Beginners Care Guide for Night Owl Snake Plant
With an appearance that matches the distinctive name, the rare Night Owl Snake Plant stands apart from the other members of the Sansevieria family.
Night Own Snake Plant:
- has beautiful and unique colorations on its broad sword-shaped leaves
- extremely easy to care for and drought tolerant, perfect for beginners or busy individuals
- effortless propagation via division of rhizomes or cultivation from leaf cuttings
Night Owl Snake Plant Quick Care Summary
|Watering||Allow soil to dry between watering|
|Lighting||Position in a space that receives plenty of bright indirect light|
|Temperature||70-90° Fahrenheit (21-32° Celsius)|
|Humidity||Relative humidity levels at 30-50%|
|Feeding||All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring|
|Soil||Loamy well-draining soil|
Getting to Know Night Owl 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: Dracaena Trifasciata ‘Night Owl’ (recently reclassified from Sansevieria)
Common Name(s): Night Owl Snake Plant
It may surprise you to learn the Night Owl Snake Plant doesn’t grow naturally in the wild like other snake plants.
It was cultivated by breeding two snake plant varieties, the Trifasciata Laurentii and Hahnii cultivars. The resulting hybrid snake plant is a beautiful combination of the two varieties that arguably has the best of both worlds.
Since many snake plants originate from the African continent, it is safe to assume the Night Owl Snake Plant adopts the exact care requirements as its parents. Which means they are drought-hardy and love substrate with good drainage properties.
Appearance and Flowers
With beautiful sword-shaped leaves that grow a rosette pattern close to the ground. At the same time, the shortness and broadness of the leaves stem from the Hahnii side of things. You can certainly pick up on the traits inherited from the Trifasciata genes.
Because it is a hybrid, it is hard to classify whether the Night Owl is considered a dwarf or medium-sized snake plant. However, owing to the rosette growth patterns, we suggest they effectively fill out as ground cover and lower garden levels.
One unique feature of this magnificent cultivar is the variegation patterns. They are wonderfully intricate, often resembling the feathers of an owl, hence the name.
We assume the Night Owl Snake Plant can flower. However, as much as we searched, we could not find evidence of these elusive flowers.
We assume that they would adopt similar characteristics to that of their parents, which 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.
Night Owl Snake Plant Detailed Care Instructions
Now let’s get into the detailed care instructions for your Night Owl Snake Plant.
Allow the soil to dry before adding more water to your Night Owl Snake Plant.
Although this sounds straightforward, it can be more challenging to determine when the soil is dry.
The easiest way to determine when the soil is dry is to use a finger soil moisture test or a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online at Amazon.
The longer you care for your Night Owl 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.
Night Owl Snake Plant require plenty of bright light to thrive.
Indoor Night Owl Snake Plants prefer bright indirect light but can tolerate direct sunlight. However, only in short doses. If you expose your Night Owl 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 Night Owl 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 Night Owl Snake Plant section, they originate from Africa. This means they thrive in warm weather.
The recommended indoor temperature for Night Owl Snake Plant is between 55-85° Fahrenheit (12-29° 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 Night Owl 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 Night Owl 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 Night Owl 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 Night Owl Snake Plant can have profound effects on the health of your houseplant.
Choosing the best soil for your Night Owl 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 Night Owl 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 Night Owl. 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, Night Owl 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 Night Owl root system.
Night Owl Snake Plant Propagation Techniques
To preserve the stunning variegated patterns and colors, we recommend only propagating your Night Owl Snake Plant using the propagation method by plant division or by splitting snake plant pups.
Propagating your Night Owl 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 Night Owl 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.