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Can snake plants live outside

You've probably scrolled through a hundred Pinterest pictures of corporate offices and retail spaces with the elegant snake plant adorning desks and floors. 

An international favorite, the snake plant is famous for its ability to survive in even the darkest of corners with barely any watering. 

As indestructible as they might be indoors, can snake plants live outside in hot, bright, and harsh sunlight? 

What about in chilly autumn or icy cold winter weather conditions? 

Well, there's some good news and some bad news for you.

Good news: Yes, they can. These hardy snake plants can grow outside, as well as they can indoors. 

Bad news: There's a caveat. They can't survive outside in places where the temperature often falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or if frost sets in.

The Sansevieria plant (a.k.a snake plant) is originally a tropical plant that is native to West Africa.

So they are perfect for the warm weather conditions of USDA Zones 8 - 11. Or anywhere else where average temperatures range between 55 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pro tip: Even if you live in colder climates, you can still have snake plants outdoors. Simply plant them in a pot outdoors, so they can be moved indoors for the cold winter months.

Best light conditions for snake plants outside:

Outside of temperature, snake plants can survive in most light conditions. 

From semi-lit, shady areas to the bright outdoors, they thrive almost everywhere. But it is best to keep snake plants away from intense direct sunlight. Too much harsh light and heat can start to dry out and burn the leaves. 

With this in mind, the best places to have the snake plant outdoors are in places facing the south and west sides. This way the snake plant will get an equal amount of direct and indirect sunlight throughout the day (and year).

Once you've chosen the right spot, you also need to ensure you use the right soil to plant the snake plant.

Best soil conditions for snake plants outdoors: 

Snake plants are prone to rotting easily. They prefer well-drained soil types, like sandy soils, with a pH between 5.5 to 7.

If you're choosing to pot the snake plant, use ceramic, porcelain, or terracotta pots; and ensure they have clear drainage holes.

Once the snake plant has been planted, let's take a look at the procedure for snake plant care outdoors.

Here are the 5 most important outdoor snake plant maintenance tips to follow. 

1. Maintain watering needs for outdoor snake plants

The Sansevieria snake is actually a succulent and therefore needs very little water to survive, even outdoors. In fact, they can survive without water for 4-6 weeks in some weather conditions. 

So be sure to avoid watering them too often for they will start to develop root rot. 

Now the amount and frequency of watering needed changes based on the size of the plant and the weather conditions.

But a good rule of thumb is to wait for the soil to almost fully dry out before watering a snake plant. 

To check, stick your finger a couple of inches into the soil. If it feels dry to the hand, it's time for some water.

2. Avoid misting snake plants (even when outdoors)

As we've mentioned before, the snake plant is a type of succulent. So its leaves naturally contain stores of water, which help it survive even on hot, dry summer days.

In fact, spraying water too often can cause the leaves to develop fungal issues. 

If you detect signs of dryness, like the leaves turning yellow or wilting, then water the roots and the soil (NOT the leaves).

3. Pot them to control the propagation

In warmer climates, when the snake plant is planted directly into the ground in open gardening beds, the roots can become invasive.

The snake plant grows through its roots, with underground stems called rhizomes popping up as new growth. So an open bed and warm climate would mean uninhibited growth. 

If left untended, they will soon take over your whole garden space. 

To avoid such scenarios, plant the snake plant inside a pot and place the container in the ground. Once you cover it up to the rim of the pot, it will look like it's been naturally planted again. Just ensure the pots have enough drainage holes, to keep the soil healthy.

4. Watch out for pest infestations

Snake plants in general are pretty pest-resistant, even when planted outdoors. 

But if the environment around them is not maintained well, even they chance falling prey to pest infestations.

They are most commonly susceptible to scale, mealybugs, and spider mites. 

  • With scale, you will notice small little brown lumps on the leaves of your snake plant.
  • A sign of mealybugs infestation to watch out for is cotton-like growing on your plant leaves and nodes. 
  • And spider mites appear as yellow-brown spots on the leaves before they start to mottle.

If you notice any of these signs, then take immediate action. Thoroughly wipe down every leaf, with a damp cloth to remove most of the insects immediately. Then either spray or apply neem oil (or insecticidal soap) on the leaves to clear out the rest. 

To prevent a revival of the infestation, continue spraying the plant with neem oil once a week, for 3-4 weeks.

And be sure to check the rest of the plants around as well, the infestation might have spread to them as well.

5. Pamper them with extra nourishment in the warmer seasons

Snake plants don't need extra nourishment to grow. But if you want to nurture faster growth, then a fertilizer might come in handy.

But remember, no matter how much fertilizer you use, snake plants' growth naturally slows down in the colder months. So don't bother to fertilize in those seasons. 

In the spring and summer months, however, nourish it with some slow-release fertilizers (and lots of sunshine) to give it an extra growth spurt.

Soon your snake plants will flourish in full glory outdoors.