You’re likely familiar with the full-sized snake plant, but perhaps you’re curious to learn what is the dwarf snake plant? In this guide, I’ll tell you.
What is a dwarf snake plant? A dwarf snake plant is a miniaturized version of the full-sized snake plant that reaches a height and width of about 10 inches to a foot. It’s a drought-resistant indoor plant that hates standing water.
Do you want to learn even more about the dwarf snake plant before incorporating it into your indoor garden? This article will tell you everything you need to know. I’ll discuss dwarf snake plant care, propagation, and the cultivars you can grow!
Dwarf Snake Plant Varieties
First thing’s first. Which dwarf snake plant is the right one for you? Here are the different varieties to familiarize yourself with.
The small but appealing Sansevieria Moonshine features dark green leaf borders that are filled in with a lighter shade of green that glints silvery in certain lighting.
This drought-resistant plant reaches sizes of two feet in maturity.
When the leaves of the Moonshine begin developing, they tend to split off the main leaf and divide up to three times over. The size of each leaf can be as large as five inches!
The leaves will start off white when the Moonshine is young and become slightly darker as the plant nears maturity.
Next is the Sansevieria Francisii, aka the Dracaena Francisii Chahin.
One of the lesser-known dwarf snake plant cultivars, the Francisii grows several leaves to one stem. The leaves sprout up tall and angular.
Nicknamed after gardening expert Francis K. Horwood, the Francisii grows two feet tall at biggest.
The Tanzanian and Kenyan dwarf snake plant variety known as the Sansevieria Ballyi is nicknamed in honor of botanist Dr. Peter R. O. Bally.
The cylindrical leaves of the Sansevieria Ballyi, dwarf snake plant, are compressed laterally so they almost look like sprouts. If you saw the Ballyi, you certainly wouldn’t think it’s a snake plant, but indeed, it is!
The leaves grow to thicknesses of ¼ inches and reach lengths of two to four inches. The leaves on this dwarf snake plant have grooved spines, and many feature darker green ridges against a lighter green base.
Clusters of Ballyi can bloom & produce flowers, usually two at a time!
Sansevieria Ehrenbergii Samurai Dwarf
Here’s a dwarf snake plant variety that’s sure to turn some heads, the samurai dwarf.
This cultivar grows to just six inches tall, so it’s the ideal plant for your windowsill at home or your cubicle at work.
The pure dark green leaf centers add a nice contrast and make it easier to identify.
Sansevieria Kirkii Silver Blue
Although plant experts believe the Silver Blue is related to the Sansevieria Kirkii, they’re not completely sure yet. Thus, you might see this one referred to as only the Sansevieria Silver Blue.
Regardless of what you want to call it, the Silver Blue is a small snake plant that often barely reaches one foot tall when it’s mature. That’s right, just one foot tall when fully grown!
As you would have guessed, the Silver Blue has a silvery sheen to it that also encompasses a nice bit of blue.
The leaves have a rather unique shape as well, as they feature a rounded border. That border might be outlined with a white and brown streak all the way around the leaf.
Sansevieria Trifasciata Twisted Sister
The dwarf snake plant called Twisted Sister earns that name due to the tangle of curling, twisting snake plant leaves featured in this brightly-colored plant.
Growing to 15 inches in maturity, the Twisted Sister usually features broad streaks of yellow against a variegated backdrop of darker and lighter greens. If you want a dwarf snake plant that will stand out from the rest of your indoor plants, this variety of dwarf snake plant is the cultivar for you!
Another Kenyan dwarf snake plant is the Sansevieria Pinguicula.
Capable of growing on rocks to clay and almost any growth medium in between, the Pinguicula has no variegation across its blade-like leaves. That said, the leaves do have a blueish tint.
You might hear the Pinguicula referred to by some as the Walking Sansevieria. This is due to how the plant reproduces.
The Pinguicula makes stolons, a type of stem, that spread on the ground and then becomes new snake plants.
The Sansevieria Parva reproduces interestingly as well. Its rosettes produce stolons that act as runners, spreading the plant’s miniature plantlets.
The Parva reaches heights of only 1.5 feet. You’re likely to see some variegation in this plant’s younger days in the form of long, light green bands.
The variegation on this dwarf snake plant is just a natural change in hue that happens as the Sansevieria Parva reaches maturity.
Sansevieria Trifasciata Hahnii
Last but certainly not least is the Hahnii dwarf snake plant variety.
