How Fast Do Snake Plants Grow? (Tips for Boosting Growth Rate)

The saying “Good things take time” certainly applies to snake plants. They are stunning indoor plants that can really define a room’s character and charm. The only problem is they seem to take their sweet time to mature and grow into their full potential, often leaving you wondering How Fast do Snake Plants Grow Indoors?

Snake plants (aka mother-in-law’s tongue) can grow up to one foot in length within a year. Of course, the speed and rate of growth can vary depending on the species of snake plant you have. Other factors like quality of care, suitability of the surrounding ambient environment, and the type of pot can also play a part on the speed of growth in your snake plant.

How Fast Do Snake Plants Grow

Welcome to another feature article about one of our favorite houseplants, the snake plant. In this article, we’ll be discussing the growth rate of snake plants. You can expect to learn

  • about the growth cycle of a snake plant
  • factors that influence the growth of your snake plant, and
  • how to boost your snake plant’s growth rate.

So go grab a hot drink, because we’re going to get intimate with our friend, the snake plant.

A Few Facts About Snake Plant Growth Rates

To add some context to the topic, and to adjust your expectations regarding the speed at which your snake plant should be growing, let’s understand their natural growth cycle.

credit: tenor

Snake Plant Growing Season

Most, if not all, plants have preferred times of the year to put in a bit more of a concentrated effort to grow. Usually their growing season coincides with periods where the conditions are ideal, such as water, light and food availability.

The growing season for snake plants is in the warmer months of the year, during Spring and Summer.

However, saying growth spurt may be a bit misleading for some plant parents.

During a typical growing season, snake plants may grow 2-4 new leaves. When compared with other indoor plants like pothos plants which can grow concurrent vines, each sporting several leaves in a growing season. A snake plant’s growth could be comparable to the turtle in the infamous turtle and the hare race.

Again, the amount of growth will be directly impacted by the conditions that your snake plant is living in, such as optimal lighting, availability of water and food, etc.

Snake Plant Growth Stages

At the same token, snake plants also experience dormant periods during the year. These periods usually occur during the winter months when less light is available during the day, and humidity levels begin to drop.

During these periods, you can expect no growth from your snake plant. The leaves should still remain full and vibrant, and you should not expect any die off.

If you see your snake plant’s leaves begin to look sick, like curling, wrinkling or falling over, there may be a problem with your snake plant that requires a bit of investigation. As part of our feature article series on snake plants, we’ve extensively covered common problems with snake plants.

Snake Plant Growing Time Lapse

To see a snake plant growing in action (because it would literally be like watching paint dry if you tried to see your own snake plant grow), check out this time-lapse video by Thomas Loder who filmed his snake plant pup growing

Factors That Affect a Snake Plant’s Growth

Now that we have adjusted our expectations (and appreciate that our beloved snake plants will not magically triple in size and width in one year), let’s take a closer look at the factors that affect a snake plant’s growth.

Variety of Snake Plant

The number one factor that will directly impact on how fast your snake plant will grow is the type of snake plant you have.

For example, our Black Gold Snake Plant is considered an average sansevieria species that will grow between 2-3 feet tall at maturity. With this in mind, we can expect to see growth between 4-12 inches a year, along with some new baby plants that will be available for propagation (yay!).

Our Black Gold Sansevieria
Our beautiful Black Gold Sansevieria

Whereas smaller snake plants, such as the Sansevieria Francisii, are classified as dwarf varieties and will experience slower growth of 1-4 inches per year.

Poor Potting Soil

The quality of potting mix that you use with your snake plant will directly impact its health and growth rate.

For obvious reasons, if you use an old soil with poor substance and structure, your snake plant won’t be able to extract the necessary nutrients or moisture it requires for growth, therefore resulting in stunted growth.

A poor soil will also not provide the necessary structure (like course sand) for the roots to grip onto, making it difficult for the root system to hold up those beautiful long sword-shaped leaves.

Watering Schedule

Ensuring your snake plant receives the right amount of water is critical for promoting strong and healthy growth.

Too much water (overwatering) can lead to your snake plant developing a fungal infection, such as root rot. This will stunt growth, because your houseplant will be diverting its energy to fighting the disease.

Underwatered snake plants result in the inability of your plant to function and perform the daily processes that it needs to produce energy.

Finding that balance can be tricky – especially for new plant parents.

Snake Plant in metal pot

Ambient Factors (Temperature & Humidity)

Maintaining a stable temperature and humidity around your snake plant will also promote a healthy growth rate.

The recommended temperature to keep a snake plant is between 70-90° Fahrenheit (21-32° Celsius). Prolonged periods outside this range can cause stress to your plant, leading to weak or no growth. Sub-zero temperatures, in particular, can be extremely detrimental to your snake plant. When the water in the plant’s cells freezes, it expands, causing damage to the leaf.

Humidity also impacts the amount of moisture your snake plant has at its disposal. Too much humidity will hinder your snake plant’s ability to complete the process of transpiration (the evaporation of water from the leaves).

