Out of many varieties of houseplants available in the market, snake plant is one of the must haves. Apart from its good looks and need for low maintenance, there are many benefits of having snake plants in your home.
This sturdy tropical plant is native to West Africa. There are many other names for snake plants, such as mother in law’s tongue, bowstring hemp, Saint George’s sword etc. Until recently it was known as Sansevieria Trifasciata. However, botanists have discovered that it actually belongs to the Dracaena genus. So now the official name of this plant is Dracaena Trifasciata.
Now let’s see some amazing benefits of having a snake plant in your home.
Absorbs Pollutants From Air
One of the most well known benefits of this plant is its ability to absorb pollutants from air. A snake plant is a superb natural air purifier. Several things found in a common household can exude harmful chemicals. Products such as home furniture, paints, deodorants, talc, non-stick utensils release some toxins. Toluene, formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene are some of the common toxins found in most households. For instance, hairsprays, tissues, toilet paper and personal care products are sources of formaldehyde. Toluene is found in nail-polish, paint thinners, stain removers, glues, solvents. Plastic, synthetic fibers, detergents and dyes can release benzene. All these things are readily accessible and available at our homes. A lot of these have exposure risks and concerns. Snake plants are very efficient in absorbing these chemicals and toxins from air.
The famous NASA experiment on indoor plants done in 1989 proves that houseplants are helpful for purifying air. The study was proposed to determine how to clean the air in space stations. And it was observed that snake plants are one of the best for absorbing air pollutants. Other than carbon dioxide, it can absorb many chemicals such as ammonia, xylene, toluene, benzene and nitrogen oxide. Many industries as well as workplaces can contain airborne toxins. Especially manufacturing companies that use these chemicals in production process can contain high levels of pollutants in the air. Such offices would greatly benefit by keeping several snake plants around. NASA recommends keeping at least 1 medium to large sized plants per 100 square foot area.
Consequently, snake plants are ideal indoor plants to filter out harmful gases. You can keep them in the living room, kitchen or bedroom.
Releases Oxygen At Night
Although most of the plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, they can only do that during the daytime. In the night, this process is reversed. Many plants take in oxygen and emit carbon dioxide. However, a snake plant continues to produce oxygen even without photosynthesis. It has been scientifically proven that snake plants can absorb poisonous gases in the air and release oxygen at night time.
This happens because of the special photosynthesis process called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). Plants that grow in deserts have adopted this method to survive for months without rain. It is a way to generate energy without using water. In a usual photosynthesis process, plants consume carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to produce glucose and oxygen. But in the CAM process, carbon dioxide is converted into malic acid during the night time. This malic acid is later used for making sugar during the day. The leaves of snake plants have micropores that open at night to release oxygen and take in carbon dioxide thus minimizing the water loss.
Because of this reason, snake plants are nighttime oxygen powerhouses. It makes them ideal bedroom plants. They emit oxygen throughout the night and increase the oxygen level in house. A snake plant can not only tremendously improve the air quality, but also the quality of sleep.
Effective Against Allergies
Another great benefit of snake plants is decreasing the impact of airborne allergens. Snake plants release oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful toxins. Less amount of unsafe compounds in the air can definitely reduce the odds of allergies. Especially people with asthma can benefit from this plant, as it can reduce the triggers. Having snake plants around is a natural and inexpensive way to stay healthy.
Apart from allergies, snake plant also reduces the risk of contact dermatitis, sick building syndrome, sensitization, respiratory depression and electrolyte imbalances. Prolonged contact with toxic gases is responsible for causing many other diseases. Therefore, growing snake plants in public places will not only help the patients but also healthy individuals.
Require Low Maintenance
Snake plants can grow in the most unsuitable growing environment. They can thrive even with less water, less sunlight, dry weathers and extreme temperatures. Because the snake plant is succulent, it stores water within its leaves. So it is not necessary to water them frequently or keep the soil damp. Water only when the soil becomes dry to the touch. During winters the snake plant can survive on watering just once a month. Over watering can cause the roots and base of the plant to rot. These hardy plants don’t even need sunshine. You can keep them in well lit shadowy places.
Snake plants grow vertically and take up little space. There is no need for misting as well. If you think that the leaves have gotten dirty, then you can clean them with water or a cloth. Snake plants grow well in any type of container or even in the ground. You can use plastic, ceramic, terracotta or whatever kind of pots you have.
Easy To Propagate
If you want to have more snake plants in your house, you can just make them. Propagating these plants is very easy. You can use their roots, stems, whole leaves and even pieces of a leaf to grow a completely new plant.
Snake plants grow easily and can grow really tall. Being hardy plants, they don’t require much care. Even the baby plants can grow without much attention. If you plant them on ground, they can spread around through the underground stems called rhizomes.
A Lucky Plant
Many people believe that it’s lucky to have snake plants in homes and offices. A snake plant is considered auspicious in Feng Shui. It is believed to bring in strong protective energy and good fortune. Supposedly, it shields the house owners from negative Chi. In Chinese culture, snake plants are considered valuable house plants that invite 8 virtues as gifts from gods. These 8 virtues are prosperity, beauty, intelligence, longevity, health, creativity, strength and poetry.
A good position for this plant is close to the entrance of home for the purpose of enabling the positive energy to enter. Some people consider that the best position to place this plant is a place that is enriched by the wood element. According to Feng Shui, eastern, southern and south-eastern corners are the best spots to place snake plants.
Last but not the least, snake plants are beautiful. Placing snake plants in your home or office will provide you with an added benefit of keeping interiors beautiful and healthy. They have vibrant green leaves that don’t easily get droopy. Snake plants come in many different varieties. Depending on the type, they can have nice yellow stripes around the leaves.
They have a long lifetime and are the most tolerant among all decorative plants. You can neglect a snake plant for weeks and it’ll be just fine. With their scrappy leaves and unique shape snake plants will still look fresh.