How to Care for a Snake Plant: Water & Light Requirements

how often to water a snake plant

As one of the easiest indoor plants on the planet to take care of, it’s no surprise that American homes are strewn with the ever-popular Snake plant. Otherwise known as Sansevieria, you’ll find the Snake plant to be a die-hard indoor plant requiring minimal effort.

You only need to look at the Sansevieria to notice its long, thick leaves, which are perfect for absorbing water. This fact means you don’t need to ponder the question of ‘how often to water Snake plants’ too hard.

Because of its succulent roots (pardon the pun), its fleshly leaves retain water as a cactus does.

How long can Snake plants go without water?

Their ability to go long periods without any water (like other succulents) means these hardy popular houseplants take barely any maintenance. So, knowing when to water Snake plants is pretty straightforward.

You can willfully neglect your Snake plants for up to six to eight weeks. However, choosing how often to water Snake plants can be based on the type of potting soil, daily humidity, access to sunlight, indoor temperature, and the variety of Snake plants.

But to be on the safe side, don’t go any longer than a month without watering your Snake plant. But that’s excellent news for regular vacation takers.

How much water do Snake plants need?

Overwatering often occurs for those new to caring for Snake plants. Beginners don’t usually know the amount of water a Snake plant needs. Excess water will lead to the plant's root to rot.

Follow these 5 helpful tips so you know how to care for a Snake plant;

  1. In the summer months, stick to a weekly watering schedule. You can extend this to two to four weeks in the milder seasons. But remember, how often you water your Snake plant depends on the plant’s conditions and humidity levels.
  2. Only water Snake plants minimally in the winter months due to reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures. You can potentially wait up to eight weeks for plants in large pots. Give your house plants rest and know their winter care schedules.
  3. Don’t let the water build in the center of the leaves (the cup). Do so, and you might end up with a mushy plant and root rot.
  4. Don’t water your Snake plant again until the potting mix is thoroughly dry. 
  5. Never wet the Snake plant's leaves or the leaves will soak up and keep all the water. A sprouted watering can help with this.

5 signs your snake plant needs water

Knowing when your Snake plant is already plenty hydrated can be more than challenging. When you don’t know how often to water Snake plants, you’re more than likely to overwater than underwater. Overwatering eventually kills this succulent house plant.

Fear not, there are a handy few care tips for knowing when to water snake plants.

  1. Always check out the color of your topsoil. After watering, the top of the soil should grow darker (dark brown or blackish brown) and shine slightly. This change in color and shine shows your Snake plant has enough water. When the topsoil is light in color and dry, your Snake plant needs watering.
  2. Press your finger into the soil to check for moisture levels. If water seeps out of the soil after a press, the soil still has enough water to keep it going a little longer.
  3. Knowing how to care for a Snake plant means checking how much light it has. If your Snake plant receives plenty of direct sunlight, it will need more water to stay hydrated. Conversely, Snake plants in shaded areas will need less water.
  4. Check the size of your pot. Bigger pots usually need more water due to the larger soil volume.
  5. Check to see if the once green leaves have started to wilt or appear droopy, translucent or brown (particularly on the edges). This house plant is in danger if the leaves also begin to twist off, fall, or drop at a higher rate than growing.

What light is best for Snake plants?

The low maintenance personality of the Sansevierias means they can handle pretty much any light condition. So from low light to harsh, direct sunlight, the Snake plant can thrive, or at least survive, in it all. But ideally, it’s best to know the optimum Snake plant light requirements so you can let your house plant thrive.

If you often wonder do Snake plants need sun, I can confidently tell you they do. But Snake plants prefer indirect light and a medium light intensity. So put your Snake plant about ten inches away from a west or south window for its best chance of survival.

Try the darker-leafed species if you’re looking for a plant that can handle lower light conditions. These varieties thrive better in low light.

Can Snake plants survive in low light?

Keep in mind that the brighter variegations of Snake plants will not thrive in low patterned light. However, it’s still not ideal to put your Snake plants in direct, hot sunlight. Although they can survive, they’ll also burn rapidly.

Indirect sunlight, always the best lighting condition for a Snake plant. So, when buying your Snake plants, remember to ask yourself how much light do Snake plants need?

How do I know if my Snake plant is healthy?

Hopefully, we’ve given you enough information to know your Snake plant light requirements. Ideally, you now know how often to water Snake plants for their general health.

To keep your Snake plant healthy, remember the proper watering principles and always check the state of the Snake plant's health.


Along with her many other interests, Sarah is a keen gardener who believes that everyone can learn to use their green thumbs. With a positive impact on mental health and fitness, Sarah wants to encourage everyone to get in their garden this summer.

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