Having drought tolerant plants indoors is a must for gardeners. Particularly, if you’ve a bunch of houseplants. These plants don’t demand much attention and with little care they add aesthetic appeal to your space.
I love to have green jungle indoors, but when it comes to regular monitoring my negligence ruin the plant growth. That is why I prefer to choose plants that can survive even when I forget them to water them.
Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue is a resilient succulent that can survive without water for 2 weeks. In colder seasons, you can forget about watering sansevierias plant for about a month.
But, how can snake plant survive without water, when we’ve learned in books about the importance of water for food production?
Hold your horses. In this article I’ll explain why and how can snake plant go for so long without water.
Watering Needs of Snake Plant
Does snake plant need water everyday?
No, it is one among the most drought tolerant succulent plant.
For few plants you must ensure to provide moist soil all the time. Unlike them, snake plant would love to dry between watering.
If you take extra care to provide more water to this plant, then excess water may end up rotting snake plant roots. Overwatering is common issue among houseplant gardeners.
Till you understand your snake plant’s watering needs, you must closely monitor plant leaves and soil. This is to determine the watering frequency.
As you should know, watering schedule can be affected depending on various factors like climatic conditions, sunlight exposure, potting soil and temperature. I’ll discuss in details about these things later in this article.
Like mentioned above, snake plant can survive without water for 2 weeks in summer. In winter, due to low lightening and drop in temperature you should limit watering to once in a month.
How Long Can Snake Plant Go Without Water?
Without doubt, snake plant is one of the best drought tolerant houseplant that you must include to your group of plants.
You can forget watering snake plant or sansevierias for more than a week.
But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry other routine care needed for this plant, which can include pruning, fertilizing, mulching, cleaning snake plant leaves and inspecting for any pest or fungal infestation.
To answer your question, snake plant can live without water for 2 weeks or 14 days.
In colder climates, depending on the sunlight exposure and temperature this succulent can go without water for about a month.
Anyway, you must monitor potting soil of snake plant to determine the watering frequency. As you need to consider various factors before determining how often to water your snake plant.
Well-drained soil that retains moisture and partial exposure towards sunlight can help this succulent to survive for longer time.
How can snake plant survive without water for so long?
What is the reason, why these plants can go so long without water?
Eric Marino, plant expert at thesill.com identifies two reasons behind this ability.
- These plants are succulents; they are molded to adapt arid climates. These plants are renowned for their water storing and conservative abilities.
- Second, unlike other plants snake plant can grow even in low-lightening conditions. With its broad thick leaves, snake plant will need bright medium sunlight to thrive. When there is low level of light, moisture stays for longer time.
Having said, even succulents are plants that need water. So, you must consider watering snake plant at regular intervals to avoid underwatering issues.
Not just succulents, all plants have ability to collect and store water. But, succulents are super heroes that take water conservation to whole new level.
Its leaves, roots and stems are molded to adapt drought like situation. Its roots grow to get even little moisture from the growing soil.
In general, plants take CO2 through stomata, while they are exposed towards sunlight. Where sunray gives necessary energy for plants to carry its photosynthesis process, at the same time it evaporates moisture through transpiration.
But, in case of snakes plants or succulents, the plant takes CO2 at night to reduce water loss through transpiration.
Snake plant takes CAM photosynthesis process, in which it acquires carbon-dioxide at night to use it for photosynthesis next day when it gets exposed to sunlight.
Snake Plant Stomata
As mentioned, succulent plants open stomata at night; it also opens smaller compared to other plants.
In most plants stomata is densely populated, while in succulents they are less numerous.
To reduce transpiration further, its stomata are sunk deeper and are protected by outer skin.
Another important aspect, how snake plants can go without water is its leaves shape and size.
Due it distinct leaf shape, snake plant increase ability to process sunlight and reduce water loss to atmosphere.
With medium lightening and slow growth rate, snake plant require less water and can survive without water for longer days compared to other plants.
Read this: Are Eggshells Good for Snake Plants?
What Impacts Watering Schedule of Snake Plant?
When you’re committed to care snake plant, you must know that outer or inner environment do impact watering frequency of snake plants.
For how many hours the plant is exposed to sunlight, temperature, potting soil type, pot size, humidity in your space and location of the plant, all must be considered while watering your plants.
Snake plant requires indirect bright sunlight to grow. But, even in low lightening conditions it can survive.
With low lightening, moisture in the growing soil stays longer. More bright light may dry up the moisture quickly.
So, in hotter days, when the wind is dry you must water more frequently. In humid environment, you can reduce watering schedule.
You can get plenty of potting soil mix from the market.
Growing soil of most indoor plants have water retentive ability. It absorbs water and releases slowly when the soil around the plant is dry.
In case of snake plant if you opted for potting soil that drains well and retains moisture, then you should reduce watering. Else, you can continue normal watering frequency.
If you’ve watered the snake plant generously, it can combat tough situations. However, with increase in temperature growing soil dries up quickly. So, you must water the snake plant accordingly.
When the temperature drops, moisture doesn’t dry quickly. As said in colder regions you can limit watering once in a month.
Check this out: Do Snake Plants Like Coffee Grounds?
How Can You Know When Your Snake Plant Needs Water?
Snake plant is drought tolerant, but when you keep it under sunlight without water for longer time it take lead to underwatered situation.
Below mentioned signs says that your snake plant needs water:
- Drooping leaves
- Brown colored leaf tips
- Leaves start to wrinkle
- Discolored foliage
- Stunted growth
- With no water, snake plant leaves turn curly
(Also Read: Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Snake Plant?)
Potting soil turns bone dry.
When you notice these signs, then water your snake plant generously till you see the water is drained through drainage hole.
Few more houseplants that can without water:
Remember this: Important Points While Watering Snake Plant
As mentioned several times in this article, snake plant is a drought tolerant succulent that doesn’t need excess watering.
Instead of benefiting, overwatering often results in common issues like root rotting or fungal infestation.
As, the plant can go without watering for days, you must remember few mentioned things.
- Allow snake plant to dry between watering. No houseplant likes to stand in water that includes snake plant. Depending on the climatic condition, monitor your snake plant for every couple of days. If you notice the potting soil is dry, then water generously.
- Pot in which you’re growing snake plant must have drainage hole.
- Potting soil you choose to grow should be well-drained and have cactus soil mix.
Potting Soil for Snake Plants
Snake plant which does well in dry soil, don’t prefer such potting soil that retain moisture for longer time.
It may lead to overwatering and root rotting.
So, for well-being of your snake plant you must choose growing soil that drains well and able lock moisture to some extent. Water storing ability of snake plants are enough to keep them well hydrated for longer time.
Can snake plant survive without water?
No, like every other plant snake plant needs water to produce its food and uproot nutrients from the soil.
Only in winter you can limit watering to once in a month, as the plant will have enough moisture to hydrate itself throughout the season.
Snake plant can go without water up-to 2 weeks.
There are various reasons how can it stay well moisturized for so long.
One, being a succulent snake plant conserves water in leaves and its roots are molded to absorb required amount of moisture from the soil.
Second, it’s CAM photosynthesis process that opens stomata at night to absorb CO2 for next day. This reduces water evaporation from the plant.
Also, leaves of snake plant are designed in such a way that reduces transpiration, but benefit more from the sunlight.
With small and deeper stomata, snake plants can effectively store water for longer time. Thus, it can withstand drought like situation.