This succulent grows to maybe 12 inches. It can produce offshoots that give the clustering leaves a bird’s nest-like appearance.
The variegation on the Hahnii is attention-grabbing. The leaves are light green with long horizontal stripes in darker green across each one.
Dwarf Snake Plant Care
Now that you’re aware of the fabulous dwarf snake plant varieties at your disposal, let’s go over the facets of this interesting indoor plant’s care, shall we?
The dwarf snake plant might be smaller than your average Sansevieria Trifasciata, but it’s still a drought-resistant plant at the end of the day.
You’re following its care routine right if you allow an inch of the dwarf snake plant’s top most soil to dry out before you water it again. When I say dry out, I mean completely dry between waterings!
If the soil isn’t bone dry, then it’s still too soon to water any snake plant.
The dwarf snake plant, due to its much smaller size, can easily be killed by overwatering.
Although some indoor gardeners say the dwarf snake plant can handle any type of light, I beg to differ. Bright, indirect light suits the dwarf snake plant best.
That will require you to put your dwarf snake plant variety in a westerly-facing window roughly 10 feet away. A northerly-facing window should suffice as well.
The window should have a curtain to prevent direct sunlight from getting through. This tiny plant can be scorched to death, and it wouldn’t take much direct sun exposure to do it.
Beware of prohibiting your dwarf snake plant from receiving so much light that it’s starved for it. In dark conditions, a plant’s variegation can fade.
Like its full-sized snake plant brethren, the dwarf snake plant excels in a well-draining potting mix. You can even grow the dwarf snake plant soilless if you’re prepared for that adventure.
The ideal soil mix for the dwarf snake plant is one part potting mix, one part coconut coir, and two parts perlite.
If you don’t have coco coir, you can use peat moss instead. Sand can be exchanged for perlite as well.
Soil amendments like these serve a twofold purpose.
Primarily, the soil amendments will keep water draining. Secondarily, the amendments prevent the soil from becoming compact, which can trap in too much water.
Ideal Pot Type
The dwarf snake plant, considering its hatred of standing water, needs a pot that eliminates that threat. I’d recommend terracotta, clay, or ceramic pots.
Buy an untreated pot for best results. The thirsty pot materials will suck up moisture before it can linger in the dwarf snake plant’s pot for too long.
Mini or not, the dwarf snake plant still prefers hot temperatures of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is a little balmier than room temperature range, but no one is saying you have to crank the temps up to the 90s. It’s just that the dwarf snake plant will be fine in hotter conditions.
It’s cold temperatures this small plant has no tolerance for. On those days where the forecast is calling for 50s, close your windows, turn on your heat, and keep your dwarf snake plant protected.
The snake plant doesn’t need anything special when it comes to its humidity. If you maintain 40 percent relative humidity, this indoor plant will be happy.
Achieving that level of humidity shouldn’t require extra effort on your part. Most homes and offices have at least 40 percent relative humidity.
That said, if your plant is sagging a bit, don’t be afraid to move it to a brightly-lit bathroom or buy a humidifier.
Snake plants, no matter their size, don’t require fertilizer as much as other indoor plant species.
That said, if you must, then wait until the spring when your dwarf snake plant should begin to grow. Continue fertilizing throughout the summer as the active growing season continues.
What kind of fertilizer do I recommend? Your average plant fertilizer should suffice for the dwarf snake plant. Apply once every couple of weeks.
Please use a light hand when you fertilize your dwarf snake plant. Due to its size, it will need a lot less fertilizer than its fully-grown snake plant brethren.
You should also always dilute the fertilizer with plenty of water, following the product instructions as you do this!
Pests and Diseases
Your snake plant might be smaller than average, but pests and diseases can still strike.
Let’s start by discussing common dwarf snake plant pests:
- Fungus gnats: Attracted to wet conditions, fungus gnats aren’t a frequent problem of the snake plant, but they are a problem, nevertheless. Heavily dilute hydrogen peroxide to remove the gnats.
- Aphids: A common nuisance of the dwarf and full-sized snake plants alike, aphids respond to neem oil. That said, this might be a bit harsh on a small plant, so try removing the plants with a garden hose first.
- Thrips: Thrips can get deep into even thick snake plant leaves to suck up the juices inside. You can again try neem oil if it’s not too harsh for your dwarf snake plant.
