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Snake plants are a very great choice for beginners and especially for those hobbyists who cannot give a lot of care to their plants. Snake plant’s water needs are also not very tricky but can become messy if not kept in check for a prolonged time. It is crucial to understand the watering requirement of your snake plant and water them correctly.
You need to water your snake plant thoroughly when the soil feels dry. It would be best if you refrained from having a fixed schedule of watering. Watering snake plants depends on various factors such as temperature level, humidity, and light availability. Even the pot type and size are relevant factors when watering the snake plant.
Do not panic with so many factors because understanding the relevant factor while watering the snake plant, watering schedule, and care becomes easier.
We will cover everything affecting and relevant while watering the snake plant. Let us read further and create your routine as per your snake plant’s needs.
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When to water snake plants?
Season plays a vital role while watering the snake plant or any other houseplant for that matter.
During summers, the snake plant will need relatively more water. The reason being the light is strong, and the temperature level is high during this time of the year.
Snake plants should not be over-watered in any case as they are intolerable to excess water. During summer, also water only when the soil is dry and needs water.
Water the snake plant once a week as the soil gets dry fast due to the intense sun but make sure to check the soil before you water them.
During winter, the snake plant will not need much water as the sun and temperature are low, and the soil will stay moist for a long time.
Winter is the dormant season when the plant also takes rest, and with care routines, also they go slow. Watering snake plants 1-2 times a month is good enough during winter.
How to tell if snake plant needs water?
The plant cannot speak but can give signs to indicate that they need something. Due to prolonged deficiency of water, food, or both, the plant may become weak in the need for nutrients.
Through visible signs, you can identify that your snake plant requires something. Underwatered snake plants also reflect their need for water through leaves and soil.
Following are the signs showing the need for water:
The soil of the snake plant will show a slight color change when they are dry. The soil becomes 95% grey when the soil is slightest dry, which is normal.
But when the soil seems 100% grey or light brown, this means the soil requires water. By looking at the soil color, you can tell that it needs water.
You can also use the moisture meter if you cannot tell when the soil is dry or moist. When the moisture meter shows 3 or 4, is signaling dry soil.
Even if the meter goes below that, it is ok with snake plants as they can stay dry but water as soon as you need water.
Soil pulling away from the edge on the top
When the snake plant is dry for too long, it will pull away from the top’s edges. They will look too dry and, due to dehydration, pull away from the sides.
They are craving for moisture both inside and outside. The roots are also dehydrated in such conditions. The reason could be underwatering and too much light. When a planter follows a routine blindly without checking on other factors, the plant suffers.
For example: when you water the snake plant, let’s say once every week, ignoring the fact that they might be getting too much sun, and the temperature level is high due to which the soil is drying out fast. In this state, they need water more often to keep them moist.
Use the bottom watering method, place a dish, and pour water in it so that it touches the pot’s bottom that you will keep on the dish.
Now leave the pot on the dish for about an hour and then take out the pot and place it in its position. It will significantly increase the moisture level of the plant.
Brown crisp foliage
Brown crisp foliage of snake plant is an underwatering impact as the leaves are losing moisture and, as a result turning brown. The leaves that are usually green, firm, and shiny are crispy because they lack water, which is required to keep them green and firm.
If under-watered, keeping in mind that other factors are the same, and your snake plant getting proper light and temperature levels will lead to further dryness.
If the other factors are also fluctuating, then the case may become worse as everything is unbalanced. The plant leaves look ugly due to turning brown and crisp as they stay dehydrated.
Water your snake plant as and when required and do not keep them in direct sun, and during sunny days keep them a few feet away from the window.
Also read: Why is my snake plant turning brown?
Droopy, curling leaves
Drooping and curling leaves may indicate underwater or water plants. When the plant is thirsty, the leaves tend to droop due to less moisture available in the leaves.
Droopy leaves are signs of an under-watered plant but can also indicate overwatering to be checked as soon as you discover such signs. Since you water your plant, you will know if the problem is overwatering or underwatering.
By reversing the watering routine, you can check whether watering is the issue. Do not follow any routine as anyone prescribes.
Every plant has different needs; even two snake plants kept in two different corners of the same house will have different watering needs.
Feel and take out time to check what suits your snake plant to avoid water stress.
Also read: Why is my snake plant drooping?
You can check the moistness in the soil through any of the following ways:
- Visual observation: Perhaps the easiest way is by just gazing at the soil. If the soil seems dry, light-colored, and compact, then it means the soil needs a drink.
- Finger/skewer: You need your finger or a skewer for this method. Just dig your finger or skewer deep into the soil up to 2 inches. If the soil is not sticking to the finger or skewer after pulling it out, then the soil is dry.
- Moisture meter: Moisture meter can be inserted in the soil just like the finger method and then check the meter when it shows 2-3 that indicates the soil is dry.
- Wet pot: If you are using a terracotta pot, you can check the soil moisture by touching the pot’s bottom. If it feels damp, then the soil is still moist or see the shade of the pot’s bottom; if it’s dark, then the soil is still moist.
- Lifting pot: For small pots preferably, lift the pot to check the weight difference.
Factors affecting the need for water
Few factors can affect the snake plants’ need for water.
The most ignorant factor while watering and planting your plants is pot type. Snake plants like to be dry more than staying soggy, which can be facilitated by the right pot type.
Pots types are many and can be used as per the plant’s need.
Less water: Plastic pots keep the soil soggy for a long time due to non-porous quality. They are not recommended for the snake plant.
Medium water: Pots made of ceramic, glass, or metal retain moisture more than plastic pots, due to which the plant will need a limited amount of water.
