Snake plants are some of the most popular houseplants mainly due to their high tolerance to a variety of atmospheric conditions. Whether they’re exposed to low or high humidity and temperature, low light or full sun, snake plants are easy to take care of and difficult to kill. Of course, they still need some light and water like all other plants. In particular, the snake plant prefers a humidity range of 40% to 50%.
Although the snake plant can survive in almost any condition, it will not thrive well if the humidity is too high or too low for long periods of time. If the air is too dry, the plant loses more water through transpiration, resulting in curling and browning of leaves, and a wilted plant. On the other hand, if the air is too humid, the leaves and soil stay wet, resulting in root rot and creating a perfect environment for pests and diseases.
Snake plants are quite tough and resilient, but proper care can help them grow well and last for a long time. Water your plants at just the right amount depending on ambient humidity levels. Below, we look at some ways to determine when your snake plant needs less or more humidity and solutions to any problems you may find.
How Does Humidity Affect Snake Plants?
Snake plants can survive without watering even for a few weeks, but the lack of humidity can severely affect its growth and development, as would excess humidity.
Humidity is simply the amount of water present in the air. The effects of humidity on your plant manifests according to your watering schedule. Even if you have a set schedule that has been working for you, you must still observe your plants so that you can adjust the schedule and amount of water depending on the ambient humidity.
For instance, during humid summer days, your snake plants will need less watering due to the higher moisture levels in the air. Or, if you live in an area with a tropical climate, then your plant can get more water from the air and needs less watering. On the other hand, if the humidity is low, you will need to water your plant more frequently.
Depending on humidity levels, you might be underwatering or overwatering your plants. Either case can lead to stunted growth of your snake plant. Yellowing and curling leaves, brown tips, root rot, and plants falling over may be signs of too much humidity and overwatering.
How Much Humidity Does a Snake Plant Need?
While snake plants can survive even in less than ideal conditions, this plant thrives best in an environment with relative humidity levels from 40% to 50%, which is around the optimal indoor humidity range anyway.
When measuring the humidity, we usually look at the relative humidity. It is a measure of the actual amount of water vapor relative to the maximum amount of water vapor that the air could hold at a given temperature, thus expressed as a percentage. While the air temperature does not directly affect the humidity, warm air has the ability to contain higher amounts of water vapor than cold air.
Thus, during sunny days, more water evaporates into the air and overwatering leads to higher relative humidity. This is why snake plants thrive well in indoor spaces kept within the optimal humidity levels and temperatures around 60°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C). This also makes them a great choice for most homes and office settings. However, if you have fluctuating temperatures, the plants may have trouble adjusting to its environment, so make sure you maintain optimal indoor conditions.
Signs that Your Snake Plant Needs More Humidity
The snake plant are sturdy and hard to kill. It can survive even after a few weeks of no watering, but it does need water all the same. Even if you water your plants in schedule, when humidity is too low, it can dry out the plants. Watch out for the following signs that will tell you when your snake plant needs more humidity.
Firstly, you should check the top layer of the soil. This plant may not need a lot of water to thrive, but the soil should not be dry. Stick a finger about one inch into the soil to check if it’s dry and the plant needs some water, even if the leaves look healthy.
In more severe cases of low humidity, you may see some signs in your plant’s leaves. Although it’s good at storing water, underwatering or inconsistent watering may dehydrate your snake plant. You may notice the tips turning brown due to the lack of water.
Usually, you need to water snake plants only once every two weeks. However, extremely low humidity can also dry out the leaves even if you water with this schedule. The leaves may curl or turn yellow when it lacks water. These signs may also be caused by other factors, such as low temperatures and lack of light.
Furthermore, drought can cause your plant leaves to become brittle and wrinkly. Inadequate or inconsistent watering may stress the plants, causing the leaves to fall over or drop.
Lastly, lack of moisture also starves the plants of the nutrients it needs. This can cause your plants to grow more slowly or stop growing altogether.
How to Provide Humidity for Snake Plant
In case you notice any of the signs above, this means your snake plants need more water or humidity. Don’t give up just yet; if there’s anything that can survive beginner plant parent mistakes, it’s the snake plant. There are easy ways to remedy your plant’s humidity needs.
First, group your snake plants together,the same for other plants with similar requirements. Plants naturally release water into the air through transpiration. When grouped together (but not touching!), the leaves release moisture in a specific area, increasing the humidity levels within that space.
