Everything You Need to Know About Snake Plant Growth Expectations at Home

Before you bring home a snake plant, it’s helpful to know how big and fast these plants will grow. Not only will this give you an idea of how much space your plant will need, but it will also give you an idea of if your plant is putting on healthy growth. We’re going to cover what to expect as well as factors that impact snake plant growth.


How Big and How Fast Do Snake Plants Grow? – The Essentials

Snake plants can grow between two and twelve inches a year, depending on their environment and care. While the max height of indoor plants depends on the species, the popular Dracaena trifasciata can grow up to four feet tall indoors.


About Snake Plants

About Snake Plants

Family, Genus, and Taxonomy

All snake plants are members of the asparagus family (Asparagaceae).

While snake plants used to be considered members of the Sansevieria genus, this is no longer the correct terminology. With this said, you may find people referring to snake plants as Sansevieria.

Today, all species of snake plants are members of the Dracaena genus. These deeply symbolic plants also carry a wealth of meaning around the world today.

Botanical Characteristics 

All snake plants have underground stems known as rhizomes. Numerous leaves emerge from these rhizomes (which are also relatively easy to propagate).

Leaf shape and size depend on the species of snake plant. Plants like the popular mother-in-law’s tongue (Dracaena trifasciata) have long, thin leaves. Other plants, like the cylindrical snake plant (Dracaena angolensis) have thicker, cone-shaped leaves.

Native Habitats

All types of snake plants are native to Africa. However, the exact native range varies depending on the species.

Some species are native to Central Africa, while others are only found near the coast. With that said, most snake plants are native to warm areas with long days.

Their native habitats include open grasslands and deserts, as well as areas under tall trees and small shrubs.

Under optimal growing conditions, snake plants can live for 20 years or more.


Snake Plant Growth Indoors vs. Outdoors

Snake Plant Growth Indoors vs. Outdoors

Like most plants, snake plants will grow larger outdoors than they will indoors.

Outdoor snake plants typically have access to more light, which leads to faster growth.


Snake Plant Natural Growth Cycle

While snake plants won’t enter a true dormancy period, they will experience changes in growth as the season changes.

During the winter, light levels naturally decrease. This lower level of light leads to slower plant growth.


How Long Does it Take a Snake Plant to Reach Full Size?

How Long Does it Take a Snake Plant to Reach Full Size?

There isn’t one correct answer to this question. Environmental factors impact how fast a snake plant grows as well as its maximum size.

That said, snake plants typically reach their full size in five to ten years. This is assuming that snake plants start as small pups.


Factors Contributing to the Growth Rate and Development of a Snake Plant

Factors Contributing to the Growth Rate and Development of a Snake Plant

Care and Maintenance of Snake Plants

As with all plants, care has a big impact on the plant’s growth rate. The better care you provide your snake plant, the faster it will grow. Pruning can also help to cut back past prime foliage and allow for healthy new growth to come through.

Environmental Considerations

The number of hours of light a snake plant receives will impact its growth rate. As you might expect, more light leads to faster growth.

With this in mind, plants in regions with longer days will grow more quickly. Similarly, plants in bright areas of the home will grow quicker than plants in dark areas.


Common Reasons Your Snake Plant’s Growth May Be Slow or Stunted

Common Reasons Your Snake Plant’s Growth May Be Slow or Stunted

Overwatering

Snake plants don’t need much water, and they like their soil to dry out in between waterings. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of overwatering their snake plant, leading to a stressed plant that may also display signs of drooping or yellowing leaves.

Lack of Light

While snake plants can survive in dim corners and hallways, they will experience slower growth in these darker areas. Move your snake plant to a brighter area to increase the growth rate.

Pests and Diseases

Like with humans, plants don’t look their best when fighting a disease or dealing with pests. If your snake plant is spending energy fighting off something bad, it won’t have as much energy to put towards growth.

Some of the most common pests that affect snake plants include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. Some common diseases to watch out for include root rot and Southern blight.