More water: Terracotta, wooden, or concrete made pots are porous and absorb water from the soil at a fast rate. They allow air circulation and keep the soil environment healthy, which is ideal for the snake plant.
By now, you might know that your snake plant likes to be on the drier side, which can be facilitated by a well-draining soil mix. Soil mix that allows water and airflow with ease.
They are easily prone to root rot, which can be supported by heavy soil. If your snake plant is planted in a heavy soil mix that it might need water less often. By following a routine, you can harm your plant.
If the soil is aerated, it might need water more often because it will dry out fast if the other conditions are in check.
Water is required for the soil’s chemical and biological processes as well, making the soil fertile and supporting the plant by producing energy. The right soil mix will enhance the health of the plant.
One part garden soil, one part peat moss, and two parts perlite is an ideal blend for the snake plant. You can add a layer of compost for fertility. Alternatively, you can use any succulent soil and add some organic matter in the form of compost.
Also read: Best soil mix for snake plant
The snake plant’s temperature level is vital to be maintained between 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In this range, the water requirement is usually once a week.
If the temperature level fluctuates or is below the ideal temperature level, then the water requirement will also go slow. Because of low temperatures and cold environments, the soil will take more time to dry out.
If the temperature level is beyond 80 degrees Fahrenheit for a lengthy time, then they will need water more frequently. Prefer moving them indoors and away from direct sun during such conditions.
Season as we discussed above, plays an important role when watering your snake plant. During summer and spring, the weather is hot, and the sun is intense. Even at home, you will feel hot.
No matter where you place your snake plant, they will need more water at this time of the year. The frequency increases, and the care increases. It would be best if you kept checking the soil to avoid bone dry soil frequently.
The winter and autumn are also known to be the dormant season, the weather is cold, and the air is dry. The sun is also weak and available for a few hours only, due to which the soil will stay moist for a long time, and the leaves may suffer due to cold drafts.
Waterless frequently during this time but keep checking the soil every few days. Keep them near the heating system but maintain a decent distance so that the leaves don’t bake.
Humidity is water vapor available in the air, which means more humidity in the air will help the plant stay hydrated and vice versa. Now, as we know, snake plants are not moisture-loving plants, unlike other houseplants.
If the humidity level around the snake plant is high, then the water requirement decreases slightly. However, humidity doesn’t affect the plant’s watering needs but should be maintained as per the plant’s needs.
Less humidity level is appreciable, mostly around 40% humidity Is best for the snake plant, making sure you water them as and when the soil is dry.
Too much humidity can keep the leaves moist externally, which is not preferred by the snake plant, so you shouldn’t mist your snake plant.
The light could be a natural and artificial source in both states. A few factors decide the need for water of the plant.
- The intensity of the light
- Amount of light
If all the above factors are balanced, the snake plant’s water needs are once a week if we go by the general thumb rule. What is the right balance of the above factors for the snake plant? Let’s learn.
The light’s intensity should not be too strong, i.e., indirect or filtered light is preferred, whether natural or artificial source.
The amount of light indicates the hours of light the plant gets in a day. 6-8 hours of light in a day is advised for a healthy growing snake plant.
The natural or artificial light source should provide the proper spectrum of light for photosynthesis, essential for plant growth. Violet-blue light in the 400–520-nanometer range encourages chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth.
The simple rule is more light availability, more water requirement, less water availability, less water requirement by the soil.
Also read: How much light do snake plant need?
Size of pot
If your plant’s pot size is giant, it will contain more soil, which will hold more water and stay moist for a long time. It will need water less frequently.
Large pots give enough space for the roots to grow and need water comparatively more frequently, ideal for the snake plant.
Smaller pots have less soil and need water less regularly, also a good option for the snake plant.
There is no thumb rule regarding watering because all the above factors affect the needs, and every corner has a slight difference in each factor(conditional) from the other corner.
How do you water a snake plant?
As we explained above, you cannot decide the precise amount of water to be watered to the snake plant. It changes and depends on different factors.
The best way to resolve this is by watering thoroughly, let the excess water drain out from the drainage holes, ultimately making sure the pot has a fit drainage system.
Do not water from the top, i.e., from the leaves. Water from the soil as the water accumulated on the leaves will develop molds and brown spots.
Keep checking the soil moisture as water serves as a solvent and carries nutrients that are crucial for plant growth. Water also regulates soil temperature, so the soil should not be kept dry for too long.
Signs of overwatering snake plant
The snake plant will show signs of overwatering through the following signs:
- Brown tips
- Brown spots on leaves
- Yellowing foliage
- Mushy stems
- Mold on the surface of the soil
- Foul odor from soil
Signs of underwatering snake plant
Underwatered snake plant can be identified by checking the following signs:
- Drooping leaves
- Soil pulling from the edges of the pot
- Stagnant growth
- Wrinkled, crispy leaves
- Brown leaves
- Yellowing and dry brown spots
Should I mist my snake plant?
Snake plants like to remain dry, whether inside or outside. This brings us to the answer that they do not like mist.
Misting will increase the humidity in the air, which the snake plants do not appreciate.
Misting will also lead to water sitting on the leaves of the snake plant, which may develop mold, brown spots on the leaves in the long run.
Can you water the snake plant with tap water?
Snake plants can be watered with tap water but should be inspected for a few days. If there are salt build-ups on the soil surface, then tap water is not suitable for your plant.
Prefer rainwater or distilled water for watering your snake plant. When using tap water, you can fill the water in a tub and let it sit overnight.
This will let the chlorine and fluoride dissipate in the water, making it becoming for the snake plant.