What Is Snake Plant? Know The Myth And Truth


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When I first grow a fascination with gardening! I come to know snake plant.

But i don’t know what it is snake plant and how it can benefit you? Why should you have one in your home or office?

What Is Snake Plant

Though these incredible houseplants have plenty of good features, there are some myths about snake plants, too. 

Now dive into the article to learn all about snake plants, like where they are native to, their characteristics, or their use. I will also unveil the myths about snake plants in the article.

Core Findings:

  • True that they are mildly toxic but not likely to be fatal if ingested in small amounts.
  • The myth is that snake plants attract snakes, but their sharp edges can deter snakes.
  • A type of succulent with long, sword-shaped leaves, known as mother-in-law’s tongue, Saint George’s sword, or viper’s bowstring hemp.

What Is Snake Plant?

There are many types of houseplants. You may already know about many of them. But one of the most unique and interesting ones is the snake plant. What is snake plant meaning? They are mainly a type of succulent plant that has a distinctive shape, color, and pattern. 

They are carefree, resilient houseplants that can create a striking contrast in your room or office. It is also a plant that has a lot of benefits, such as air purification, humidity regulation, and stress reduction.

What Is Snake Plant

Snake plants can tolerate neglect, low light, and dry soi. That’s why they are an ideal choice for beginners or for those who want an easy-to-grow houseplant. 

Snake plant is a plant that can also bring positive energy and harmony to your indoor spaces. They can attract wealth, health, and luck, according to the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. It also said that snake plants can balance the five elements of fire, water, wood, earth, and metal and create a harmonious flow of chi or life force.

The fun fact: “snake plants also can produce pups of snake plants. Which you can propagate later and produce more snake plants

Why is it called a snake plant?

Do you ever ask yourself, why is it called a snake plant? There are some different theories about why it is called a snake plant. 

The most acceptable reason is that the shape and sharp margins of their leaves resemble snakes. The leaves of the snake plant are known for their long, slender, and upright structure. This shape indicates the cylindrical body of a snake.  So it’s called snake plants. But this is not the only one. 

Why is it called a snake plant

Another possible reason is that the snake plant’s variegated leaves have a snake-like pattern, especially in some varieties like the ‘Laurentii’ cultivar. As a result, it’s called a snake plant. 

Last possible reason is that the plant is one of the sources for plant fibers used to make bowstrings, which are also associated with snakes.

All the above reasons are responsible for the name of this plant as snake plant. 

Different names of snake plant

Some days’ ago, I went to my friend’s home to attend the birthday party of his younger brother. There I was heard saying, “This viper’s bowstring hemp is for my little viper.” But I saw it’s a snake plant. 

After closing the event, I wanted to ask my aunt, “Why did you call it a viper’s bowstring hemp? Isn’t it a snake plant?

Different names of snake plant

-You are absolutely right. This is a snake plant, but viper’s bowstring hemp is another name of this plant.  Then I eagerly asked, is there any other name of this plant? 

Snake plant scientific name is Dracaena trifasciata. It belongs to the Asparagaceae plant family. It has different names in different areas, such as: 

The most familiar name of the snake plant is mother-in-law’s tongue. And also in different countries, people called it by a different name. 

Do you know what is snake plant called in hindi?

-In Hindi they are commonly known as “घोड़े की चाबी” (ghode ki chabi), which translates to “horse’s key” in English.

Well, then, what is snake plant called in spanish?

The snake plant is called planta de serpiente in Spanish.

