4 Practical Tips for Making Snake Plants Grow Taller & Straighter
Snake plants make beautiful additions to any indoor space. But what do you do when your spider plant refuses to grow into those beautiful specimens you see in magazines? Here’s how to make snake plants grow tall and straight :
- place your snake plant in a position that receives plenty of direct light,
- ensure your snake plant has quality potting soil that retains enough moisture, but at the same time allows excess water to drain out, and
- upgrade your snake plant’s pot to allow for more growth and supplement with food.
Welcome to today’s feature article at the Garden Bench Top, where we are going to help you cultivate your snake plant into a stunning feature indoor plant. We’ll dive into the best care tips for optimal growth, as well as the usual husbandry responsibilities you need to ensure your plant is in optimal health.
So, grab a tea and let’s get our hands dirty.
How to Make Snake Plants Grow Tall
When conditions are optimal, a snake plant (sansevieria) can grow as big as 12 feet tall!
Now you may not want your snake plant to be that tall. But it does show the more tender love and care you give to your plant, the more it can reward you with a beautiful, tall, straight display of those sword shaped leaves.
So what are the optimal conditions that will encourage your snake plant to grow taller and higher?
1. Keep it Well Hydrated
Even though snake plants belong to the succulent family, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will always love bone dry conditions. It will stress the plant out, and lead to stunted growth.
At the same time, they won’t appreciate it if their roots are swimming in wet soggy soil for extended periods of time. This can lead to other potential problems, like root rot, which can be fatal and kill your snake plant.
The key is finding that perfect balance of water for your snake plant that will supply it with enough water to thrive, but not too much to cause any issues with disease and pests. Is it just us or is it beginning to feel a bit like a certain fairy tale involving three bears and a golden haired girl?
To find that balance, we recommend using a quality soil (refer to Tip 3 – Soil is the Key below), and testing the moisture levels of your snake plant’s soil before topping it up with any water. In situations like these, we like to use the soil moisture finger test, which involves dipping your finger into the topsoil to feel for moisture. It is a test that is simple, effective and extremely budget friendly.
Once you begin to master the art of watering your snake plant, you should see it repay you with a thriving happy appearance, and abundant growth.
2. Location, Location, Location
You know that real estate rule that says location is king. That same rule can be applied to your snake plant.
Even though you may have read around the World Wide Web that snake plants can be placed in low light positions. It does not mean that you should. Yes, snake plants will tolerate poor lighting conditions, but it also means they won’t thrive and grow as you would expect.
Ideally, your snake plant should be positioned in a position that receives plenty of indirect bright light.
For optimal growth, place your snake plant in a location that receives 6 – 8 hours of indirect light.
Like poor light, they can tolerate some direct sunlight. However, it should only be dappled with morning or late evening sunlight. Too much direct sunlight will result in leaf burn and severely dehydrated snake plant leaves.
All plants can experience shock if their conditions are changed too quickly. We recommend gradually moving your plant to a brighter location, bit by bit. You will need a lot of patience, however the end result will be worth it, we promise.
If you happen to live in a place that doesn’t have much light, you can supplement your snake plant with Grolights (or artificial lights). Again, this should be slowly introduced in both time and intensity.
3.Quality Soil is Key
The quality of soil your snake plant lives in impacts many aspects of your plants’ health – including how it grows. It will also contribute to other key factors like how much water is retained in your soil (Tip 1 – Keep it Well Hydrated), if the roots have enough gas exchange for oxygen, and more.
Being a succulent, snake plants prefer sandy soil that is porous,airy and a well-draining potting soil. We’ve come up with our own indoor plant succulent soil recipe that utilizes the porous properties of perlite (or pumice) and drainage qualities of coarse sand, to provide our succulents with perfectly balanced soil.
We recommend building your own succulent soil, because it gives you the ability to control what goes into it. Plus, you won’t find any unwanted surprises that you can find in the bulk made soil from commercial outlets.
4. Is it Hungry?
Other than light and water, the next best aspect to facilitate growth from your snake plant is nutrients and feeding.
Ask yourself the following questions :
- how old is your soil?
- when was the last time you added fertilizer to your snake plant?
- what is in the fertilizer?
It is all too easy to grab an all-purpose fertilizer off the shelf of your local nursery. And at the start of each growing season, sprinkle a bit into your snake plant and think you’ve done your bit for your snake plant. Then ask yourself why your snake plant isn’t growing the way it should?
Is it possible a more calculated approach to your feeding regime is required?
We recommend using a liquid fertilizer that contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus (the key ingredients for a plant’s growth) for your snake plant. Dilute the liquid fertilizer in a 1:2 ratio with room temperature distilled water and feed your plant the solution once every 4 – 6 weeks. We tend to feed less in the off season (autumn and winter) when the snake plant isn’t growing as much.
Do You Have The Right Variety of Snake Plant?
What happens if you are doing all the right things and have checked off all the tips we discussed above, but…your snake plant is STILL NOT GROWING TALL AND STRAIGHT!
Is it possible your particular snake plant isn’t a tall growing variety?
Not all snake plants grow tall. For example, there are dwarf varieties of snake plants like Sansevieria Pinguicula and Sansevieria Parva that only grow approximately one foot in height.
Whereas the Dracaena Trifasciata Prain, which is a popular variety of Sansevieria with its beautiful patterns on its sword shaped leaves. This particular cultivar can grow to 5 – 7 feet tall at their mature height.
If you’re not sure about the specific type of snake plant you have, we recommend performing a reverse image search or searching our plant care guides for some advice.
Or is it possible you are being a little impatient?
Snake plants are generally slow growing plants, only growing in the spring and summer months, and becoming dormant in the cooler months of the year.
General Care Instructions for Snake Plants
Temperature & Humidity
Snake plants generally prefer temperatures between 70 – 95° F (21 – 32° C), with a dry air (low humidity).
That being said, they have been cultivated to still grow in cooler climates. However, you will most likely see slower growth and potentially duller coloration on their leaves.
We would avoid temperatures below 50° F (10° C), as the plant may go into hibernation and won’t particularly enjoy these conditions.
Repotting Your Snake Plant
Regularly upgrading your snake plant to larger pots will encourage stronger, faster growth.
However, be careful not to become too zealous and upgrade your snake plant too fast or too quickly just because you want a taller plant. Looking after a snake plant in a pot that is too big for it can be difficult, often leading to too wet soil and problems with disease and pests.
Each time you upgrade, the general rule of thumb is to transplant them into a pot size that is 2-3 inches bigger than its previous home. In addition, make sure you are using a planter with drainage holes to allow for any excess water to drain out. We like to use a terracotta pot for our Sansevieria, as it is a porous material which helps to provide air circulation for the strong roots.
For those that have not rehomed a snake plant before, check out this quick video from JoyUsGarden about how she repots snake plants.
By the way – we love her varnished garden bench top!
Pruning Your Snake Plant
Snake Plants need to be trimmed back regularly to keep them looking healthy and attractive.
We encourage you to prune off any dead or diseased leaves, then cut away all stems below the top growth point. You can also trim the roots to encourage new growth.
Final Thoughts on How to Make Snake Plants Grow Tall
By following the above tips and care instructions, you’ll have your snake plant growing taller and straighter in no time.
Providing you have done your research into the variety of snake plants you have growing at home, and they are the type that can grow tall, all you need is to apply some love, care and patience.