How Much Water Do Snake Plants Need? In-Depth Guide


Indoor snake plants in container.

The snake plant is an easy growing indoor plant. If you are a beginner you will have no problem growing it indoors. But, like other indoor plants, it needs certain growing conditions. Water is one of the requirements of growing healthy snake plants.

You need to water snake plants when the soil dries up. It is better to use room temperature water.  Make sure that the water does not stay on the pot. If the water is not drained out the root and leaves can rot.

How Much Water Do Snake Plants Need?

First water it lightly, the next watering must be done when the soil dries. The plant is resistant to relatively long periods without water. When the temperature is low and the plant is in shade water less frequently.

  • In summer, water once a week.
  • In winter 1-2 times a month

Avoid Excess watering in winter. Overwatering may cause damage to the leaves. They will begin to turn yellow and rot at the base.

Determining Watering Frequency

You may be surprised to know that incorrect watering is one of the main reasons for diseases of your snake plants. So, it is very important to determine the frequency of watering for your snake plant.

  • Overwatering: Snake plants suffer due to incorrectly selected irrigation frequencies and the amount of water used for single irrigation;
  • Drying out: Lack of moisture causes the snake plant container soil to dry out. Without water, plants struggle to continue normal growth.

Now, depending on the type of plant and in relation to the watering frequency, we can divide them into the following groups:

  • Constant wet container soil
  • Never drying the substrate
  • Light drying between irrigations
  • Moderate drying of the soil
  • Severe drying of the soil
Watering frequency The period between watering in summer The period between watering in winter
Without drying 24 to 36 hours 24 to 48 hours
Light drying 30 to 45 hours 30 to 60 hours
Strong drying 48 to 72 hours From 1 time in 14 days to Once a month

At this point, you may be wondering how to determine which of the numbers indicated in the table (first or second) is suitable in your case? Don’t worry, I’ll explain with some easy DYI techniques to determine the watering frequency of your plant.

Watering Your Plant

Here are some situations which are important to understand before determining the watering frequency:

  • Immediately after watering, you will notice that the surface color of the soil will be black, black-brown or dark-brown (the color depends on the composition of the soil mixture). In addition, you will also see that the entire substrate is shining. The water particles will give it a shine. This state of the soil substrate is called excessively wet. In this state, the soil mixture rolls into a lump, when you squeeze water is released.
  • After watering you will observe the change in color of the surface of the soil. It may take 1-2 hours to appear. Now the shine will disappear because soil soaked the excess water.
  • From the moment of watering, it may take from 24 to 36 hours, then the color of the soil surface loses uniformity. A certain percentage of the surface will keep it matte black, black-brown or brown (respectively).

Now, let’s find out how we can precisely determine the watering frequency of the snake plant. Also, you can use this method for other plants without a doubt.

Watering Frequency: Without Drying

If the watering recommends keeping the plant without drying the soil, you should water it when its surface color becomes 95% grey (grey-brown or light brown).

This is a flow diagram describing the without drying method of watering plant. Without drying method is mentioned in the above table.
Watering Frequency Without Drying

Watering Frequency: Light Drying

If the watering recommendations for your plant indicate that it should be kept with a light, dried soil:

  • Determine the point in time when the color of the surface of the soil mix became 100% gray (gray-brown or light brown) after the 1st watering;
  • Determine the period of time from watering to this point. Typically, this period is between 24 and 36 hours (in summer);
  • Extend the drying time of the soil in the pot by another 1/4 of the time. This time is between watering and the point when 100% of the soil surface of the pot changes color. Then you should water the plant.

So, here is a flow chart to make your job easier:

This is a flow diagram describing the without drying method of watering plant. Light drying method is mentioned in the above table.
Watering Frequency for Light Drying

Watering Frequency: Strong Drying

Now, the snake plant is recommended to keep it with strong drying between watering. The period of time between watering will be equal to:

The period of time (between watering and the moment when 100% of the soil in the pot will change its color), multiplied by two.

This is a flow diagram describing the without drying method of watering plant. Strong drying method is mentioned in the above table.
Watering Frequency for Strong Drying

Important!

  1. The figures you are seeing in the table are valid when there are no significant (more than 10%) differences in temperature, illumination, and humidity. If you observe such differences, then you must adjust the figures (exposure time with light and strong drying) to decrease or increase.

Here is an example to make your understanding better:

If after 24 hours the temperature in the room has increased by 1.5 times, then the holding time for light or strong drying is reduced. So, you need to consider certain environmental parameters. This will help you determine the right water frequency for your snake plant.

  1. If the drying time of the soil mixture in the pot with the plant is very different from those indicated in the table (more than 20%). Then you need to look for the reason:
  • small pot (the soil will dry out faster),
  • very large pot (a significant part of the substrate is not covered with roots),
  • plant disease (slows down the physiological processes in the plant and the soil dries out more frequently),
  • adverse environmental factors (changes in lighting, temperature, humidity, drought).

Finally, I tried to describe all the important aspects of determining the watering frequency for your snake plant as well as for other indoor plants.

Now, I want to share some information that will help you determine if your plant is suffering from a lack of water or over water.

Principles of Watering

snake plant container and watering can
  • In winter you should water snake plant less frequently and less abundantly than in summer;
  • In winter, be sure to drain the water collected in the container after watering;
  • Clay pots have a porous structure and easily absorb moisture from the soil;
  • If there is no drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, you need to put a drainage layer of stones or other non-degradable material.  This helps to keep away excess water from the roots.

Visual signs of dehydration:

  • the leaves become translucent;
  • leaves and flowers fall off prematurely;
  • the leaf edges turn brown and dry out;
  • the lower leaves twist and dry.

Early Signs of Overwatering

  • Young and old leaves fall at the same time;
  • A rotten smell appeared in the pot; the roots disappear due to the lack of oxygen;
  • Water stagnates in the pot after watering;
  • Mold appears on the surface of the substrate;
  • The leaf does not grow, and brown necrotic spots appear on it;
  • Healthy white roots change color to brown.

Plants consume an increased amount of water:

  • when there is active plant growth;
  • when the leaf of the plant is thin and tender;
  • when the plant is illuminated by direct sunlight;
  • if there is a lot of foliage;
  • if the roots completely filled the pot;
  • if the plant grows in a relatively small space;
  • if the plant grows in dry air (Central heating);
  • if the plant has grown according to its origin in a swamp or wetland;
  • if the plant grows in a ceramic pot.

Water requirement reduced if:

  • The plants rest after flowering or fruiting;
  • The plants are grown in a cool room;
  • After transplantation;
  • Growing in high humidity conditions;
  • The plant stores water (cacti, succulents).

Conclusion:

Water is an essential part of plant growth. So, it is very crucial to ensure proper watering for your indoor snake plant. As snake plants do not need frequent watering you need to determine the frequency of watering. I hope this article will be very helpful for you and clear all the confusion about watering frequency.

So, if you have any questions or suggestions please let me know by dropping a comment below. I’ll be happy to answer your queries.

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