Considering growing snake plants outside, but not sure whether they’d survive? You’ve come to the right place.
Snake plants can live outside as they’re native to the dry climates of Africa. As such, they’re relatively adaptable to heat stress. However, if planted in open spaces, snake plants will suffer from sunburn and waterlogging under harsher weather conditions.
To care for snake plants outdoors, ensure that you place the plant somewhere sheltered. If planting on the ground, the soil must be aerated to avoid root-rotting.
In this article, I’ll share my experience with snake plants and how they can live outside under the right conditions!
Provide Shelter When Growing Snake Plants Outside
If you plan on growing snake plants outdoors, you should note how much direct sun it will get throughout the day. Equally as important, you must consider whether the soil will be waterlogged if the weather rains for several days.
Snake plants are easily at risk of being watered due to their ability to soak in moisture and retain it for long periods in the long vertical leaves.
When growing snake plants outdoors, it’s highly recommended that you provide appropriate covering to avoid excessive rainfall.
If this is not possible, planting snake plants in pots is better than planting them directly into the ground. This allows you to conveniently move it around the house or in suitable spots such as shelves.
If planting snake plants in a fixed location and into the ground, there are a few considerations:
- Watering: Make a note of your region and the annual rainfall that you’re getting. If you place the plant in a spot with moderate rainfall throughout the year, you may not need to provide shelter. But building coverage is an absolute must if you’re in an area with periods of heavy rainfall.
- Soil drainage: Snake plants must be planted in well-drained soil to avoid waterlogging and root rotting.
- Sunlight: Snake plants are not entirely resilient to prolonged sunlight. If you reside in the higher zones of the U.S., keeping these plants out of direct sunlight is necessary.
- Winter cold: Snake plants can die from cold damage resulting in curly leaves. If you live in a zone with periods of frost, avoid planting the snake plants on the ground. Rather, grow them in pots to move them indoors during frost season.
Exposing snake plants to excessive direct sun will result in burnt edges and drying leaves. Lack of watering and poor soil mixture will accelerate problems further.
When soil is not very aerated, water seeps into the pot’s side when watered. This means that the water moisture may not be reaching the roots.
An approach to avoid burning leaves when planting snake plants outside is to have many of them clustered in a single pot. The vertical leaves provide shade and coverage for each other against the morning and afternoon sun.
The below photo is one of my collection of snake plants. It’s grown in a very large pot and left outside at the front of the house. As you can see, the outer leaves block incoming sun for the inner leaves.
By clustering snake plants tightly together, it reduces the chance of overwatering because there are many leaves to feed.
To summarise, snake plants do well outdoors if:
- They are placed under shelter to avoid direct rainfall
- They are clustered together to provide shade for each other
- They are grown in well-draining soil
- They are watered once a fortnight, but this is dependent on weather conditions
If you can follow the above suggestions, your snake plants will do just outside!
Do Snake Plants Grow Better Indoors or Outdoors
Snake plants will grow well both indoors and outdoors. You need to ensure sufficient lighting and watering in both environments for it to grow.
The ideal locations for growing snake plants include the house patio, apartment balcony, and carport. These places are great for snake plants because they don’t need many hours of direct sunlight.
Being under shelter is important because snake plants are susceptible to overwatering. They store excess water in their thick leaves but cannot stop absorbing water moisture.
One person from a Facebook group shared her experience with an overwatered snake plant:
If you find yourself having to deal with overwatered snake plants, I recommend looking at GardenForIndoor.com’s guide in an attempt to save it.
Snake plants do well indoors because they’re not exposed to varying temperatures.
Another reason for its popularity in indoor planting is that they’re known for their natural air purification abilities. In one study conducted by Naresuan University (Thailand), snake plants were found to be effective in absorbing carbon dioxide in closed environments.
If you’re still unsure whether to keep snake plants inside or outside, the safe bet is to leave them inside near the window.
Can Snake Plants Survive Winter Outside?
In Australia, snake plants can survive the winter period with relative ease. Australia does not experience the winter frost and snow like parts of America.
For example, I live in Sydney, and a cold winter would be about 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celcius). Once it reaches midday, the weather temperature warms up to about 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celcius) with sunny conditions.
Given Sydney’s naturally warmer temperatures, I can leave the snake plants outside without worrying about weather stress.
In my experience, snake plants are quite hardy against changes in weather conditions.
However, if you reside in colder zones of America, you may need to consider whether snake plants will survive. According to The Healthy HousePlant, snake plants are unlikely to survive where the soil freezes as solid.
To care for snake plants during frost, bringing it inside and decreasing the watering schedule is best. Damp soil and root rot is arguably the most common cause of death in winter.
I hope this blog post has helped you decide whether to grow snake plants outside!
Overwatered Snake Plant by Bee Wash (FB)