth is when the pot is too small for the plant, the size of pots restricts the roots of the plant from spreading, which makes the plants grow slowly.
To prevent these plants from having stunted growth, they should be kept outside in bright shaded areas.
6. Mode Of Propagation
When propagating plants, most gardeners prefer to use water in place of cutting while this is easy, it also comes with problems. When propagating snake plants with water is not done properly, the plants may suffer from root rot
Since cuttings are ideal for snake plant propagation, it is important to be careful when making cuts on the plant to avoid injuring the plant.
Snake plants are hardy plants and because of that, they are sensitive to soil moisture. When snake plants are overwatered, they can cause problems like root rot and fungal infections.
An indication of overwatered snake plants is seen in their leaves, the leaves become squishy, heavy, and might droop occasionally.
You can check for excess water by using your index finger and inserting it some inches inside the soil.
The best way to water your snake plant is to allow the soil to dry out and then water in small proportions. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.
Disadvantages Of Snake Plants
The snake plants have a lot of benefits but also come with a few disadvantages, some disadvantages snake plants have are?
1. Snake plants are toxic to pets
Snake plants have a bitter taste which makes them hardly digestible for pets like dogs and cats. Snake plants are toxic to domestic pets and may result in poisoning when ingested in large quantities.
Some symptoms of snake plant poisoning among pets may include, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, excess drooling, and diarrhea.
If you notice any of these symptoms on your plants, they may have ingested the snake plant at home. If this occurs the animal should be taken to the nearest vet for treatment.
2. Snake Plants Are Toxic to Humans
Just like poison ivy and other toxic plants, the snake plant can be poisonous to humans, especially children who are not aware of the plant. Symptoms of snake plant poisoning in humans may include swelling of the tongue, irritation of gums, vomiting and nausea. Although most symptoms fade with time, If they persist over a long period, the person needs to visit the doctor.
Advantages of Snake Plant
Surprisingly, snake plants contain a lot of benefits and that’s why they are grown in most homes, some advantages of snake plants are listed below.
- Help filter air and convert CO2 into oxygen even at night.
- Help reduce allergies by purifying the air and adding moisture to it.
- Sap from leaves helps to heal wounds, inflammation and burns.
- Produces oxygen and adds good decor to the house.
- Drought resistant and can survive harsh weather conditions.
Why Is The Snake Plant Unlucky?
The snake plant is considered unlucky because when they are mentioned in the Chinese geomancy (feng shui) they are considered to bring negative energy to the home and is often considered as bad luck plants. Some people feel that this plant brings poverty to homes.
Where Should I Place Snake Plants In My House?
Snake plants can grow in shaded environments, under indirect sunlight, bright light, and even artificial light source for fluorescent.
Snake plants can be kept indoors or in shaded environments outdoors. Snake plants are not succulents and will burn if kept under direct intense sunlight.
How Long Can Snake Plant Live?
Snake Plants are the easiest plants to grow and take care of. They require the minimum effort in planting and growth. On average, snake plants can live up to 15 years, but if found in favourable conditions, they can live up to 25 years.
How Do I Keep My Snake Plants Healthy?
As earlier stated before, snake plants are very easy to grow and maintain. They don’t need any special requirements to grow the plants, they can thrive under full or partial shade, they need to be watered at least once a week.
Finally, snake plants are a must-have in every home, irrespective of the disadvantages they bring, the advantages outweigh the problems.
Getting a snake plant is like bringing a fresh breath of air to your home.