9 Snake Plant Disadvantages No One Tells You About, The Ugly Truth

The snake plant, also known as Sansevieria Trifasciata (now Dracaena Trifasciata), is a popular houseplant that’s well known for its hardiness and air-purifying capabilities. However, while it has many benefits, including being low maintenance and tolerant of low light conditions, there are also some disadvantages to owning this plant.

We’ll cover each Snake plant disadvantage so you’ll know exactly what to expect. 

Each Snake Plant Disadvantage Explained

1.) Toxicity

white cat wondering, are snake plants toxic to cats?

It is essential to note that snake plants can be toxic to humans and pets if ingested. This is because the snake plant leaves contain saponins and glycosides, a type of chemical compound that can cause irritation and toxicity when consumed in large quantities. 

The toxins are concentrated in the leaves and can cause various symptoms depending on the amount ingested.

In humans, symptoms of snake plant toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In some cases, exposure to the plant can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. 

If ingested in large quantities, snake plant toxins can cause more severe symptoms such as muscle weakness and respiratory distress.

In pets, especially cats and dogs, snake plant toxicity can cause similar symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. However, pets are more susceptible to the toxic effects of the plant, and ingestion can lead to more severe symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and even coma.

If you suspect that your pet has consumed snake plant leaves, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. Treatment may involve inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, and providing supportive care to manage symptoms.

Keeping the plant out of reach of children and pets is essential to prevent snake plant toxicity. If you have pets, consider opting for pet-friendly houseplants instead. Additionally, washing your hands thoroughly after handling the plant is vital to avoid skin irritation and allergic reactions.

2.) Slow Growth

small snake plant

Another disadvantage of Snake plants is they grow slowly due to their natural growth habit. They are native to arid regions of West Africa and have evolved to thrive in dry conditions with little rainfall. As a result, they have adapted to grow slowly to conserve water and energy.

Another factor is their low light requirements. While these plants can tolerate many light conditions, they prefer bright, indirect light. Therefore, if a Snake plant does not receive enough light, it may grow more slowly to conserve energy.

Additionally, Snake plants are known for their ability to survive in nutrient-poor soil. And, while they can benefit from occasional fertilization, they do not require frequent feeding like other plants. 

Note: If your plant is growing even slower than typical. You may need to repot it into a larger container to allow the roots to expand. Or, move it to a location with the proper Snake plant light requirements.

3.) Bad Luck / Feng Shui

man holding a bonsai tree that symbolizes bad feng shui

There is a widespread belief that Sansevieria will bring bad luck when kept indoors. This superstition has been passed down through generations and is believed by some to be true, especially in certain cultures.

Snake plants are thought to bring bad luck because they resemble snakes, often seen as symbols of evil or danger. In some cultures, it is believed that keeping a snake plant indoors can attract negative energy or harm the household.

Another reason is their use in Feng Shui, a Chinese system of geomancy that is often used to arrange furniture and objects in a way that promotes positive energy flow. In Feng Shui plants, it is believed that Snake plants should not be placed in the bedroom as they are thought to bring negative energy and disturb sleep.

Despite these beliefs, no scientific evidence supports the notion that these houseplants bring bad luck. In fact, Snake plants are known for their air-purifying capabilities (great for filtering air pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, carbon dioxide, benzene, toluene, and increasing oxygen levels). They are often recommended as a natural way to improve indoor air quality.

4.) Falling Leaves

Another common issue that snake plant owners may face is leaves falling over. When the leaves of a snake plant begin to fall over, it can be a cause for concern. This is especially true if the leaves are healthy and green, which signifies the plant is struggling to support its weight.

One of the most common reasons for leaves falling over in snake plants is overwatering. When a plant is overwatered, the soil becomes too wet, leading to root rot. This causes the plant to become weak and unable to support its weight, then the leaves fall over.

Another reason for leaves falling over is poor potting conditions. Snake plants require well-draining soil and a pot that is not too large — too small. If the soil is not well-draining or the pot is too large, the plant may become waterlogged, and the leaves may start to fall over.

Light conditions can also be a factor in leaves falling over. These plants can tolerate low light conditions, but they still need light exposure to thrive. If a snake plant is kept in a dark location for too long, the leaves may fall over as it struggles to grow and support itself.

