Care Guide for the Black Coral Snake Plant (for Beginners)
The Black Coral Snake Plant is a rare sansevieria species with a unique color design on its variegated leaves. Works well as a feature indoor plant or addition to any landscape.
Black Coral Snake Plant
- with white variegated lines contrasting dark green leaves, the Black Coral Snake Plant is truly a special member of the snake plant family
- low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, it is the perfect specimen for all levels of gardening expertise
- easily propagated by cuttings or division
Black Coral Snake Plant Quick Care Summary
|Allow soil to dry between watering
|Position in a space that receives plenty of bright indirect light
|70-90° Fahrenheit (21-32° Celsius)
|Relative humidity levels at 30-50%
|All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring
|Loamy well-draining soil
Getting to Know Black Coral Snake Plant
We always recommend to our readers to do their research on the plants they bring into their homes. Not only will it help with understanding their care requirements, but it will also help you to become a more mindful gardener.
To do this, we need to understand where they come from and their origins.
Scientific Name: Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Black Coral’
Common Name(s): mother-in-law’s tongue, Sansevieria Black Coral, St George’s Sword, Bowstring Hemp
The Black Coral Snake Plant originates from the tropical western parts of the African continent.
The type of environment they naturally thrive in is a sandy substrate in low-lying grasslands. Even though they are classified as tropical, the rainfall is unpredictable, with long periods of drought.
Owing to the sporadic rainfall, the Black Coral Snake Plant has developed an ability to store water reserves in its leaves, and underground stems called rhizomes, making them drought-tolerant.
Fortunately, this ability makes them very easy to care for and is perfect for indoor plant enthusiasts.
The rhizomes also make it easy to propagate the Black Coral Snake Plant, but we’ll explore that in more detail later in the article.
Appearance & Flowers
The most significant appeal of the Black Coral Snake Plant is the contrasting colors displayed on the foliage.
Unlike the traditional bottle-green we are accustomed to seeing on many other snake plant varieties, the Black Coral has a much darker base green. With the white horizontal variegated lines, the dark green almost looks black in comparison, hence the name.
The growth pattern is very similar to that of the standard Sansevieria Trifasciata. The leaves can grow 2-4 feet long, making them medium-sized snake plants.
They can develop flowers. However, conditions need to be optimal – even then, they may not have any blooms. Snake plants do not flower annually, so take plenty of pictures when they blossom.
The flowers look like fireworks in suspended animation and develop on stalks that grow from the base of the snake plant. The dainty flowers can range from cream to off-white, sometimes with a pinkish hue.
Black Coral Snake Plant Detailed Care Instructions
Now let’s get into the detailed care instructions for your Black Coral Snake Plant.
Allow the soil to dry before adding more water to your Black Coral Snake Plant.
Although this sounds straightforward, it can be more challenging to determine when the soil is dry.
The longer you care for your Black Coral Snake Plant, the easier it will be to understand its water needs. Especially since the watering frequency changes as the weather changes.
We’ve put together a guide on water frequencies in different seasons to make things easier. Check out our article HERE.
Black Coral Snake Plant require plenty of bright light to thrive.
Indoor Black Coral Snake Plants prefer bright indirect light but can tolerate direct sunlight. However, only in short doses. If you expose your Black Coral Snake Plant to direct sunlight, ensure it is only dappled sunlight in the early morning or late evening. Midday and afternoon sun is too intense for indoor snake plants and will quickly dehydrate the leaves, causing leaf burn.
When grown outdoors, the Black Coral Snake Plant becomes hardened to the weather elements and has higher tolerances for direct sunlight.
Read more HERE for tips on lighting conditions for snake plants.
As we explained in the Getting to Know the Black Coral Snake Plant section, they originate from Africa. This means they thrive in warm weather.
The recommended indoor temperature for Black Coral Snake Plant is between 60-85° Fahrenheit (15-29° Celsius).