Key Characteristics And Features Of A Snake Plant

Snake plants are very popular indoor plants. They are not only renowned for their aesthetic appearance but also they have some good characteristics and features. What makes them a popular choice for indoor  spaces: 

Some of the key characteristics and features of a snake plant that indicates what is snake plant good for home:

  • It is a type of succulent plant that has long, sword-shaped leaves with various patterns and colors.
  • Snake plants are native to the tropical region of  West Africa. But they are widely grown as houseplants around the world. 
  • If your snake plant can get proper environmental conditions that can represent their native environment, they can grow anywhere between 6 inches to 12 feet tall, depending on the variety. Typically 2 feet tall when grown as a houseplant.
  • They can survive in different light and water conditions, from low light to drought. It is a low-maintenance and easy-to-care-for plant that can tolerate neglect.
  • The most attractive feature is they can filter indoor air, remove toxic pollutants, boost mental health, and help with minor ailments. It is one of the few plants that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night.
  • Snake plants can bloom once a year. They can produce clusters of cream-colored flowers that can develop into small orange fruits.
  • The interesting feature is they have a lot of cultural significance in different parts of the world. In China, it is considered a lucky plant that can bring prosperity and protection to the owner. In Nigeria, it is used as a protective charm against evil and a remedy for snake bites.

Note: Though snake plants have lots of good characteristics and features, they are mildly toxic if consumed. They can cause swelling and numbness on the tongue if eaten in large doses. So you should keep them away from children and animals who are prone to nibbling. 

Some Common Myths Of Snake Plants

If you are a houseplant enthusiast, you may have heard something about snake plants that is totally wrong. Actually, these are conventional myths about snake plants.

Some Common Myths Of Snake Plants

While these hardy houseplants have many benefits, there are also some myths and misconceptions about these plants. And these myths need to be debunked. If you want to plant snake plants or you already have snake plants then you should know what is myth and what is true about Them. 

Now I will debunk some common myths against snake plants: 

  1. As snake plants have an appearance that resembles snakeskin, so many people think that snake plants attract snakes. But it’s a myth. There is no evidence that snake plants lure snakes into your home. The interesting thing is that snake plants have sharp edges that can deter snakes and other predators. 
  2. It’s also said about snake plants that they are immortal or associated with death. This myth arises because snake plants are very resilient and can survive in harsh conditions. If you neglect them, they don’t care. But the reality is they are not immortal. 
  3. In many cultures, snake plants are considered lucky and positive. Though it has some good effects on our home and health, they are not necessary for being lucky. 
  4. Snake plants are toxic to humans and pets. This myth is partially true. Snake plants do contain a poison that can cause swelling and numbness on the tongue if eaten in large doses. But it’s not likely to happen that someone intentionally consumes the plant. Snake plants are mildly toxic and not fatal to humans and pets.

Types Of Snake Plant 

Snake plants belong to the Dracaena genus, formerly known as Sansevieria. They are commonly known as mother-in-law’s tongues. They are native to Africa and Asia. Nowadays, they have been cultivated all over the world for their ornamental and medicinal value.

There are over 70 recognized species of Sansevieria, and within those species, there are numerous cultivars and varieties. There are hundreds of different types of snake plants worldwide. Let’s learn about the most common cultivars of snake plants: 

Types Of Snake Plant 

Dracaena angolensis

This distinctive cultivar is commonly known as the African spear plant or Sansevieria cylindrica. This is even large snake plant sizes in the snake plant various.  They are recognized for their unique and cylindrical leaves, which sets them apart from other snake plants. Their rich green with light gray-green banding can create an eye-catching and contemporary aesthetic. They can become one to three feet tall. 

Dracaena ‘Laurentii’

 Commonly known as snake plant Laurentii. Their leaves are characterized by vibrant green coloration with striking yellow margins. Their tall, upright, and sword-shaped leaves can reach heights of one to three feet. This cultiver is often used as indoor decorative plant and is popular for offices and homes due to its hardiness and air-purifying qualities.

Dracaena ‘Moonshine’

Moonshine are popular for their distinctive silvery-gray-green appearance. Depending on the age and care, their sword-shaped leaves can reach heights of one to three feet.

This broad-leafed Sansevieria is an exotic houseplant guaranteed to add elegance and texture to your home or office. It is particularly eye-catching as a contrast plant when displayed alongside other darker-leafed Sansevieria.