Poor Soil Base

Why Soil Choice Matters

Compacted or poorly-draining soil can quickly cause problems with your snake plant. Potting soils without proper drainage can constantly cause wet soils, leading to nutrient uptake and aeration problems.

On the other hand, you can also deal with problems if you choose a soil with too much drainage.

Over Fertilizing

While snake plants need nutrients to thrive, they don’t require much fertilizer.

If you apply too concentrated of a fertilizer or fertilize too often, your plant may develop nutrient burn. This will set back your plant’s growth.

Incorrect Temperature

Air that is too cold will surely slow a snake plant’s growth. While these plants can survive temperatures around 60ºF, they’ll grow better in temperatures between 75-90ºF.

Underwatering

While snake plants like their soil pretty dry, they still need water! If you let your soil dry out completely between waterings, you’ll likely notice slow growth.

Too Small of a Pot

If your snake plant is in a small container, it may become rootbound. If that happens, your plant’s growth will slow or stop. To fix this problem, repot your plant into a larger container.


How to Make Your Snake Plant Grow Faster

How to Make Your Snake Plant Grow Faster

The Best Soil Types

A well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH is the best choice for snake plants. A soil made from peat moss or coco coir is a good choice.

The Best Light Conditions

While snake plants can survive a variety of light conditions, they will thrive in bright, indirect light. This will provide your plant with plenty of solar energy without exposing it to harmful direct rays.

One good spot for your snake plant is a few feet away from a south-facing window. You can also place it in the interior of a brightly-lit room.

The Most Suitable Potting Vessels and Containers

Snake plants are too specific about their planters. The number one thing to remember is to ensure your pot has drainage holes when you’re watering your snake plant

Avoid choosing a planter that is too large, as this can make it difficult for soil to dry. You should also make sure your planter isn’t too small since this can cause plants to become rootbound.

Choose a container with a width a bit wider than the plant’s base and with a height of one-third to one-half the plant’s height.

Ideal Temperature & Humidity

Ideal Temperature & Humidity

Snake plants like it warm. Keep the air temperature between 65-90ºF, and avoid exposing your plant to both hot and cold drafts.

As far as humidity goes, average household humidity (30-50%) is perfect.

When and How to Fertilize

Since snake plants are relatively slow-growing vegetative plants, they don’t require a ton of fertilizer. Applying too much fertilizer is just as harmful as providing not enough.

With that said, you should fertilize your snake plant one to three times a year. Fertilize from the spring to late summer.

Choose a fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio and dilute it following product instructions.

Staking

Snake plants are self-supporting and don’t require any staking or other forms of support.

When and How to Repot

Since snake plants are relatively slow-growing, they don’t need to be repotted very often. Aim to repot when your plant has outgrown its container, about every two to three years.

When it comes time to repot, select a slightly bigger container than the previous one. Make sure to use new potting soil and water well.


Snake Plant Growth FAQs:

Are Snake Plants Slow-Growing?

Yes, snake plants are relatively slow-growing. Expect plants to grow no more than a foot each year.

Are Snake Plants Easy to Care For?

Snake plants are one of the easiest to care for houseplants. They can survive a wide range of light conditions as well as periods without water.

How Do You Know If Your Snake Plant is Happy?

If your plant is the proper color and growing well, it’s happy. If you notice discoloration, disease, or slowed growth, it’s a good chance something is wrong with your snake plant’s environment or care.

Do Snake Plants Like Big Pots?

Snake plants like to be in pots that are just a bit bigger than their rootball. Large pots can lead to saturated soils and problems with nutrient uptake.

Do Snake Plants Like Grow Lights?

While snake plants don’t dislike grow lights, they’ll typically grow fine with natural light. You’ll only need to use artificial light if your snake plant is in a very dark room.


How Fast Snake Plants Grow – The Final Word

You should see slow yet noticeable growth as long as you provide your snake plant with the proper environment and care. If your plant’s growth seems stagnant, check for and fix any problems, and you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits snake plants provide.


Briana Yablonski
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Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Author

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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