- Mealybugs: Most snake plant infestations are attributed to mealybugs. Using mild dish soap with rubbing alcohol and water can remove mealybugs quickly.
Here are the diseases that could afflict your plant:
- Root rot: Root rot is caused by too much standing water. The roots of your dwarf snake plant die off and eventually, the plant does as well. Controlling your watering habits and ensuring the dwarf snake plant’s soil is well-draining can prevent root rot.
- Red leaf spot: As the name indicates, red leaf spot causes indoor and outdoor plants to develop red areas on their foliage that shouldn’t be there. This fungal disease requires you to remove the affected leaves and stems and maintain drier conditions for your plant moving forward.
- Southern blight: Another fungal disease that can affect the dwarf snake plant is southern blight. This fungal disease can kill your plant quickly. Treatment usually involves fungicides.
Dwarf Snake Plant Propagation
You know what’s even more fun than one dwarf snake plant? Multiple dwarf snake plants for all your friends and family!
You have several options for propagating this teeny-tiny indoor plant, so let’s discuss them.
Propagating from Rhizomes
Rhizomes are underground stems that miniature and full-sized snake plants produce. Shoots, which are technically known as pups, grow from the rhizomes.
You’ll have to remove your dwarf snake plant from its pot to begin the propagation process. I usually recommend having a second person handy for this, but I think you can handle it alone with such a small plant.
The rhizomes are white stems that some indoor gardeners say look like garlic cloves. When you find them, sever them from the plant base using gardening shears or a clean knife.
Disinfect your cutting tool with bleach or isopropyl alcohol (70 percent or higher).
Allow the dwarf snake plant cutting to sit, as it needs time for the end to callous or harden. When this happens, you can grow the rhizome in soil or water.
Propagating by Division
One dwarf snake plant can make more plants if you propagate by division.
Repeat the steps above to remove your plant from its pot. You’re looking for a healthy cluster of rhizomes, at least two or three. The rhizomes should be connected to several active roots.
Split the rhizomes and once again grow the cuttings in water or soil.
Propagating in Soil
Most of the time I propagate snake plants of any kind, I will propagate the snake plant in soil.
This entails cutting snake plant leaves. You can split the leaves several ways using clean gardening scissors.
I recommend selecting leaf pieces that are several inches in size.
Give the leaf cuttings a few days to develop callouses. Then dip each one into rooting hormone and place the cuttings in the soil.
Use well-draining potting soil for your dwarf snake plant cuttings. Provide some soil moisture and moderate light as well.
Propagating dwarf snake plants by using cuttings can be one of the fastest ways to propagate any snake plant.
Within 30 days, your cuttings should have taken root!
Propagating in Water
The last propagation method for the dwarf snake plant is in water.
Follow the steps above for selecting and trimming dwarf snake plant leaves. Some indoor gardeners recommend cutting a V shape into the leaves to help them propagate more successfully, but this is optional.
I’ve actually found better success rates when I cut at a 90 degree angle.
More important then the angle you cut the leaves is making sure the water you use for propagation remains clean and free of bacteria that can quickly build up in standing water.
Select a jar or cup of water and insert the cuttings. Provide bright, indirect light and warm temperatures.
It can be upwards of two months before the dwarf snake plant cutting’s roots develop in water.
Dwarf Snake Plant Benefits
To wrap up, I want to delve into the multitude of benefits you can enjoy should you decide to add a dwarf snake plant or several to your collection of indoor plants!
There’s Room for It in Any Indoor Garden
If you’re like me, then you have a big indoor garden, maybe too big for your office or home, right?
That means being really choosy about which plants you decide to add to the indoor garden.
Well, you can always make some leeway for the dwarf snake plant. Most varieties grow about a foot at most. Even if your indoor garden is rather camped, there’s room for one more!
The snake plant is much beloved for its oxygen production.
Most plants release oxygen during the daylight hours and then uptake it at night, producing carbon dioxide instead in a process known as respiration.
Not the snake plant! The Sansevieria will make oxygen day and night. That makes your home or office a more breathable environment around the clock.
I should note that a dwarf snake plant will not produce oxygen in the same quantities as a regular-sized snake plant, but some is better than none!
Comes in Many Appealing Varieties
If you like options when it comes to the indoor plant species you select, you won’t be the least bit disappointed with the dwarf snake plant.
The cultivars I discussed at the start of this guide come in different shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your personal tastes.