A common misconception regarding Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata, formerly Sansevieria trifasciata) is that they are low-light loving plants that rarely grow or change. While it may be true that a Snake Plant in a dark corner will tolerate its conditions and not grow very fast, you want to create an environment where your Snake Plant thrives and grows.
Snake Plants will grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) per year when given optimal growing conditions such as bright light and nutrient-dense soil.
While this might seem slower compared to popular Aroids like Monstera and Philodendron, given the optimal conditions, it may surprise you just how fast your Snake Plant will grow!
Are Snake Plants Fast or Slow Growing Plants?
Snake Plants do have a reputation for being slow growers. However, their ability to grow will significantly depend on their living conditions.
Snake Plants are very prolific growers in the wild and are considered an invasive species in many areas. While they may extend up to 12 inches (30 cm) in height within a year, they will likely grow more leaves and spread into full, large plants when they receive optimal care and conditions that best replicate their natural environment.
How Often Do Snake Plants Grow New Leaves?
Snake Plants will produce new leaves, also known as “pups,” from their root ball. While there are no scientific timelines for how often Snake Plants will grow new leaves, they are more likely to produce new pups if the rest of the plant lives in ideal conditions. The best way to increase the number of leaves and the frequency of new leaves is to ensure that the plant gets everything needed for efficient photosynthesis.
How Fast Do Snake Plants Grow Indoors?
How quickly your Snake Plant will grow indoors will vary greatly depending on your space.
Snake Plants originate from tropical West Africa, enjoying bright, warm, and dry conditions. The closer your environment mimics the conditions that your Snake Plant thrives in naturally, the faster it will grow.
For example, when it comes to sunlight, the average home contains anywhere from 50 up to 2,000 Foot Candles.
Snake Plants will tolerate light conditions on the lower end of the spectrum reasonably well, which is why you might often find Snake Plants used as decor in office spaces or retail stores.
Snake Plants require a minimum of 100 Foot Candles to survive, but the growth will be minimal. Light is a crucial ingredient for photosynthesis; without enough, you might see your Snake Plant grow less than 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) each year.
Fortunately, Snake Plants that are indoors live in a very controlled environment, and there are many simple changes that you can make to help them grow quickly.
How Do You Speed Up Snake Plant Growth?
The best way to encourage optimal growth for your Snake Plant is to increase the amount of light.
If your Snake Plant lives near a window that receives bright indirect light, it will grow much faster, receiving approximately 1,000 to 2,000 Foot Candles of light. While you can provide your Snake Plant with a few hours of direct sunlight, you must introduce this much light gradually to prevent sunburn or shock.
If you don’t think that your home has adequate lighting for your Snake Plant, supplementing your current light conditions with a grow light will be the most efficient way to accomplish this.
If you want your Snake Plant not only to grow taller but grow full and bushy, you will want to make sure that you give it a light source that is evenly distributed. The best way to ensure this is to have your Snake Plant receiving light from the top of the plant. If this isn’t possible, you will want to rotate your Snake Plant frequently so it doesn’t only grow in the direction of the light.
Snake Plants can tolerate pitiful soil conditions in the wild, but if you notice that your Snake Plant’s soil is dry, crumbly, or odorous, it could be devoid of nutrients and stunt your Snake Plant’s growth. Since Snake Plants have thick, succulent leaves that can retain water for long periods of time, having a nutrient-dense, well-draining soil mixture will give it the boost it needs to speed up growth.
Consider a high-quality succulent or cactus soil mixture from your local garden center, and you can supplement it with:
- Orchid Bark
- Pumice or Perlite
- Activated Horticultural Charcoal
- Sphagnum Moss
While Snake Plants are very tolerant of poor soil quality and can withstand nutrient-deficient conditions, if you want to see your Snake Plant grow faster, incorporating fertilizer into your routine is a great option. Using a 10-10-10 fertilizer solution approximately every 4 to 6 weeks will help to speed up growth.
It’s important to remember that too much fertilizer can cause fertilizer burn in your Snake Plant. Follow the directions on the label carefully to ensure that the fertilizer is properly diluted.
When it’s time to water your Snake Plant, give it a thorough drink. It’s a common misconception that Snake Plants need only a sip of water on a rare occasion, but this will slow your Snake Plant’s growth tremendously.
While overwatering is a big problem for Snake Plants, it only happens when they are watered too frequently, causing root rot. If your Snake Plant lives in a pot with drainage and a well-draining soil mix, you will want to give it lots of water when it is thirsty if you want your Snake Plant to grow quickly.
You can also take steps to enhance the type of water you give your Snake Plant, which will speed up growth:
- Using distilled water
- Watering with rain water
- Water from freshwater aquariums
If your Snake Plant lives in a warm environment that mimics the conditions in the wild where it grows naturally, it will grow much faster than if left in a cooler climate. For example, you might notice that your Snake Plant tends to go dormant during the winter, triggered by the absence of light combined with cooler temperatures.
While Snake Plants can tolerate as low as 45°F (7°C), if your space is 70°F (21°C) or above, you will notice much faster growth for your Snake Plant.
Keep your Snake Plant safe from adverse weather conditions by keeping them away from open windows or doors and vents or air conditioners. This may cause them to go dormant, especially after repeated exposure.
Factors That Can Slow Your Snake Plant’s Growth
Even if your Snake Plant is living in optimal growing conditions, some factors can slow your Snake Plant’s growth, such as:
- Root rot from overwatering
- Fungal or bacterial infections
- Pest infestation
- Physical injuries (for example, being knocked over by yourself, a pet, or a child)
- Shipping your plant or moving your plant to a new home
Your Snake Plant will likely need up to 4-6 weeks to recover from these traumatic events before it continues to grow.
Snake Plant Growth Stages
While most Snake Plants that end up in our home result from propagation or division from larger Snake Plants, they can also grow from seeds.
The seeds will form roots and eventually turn into seedlings, which will mature into the larger Snake Plant leaves that we commonly recognize. Those leaves will then develop ‘pups’ from the roots, which become the new leaves.
How Long Do Snake Plants Live?
Snake Plants can live up to 10-25 years, although some can live even longer indoors, as long as they are given optimal conditions.
It might be subject to variations in temperature and climate outdoors or face other adversities that might shorten its lifespan.
How Long Does It Take For Snake Plants To Multiply?
While there are no guaranteed timelines for multiplying your Snake Plants, there are two options to consider. The first way to multiply your Snake Plant is to wait for it to produce pups. If your Snake Plant receives bright indirect light, you might find several starting to grow each month.
You can also multiply Snake Plants very quickly through propagation. Take several cuttings from a single leaf, root them in water, plant them in soil and watch new pups grow from those cuttings. Healthy roots tend to develop in 6 to 8 weeks, a faster and more controlled way to multiply your snake plants.
While it is true that Snake Plants can be slower to grow, this is most often due to their reputation for being low-light houseplants that tolerate benign neglect.
When given optimal growing conditions such as bright light and nutrient-dense soil, Snake Plants will grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) each year, an average of 1 inch (2.5 cm) each month.
While it may be true that Snake Plants can tolerate less-than-desirable conditions, you will find that they can become very prolific growers under the right conditions. You can make minor environmental and care adjustments to speed up your Snake Plant’s growth and even prolong its lifespan.