Snake Plant is one of the favourite succulent of many plant lovers. However, It do have some disadvantages that you need to know before growing it.
Snake Plant is an air purifying and oxygen rich houseplant with more that 70 varieties. It is a resilient, supposedly easy to grow succulent native to tropical West Africa from Nigeria east to Congo. You can find it growing in the highlands of Kenya, Zimbabwe and also in some parts of Asia. It is an evergreen and perennial houseplant with an eye-appealing sight. It can be identified by its upright growing sword shaped leaves with alternate, horizontal dark green zigzag patterns all over which almost look like an artificial foliage. This succulent can grow anywhere between 6 inches to several feet’s tall and have a life span ranging from 5 to 25 years. There are different types of snake plants that you can choose according to your requirements.
It has been given other names like Mother-in-law’s tongue, Saint George’s sword, Viper’s bowstring hemp, etc. It was kept under the genus Sansevieria and is still known commonly as Sansevierias. It thrives in a well draining, porous potting mix and can be easily propagated through their leaf cuttings and root divisions. It is a hardy drought tolerant houseplant, placed commonly indoors in low light or bright, indirect light with average room temperature ranging from 60 to 75 degrees F.
This beautiful succulent is grown for its beauty as well as some benefits it offers. It purifies air by absorbing toxic air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene through its leaves, works for some allergies, boosts mental health and may even help with minor ailments. The locals in their wild habitat use them to treat uric snake pipes and even ulcers. Despite many advantages, there are some snake plant disadvantages that you need to know.
Snake Plant Disadvantages
Despite being a carefree house plant with many benefits and their beautiful appearance, there are some issues you need to address before going for this succulent. Most of the cases may not be severe which can be fixed with proper care in no time. So, what you need to consider is whether you can manage or are ready to devote your time to this plant or not.
In this article, we’ll be discussing some major disadvantages of the Snake plant along with the measures to fix it if possible. Read till the end to compare its pros and cons to decide on whether to make a purchase or not.
1. Mildly toxic leaves
Their leaves are slightly poisonous due to the presence of a chemical called saponin. So, the plant on consumption may lead to swelling and numbness in the tongue. It may not be that big a deal for the adults. But they are toxic to pets and children, making them risky and less desirable for the ones with little munchkins.
The main disadvantage with snake plants is their slow or sometimes stunted growth when placed indoors. This succulent loves spreading and expanding root area, which may slow down the growth and formation of their leaves. However, it may be a plus point for the busy bees to cut out the hassle of pruning.
3. Highly prone to fungus attack
The fungal diseases like southern blight, red leaf spot may appear quite often, especially in healthy and beautiful leaves. So, you should always look out for fungal attacks and plant the cutting after dipping in the fungicide during their propagation.
4. Bad Feng Shui energy when kept at improper place
Feng shui experts believe that it isn’t the plant that brings bad luck but the places where it is kept. According to it, the snake plant should be placed at the entrance of the room. Otherwise, placing it in the wrong direction may invite negative energy and cause stress.
5. Very sensitive to Overwatering
Overwatering may be the common reason why most people struggle with snake plants and end up killing it. It does not like to have wet feet. So, water your plant when the soil is dry. Make sure you check the soil before watering. This plant really needs to be watered only when needed which is not that often. So, watering it on a regular schedule makes the situation worse here.
6. Leaves falling over or turning white
The uniqueness and beauty of their leaves is what attracts the visitors and falling of leaves may be a serious issue if not controlled in time. It may be caused by poor draining potting mix or overwatering indicating the poor health of the plant. The plant won’t be worth calling a decorative house plant if it loses its foliar beauty.
7. Sensitive to cold draughts
The snake plant thrives in a warm temperature. So, they can’t grow in a spot with a cold drought. You’ll notice that the leaves on the plants start to go limp and you may mistake it for lack of water. Unfortunately, this will make the situation worse as you’ll probably be overwatering your plants. They don’t do well in temperatures below 10 degree C or 50 degree F. Also, overexposure to sunlight results in wilting of the leaves.
8. Problems during propagation
An ideal cut with sterilised blade or shear should be made in order to propagate this plant by leaf cuttings without hurting the mother plant. They seek proper attention while watering to avoid cut rot or root rot. Using cutting tools without sterilising may lead to fungal or bacterial infections. Also, the plant loses its variegation when propagated through the leaf cuttings.
9. Curling and wrinkling leaves
The main issue with this snake plant is to maintain its water requirements. Curling of the leaves inward results on overwatering and the wrinkling or bending leaves can be observed in case of under watering. So, its quite challenging to keep up their flat, broad and vibrant leaves.
10. Difficult to maintain required moisture
They hail from an arid and sunny environment of west Africa. So, they are used to being in a dry climate with sun beating down on them. The increase in moisture content will only increase the risk of root rot and fungus attack.
11. Bad luck
It is often believed that snake plants bring bad luck associated with poverty and negative energies with itself. It may not be believed by all, but it’s still a red signal for the ones who believe in their luck.
12. Yellowing of the leaves
The leaves start yellowing and might also develop brown spots when watered without checking soil properly, making it look unsightly. You can even use a moisture metre to remove the feeling of doubt when to water the plant and give it a good drink when it’s the right time.
Another thing that really damages your plant health is misting the leaves with a mister or sprays. Leaving water droplets on the leaf surface to dry is not what snake plants want. Misting the plant increases the humidity level around it. Doing these actually creates more harm than good, especially with snake plants. They don’t like or need extra humidity like other house plants.
14. Thin leaves
You may notice a thin and little stretched out leaf indicating the plant is not getting enough sunlight. This happens because the plant is stretching itself out in search of natural light. This plant is versatile enough to be placed in darker spots. But if you want a plant that looks full and vibrant with nice big thick leaves, you should put it in spot with more light.
15. Brown and Mushy roots
While repotting, you may observe brown and mushy roots which may certainly lead to the death of the plant if left unattended. These roots should be trimmed to protect further issues. It is also mainly caused by overwatering like other problems in the list.
The snake plant is definitely a prior choice of many gardeners. Their contrasting vibrant appearance lure every eyes to them. After going through the snake plant disadvantages discussed above and their benefits, it’s you who should consider if you can go for it or not. You should have a good understanding of what needs to be done and what not. However, the disadvantage you have to go through is not that serious and are mostly flexible to fix, in my opinion. Keeping this plant in a proper location and giving proper care requirements will definitely boost positive energy flow in your room.