They may have a reputation for being a slow-grower, but over time, your snake plant can easily grow taller than you. If you weren’t aware of such a possibility, such snake plants can be difficult to handle. So allow me to explain how this happens and what you can do about it!
Snake plants can grow up to 6–8 feet tall, with proper care and optimal growing conditions. Overly large snake plants can be controlled by 1) reducing sunlight exposure, 2) pruning them regularly, and 3) replacing them with dwarf varieties.
After years of plant owners being told to keep their snake plants in shady areas, it can be surprising for some people to discover how tall these plants can grow. In this article, you’ll find out how their environment can greatly affect its overall height and more—let’s get into it!
Indoor snake plants usually grow no more than 5 feet tall. However, if the snake plant receives proper care in the ideal environment, it can reach 6–8 feet in height.
In a typical household with no special care, the average growth of a snake plant can be around 2 inches (5.08 cm) per year.
After studying and having dozens of snake plants, I’ve learned that the average height they can reach indoors is about 4–5 feet tall.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t grow any taller. Given proper care and conditions, snake plants can grow up to 6–8 feet—and possibly even taller in the wild!
It can be shocking for some folks to realize how tall these houseplants can get. But with the right factors, their slow growth rate can be increased to promote bigger growth.
The 3 factors that impact the height of snake plants are 1) sunlight, 2) moisture, and 3) time.
We may not realize it, but some things affect how tall our snake plants grow. Let’s look into this and learn how these factors can impact their growth, for better or for worse.
Snake plants given 8 hours of bright indirect light can quickly grow over 6 feet tall. But if the plant is kept in deep shade, it will stay short and can become etiolated.
Unlike other organisms, plants can produce their own energy. This is thanks to photosynthesis which quite literally means “to make with light.”
If your snake plant receives more than 8 hours of bright filtered sun, it will have more opportunities to convert it into energy and produce more growth.
Back in 2021, I knew a girl who made sure to give her Mohawk snake plant with enough sunlight to satisfy a cactus. It might sound too extreme, but this quickly led to the snake plant reaching a whopping 7 feet (2.13 m)!
Conversely, snake plants that are left in gloomy shade tend to stay the same height due to the lack of light. Over time, this low-light—at times, lightless—setting can cause the plant to stretch out.
This is an undeniable sign that the leaves are sacrificing their rigidity to be closer to the nearest light source. You might think this is a good thing and a sign that it’s growing taller, but this can kill the plant over time and is generally best avoided.
By watering snake plants regularly, the roots of the snake plant will take in more nutrients and grow taller as a result. In times of consistent drought, however, it will stay short.
Snake plants are succulent plants that can hold large amounts of water in their leaves.
Find out the 4 Differences Between Cacti and Succulents.
While this is a useful characteristic, many people hear this and assume the snake plant must be kept in an environment with little-to-no water.
If they’re constantly battling drought, the snake plant will not be able to develop any new growth and will stay at the same height.
On the flip side, if you water your snake plants regularly, their roots will access nutrients more frequently. In cases like these, they’ll be able to generate more growth.
Snake plants that are watered consistently are more likely to grow and grow an inch taller every month.
Healthy snake plants will naturally grow tall with time. Most snake plants will grow an additional 2 inches annually and will continue to grow so long as they are given sufficient care.
Unless there’s some magic at play, this incredible growth does not happen overnight. One of the tallest snake plants I personally ever saw–except the previous one I mentioned— was over 6 feet (1.83 m) high and was at least 10 years old.
Whether you’re neglecting this plant or giving it regular sun and water, it will inevitably still grow over time, and the plant will become taller than it originally was.
Some homeowners in Texas will intentionally grow snake plants early on and wait for them to grow tall to use them as natural fences.
Generally, they will grow at least 2 inches taller per year. So if you’re eager to raise a large snake plant, you can relax knowing that it will naturally increase in height the more time goes on.
For more impressive tall plants, check out The 15 Biggest Cacti Species (With Photos!
To control snake plant growth and keep them short, it is important to 1) reduce sunlight exposure, 2) prune them regularly, or 3) replace them with dwarf varieties.
If you live in a sunny environment and are unable to adjust the environment of your snake plants, don’t worry. It’s still possible to prevent them from growing too tall. Here are 3 easy ways you can take to prevent it or eliminate the issue entirely.
Keep snake plants short by growing them in partial shade up to 10 feet away from a window with direct full sunlight. This reduction in light will prevent the snake plant from becoming tall and ensure it grows more slowly and more manageably.
To help slow its growth and keep it at a manageable height, move the plant to a shadier area.
Snake plants will stay short and compact when grown near north-facing windows.
Try to keep your snake plant at least 10 feet (3.05 m) away from the nearest light source. These plants can handle dim lighting, so there’s no need to worry!
Ideally, it’s best to avoid total gloom, as this could lead to the plant stretching out and becoming etiolated.