Pests and Diseases

If your snake plant is infected with a disease or pest infestation, it will experience stunted growth.

Snake plant pests are generally sap-sucking insects that feed on the nutrients in the leaves. This deprives your plant of the nutrients it needs to grow, resulting in little to no growth. To make things worse, without intervention, pests can weaken your house plant to the point of no return, leaving it to wither and die.

By the same token, diseases can also be fatal to your snake plant. However, rather than slowly depleting the nutrients, fungal diseases will rot your plant. To combat the disease, your snake plant will divert all its resources to fighting off the disease, which leaves no energy for growth.

Container Type and Size (Root Bound)

One last factor that can impact a snake plant’s growth rate is the size and type of container it is growing in.

Unlike other indoor tropical plants, snake plants like to have their roots in a tight formation. It helps the root system to stabilize the tall leaves.

If your snake plant is growing in a container that is too large, you may be unintentionally limiting its growth. This is because the snake plant’s root system won’t be able to support taller foliage, causing it to focus on developing a more root bound system.

At the other extreme, if your snake plant becomes too root bound (roots beginning to grow out of the drainage holes), your snake plant won’t be able to extract the necessary nutrients and water from the soil. This can lead to stunted growth and a weak looking plant.

How Can I Make My Snake Plant Grow Faster?

Okay – so we now know the factors that play into how fast a snake plant grows. Let’s optimize these factors to set our snake plant up for success.

Tall Snake plants

Choose the Right Snake Plant

It goes without saying that doing a bit of research up front to choose the right type of snake plant will go a long way to alleviate your frustrations with a slow-growing houseplant.

Some popular varieties of tall snake plants are:

  • Sansevieria Trifasciata
  • Sansevieria Black Gold (one of our favorites!)
  • Sansevieria Golden Hahnii
  • Sansevieria Laurentii

Fertilizing at the Right Time

When you do feed your snake plant, try to time it just before the growing season (early spring). This ensures the fertilizer has been absorbed into the soil and is available for your sansevieria when it needs it the most.

If you fertilize too early or late, you risk the fertilizer sitting in the soil for too long, which may become toxic and lead to fertilizer burn.

Choose the Right Pot Size

Starting your snake plant off in the right pot (container) can save you much heartache and disappointment.

Use a pot that is slightly wider than the plant itself (approximately an inch wider), and the height is one-third of the plant’s height.

This will allow it to develop a tight root system that will support the green leaves. But still allow for the necessary nutrients and water intake for optimal growth.

Regular Inspections and Care

The final suggestion should be a given in our books, but it is worth repeating for the sake of completeness.

Take good care of your snake plant baby.

Ensure it receives plenty of indirect sunlight throughout the day. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can increase the ambient temperature above the recommended range for a snake plant and lead to leaf burn.

While we are on the topic of temperature, make sure you don’t expose your snake plant to freezing temperatures, and the humidity levels are within the acceptable range of 30-50%.

How Fast Do Snake Plants Grow – Common Questions

Are snake plants fast or slow growers?

When compared to other indoor plants, snake plants fall into the slow-growing plants category of indoor plants. They can still grow reasonably fast, however, let’s just say you won’t need to prune your snake plant to control the growth of the foliage.

Do snake plants grow faster in bigger pots?

No – snake plants will not grow faster in larger pots. In fact, you may be inadvertently stunting the growth of your snake plant. In a larger pot, your snake plant will have to establish a larger root system in order to support the leaves above. This results in your snake plant diverting all its energy into growing roots, rather than leaves.

How long does it take a snake plant to reach full size?

The answer to this question is…it depends. The speed at which your snake plant reaches maturity will be dictated by the level of care you provide. By care, we mean a range of husbandry responsibilities like watering, soil changes, upkeep with fertilizing and removal of any pests. And most importantly, the environmental factors such as lighting, temperature and humidity – the key factors that influence all indoor plants’ ability to grow.

Do snake plants like grow lights?

Snake plants will survive and grow under grow lights. However, you won’t observe the same degree of growth from the snake plant, compared to if it were exposed to natural indirect light.

Do snake plants grow faster indoors or outdoors?

When grown outdoors, snake plants tend to grow faster and bigger. This is because they have the natural elements to sustain them, such as bright light and rain. This is assuming they are in an environment similar to their native conditions, such as dry arid conditions.

Once your snake plant has established itself, feel free to transfer your outdoors snake plant into a pot for indoor display. You won’t see the same degree of growth, as you do outdoors, but it will still grow.

Are Snake Plants Easy to Care For?

Snake plants are one of the easiest and low-maintenance plants in the gardening hobby. As a succulent, they don’t require much water, and due to their moderate growth patterns, you won’t be required to constantly prune or repot them frequently.

We always recommend snake plants as one of the first plants for new plant parents. It helps you to understand a plant’s needs, how to care for and accommodate for a plant baby in your busy lifestyle, and it returns the favor by looking vibrant and happy.