Commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant, Dracaena trifasciata is a popular plant. They’re most noted for their wavy leaves and their snake-like foliage pattern. Many also love their low watering needs. However, there are also snake plant disadvantages to take note of.
Before inviting a snake plant into your home, consider the following cons. This way, you can know what to expect and how to best care for your plant.
1. It’s Slow-Growing
If you’re looking for a quick-growing plant, the snake plant isn’t it.
At a mature age, the snake plant will be a healthy one to four feet in height. However, not only is it a naturally slow-growing plant, but it also tends to go dormant in cooler temperatures. So, consider spending more to get a larger, more established snake plant if you lack the patience.
One benefit of slow-growing plants is that you won’t have to transplant it as frequently. And remember: sometimes great things take time.
2. They’re Sensitive to the Cold
Dracaena trifasciatas are native to tropical western Africa. That said, the evergreen perennial best thrives in dry, warm environments. They don’t flourish well in the cold or frost.
If you plan on growing your snake plant outdoors, bring it indoors during the colder months. Try to maintain a temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit indoors to keep it happy. Also keep it away from A/C vents if growing it inside.
3. Propagating it Can Be a Bit Challenging
Some plants are easier to propagate than others. As for the snake plant, this is not a typically easy plant to propagate. Its propagation is difficult for two reasons.
For one, they’re most commonly propagated by leaf cutting. Many hate that they have to sabotage the appearance of their snake plant for propagation purposes. This is especially true since it’s slow to replenish its foliage.
Secondly, the success rate of propagating a snake plant isn’t very high. Water the cuttings too much, and you’re likely to rot them rather than encourage new root growth. You might have to go through multiple trials and errors to propagate a Dracaena trifasciata successfully.
4. They’re Toxic to Pets
Pet owners might be disappointed to learn that snake plants are poisonous to animals. If any of its parts are consumed, it can lead to gastrointestinal problems, nausea, and vomiting.
On the brightside, the hard, bitter leaves of the snake plant are typically not enticing to pets. But do keep a close eye to make sure they steer clear. Better yet, place your plant where your pet can’t get to it.
5. It’s Easy to Care for Them “Too Much”
Because snake plants are drought tolerant, they don’t require much water. Too much water can certainly kill them. Their picky watering requirements can be a bit of a shock for those who are used to growing plants with standard needs.
Aim to only water your snake plant once a fortnight – or once monthly during winter. Always make sure the soil of your snake plant is fully dry before watering again.
6. They’re Prone to Fungus
Snake plants are susceptible to fungal problems like root rot. Root rot is most common in plants due to overwatering, which snake plants despise. Extreme conditions like cold temperatures can stress your snake plant out and make them even more prone to fungal infections.
Signs of fungus in Dracaena trifasciata include yellowing or browning foliage, foul smells, mushy roots, and water-logged soil. Fortunately, there are management strategies for root rot. Once the problem gets too invasive, however, there’s nothing that can be done to save the plant.