But by lowering the intensity or the amount of light your snake plant receives, you’ll be able to prevent it from growing too tall.
Snake plants can be pruned regularly to keep them short. Cut the excess growth off the leaves to maintain them as needed. The roots can also be trimmed once a year to stunt their growth, but the plant must keep at least 60% of its original roots.
There are two parts of a snake plant that you can prune: the leaves and the roots.
Of the two, the leaves are the easiest to prune. If the spear-shaped leaves grow too tall for your liking, you can simply cut them down to your desired height.
Unfortunately, the leaf will never heal from this. It won’t die but it won’t look pretty. Try to cut it in the natural shape of the leaf to maintain its appearance.
This will prevent the plant from growing taller and will help it stay shorter for longer without disturbing its stunning foliage.
Some snake plants, like Golden Hahnii, will stay short all their lives and rarely grow more than 2 feet. These dwarf varieties are easy to care for and can replace typical tall-growing snake plant varieties.
Finally, there may be times when you want to avoid growing giant snake plants entirely. In times like these, dwarf snake plants are an excellent replacement.
There are over 70 types of snake plants available, so you’ll likely find a specimen that works best for you.
Some great examples would be Golden Hahnii, Birds Nest, Gold Flame, Fischeri, Samurai Dwarf, and the Cleopatra snake plant.
These snake plants are great for small spaces and rarely grow over 1–2 feet high.
Pro Tip: Look for younger snake plants. These tend to be shorter in stature and will take longer to grow.
The 3 tallest snake plant varieties are 1) laurentii, 2) zeylanica, and 3) cylindrica.
Now that you’ve figured out what promotes and prevents the growth of snake plants, you may be curious about which snake plant is the tallest of them all. There are numerous snake plants available but here are the biggest and most common varieties you can grow at home!
Laurentii snake plants are the most common variety available and can be found at most plant nurseries. So long as they are properly cared for, these snake plants will eventually grow very large and can grow taller than 6 feet.
Average Height: 3–6 feet (1–1.52 m)
This classic example shows you don’t need rare specimens or expensive plants to grow a large snake plant.
With the right care, a simple Laurentii found at a Home Depot or average plant store can be raised to reach extreme heights.
Whether you’re a new or seasoned plant owner, these plants are easy to take care of and don’t require much fuss to maintain.
The zeylanica snake plant is commonly cultivated for its ability to quickly grow tall. This snake plant can be found in most plant stores and is easy to care for. Some zeylanica plants can grow over 6 feet tall.
Average Height: 3–6 feet (1–1.52 m)
This variety may not have the iconic yellow bands on the edges, but it does have beautifully patterned foliage.
I’ve noticed it is sometimes confused with “bowstring hemp”, but those varieties typically have a creamy white pattern and are different from zeylanica plants.
This attractive plant has a habit of reaching magnificent heights with ease, so don’t hesitate to buy them if you’re looking for a large snake plant!
Cylindrica snake plants have pointy, cylinder-shaped leaves that will rapidly grow up to 7 feet tall. Larger cylindrica plants must be supported to prevent their tall leaves from snapping in half.
Average Height: 5–7 feet (1.5–2.1 m)
Unlike other snake plants, cylindrica snake plants have narrower leaves in the shape of stout cylinders. This unique, spiky shape helps it stand out against other plants and is sometimes called the “mohawk plant.”
A downside to this, however, is that these cylindrica plants have thicker leaves. Once it grows over 5 feet, the leaves may collapse under their own weight.
Don’t worry too much though! This can be prevented by giving it adequate support early on to ensure its weighty leaves don’t bend or flop over.
With the right care, you’ll be able to grow the largest snake plant you’ve ever owned!
Do snake plants stop growing?
Snake plants are generally slow-growing. But if they’re kept in an overly shaded area and are consistently deprived of water, the plant will develop little-to-no growth and may eventually wilt away and die.
Why is my snake plant so skinny?
Some snake plants, like Cylindrica or Samurai dwarf, have thick leaves to hold large amounts of water. Even the most common snake plant, Laurentii, has firm and wide leaves. But if the leaves are becoming thin and wrinkly and are less than an inch wide, the plant may be stretching out due to a lack of sunlight.
Snake plants are commonly labeled as slow-to-grow plants and typically only grow 2 inches per year. But when given proper care and provided with an ideal growing environment, snake plants can easily reach up to 6–8 feet tall.
Plant owners that are struggling to maintain excessively tall snake plants can control them by reducing the amount of sunlight they receive and pruning the leaves and roots. They can also replace them with dwarf snake plants that rarely grow over 2 feet.
Snake plants that are given regular sunlight, moisture, and time are more likely to show rapid growth in a short amount of time. The tallest snake plant varieties are laurentii, zeylanica, and cylindrica, which can grow over 6 feet tall.