Snake Plant Fertilizer – Everything You Need to Know

Snake Plant
Snake Plant (Source: Pixabay)

My journey as an avid indoor gardener started with snake plants. This robust and undemanding plant is a beginner’s best bet.

However, snake plants are prone to negligence due to their tolerant nature. Unfortunately, this leads many people to misjudge that snake plant fertilizer is optional.

Indeed, snake plants are probably one of the low-maintenance household plants. They survive in almost any type of circumstances and environment.

The snake plant doesn’t require much fertilization, although fertilizing them throughout the growing season will help them develop faster. For optimum growth, use a balanced fertilizer, i.e., NPK 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 twice a year in growing seasons, i.e., spring and summer. 

So, fertilizing snake plants with the best fertilizer will not only make these beauties flourish well but also provide you with an abundance of clean air to breathe.

snake_plant
Growing Snake plant in a pot.

Let us look more thoroughly at the benefits of using snake plant fertilizer.

This article will get to know more about when to use snake plant fertilizer, how to use them, and the best fertilizer for the snake plants.

Why do you Need to Fertilize your Snake Plant?

Snake plants are indeed easy to take care of and hard to kill. But this does not mean that you will get a healthy growing plant without proper supervision.

Fertilizing snake plants is not an additional step. However, it is essential to fertilize your snake plant for its proper growth and upbringing.

In indoor plants, fertilization is crucial because the nutrients and minerals in the soil are getting flushed away with each watering.

When it is hard for snake plants to acclimatize to the weather, they fall sick, so they require fertilizer to provide them with proper nutrients and nurse them back.

Thus, fertilizing snake plants is essential; it is not just an additional step.

Signs Your Snake Plant Needs Fertilization

There are several signs and symptoms that your snake plant can show when it lacks fertilizer. The snake plants show this call for help in the following ways:

However, all of these symptoms can also appear because of underwatering or overwatering of the snake plants.

Best Time to Fertilize Snake Plants

The growing season of snake plants usually ranges from summer to spring. So, to reap the maximum benefits, supply snake plant fertilizer during the growing seasons.

Hence, the best time to fertilize your snake plant is twice a year, once in spring and another in summer.

Applying snake plant fertilizer during active growth season will help boost the growth and overall activity of the plant.

Whereas applying fertilizer during the season where snake plants remain dormant will do no good to the plant.

So, adding fertilizer at the end of the growing season won’t do much help.

healthy_snake_plant
Healthy snake plant

Snake plants are resilient succulents that thrive in hot and dry environments.

So, neither do they require a lot of water nor do they need the aid of a lot of fertilizer.

How Often should you Fertilize your Snake Plant?

The question, how often we should fertilize the snake plant depends on various factors.

First of all, the size of the pot matters. The amount of fertilizer is directly proportional to the size of the pot. Larger the pot, the higher the amount of fertilizer.

Along with the size of the pot, the type of fertilizer also matters. Generally, we can use snake plant fertilizers once a month during each growing season, i.e., once in spring and next in summer.

But, while using granular fertilizer, it is better to fertilize the plant twice in each growing season. This is because granular fertilizer is most effective for the slow release of nutrients in the soil over time.

The intensity of light that the plant receives is also a factor for determining the use of fertilizer.

Snake plants that receive more light require more fertilizer. Whereas snake plants that receive poor light intensity do not have enough energy, so there is the use of less amount of fertilizer.

Lastly, the application of fertilizer also depends heavily on the type of season. The relation between types of the season and use of fertilizer is mentioned below:

Fertilizing Schedule for Summer and Spring

Spring and summer are the growing seasons of the snake plants. Thus, the snake plant’s growth rate is activated during spring and summer, so fertilizer is best in those seasons.

Use the prescribed dose of preferable fertilizer as mentioned in the package once in spring and during summer.

Fertilizing Schedule for Fall and Winter

During the fall season, reduce the amount of fertilizer to half because the dormant season is around, and the snake plant will gradually stop growing and utilizing the fertilizer.

Winter is the dormancy period of the snake plant. So, you should discontinue the use of fertilizer because it is useless.

Best Fertilizer to Use for Snake Plant

It’s natural for a newbie to become overwhelmed by the variety of fertilizers available.

As a result, today, I’ll clear up your confusion and assist you in selecting the best fertilizer for your snake plant.