Place your plants on gravel trays to help prevent trapping excess water inside the pot. A gravel tray has a thin layer of gravel where you may place the plants. If there is any excess water in the pots, the gravel assists with drainage to avoid trapping excess water while adding humidity for the plants..
In case of extremely low humidity levels, particularly during dry winters, you may use a humidifier to supplement moisture to the air. A portable humidifier is the most common solution to low humidity indoors. Instead of using gravel trays or other ways that target only your plant’s humidity needs, a humidifier can help raise humidity levels for a whole room or even your entire home.
If you have a larger plant collection, you may benefit from an indoor greenhouse. It is a great solution to control the environment, including humidity levels, for all types of plants. An indoor greenhouse is especially useful for growing plants out of season. It is designed to trap the heat and humidity inside to keep your plants healthy even with less than ideal conditions outside. Typically, you can keep the humidity level inside a greenhouse around 50% to 60%. However, this solution may be too expensive for new plant parents. You can either buy a greenhouse prefabricated or even build one yourself. Take note of any requirements in case you need a permit to build a greenhouse where you live.
Lastly, one instant (and temporary) way to add humidity to your plants is simply by misting them. Unlike most other houseplants, snake plants rarely need misting as long as you water it regularly. But if low humidity is a particular problem for you, your snake plant may need misting every two to three days.
How to Deal with High Humidity for Snake Plant
Excessive watering is a common problem for any potted plant. Snake plants, in particular, can be negatively affected by too much water or humidity because it doesn’t need a lot of water in the first place. Some common signs of high humidity for your snake plant is soggy or mushy leaves. The leaves may turn soft and yellow due to excess water.
Too much water also leads to root rotting and pest infestation. When this happens, coupled with high temperatures and low light, the leaves may droop, loosen, and fall off. High humidity also creates the perfect environment for mold and other fungal growth in the soil or on the leaves of the plant itself.
The simplest way to reduce the humidity level for your snake plant is to avoid overwatering. The usual schedule of once every week or two may be adjusted depending on the ambient humidity levels. During particularly humid days, you may only need to water your plant once a month. Always check the soil first before watering.
In case there’s already signs of excess humidity such as brown leaves or soggy roots, do not water your plant until the soil is dry. Check your snake plant’s roots and cut any damaged parts including brown leaves and rotten roots.
If high humidity is a common problem in your home, place your snake plant near a window. This also provides direct sunlight for your indoor plants. If possible, open the windows even a few inches to let some cool air in, but only if the outdoor air is less humid than indoors. Typically, the air outside will be cooler early in the morning or late at night no matter the season.
If you can’t open the windows, just a fan or air conditioner can help circulate the air to dry out the moisture at a faster rate. They also help regulate your indoor humidity for a short time, if you don’t have a central air conditioning system.
Use the right type of soil
In high-humidity areas, you must also take note of the type of soil you use for your plants. Remember that your snake plant doesn’t need much water, so you should go for a well-draining soil so that the excess water doesn’t get trapped, causing soggy soil and root rot.
Use grow lights
Snake plants are incredibly easy to take care of and don’t usually need grow lights to live healthily. But for those who are growing other types of plants, particularly in a grow room where there is a limited source of natural light, adding a grow light to your system can help all your plants. However, the heat from grow lights may speed up evaporation of moisture, therefore raising the humidity level. In this case, you must pair your grow lights with adequate ventilation and air circulation or use them only during the coolest time of the day.
Give your plants space
While it can be beneficial to group similar plants together, they still need enough space from each other. Larger plant leaves shade the smaller ones from the light they need. Also, placing plants too close together lead to moisture problems, which can then cause fungal growth and diseases. Then, it can spread quickly from one plant to the next.
Snake plants are sturdy and incredibly easy to care for. They can survive in a wide range of conditions, making them great houseplants even for first-time plant owners. While snake plants do need light and water, they don’t need much of either. In fact, they thrive well indoors with very minimal natural light and watering. However, to keep your snake plant happy, it needs the ideal humidity levels of around 40% to 60% at maximum. You don’t necessarily have to do anything special to maintain this level just for your snake plant since this is also the ideal humidity range for most indoor spaces.
Although, in case the humidity levels stray far from the optimal levels for extended periods, your snake plant may suffer like any other houseplant. It may suffer in either low humidity or high humidity. To prevent any of the problems above like browning tips, soft and mushy leaves, or droopy and falling leaves, observe proper care for your plants. Water them appropriately based on the ambient humidity and temperature.