What is a Snake Plants Temperature Tolerance? (Inside & Outside)
As one of the toughest houseplants, snake plants can tolerate various conditions and treatments. They are the perfect plant for beginners because they can take a lot of neglect. But they have their limits regarding cold temperatures – which is the topic for today’s article – What is a snake plant’s temperature tolerance range?
The ideal temperature for an indoor snake plant to grow and thrive is between 65-90° Fahrenheit (18-32° Celsius). As succulents, snake plants can endure hot and dry spells (up to 100° Fahrenheit) due to the water reserves in their leaves. However, these water reserves cause snake plants issues when temperatures drop to freezing. When water freezes, it expands, which can cause irreparable damage to the cells in a snake plant’s leaf. More on cold weather protection for snake plants later – so stick around.
Welcome to today’s feature article at the Garden Bench Top, where we will explore the relationship between snake plants and temperature. You can expect to learn:
- The limits for snake plants in terms of temperature,
- How to tell when a snake plant is experiencing temperature stress, and
- Care instructions for protecting snake plants growing outdoors.
So if you are ready, grab a coffee and settle in because we’re going to get up close and personal with a snake plants temperature tolerance.
Snake Plants Temperature Tolerances – The Facts
Snake Plant Optimal Temperatures
If snake plants could talk, we’d wager that they’d be pretty easy-going plants. In warmer temperatures, you may hear them ask for the occasional drink. But the only time you would listen to them complain is when the temperature starts to cool down, and even then, it would be when the temperature approaches freezing point.
To flourish, snake plants prefer to live in warm temperatures between 65-90° Fahrenheit (18-32° Celsius).
An indoor snake plant’s ideal conditions are temperatures between 65-90° Fahrenheit (18-32° Celsius), plenty of ambient bright light, and low humidity.
They can prevail through harsh conditions like intense heat and cooler temperatures. However, they may experience stunted growth and potentially a weakened constitution.
Other factors can contribute to a snake plant’s survival in extreme temperatures, such as water supply, soil quality, light intensity, and humidity.
|Factor||Extreme Heat (summer)||Extreme Cold (winter)|
|Water Needs||Plenty of Water||Minimal Water|
|Soil Moisture||Moist & Well-draining Soil||Dry Soil|
|Lighting Needs||Out of Direct Sunlight||Plenty of Indirect Sunlight|
|Humidity||Medium Humidity||Low Humidity|
What are a Snake Plants Cold Temperature Tolerances?
If we were to identify one weakness of a snake plant, it would be its inability to tolerate cold weather.
A snake plant’s cold temperature limit is around 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius).
Anything below this temperature would be considered threatening to your snake plant, and you could see temperature stress symptoms develop – more on this in the next section.
Symptoms of Snake Plant Temperature Stress
When snake plants experience temperatures outside their preferred range, they exhibit symptoms. Think of it as their way to communicate with you (since they cannot talk)!
Signs your Snake Plant is Too Hot
If your snake plant is subjected to soaring temperatures, it can develop damaged leaves that warn you that it is experiencing stress.
Wrinkly and Curled Leaves
We mentioned earlier that snake plants use their leaves as water storage. They create these reserves to rely upon when temperatures exceed their preferred tolerances or during prolonged dry periods.
As they draw down on these reserves, it depletes the water in the leaves, causing wrinkles to develop.
To reduce water evaporation from their leaves through transpiration, the snake plants also curl their leaves inwards. This effectively reduces the exposed surface area.
Sometimes the heat can be so oppressive that it results in your snake plant’s leaves splitting and cracking.
As your plant uses up the last of its water reserves, it becomes severely dehydrated. This causes the leaves to dry and lose elasticity, resulting in splits and cracks.
Leaf Color and Texture Changes
The most vulnerable parts of a snake plant are its leaves. As the only part of the plant above ground, the leaves are the first to lose moisture. This results in changes in their appearance, both in color and form.
Leaves can change from luxurious green and yellow variegation to dull-looking leaves. If allowed to persist, yellow patches can develop that eventually turn brown or black.
Severely dehydrated leaves can also suffer from leaf burn. This is when the edges of the leaves are exposed to intense heat and direct sunlight. Think of it like when we get sunburned; instead, it is plant sunburn. When snake plants experience leaf burn, the leaves dry, and the tips and edges turn brown and crispy.
Signs your Snake Plant is Too Cold
When temperatures begin to dip, your snake plant will experience shock and disruption to its daily function. Here are some symptoms your snake plant will exhibit when it is too cold.
The most apparent sign of cold temperatures in snake plants is signs of damage to the leaves.
When temperatures dip below freezing, the water in the leaf cells expands. This damages the structure of your snake plant’s leaf.
Eventually, the integrity of the leaf will fail, and the leaf will fall over. The damaged parts of the leaves will look darker in color. The appearance will resemble something like a water stain on the leaves.
How to Protect Your Snake Plant from Freezing Temperatures
With cold temperatures being the biggest threat to your snake plant, we believe it is necessary, as a plant parent, to understand how to care for and protect your beautiful plant during the winter months.
Here are our top tips for ensuring your snake plant survives the colder months.
Bring Potted Plants Inside
If you have snake plants living in planters outdoors and your local area tends to snow, we recommend bringing them inside during winter periods.
As discussed earlier, snake plants will succumb to frostbite with such high water content in their leaves if exposed to freezing temperatures.
If your area doesn’t receive snowfall but experiences frost from time to time, you may be able to keep your snake plants outdoors.
But it would be advisable to protect your plants with a frost protection plant cover sheet.
The sheets prevent the moist water from settling on your snake plant’s leaves, which then freezes and causes damage to the leaves.
It also provides an insulating layer to keep your plants warm and prevents them from being exposed to freezing ambient air.
Can Snake Plants Grow Outdoors?
If you live in a warm climate that doesn’t experience snow in the winter, it is possible to grow snake plants in the ground.
You still need to adjust your care regimen as your outdoor snake plant will be at the mercy of the weather elements. But, they are usually hardier and can endure the weather changes more so than snake plants that are indoor plants.
Here are our best care tips for snake plants outdoors:
- Can tolerate direct sunlight when acclimated to the light intensity slowly.
- Keep out of natural wind tunnels that can change the temperature quickly.
- Only water when the soil is arid. Use a soil moisture meter or finger test the top 2 – 3 inches of soil to check moisture levels.
- Check for pests (like aphids and spider mites) and signs of disease regularly.
For a complete guide on growing snake plants outdoors, check out our guide HERE.
Snake Plant Temperature Tolerance – Closing Comments
Snake plants are stunning succulents that are hardy houseplants and highly tolerant of a wide range of temperatures.
They tend to struggle with cooler temperatures, so keeping them in areas above 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius) is highly recommended.
A snake plant will display stress signs when they are too hot or cold. Knowing these symptoms and how to respond is critical for a snake plant owner.