How I Made My Snake Plant Bloom

Learn a few simple steps to help your snake plant bloom.

Steve Bender Snake Plant Blooming
Photo: Steve Bender

Snake plant—also called Saint George's sword, mother-in-law's tongue, and viper's bowstring hemp—is an evergreen perennial in the family Asparagaceae, and has nearly 70 different species. Its botanical classification until 2017 was Sansevieria trifasciata, and you may still see some refer to it as such, but it is now known as Dracaena trifasciata. Erect, spikey, sword-like leaves with an appearance that resembles some snakes are this plant's defining feature. They vary in color, but most are dark green leaves with lighter green or yellow borders or accented veins.

Snake Plants Are A Popular Choice

With a range anywhere from eight inches to 12 feet tall, snake plants can be ideal for either outdoor or indoor environments—easily able to adorn porches, windowsills, and hanging containers. They continue to be a popular choice for houseplants year after year because they are easy to care for and difficult to kill, which makes them the perfect starter plant for beginners and an ideal constant for those who want houseplants but don't have much time to devote to them. Snake plant is tolerant of low light and irregular watering. It can also survive droughts. The NASA Clean Air Study found that it also has the potential to filter indoor air and improve air quality. Unfortunately, snake plants contain saponins, organic chemicals that are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. So, be aware and take precautions if you have furry friends.

Many people—both beginner plant parents and seasoned gardeners—grow snake plants, but only a smattering have ever seen one bloom. Snake plant flowers are quite rare, but it is possible to get yours to bloom with the right care regimen. My snake plant blooms every year. You must wonder what exhausting series of weird machinations I engage in to produce such a year-after-year, mind-blowing spectacle. Well, the secret is that it's actually rather simple, with just a few easy steps to follow.

Getting Your Snake Plant to Bloom

Step 1. After overwintering my snake plant indoors, I move it to a partly sunny location outdoors after our last spring frost.

Snake plants are semi-tropical, native to tropical West Africa, from Nigeria to the Congo, as well as tropical and subtropical regions of Europe and Asia. Even though they can handle low light, they will not survive freezing temperatures. This is why it's best to keep them inside during the cold months.

Step 2. I feed it twice during the summer with Miracle-Gro and let it get plenty of sunlight.

Snake plants like slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, and can be treated the same way you would treat a cactus or succulent. You should feed them with mild cactus fertilizer during their growing season.

Increasing the snake plant's exposure to sunlight will boost its growth and increase the chances of blooming flowers. Though it can tolerate low light and even dark corners of your home, snake plant grows slower in low light. It needs several hours of direct sunlight in order to promote growth and encourage flowering. So, when it can't be kept outside in full sunlight, make sure it spends plenty of time in a location where it can receive some direct light through your windows.

Step 3. I do not water it.

An outdoor snake plant doesn't need anything more than rain to sustain it. However, because it is a succulent and stores water in its leaves, it does require a pot with a drainage hole and fast-draining potting soil. The stomata, microscopic pores on the plant's leaves, open only at night, a tactic to prevent water from escaping or being evaporated. Given that, it can get rained on practically every day with no problem.

When you bring it inside during the winter months, you will only need to water it every couple of months. Because they retain water so well, snake plants are extremely susceptible to overwatering which causes root rot. Before watering, use your hands to check if the soil feels dry.

Step 4. I ignore it and just let it grow.

Step 5. I take my snake plant back inside before the first autumn frost.

Note: Snake plants will not flower when they are new and young. An aged plant is your best bet for getting the flowers to bloom. So, if you are too impatient to wait for a few years to see flowering, make sure you get a more mature snake plant.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles