Can Snake Plants Live Outside?

Can Snake Plants Live Outside?

Snake plants are some of the most common indoor plants. They are famous for their ease of maintenance and the benefits they provide in our homes. For instance, according to NASA’s study, they help remove toxins such as formaldehyde from the air.

But can snake plants live outside? Is it possible to grow them outside?

Snake plants - can they live outside?

Snake plants can grow outside. They can survive in most lighting conditions, and some of them can even live in shaded areas. However, they prefer warmer climates, and they are susceptible to cold temperatures.

They may not transfer the air purifying qualities outdoors, but they would make a great addition to your yard.

What is a Snake Plant?

Sansevieria or snake plant is a native of Southern Asia and the Island of Madagascar. Other people call it Mother-in-law’s tongue and it grows only in hardy zones 9-11.

The Sansevieria come in 70 different species, but the common one is the Sansevieria trifasciata. This breed comes in two forms; an upright form and a smaller form called the Birdnest Sansevieria.

The Birdnest Sansevieria have very tiny flowers. And that’s why most people grow them for their leaves instead. These small flowers grow on the long stems and produce berries. However, their small size and number make them produce few seeds.

You can grow snake plants through seeds or the underground rhizomes. The size of the sansevieria determines how they grow. The small ones do not grow as aggressively as the large ones, covering up an area within a short while.

Can Snake Plants Live Outside in Winter?

Snake plants are tropical plants, and they can easily be affected by freezing winter temperatures.

It’s advisable to plant your snake plants indoors during winter. But with proper care, they might survive outside during winter.

How Cold Can a Snake Plant Tolerate?

When the soil is dry, snake plants can withstand temperatures as low as 5 Degrees Celsius (41 F).

But the ideal growing temperatures for this plant range from 18 – 27 Degrees Celsius (65 to 85 F).

How Do You Take Care of a Snake Plant During Winter?

Water sparingly and wait for the water to dry in the soil before watering again. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the leaves.

Avoid fertilizing the plant during winter.

Can Snake Plants be Planted in the Ground?

Snake plants are often planted in containers and placed indoors or outdoors. But it’s possible to plant them in the ground.

Just make sure the area you plant them receives adequate sunlight. And the soil should also be well-drained.

They aren’t very picky about the soil acidity levels, but pH ranging from 4.5 to 8.5 would be great.

Also, space out the plants when planting – at least a 6 to 36 inches distance based on the plants’ size).

How Can You Take Care of an Outdoor Snake Plant?

Below are some of the ways to effectively grow a snake plant outdoors.

Light

Snake plants are hardy plants that can survive in shaded areas as well as in direct sunlight.

But it’s advisable to give it as much direct sunlight as you can. Poor lighting may lead to weak plants, and they may not develop some of the markings that make these plants desirable.

Water

Avoid over-watering this plant. Under-watering isn’t much of a problem since they are succulents and store most of their water in their leaves. 

Excess moisture can cause root rot to your Sansevieria. If your area receives rainfall, you may not have to water this plant.

Also, avoid watering during the winter period. Since they do well in arid areas, snake plants prefer sand soil that has better drainage.

Always allow the soil to dry before watering again. It will help if you water from the bottom of the pot. This will ensure the roots grow deep and downwards for more stability to hold the tall and thick leaves. And it will prevent you from watering the leaves.

Temperature

The right temperatures to grow your Sansevieria should be 55 – 85℉. Anything below 50 F could kill your snake plants.

Use Fertilizer

Apply an all-purpose/balanced liquid fertilizer (for instance 8-8-8) during the spring and late summer.

The fertilizer should be highly diluted to prevent it from damaging the plant.

Weeding

Like with other plants, weeds will compete for nutrients with your snake plants. So, remove the weeds often using mechanical or organic methods.

Pests and Diseases 

Snake plants have little to none pest and insect problems. However, they can have spider mites and mealybugs infestations.

These pests suck sap, causing leaf-shedding and small wounds. To eliminate these pests, wash away the spider mites and increase the plant’s humidity levels since they can’t endure.

As for the mealybugs, dab the leaves with alcohol to eliminate them.

Snake plants are also susceptible to snails and slug bites. These pests cause holes on the leaves.

If you find an affected plant, you can build a trap with stale beer and a container.

Pour some stale beer into the container and bury it close to the plant. The beer will entice these pests, and they’ll eventually drown in it.

The only disease the snake plants are prone to get is root rot due to overwatering.

In case of root rot, remove the dry and dead leaves and allow the plant to dry out entirely than usual.

Snake plants often recover after drying out. But if that does not happen and the leaves continue dying, discard the whole plant and soil and plant a new one.

NOTE:

Outdoor snake plants may not bloom as they would have if they were indoors.

And since you can’t control how far they spread, they may become invasive in some regions. Besides, it will be challenging to move them indoors during winter.

Below are some practical ways of preventing snake plants from spreading:

  1. Divide your snake plants every three years.
  2. Uproot your plant and brush off all the dirt and debris from the roots and place it on a hard surface.
  3. With a sharp and clean blade, split your rhizome right in the middle.
  4. Be sure to leave behind 2-3 roots in each rhizome.
  5. Plant your new divided rhizome in potting soil and water it a little. This should be enough to last it for some time.
  6. Check if the soil is dry completely before watering your snake plant again.
  7. You can plant your snake plant in containers sunk in the ground. Dig out a place to put your container in the ground up to the ream. This will control the growth from spreading out of the containers.
  8. Use barriers to prevent the plants from spreading to unwanted areas. Have your borders extending about 12 inches into the ground to contain the roots in a desirable location.

Conclusion

Snake plants make great indoor plants. But as we’ve established, you can perfectly grow them outdoors. They are a great way to decorate your patios, driveways, or you can place them in your garden with other plants. But I think it’s better to have them in containers, even though you’re setting them outdoors. This will help control how they spread, and you can use a different and better soil than the one in your garden.

Related Articles:

Snake plants - can they survive outside

References:

https://www.almanac.com/plant/snake-plants

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-snake-plant-68402.html

https://dengarden.com/gardening/How-to-Grow-Sansevieria

https://www.proflowers.com/blog/snake-plant-care

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