Dracaena ‘Black Coral’

 They have dark green, almost black leaves, which is different from other lighter green or variegated varieties. For their striking color, they are called black coral. They are low-maintenance and can tolerate low light conditions.

Dracaena ‘Hahnii’

Hahnii is commonly known as the Bird’s Nest Snake Plant. They are renowned for their compact and nest-like growth habit. Their small board leaves make them an ideal choice for smaller spaces or as a tabletop accent. They can grow up to 6 to 8 inches tall (15 to 20 cm).

Dracaena ‘Golden Hahnii’

These are some of the popular varieties of snake plantsThey are a similar cultivar of dracaena hahnii, which has a striking blend of dark green and vibrant golden-yellow hues on leaves.  

Dracaena ‘Twist’

 This is a captivating cultivar celebrated for its unique leaf structure and compact growth habit. This variety is recognized for its leaves, which exhibit a graceful spiral twist along their length. They can grow by more than 6 cm. The Dracaena Twist thrives in moderate to bright indirect light, offering versatility in placement within your home.

Sansevieria ‘Gold Flame’

This cultiver is known for its striking coloration and an ornamental appeal. The leaves of ‘Gold Flame‘ showcase a vibrant blend of golden-yellow and green hues that give them a visually stunning effect. They can reach heights of around one to two feet. With its distinctive color pattern and graceful form, ‘Gold Flame’ is a popular choice for plant enthusiasts.

Sansevieria ‘Starfish’

Sansevieria ‘Starfish’ is a unique and visually striking cultivar of the Snake Plant. This variety is aptly named for its distinctive star-shaped arrangement of leaves. Their leaves radiate outward from the center, resembling the arms of a starfish. Their mix of dark green and light green leaves can grow up to 1 feet tall. 

Sansevieria ‘Fernwood Mikado’

They have upright and architectural growth habits. They are called cylindrical snake plant. They have a cylindrical shape and upward-pointing orientation that looks like bamboo shoots. Their leaves are rich green color and may have light horizontal stripes. For their compact size, they are suitable for various indoor spaces. These are some of the types of snake plants that you can grow indoors

Pros And Cons Snake Plants

While snake plants have lots of benefits, there are also some disadvantages associated with them, such as being mildly toxic, picky about watering, and said to bring bad luck if not placed right. Look for the pros and cons of snake plants:

1. Air Purification: Snake Plants are excellent air purifiers. They can remove toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air.1. Toxicity: Your snake plants contain compounds that can be toxic if ingested. Keep them out of reach of pets and small children.
2. Low Maintenance: They are extremely easy to care for. They require minimal watering and are tolerant of low light conditions.2. Overwatering Risk: Snake plants are susceptible to root rot if overwatered. It’s crucial to let the soil dry out between waterings.
3. Adaptability: Snake Plants can thrive in a variety of light conditions, from low to bright indirect sunlight.3. Slow Growth: They are slow growers, which may not be suitable for those looking for rapid plant growth or quick results.
4. Aesthetic Variety: Numerous cultivars offer a range of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors that provide options for various preferences.4. Limited Flowering: While they do produce occasional flowers, snake plants are not known for their frequent or showy blooms.
5. Drought Tolerance: Snake Plants can withstand periods of drought and are well-suited for forgetful or busy plant owners.5. Sensitivity to Cold: They are sensitive to cold temperatures and should be protected from drafts or extremely low temperatures.

What Climate Conditions Do Snake Plants Prefer?

There are only a few indoor plants that grow in different environments. And the snake plant is one of them. They are renowned for their resilience in different climates. Naturally, snake plants grow in warm and dry climates where they are native.

For their proper growth, they need temperatures between 65°F and 90°F. They can also tolerate some fluctuations in temperature as long as they are not exposed to frost or extreme heat. So don’t expose them to direct sunlight. And also, keep away from the air conditioner or oven.

