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The Snake Plant

The Snake Plant
May 1, 2024 Georgia Low

In 2022, UK Households spent £6.1 billion on plants, with the average UK Household spending £306.71 a year on houseplants. [1] Many people would even deem their houseplants as important as a pet, with high efforts being put into keeping the plants alive and thriving. Keeping houseplants alive can prove very difficult, especially depending on the type of plant. Some plants are very fussy and can easily be tipped over the edge by the slightest imbalance, such as:

  • Too much water
  • Not enough water
  • Too much sunlight
  • Not enough sunlight
  • Household temperature
  • Oxygen levels within the home (used in Aerobic Respiration)
  • Carbon Dioxide levels within the home (used in Photosynthesis)

Some of the most difficult houseplants to keep alive: 

  • Orchid (Orchidaceae)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
  • Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
  • Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)
  • Banana plant (Musa) [2]

Some of the easiest houseplants to keep alive:

  • Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
  • Cactus (Cactaceae)
  • Pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum)
  • Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Money plants (Crassula ovata)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) [3]

In 2022, David Wilson Homes (a UK housing developer) found that Aloe Vera was the most searched houseplant in the UK, with an average monthly search volume of 49,500. Other plants such as Ivies, Peace Lilies, Snake plants and Spider plants also proved to be extremely popular.

The Snake Plant

It is easy to see why the snake plant is one of the most popular houseplants to have. It can be easily recognised by its evergreen sword shaped leaves that grow upright in an almost snake like manner. It can also be known as Saint George’s sword, Mother-in-law’s tongue or Viper’s Bowstring hemp. These plants don’t require much looking after, can survive with little water, can grow almost anywhere and can tolerate both shade and direct sunlight, under-watering, drafts and dry air. The Snake plant has also been known to provide many health benefits including: 

  • Filtering indoor air: The Snake Plant is one of the few plants that can convert Carbon Dioxide into oxygen at night. 
  • Removing toxic pollutants: The Snake Plant is known for its ability to help remove toxic air pollutants and can act as an effective defence against airborne allergies. It is said to be one of the top ten plants most effective in removing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.
  • They are also associated with absorbing negative energies and bringing good luck, although this has not been proven.

snake plant

Figure 1: Image of a Snake Plant in a home. [4]

You can also easily breed these plants, if you keep watering them and keep them happy, they will start to grow more and will produce new shoots that grow out of the soil. You can also cut off a leaf near its base, making an upside-down V cut at the bottom and leave it in a clean jar of water. New roots should form in 3-5 weeks, which can then be transferred to new soil. 

Houseplants have also been known to increase our health and wellbeing, from purifying the air we breathe in our homes, to enjoying taking care of the plants and feeling great satisfaction from watching them grow and flourish. Houseplants that breed, such as the Snake Plant, can then be gifted to friends or family. It may sound silly, but talking to your plants or playing them music can encourage them to grow. This is because plants respond to sound waves and vibrations by causing plant cells to move, leading to more nutrients and better growth.

Because of the Snake Plants ability to recycle air and remove carbon dioxide and other allergies and air pollutants, it has been put into a special plant category called Air-Purifying plants. Its air purifying ability was proven in a 1989 study intended to find ways to detoxify space stations, which was successful. Other Air-Purifying plants you could buy for your home include: [5] 

  • Bamboo Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
  • Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema X Grandiflorum)
  • Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Ficus (Ficus carica)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix) 
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum Schott)





[4] – Image accessed 22/02/2024. Image of a Snake Plant in a home. Photo credit: Noyo Cretif.



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