We caution all snake plant owners to be careful of extreme temperatures. At freezing temperatures, water expands when frozen. This means the water reserves in the Black Coral leaves can freeze, causing irreparable damage to the leaf cells.
If your area is susceptible to freezing temperatures during winter, we recommend bringing your snake plants inside the house, where the temperature is acceptable.
Humidity isn’t talked about much when it comes to snake plants. However, it is essential in regulating your snake plant’s internal processes, such as transpiration.
Keep your Black Coral Snake Plant in between 30 and 50% relative humidity.
Not enough moisture in the air (low humidity) accelerates the transpiration process, dehydrates your plant, and causes water stress.
At the other end of the spectrum, too much moisture (high humidity) will prevent transpiration at the other extreme, and your Black Coral Snake Plant will suffocate.
We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.
Soil & Fertilizer Requirements
The properties of the soil you use for your Black Coral Snake Plant can have profound effects on the health of your houseplant.
Choosing the best soil for your Black Coral Snake Plant can significantly impact your plant parent experience. Poor-quality or incorrect soil (like regular potting soil) will lead to rot issues and may even cause your snake plant to become mushy.
Good-quality soil will reduce the frequency of your watering, facilitate the uptake of nutrients by your snake plant, and reduce its susceptibility to pests and disease.
To be effective, your snake plant soil must be:
- a sandy loam consistency (light and airy), and
- contain some organic materials with water absorption properties.
We have devised a recipe for the perfect snake plant potting mix. You can also watch our video on making snake plant soil below.
Pest and Diseases
If there is one disease that you should familiarise yourself with for your Black Coral Snake Plant, it is root rot.
Root rot is a fungal disease that can develop when your snake plant has been sitting in waterlogged soil from being overwatered. The process of eliminating root rot is straightforward. However, it is onerous. You can read our step-by-step guide for removing root rot in snake plants HERE.
Some leaf-borne fungal diseases, such as mildew and leaf spot, can infect your Black Coral. We explore these diseases and (more importantly) treatments HERE.
Snake plants are most susceptible to sap-sucking insects like mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. These pests have the equipment to penetrate the tough outer layer of the foliage and access the nutrient-rich sap.
The best way to detect any signs of pests (or disease, for that matter) is to regularly inspect your potted plants and manually remove any pests you see. The key is not letting their population get out of hand and become an infestation.
You can read more about symptoms of pest infestation HERE.
Like other snake plants, Black Coral Snake Plant requires a tight root system to support its large leaves.
When placed in a container too large for their root system, they will refocus their energy on developing the roots rather than growing new leaves. While they are still growing (under the soil), they will appear to be experiencing stunted growth.
Your snake plant pot should also have adequate drainage with plenty of drainage holes. As we pointed out earlier, constantly wet soil rots your Black Coral root system.
Black Coral Snake Plant Propagation Techniques
To preserve the stunning variegated patterns and colors, we recommend only propagating your Black Coral Snake Plant using the propagation method by plant division or by splitting snake plant pups.
Propagating your Black Coral Snake Plant with a cutting in water or soil risks the new plant reverting to a regular pattern on the foliage, similar to the Sansevieria Trifasciata.
To propagate by plant division, follow these steps:
- Remove the root ball – lift the mother snake plant root ball out of its container.
- Clean and prepare the root ball – rinse your snake plant’s roots under warm water to clear the soil away.
- Identify the rhizome – find the rhizome attached to the baby Black Coral Snake Plant snake pup. Cut the rhizome as close to the main root ball of the mother plant as possible. You want to retain as many thin roots as possible with the rhizome.
- Re-pot your Plants – re-pot your mother snake plant into the original pot with some fresh potting mix. At the same time, fill your propagation containers a third up with a good-quality potting mix (discussed above). Place each pup into the pot and backfill with quality potting mix until the soil level covers the white parts of the rhizome and pups. Give all your plants good watering and ensure all excess water drains out.
You can find step-by-step instructions HERE if you prefer to propagate using cuttings.