To prevent leaves from falling over, provide your plant with the proper care and conditions. This includes using well-draining soil, providing the right amount of water, and ensuring that the plant receives enough exposure to light. Taking these steps can help your snake plant maintain its beautiful leaves and thrive in your home.

5.) Not Flowering

snake plant flower

Snake plants are known for their striking foliage, but their flowers can also be beautiful. While not all snake plant varieties produce flowers, those that do can add a unique touch to your indoor garden.

The flowers of a snake plant are typically small and tubular in shape, and they can grow on long stems that rise above the foliage. The blooms can vary in color depending on the species, with some producing white or cream-colored flowers, while others may produce pink, purple, or green blooms.

It is important to note that snake plant flowering is a slow process, and it may take several years to produce flowers. In some cases, the plant may never flower at all. However, even without the flowers, the striking leaves of the snake plant can still make it a popular choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts.

If you have a plant that produces flowers, providing it with the proper care is essential to ensure it continues to bloom. This includes providing the right amount of sunlight, water, and adequate fertilization.

6.) Propagation Issues

showing how to propagate snake plant

One of the main difficulties in propagating Saint George’s sword is the slow growth rate mentioned above. This means a new plant can take a long time to develop from a cutting.  

They also do not always respond well to propagation methods like stem cuttings. Snake plant cuttings may take several weeks or even months to develop roots, and the success rate can be relatively low.

Another issue with propagating Snake plants is that they can be susceptible to root rot, especially if they are overwatered or planted in soil that does not drain well. Root rot can be fatal to the plant and make it difficult to propagate.

Despite these challenges, a few techniques can be used to propagate snake plants successfully. One method involves taking leaf cuttings and allowing them to develop roots in water before planting them in soil. 

Another method involves dividing the plant by separating the root system into smaller sections and planting each section in a separate pot.

7.) Temperature

snake plant outside on porch

One of the disadvantages of snake plants is that they can be sensitive to extreme temperatures. While they tolerate some cold temperatures, they are not frost-hardy and should not be kept outside during the winter. This can be a problem for those who live in regions with harsh winters and limited indoor space.

The ideal temperatures for snake plants range from 55 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime to 50 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the nighttime. 

These temperatures mimic the warm and humid tropical conditions which snake plants originate from. Therefore, keeping snake plants away from drafts and extreme temperatures outside this ideal range is vital to ensure their health and longevity.

8.) Overwatering

watering a snake plant

Because Snake plants are succulents, they don’t need a lot of water. And many homeowners often overwater them.

Too much watering can lead to soggy soil and root rot, ultimately killing the plant. On the other hand, underwatering can also be detrimental, causing the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. Finding the right balance can be difficult and requires careful observation and adjustment. 

To properly water a Snake plant, it is crucial to consider various factors such as its variety, temperature, humidity, and light conditions. 

One way to ensure proper watering is to allow the potting soil to dry out between watering and to avoid leaving standing water in the pot’s drainage tray. Additionally, using a well-draining potting mix and providing adequate light and ventilation can help prevent too much water.

9.) Pests & Diseases

snake plant wilting

Viper’s bowstring hemp (another common name for Snake plant) are susceptible to fungal attacks that could cause red leaf spot and southern blight.

In addition to fungal diseases, Mother-in-law’s tongue can be susceptible to bacterial infections, such as soft rot and bacterial leaf spot. These can cause the leaves to become discolored and mushy, eventually leading to the death of the plant if left untreated.

Pest infestations, particularly mealybugs and spider mites, can also be problematic for snake plants. These pests can damage the leaves, making them look spotted or discolored. 

If left unchecked, the infestation can spread to other nearby plants. In addition to neem oil and pesticides, you can also use natural remedies like rubbing alcohol and soapy water to eliminate these pests.

To prevent pests and diseases from your Snake plant, it’s essential to regularly inspect your plant for any signs of infestation or discoloration and take appropriate action as soon as possible.


Is snake plant unlucky?

Some people belief that Snake plants can bring bad luck or negative energy into the home. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and many people keep these plants in their homes as a decorative and air-purifying houseplant without experiencing any negative effects.

Ultimately, whether or not you believe in the superstition of bringing bad luck, or good luck is a personal decision.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.