The ratio of nutrients is the most crucial factor to consider when selecting a fertilizer for your snake plant. The N: P: K ratio is also used to describe it.

NPK Values of Fertilizer

NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium(Kalium).

These three elements are the fundamental elements required for the well-being and development of any plant, including the snake plant.

These three macronutrients have their function, and snake plants will need them to prosper.

The best fertilizer to use for snake plants is usually that which has a balanced ratio of  NPK.

The best choice is NPK fertilizer having either 10:10:10 or 5:10:10.

But, the growth and proper of the plant do not depend on these three elements only.

For a plant to thrive fully, they require at least 17 nutrients.

A well-balanced 10:10:10 fertilizer consists of 30% of NPK macronutrients in equal proportion, and the remaining 70% consists of various secondary and micronutrients in small quantities.

Soil mixed with Organic Material
Soil mixed with Organic Material (Source: Pexels)

Macro and Micro Nutrients Needed for the Snake Plant

Micro Nutrient

The micronutrients [boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), and chlorine (Cl)] are seven important plant nutrients. However, they make up less than 1% of the dry weight of the majority of plants.

Micronutrients are those nutrients that the plant consumes in small amounts. Therefore, the amount of these micronutrients in fertilizers is modest since they are only required in small amounts by the plant.

On the other hand, these micronutrients aid in the processing of macronutrients so that the plants may absorb them.

Macro Nutrient

Macronutrients are those nutrients that the plant requires in large quantities.

The proportion of these macronutrients in fertilizers is minimal since the plant requires huge amounts of them.

These macronutrients are primarily responsible for plant development and growth.

Let us take a brief look at the types and functions of various micro and macronutrients the assist snake plant to develop and flourish properly.

NutrientsFunctions
NitrogenIt helps to form protein, stimulates growth and encourage photosynthesis.
PhosphorusIt helps in optimization of plant energy, encourages root growth and cellular division.
PotassiumIt improves the immune system and overall quality of the plant.
CalciumIt maintains the pH of soil, strengthen the cell wall and improves nutrient absorbing capacity.
SulphurIt is important for synthesis of amino acids and to adapt well in winter.
MagnesiumIt is essential for photosynthesis.

Type of Fertilizer to Use for the Snake Plant

There are many types of fertilizers available in the market. Slow-release fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, granular fertilizer, stick fertilizers, etc., are some examples. 

  • Granular Fertilizer: Dry slow-release fertilizers in the shape of granules or tiny lumps are available. Because of their granular structure, these fertilizers take longer to break down in the soil, requiring more time for your snake plant to absorb them.
  • Liquid Fertilizer: Liquid fertilizers act quickly and are available in liquid form. It can be applied straight to the soil or blended with filtered water. Liquid fertilizers are easily absorbed by snake plants in a short amount of time.
  • Foliar Fertilizer: A form of dilute fertilizer that you may spray straight on your snake plant’s leaves. They are sprayed straight to the leaves, where the vital nutrients are absorbed by your snake plant. Foliar fertilizers act swiftly.

As snake plants are mostly kept indoors and are regarded as indoor plants, liquid, and slow-release fertilizers are most suitable.

Although sticks and granular fertilizers seem convenient, they do not distribute the nutrients in the soil thoroughly.

You have no control over how sticks and granules dispatch the nutrients.

So using liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer is beneficial as you can determine the amount of nutrients the fertilizer can dispatch.

Organic Fertilizers for Snake Plant

Organic fertilizers are not only healthy for plants but also for the environment. They not only assist the plant but also improve the status of the soil.

Using organic fertilizer enhances the texture of the soil and preserves the essential microbes, unlike synthetic fertilizers.

Some healthy organic fertilizer substitutes are:

  • Seaweed solution and fish emulsions: This is a complete fertilizer high in nitrogen and several trace elements.
  • Corn gluten: It is a good fertilizer containing 10% nitrogen. It helps to improve the immunity of the plant and makes it disease-resistant.
  • Manure: It can be easily obtained from several cattle and are high in nitrogen. But use it carefully as it is acidic and high in nutrients and can cause plants to burn.
  • Fishtank water: You can also use the water in a fish tank or aquarium to provide your plant with nitrogen.
  • Eggshell: You can utilize the water used for boiling eggs to add small amounts of calcium, potassium, and sodium to the soil.

