Are Snake Plants Succulents?

Snake plants also referred to as Sansevieria, are a well-known kind of houseplant typically classified as succulents because of their capacity to store water within their leaves. With their long, pointed, and upright leaves, snake plants have become a favorite of indoor gardeners for their low maintenance and air-purifying qualities. Although they may not resemble the classic image of a succulent, snake plants share many traits with their desert-dwelling cousins, including their ability to thrive in dry and low-light conditions. In this article, we’ll explore whether snake plants can be considered succulents and delve into the characteristics that make them unique and versatile plants for any home or office.

Snake plant characteristics 

The snake plant, also known as Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue, is a popular houseplant known for its unique appearance and low-maintenance requirements. 

Sansevieria trifasciata is often called the “snake plant” due to its narrow, long, and pointed leaves that are reminiscent of the snake’s skin. The leaves grow upright and can reach up to 4 feet tall. The plant has other common names, including mother-in-law’s tongue, viper’s bowstring hemp, and Saint George’s sword. These names may refer to the plant’s sharp pointed leaves.

Here are some of its characteristics:

  • Leaves: The snake plant has long, upright, sword-shaped leaves that are typically dark green with lighter green horizontal stripes. The leaves are thick and fleshy, growing up to several feet tall.
  • Hardiness: The snake plant is a tough plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including low light, drought, and high temperatures. It is also resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Growth habit: The snake plant grows slowly and can take several years to reach its full size. It tends to grow in clumps, with new shoots emerging from the base of the plant.
  • Air-purifying properties: The snake plant is known for purifying the air by removing toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
  • Flowers: The snake plant produces tall spikes of small white or cream-colored flowers, although it may not flower frequently when grown indoors.
  • Propagation: The snake plant can easily propagate through leaf cuttings or by dividing the plant’s root system.
  • Benefits: In addition to its air-purifying properties, the snake plant is also believed to have other health benefits, such as improving sleep, reducing stress, and boosting productivity.          

Succulents plant characteristics 

Succulent plants are known for their unique characteristics that make them stand out. Here are some of the typical characteristics of succulent plants:

  • Water Storage: Succulents have thick, fleshy leaves and stem that can store water, allowing them to survive in dry environments.
  • Drought Tolerance: Succulents are adapted to dry conditions, making them tolerant to drought and able to thrive in environments with limited water.
  • Thick Cuticle: Succulents have a thick cuticle that helps reduce water loss through evaporation.
  • Root Structure: Succulents have a shallow root system that helps them quickly absorb any moisture that may be available.
  • Sun Tolerance: Most succulents are adapted to full sun exposure and can thrive in hot and dry conditions.
  • Growth Habit: Succulents come in various shapes and sizes, from low-growing ground covers to tall, branching shrubs.
  • Reproduction: Succulents can reproduce asexually through vegetative propagation or by producing offsets, which are small plantlets that grow from the base of the parent plant.
  • Adaptability: Succulents can adapt to various growing conditions, making them a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardening.

Comparison between snake plants and succulents 

Examination of Physical Traits: Snake plants, often referred to as Sansevieria, is a kind of flowering plants with tall, thin upright leaves that develop vertically. They’re usually green with white or yellow margins. Some species have more dark green leaves with lighter green spots or stripes. Snake plants’ leaves are shiny and smooth and can reach several feet tall.

However, succulents are a range of plants that conserve water in their leaves, stems, and roots. they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colorings. However, they tend to be covered with thick, fleshy leaves, which give them a distinctive appearance. Certain succulents like Cacti are decorated with spines or thorns to guard. Succulent leaves are either smooth or rough. Distinct designs or variations distinguish certain varieties.

Comparison of Growing Conditions: Snake plants and succulents have different growing conditions, although some overlap exists.

The snake plant is native to the tropical areas of Africa and is a fan of bright indirect light. They tolerate low light conditions but may not grow at the same speed and produce the same amount of flowers. Snake plants, like well-drained soil, should only be watered after the soil has dried to the surface. They also tolerate low humidity and temperature fluctuations; however, they prefer temperatures ranging from 60 to 85degF (16-29degC).

Succulents originate from a wide range of environments, including deserts and tropical areas, and have distinct growth requirements based on the type of species. In general, succulents like direct, bright light, but some tolerate lower light levels. They also prefer soil that drains well and should only be watered when the soil is dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot and can result in the death of succulents. Succulents thrive in warm climates and tolerate some humidity; however, they might not do well in extremely humid conditions.


  • What is a snake plant?
    Snake plant is a popular houseplant known for its long, sword-like leaves and low maintenance requirements.
  • Are snake plants succulents?
    Yes, snake plants are considered succulents due to their ability to store water in their leaves.
  • What are succulents?
    Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves, stems or roots, allowing them to survive in dry environments.
  • How do snake plants store water?
    Snake plants store water in their thick, fleshy leaves which can retain moisture for long periods of time.
  • What are the benefits of having a snake plant as a houseplant?
    Snake plants are easy to care for, can improve indoor air quality and are known for their ability to survive in low light conditions.
  • Can snake plants survive in dry environments?
    Yes, snake plants are well adapted to dry environments and can thrive in low humidity.
  • Do snake plants require a lot of water?
    No, snake plants do not require a lot of water and can actually suffer from overwatering. It is best to allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
  • How often should a snake plant be watered?
    Snake plants should be watered every 2-3 weeks, or when the soil has completely dried out.

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