What Climate Conditions Do Snake Plants Prefer

Snake plants also prefer low to moderate humidity levels, between 30% and 50%.  High humidity can cause rot and fungal diseases of your snake plant. You can use a humidifier to increase the humidity levels of your room. Or place your snake plant where it has their preferred humidity. 

Additionally, Snake plants can adapt to different light conditions. They prefer bright, indirect light. They also can tolerate low light conditions. But they grow best in medium to bright light.  Don’t expose your snake plant to direct sunlight; it can damage their leaves. 

When it comes to watering snake plants, they are drought-tolerant and do not need frequent watering. You should water them only when the soil is completely dry, and the excess water should be drained from the pot. Because Overwatering can cause root rot, which can be a cause of death of your plant. 

In a nutshell, snake plants are easy to care for and can thrive in various indoor environments. You just need to keep them away from cold drafts, hot radiators, and soggy soil. 

Common Uses Of Snake Plants In Landscaping Or Interior Decor

Snake plants are versatile and low-maintenance plants that can add beauty and benefits to your home or garden.

While they have a wide range of uses, here are some common uses that show what is snake plant used for landscaping or interior decor:

  • Succulent gardens:  Though they are succulent, you can use them as the centerpiece or the filler of your succulent garden. It will create a stunning contrast with other succulents and cacti.
  • Hedging plants: A very common feature of snake plants is they have thick clusters of upright leaves that can be used as a natural fence or border along pathways or sides of houses. They can also provide privacy and sound absorption for your outdoor space.
  • Feature planter: Snake plants can make a striking statement in any room with their unique vertical stripes. You can place them in a large pot or a hanging basket and display them in your living room, bedroom, or office.
  • Feng shui: In some areas, it’s believed that snake plants can bring positive energy and protect your home. They can also balance the energies within your space and create a harmonious environment. You can place them in your entrance, bedroom, or bathroom to enhance the feng shui of your home.
  • Fiber production: Snake plants are traditionally used in fiber production in their native regions. They can be woven into ropes, mats, baskets, and other items. You can also use them to make your crafts or decorations.
  • Erosion control: Snake plants can also prevent soil erosion and water runoff by stabilizing the soil with their roots.
  • Traditional medicine: Snake plants have some medicinal properties that can treat various ailments. You can also use them to make herbal teas or remedies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can A Snake Plant Thrive In Low-Light Environments?

The short answer is yes, a snake plant can survive in low-light environments, but it will not grow as well as in bright light.

Are Snake Plants Safe?

Yes, Snake plants are relatively safe for humans, but they are mildly toxic if consumed. Just keep away from those who are prone to nibbling and enjoy their benefits. 

Is Snake Plant Lucky?

Actually, it depends on your perspective and beliefs. Snake plants are considered lucky plants in Feng Shui because they can bring good luck, prosperity, and positive energy to the owner. 

Is Snake Plant Good For Home?

Yes, the Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is good for homes. They can purify air by removing harmful toxins. Also, they can convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. It’s an excellent choice for homes. 


Let’s wrap it up. The snake plant is a type of succulent plant that is known as mother-in-law’s tongue. This is the direct answer to what is snake plant. They are native to Africa and Asia. This is one of the most popular houseplants that can live with minimal care. 

Their different varieties have a distinctive appearance that can give a touch of elegance and tranquillity to any indoor space. You can get them in different shapes and colors and can consider which one is suitable for your indoor spaces. And if you wanna learn more about snake plants, then be with plant tricks.

Raina Trick

Written by

Raina Trick

Meet Rayna Trick: Your Indoor Plant Whisperer! With her roots in environmental science and a passion for exotic succulents, she’s the Green Thumb of the Year. Rayna’s here to be your plant companion, sharing her expertise and nurturing your green oasis at PlantTrick. Let’s make your indoor space bloom, one leaf at a time, together!

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