Don't be turned off by the creepy common name–this plant is a sweetheart to grow.

Sansevieria Snake Plant
Credit: Adél Békefi/Getty Images

It is hard to find a houseplant that is easier to care for than the snake plant (Sansevieria). Even if your gardener's thumb is more brown than green, snake plant care is so straightforward anyone can have success growing this plant. A very tolerant and forgiving plant (it evens helps clean the air around you), they can be neglected for weeks at a time and their sword-like foliage and interesting shape will still look fresh. Snake plants can be grown outdoors all year in the tropical South, and as an indoor/outdoor houseplant elsewhere. If this sounds like the ideal plant for you, read on for how to care for a snake plant.

Why the Strange Name?

The botanical label Sansevieria is prettier, more exotic sounding, and rolls off the tongue easier than the plant's common nicknames. The name "snake plant" comes from the leaf banding or mottling, which resembles some snakeskins. The common name "Mother-in-law's tongue" probably comes from the long, sharp-pointed leaves and the plant's persistence under neglect. The plant's tough leaf fibers have traditionally been used as bowstrings.

Snake Plant Care Requirements

Soil: Free draining soil, such as a cacti/succulent soil mix, is essential to growing snake plants. like. If you use regular potting soil,then add perlite and/or coarse sand to the mix.

Temperatures: Sansevieria prefer warmer climes and can tolerate conditions ranging from 55℉– 85℉. Temperatures below 50℉can cause them harm.

Sun: A snake plant canwithstand full sun and handle low light, but indirect sunlight is best.

Water: These plants can easily rot. Make sure the soil is well-drained and don't water it too much (especially in winter). Allow the soil to dry in between watering. As they originate from arid deserts, these plants do well in sandier soils and can handle drought better than they do overwatering.

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Pests and Problems

Although easy to grow, you may run across a few issues. As stated above, overwatering and excessive cold can be detrimental to the exotic Sansevieria. They can also become infested with mealybugs and spider mites. Dab mealybugs with alcohol as a control method and eliminate spider mites by washing the leaves and increasing humidity around the plant.