Winter is the dormancy period for most indoor houseplants. Snake plant is no different. Snake plants do not grow during the winter months, as it is the dormant period for them. They take rest at such dormant times. Thus, the care routine of your snake plant will be different during the winter period.
Overwatering, excess fertilization and inappropriate humidity levels are three major concerns for the snake plant in the winter months. Avoid overwatering your snake plant and stop fertilizing them. Aim to maintain an average humidity level around your snake plant, and your plant will likely make it through the winter.
In this guide, we will take a deep dive into the winter care for your snake plant and what we should avoid during the winter. So, let us get started.
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5 Essentials for the care of snake plant during winter
The snake plant requires a bit of your attention during the winter and not much. We know that it’s time for the holidays and this plant will support you during your holidays.
During winter, the snake plant can go for a month and a half without water and does not require any additional feed for that go.
However, we will need to focus on a few essentials during the winter if we want our snake plant to remain healthy and survive through the winter:
- Overwatering your Snake plant
- Placement of the Plant
- Maintaining Humidity
- Avoiding extremes
- Placement of the Plant
Let us discuss each topic regarding how we can keep our snake plants healthy throughout the winter.
Avoid overwatering your snake plant
Snake plants are succulent and do not like being overwatered. These plants can survive through drought conditions but overwatered snake plants will not thrive for long.
The snake plant stores water in its leaves, and if we overwater the plant, the leaves will absorb more water than required, which might damage the cells.
It also results in the splitting of the snake plant leaves.
If the overwatered snake plant is neglected for long, then it might give up easily on you.
Overwatered snake plant calls for more issues such as root rot condition and issues with the pests.
We will need to get a few things right before we start watering our lovely snake plants.
How often should you water a snake plant in winter?
Snake plants can be left without water for a month or so. You should not water your snake plant following a rigid regime. Instead, check the soil using a skewer or moisture meter and only water when the top two inches of soil gets dry. Watering more often can lead to problems like pest infestation and root rot.
Also read: All about watering your snake plant
How can we avoid overwatering?
We can avoid overwatering by:
- Choose a well-draining potting soil
- Always feel the soil before watering your snake plant
- The soil should be dry and not moist
- If the soil is moist or wet, wait for a few days before watering
- Check for the drainage holes and the tray
- If the tray is filled with excess water, please empty the tray
- The snake plant should not sit on still water for too long
- Most important of all is to make a watering regime
- We can also use notes or reminders that will help us recall
If the snake plant is already suffering from an overwatering situation, then we might need to check for the signs first and then repot the plant.
If the snake plant leaves are yellow or brown, then get rid of the leaves because the infected leaves will be a burden for the plant.
While repotting the plant, the snake plant should be kept in well-draining soil along with a mix of cactus soil and compost.
Also read: Best soil mix for snake plant
Stay away from excess fertilization
Fertilizer is essential for the healthy growth of the snake plant. But when do we fertilize our snake plant?
Snake plants require a very diluted feed, but there is a regime for the feed. Let us understand the fertilization of the Snake plant.
Like every other houseplant, snake plants should be fertilized only during the growing season and not during the dormancy period.
Winter is the dormancy period for the snake plant, and they do not grow during this time. So, if your snake plant is not growing during the winter, then please do not worry. And avoid fertilizing them during the winter months.
But what should the feed be?
The feed should be a well-balanced slow-release fertilizer in the ratio 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 but a very diluted feed.
We should take care of fertilization as well and make sure that the plant is not overfertilized.
We start with the fertilization during the summer and spring. During the fall, we reduce the feed to half and halt the feed during winter.
Snake plants do not require any feed during winter.
Overfertilization of the snake plant can cause leggy growth and stunted growth. Sometimes it also causes the snake plant to burn.
It is not restricted to the above condition because if the snake plant is overfertilized, then the infected plant may invite a root rot situation, which we do not want to tackle.
How to avoid overfertilization?
Here we will discuss how we can avoid overfertilization and what to do if the plant has been overfertilized.
The keynotes are:-
- Only fertilize during the spring and summer
- The feed should be a very diluted feed and a well-balanced fertilizer
- 10:10:10 or a 20:20:20 fertilizer should be sufficient for the snake plant
- Reduce the feed to half during the fall
- Do not fertilize during the winter
What if the snake plant is showing signs of overfertilization?
In such cases, we generally remove the excess feed from the plant, and we will guide you for it.
- Remove the root ball gently from the pot. Remember, this is the most crucial and gentle case as we do not want any harm to the roots.
- Remove the excess soil attached to the root ball.
- Also, discard the leaves and roots that you notice won’t help the plant.
- Keep the plant under running water to remove the excess fertilizer from the roots.
- The above step should be followed at least thrice.
- Once the fertilizer is washed away; we need to repot the plant into a pot.
- If we choose the same pot, clean the pot with bleach and dry for an hour.
- In case we are using a different pot, then it is okay and can be repotted.
- Take a mixture of well-draining potting soil and cactus soil in a 1:1 ratio and blend it with compost.
- Keep the root ball in the middle of the pot and add some potting soil around it.
- Be extremely careful in the above step.
- Now, gently tap the pot so that there aren’t any air pockets formed.
- Water the plant, but do not overwater.
- Do not fertilize the snake plant for a month after repotting.
Choose appropriate placement for the plant
The snake plant is so friendly for beginners that it requires minimal attention. This plant can thrive in the garden as well as in low light areas.
However, there are certain things that we should maintain during the winter.
If the snake plant is kept near a window, mostly a Southern window, from where we receive cold draft during winter, consider changing the plant’s location.
Else, we can close the windows to keep the snake plant safe.
Though the snake plant is not affected by the heat, winter is not its game.
The snake plant does not like temperatures below 50°F.
Hence, we need to maintain the temperature around the snake plant during the winter.
Also, never place the snake plant near the radiators because the radiators’ heat will affect the snake plant.
We should never forget that the snake plant is mildly toxic to pets and children. So, toxicity should also be kept in mind before placement.
The use of hanging pots helps, and we can also use Spatial placements for the Snake plant.
If necessary, we can use artificial lights over the snake plants during the winter if the plant is placed in a very low light area.
Also read: Best placement for snake plants
Focus on maintaining appropriate humidity levels
The snake plant does not mind the extra humidity during the winter, and we should consider using a humidifier of the plant if the air gets too dry.
If the temperature falls below 50°F, then it is harmful to the snake plant.
The snake plant can thrive in bright light, but too much direct sunlight will quickly dry out the snake plant.
This lovely plant can thrive in extremely low light areas, but the snake plant leaves become leggy.
Thus, the perfect condition would be slightly warm room temperature and bright indirect sunlight for the snake plant.
This plant does not like the cold draft during the winter and hates to be overwatered.
Avoid misting the snake plant as it can lead to leaf diseases, pest infestation, and other plant problems.
We can use a humidifier during the winter to check the humidity level. For the same reason, bathrooms have been the choice of place for the snake plants during winter.
You might need to spray some neem oil on the snake plant. To do so, just add neem oil solution to the water and spray using a spray bottle.
Neem oil solution will help prevent pests and insects and will keep your snake plant safe.
An important point to note is to keep the snake plant away from the radiators during winter, as that can impact the humidity levels.
Avoid Stress to the plant
We must try to avoid extreme shifts in cultural conditions so that our snake plant doesn’t get stressed out.
For example, if your plant was outside during the summer and you would like to place the plant inside during the winter, then we must manage the extremes.
What is meant by the extremes here?
If the snake plants were placed outside, then the amount of sunlight that the plant would receive would be very high, and you cannot move the plant to your bathroom all of a sudden.
The same is applied for a vice-versa situation wherein we move the plant from our bathroom, which has very high humidity, to our patio.
It is suggested to keep the snake plant away from the cold draft, but we should avoid extreme situation movement.
If we want to keep the plant inside, then prepare the plant well in advance.
What is meant by the above statement is that, when the fall starts, keep the plant in the low light situation for some time and place it back again in the same place.
Prepare the plant well and let it adapt to the situation that we would like our plants to be in.
The same has to be followed once the winter is over.
We have to place the plant in indirect bright light for an hour at least and bring it back to the same place.
Hence, the snake plant won’t develop a stunted growth and adapt to the situation well in advance.