Top 5 Best Fertilizers for Snake Plant

Now that you have gathered scientific knowledge about the importance of fertilizer, let us know more about what type of fertilizer would be the best for a snake plant.

The best fertilizer to use would be a balanced fertilizer containing the same nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ratio, i.e., 10:10:10 NPK or 20:20:20 NPK.

But be careful not to overuse them.

Snake_plant_fertilizer
Snake plant fertilizer (source: Unsplash)

I use on most of my plants is Lilly Miller All Purpose Planting And Growing Food 10-10-10.

This fertilizer has come a long way for me, and its dynamic use helped me grow various other succulent plants.

However, if you do not want to use chemical fertilizer and opt for organic ones, you can prepare them yourself or buy them.

The highly-rated ones and used by most are Miracle-Gro Performance Organics and Thompson & Morgan Incredicompost Multipurpose Garden Compost.

Some of the best fertilizers that you can use for snake plants are listed below:

1. Perfect Plants Liquid Snake Plant Fertilizer

This liquid fertilizer is super effective in revitalizing the sick snake plant. You will only need a small amount of fertilizer, i.e., one teaspoon per gallon of water.

This fertilizer is not only used for snake plants but can also be used for other indoor succulents too. So, it is practical as well as durable.

Liquid Fertilizer for Snake plant
Liquid Fertilizer for Snake plant (Source: Amazon)

2. Indoor Plant Food Slow-Release Pellets by Aquatic Arts

This slow-release fertilizer has a 16:5:11 NPK ratio.

Its high nitrogen content will help snake plants restore their color and help to strengthen the leaves to stand upright.

Add about half a teaspoon of this formula to the soil during watering.

Just remember to evenly distribute the pellets, then wait for your snake plant to re-emerge from the brink of death.

Indoor Plant Food Slow-Release Pellets by Aquatic Arts
Indoor Plant Food Slow-Release Pellets by Aquatic Arts (Source: Amazon)

3. Lilly Miller 10-10-10 Plant Food

Lilly Miller fertilizer has an NPK of 10-10-10 and contains several essential amino acids.

Other than snake plants, many other indoor succulents also use this fertilizer.

This fertilizer is perfect for strengthening the root system and repairing damaged roots.

To apply this snake plant fertilizer, you will need to add one or two ounces to a gallon of fresh water and mix it in the soil every two to three weeks.

Lilly Miller 10-10-10 Plant Food
Lilly Miller 10-10-10 Plant Food (Source: Amazon)

4. Jobe’s Houseplant Food Spikes

Jobe’s food spikes provide your plants with vitamins, trace minerals, and enzymes.

They are one of the best fertilizers to promote vitality and help damaged roots recover quickly from stress.

All you have to do is add one or two spikes to your soil every couple of weeks to help bring your snake plant back to life.

Jobe’s Houseplant Food Spikes
Jobe’s Houseplant Food Spikes (Source: Amazon)

5. Espoma Organic-Indoor

If you do not want to use chemical fertilizer and opt for organic fertilizer but cannot stand the pungent smell of the compost, then this fertilizer is just for you.

This organic liquid fertilizer contains important proteins and beneficial microbes that can boost the metabolic activities of your snake plant.

Use 1/4 of a tablespoon on a biweekly basis to give your snake plant the nutrients needed to restore itself and boost its growth.

Other than these fertilizers, several other varieties of fertilizers are available on the market that you can use to revive your plant.

Espoma Organic-Indoor 
Espoma Organic-Indoor (Source: Amazon)

Things to be Noted While Fertilizing Snake Plant

Snake plants are sturdy and can tolerate high temperatures and atmospheric conditions.

Nevertheless, when it comes to the matter of watering and fertilizing, they are delicate.

So there are some things to remember while using snake plant fertilizer:

  • Do not fertilize young snake plants. Especially those which have just been propagated. You need to wait for at least one month if you want to fertilize the plant. (Here is how to propagate snake plants)
  • Do not spread the fertilizer in a single spot. Instead, make sure that you evenly spread the fertilizer coating the soil consistently to prevent overfertilization.
  • You ought to weed the plant regularly to prevent competition for water and nutrients.
  • Too much salt can accumulate after a long period of fertilization which damages the plant roots. So to prevent this, flush the potting soil once in 1-2 years and drain it thoroughly.
  • Adjust the quantity of fertilizer according to the light received by the snake plant, i.e., snake plants kept in low light require less fertilizer.
  • Opt for organic fertilizers as far as possible. Organic fertilizers are not only healthy for plants but also for the environment.
Healthy Snake Plants
Healthy Snake Plants (Source: Amazon)

How to Fertilize Snake Plant Properly?

Finally, let us look at steps and methods that we should follow while fertilizing snake plants.

There are different methods that we can use, which vary according to the fertilizer we use. So, the most important thing is to choose the right fertilizer.

Materials Required

Step 1: Gathered all your supplies, checked the packaging on the fertilizer, and read the instructions carefully.

Step 2: Then use a lesser dose than prescribed because sometimes, overfertilization may occur while using the prescribed dose.

Step 3: Blend the fertilizer with water. If you are using liquid fertilizer, add about 1/4th teaspoon or around 1ml of fertilizer into a gallon of water. But if you are using granular formulations, take a recommended amount of granules and spread them uniformly on the soil surface. Do not forget to water the plant because they will release nutrients every time you water.

Step 4: Last but not least, ensure you water your snake plant after fertilization and empty the saucer beneath the pot after the water drains out.

Fertilizing Snake Plant in Water

The recently propagated snake plants are placed in water.

So many people often wonder if we can use fertilizer while snake plants are in the water.

I would advise against using snake plant fertilizer while the plant is still in the water.

The plant is already going through a stressful period, so using fertilizer is adding to that stress.

Signs your Snake Plant has Fertilizer Issues

Snake plants grow slowly as compared to other plants.

Due to this slow growth, people think their snake plant is not nourished and not growing properly, even while following the ideal procedures.

This thinking leads to over-fertilization of the snake plants causing the real problem.

You might want to know: How To Make Snake Plants Grow Faster?

1. Overfertilization of Snake Plants

Snake plants are native to desert regions, so they grow in poor, rocky soil.

Therefore a small amount of fertilizer will do them much good.

Overfertilization of the plant leads to fertilizer burn. This fertilizer burn shows the following signs and symptoms in snake plants:

  • Browning of edges and tips of leaves
  • Yellowing or browning of entire leaves of the snake plant
  • The visible crust of fertilizer on the soil surface
  • Death of the plant

Hence, overfertilization can be very problematic and can even cause death in some snake plants if not addressed on time.

How to Fix Over-Fertilized Snake Plant?

We can easily solve the problems regarding the overfertilization of the snake plant.

All you need to do is follow the given steps and leach off the excess fertilizers.

Step 1: Place the plant in the sink or a suitable location near the water resources.

Step 2: Thoroughly flush out the soil with water.

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 multiple times (four to five times) between certain intervals.

Step 4: Allow the plant to drain well in between watering intervals.

Read more to obtain the detailed instruction to fix an overwatered snake plant.

2. Under Fertilization of Snake Plants

Using the correct amount of fertilizer is crucial.

While overfertilization may lead to several problems, using too little snake plant fertilizer can also lead to various defects in plants.

One of those defects is the cessation of the growth of the plant even in the growing season.

Others being, weakening of the root system of the snake plant, absence of variegation  (i.e., two-toned or multi-toned parts of the plant), and presence of droopy leaves.

However, all of these symptoms can also appear because of underwatering or overwatering of the snake plants.

3. Signs of Using the Wrong Fertilizer

Over-fertilization and under-fertilization can be hazardous.

Likewise, using the wrong fertilizer can also cause harm to the plant and the environment.

If you use the wrong fertilizer, the plants will only use the nutrients they require and disregard the nutrients that are not useful.

If the fertilizer does not have the required nutrients, then the plant will go into nutrient deficiency.

This nutrient deficiency can hamper the everyday functioning of the plant.

Likewise, the additional and unused nutrients that remain in the soil for the long term may cause soil hardening, decrease the plant’s moisture-retaining capacity, soil fertility, etc.

Beautiful Snake Plant
Beautiful Snake Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Conclusion

Thus, using snake plant fertilizer is uncommon as snake plants are very resilient and flexible plants.

They can thrive well in any condition, so they are often prone to neglect.

By timely using fertilizer and caring for the snake plant, you can reap its maximum benefits.

If you are lucky, you will even get to see your snake plant bloom and bear flowers.

Happy Gardening!

To know about how snake plants clean air, check this article out: Do Snake Plants Clean the Air?

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