5 Best Fertilizer for Snake Plants | How & When to Use

The snake plant is by far one of the most widely grown houseplants in the world. Other colloquial names you may know this specimen by include mother-in-law’s tongue and viper bowstring. 

Up until 2017, the botanical name for this species was Sansevieria trifasciata. Now, however, it’s officially classified as Dracaena trifasciata. You might still see the Sansevieria label being used by greenhouses and various houseplant resources. Rest assured, they are all referring to the same plant.

Snake plants have earned a beginner-friendly reputation because they are rarely bothered by neglect. This hardy houseplant can survive weeks without water or adequate light. But you still need to feed your snake plant if you want it to grow to its maximum potential.

The best fertilizer for snake plant nutrition can be hard to pin down. My goal is to steer you in the right direction with some expert tips and a list of formulas I recommend for snake plants and their unique needs.

Best Snake Plant Fertilizers

If you’re already confident in your snake plant care routine and just want to know which fertilizers I recommend, here are my top picks:

Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Best Organic Fertilizer for Snake Plants

Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

A water-soluble and organic fertilizer that’s great for improving depleted soil for most indoor varieties, including snake plants. 

Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7

Best Liquid Concentrate Fertilizer

Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7

Easy to use fast-acting, liquid concentrate. Suitable for a broad range of houseplants including snake plants as well as cacti and succulents.  

By the way, our site is supported by visitors like you. Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! You can find out more here.

Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Snake Plants

A snake plant may not require the same diligent fertilization as, say, a rose bush. But it still needs access to nutrients to survive and grow to its full potential.

If you’re familiar with fertilizing succulents and cacti, then the concept of fertilizing a snake plant will come very naturally. After all, like cacti, snake plants are a type of succulent. A good one to remember is all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

Along with this familial tie, snake plants and cacti also share a tolerance for relatively harsh growing conditions. This causes many misinformed gardeners to forego feeding altogether. But often to the detriment of their beloved houseplants.

Snake Plant Fertilizer N-P-K Ratio

Snake plants perform best when fed with a balanced fertilizer. If you’re not entirely sure what that means, it simply means you should be opting for an N-P-K ratio with numbers that are very similar to each other.

What is an N-P-K ratio? It’s a sequence of three numbers separated by hyphens found on most fertilizer labels. These three numbers represent the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in any given fertilizer formula.

  • N, or nitrogen, is the most important macronutrient for most plant species. It is a vital component of photosynthesis. Nitrogen is a major part of most fertilizers because it is the nutrient plants consume at the fastest rate. While snake plants require less nitrogen relative to many other plants, they still need it!
  • P, or phosphorus, is largely responsible for root health, flowering, and fruit production. Supplemental phosphorus is recommended for cacti and succulents to encourage blooming. Snake plants flower but very rarely. Applying a fertilizer high in phosphorus might increase your chances of seeing a flower stalk emerge. However, you shouldn’t hold your breath!
  • K, or potassium, supports plant structure and overall growth. In snake plants and other succulents, potassium plays a big role in water storage on the cellular level.

Depending on your goals, an ideal N-P-K ratio for snake plants might look something like 1-1-1 or 6-12-6. A 1-1-1 fertilizer contains 1% each of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Meanwhile, a 6-12-6 fertilizer contains 6% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 6% potassium.

Soil pH and Nutrient Uptake

Snake plants thrive in an extremely wide range of pH levels. Ideally, your snake plant should be grown in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. This is well within reason for nearly any soil composition!

Potassium is the most common nutrient deficiency in snake plants. Soil pH can largely impact the availability of potassium molecules in your snake plant’s roots.

Research shows that potassium is most readily available when the soil pH is above 6.0. If your snake plant is showing signs of a potassium deficiency, consider testing the soil pH before adding potassium fertilizer.

Granular Vs Liquid Fertilizer

Fertilizer comes in many forms, the most popular of which are liquid and granular. Although liquid and granular fertilizers deliver the same basic nutrients, there are pros and cons to each.

Granular fertilizer tends to be my go-to for most applications. However, feeding snake plants (and other succulents) is the exception.

Liquid Concentrate or Spray

Liquid fertilizers work well for snake plants because they are easy to dilute. The fact these fertilizers are applied with water also makes salt buildup less of a problem.

Another reason I prefer liquid fertilizers for snake plants is that they are quite easy to measure. You’ll have far greater control over the amount of fertilizer applied to your snake plant when using a liquid versus a granule formula.

While liquid fertilizers tend to be gentler on snake plants, they are not foolproof. Liquid fertilizers deliver all of their nutrients at one time, which can put plants at risk of fertilizer burn.

Fertilizer Granules

Slow-release granules are ideal for low-appetite plants because they continuously feed throughout the growing season. There is no big burst of nutrients like you often get with a liquid formula.

One thing you need to be wary of when fertilizing potted plants with granules is salt buildup. As long as you’re thoroughly flushing your snake plant’s soil when watering, this won’t be a problem. But it is one more thing to keep an eye on when feeding these plants.

Fertilizer Spikes

Fertilizer spikes work the same as slow-release granules. The main difference is that you don’t need to measure out and distribute the fertilizer throughout your plant’s soil.

While convenient, fertilizer spikes come with a few glaring downsides. My least favorite feature is that the nutrients are all released in one location. The drastic difference between nutrients in one part of the soil versus another can be stressful for a plant’s roots. Worst case scenario, it results in permanent damage.

Organic vs Synthetic Fertilizers

The key difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers is the source of the ingredients. Organic fertilizers are made with organic materials such as animal manure or compost. Synthetic fertilizers are made with inorganic materials like minerals and gasses.

Some gardeners feel more comfortable using organic fertilizers indoors. Honestly, your snake plant probably won’t notice a difference whether you use one or the other.

Something you should keep in mind, however, is that many organic fertilizers have a strong odor when applied. Obviously, this can be a huge issue when feeding potted plants within the home!

Best Snake Plant Fertilizer Reviews

At the right dilution, you can use almost any balanced houseplant fertilizer on snake plants with great success. With that said, some fertilizers are definitely better than others! 

You also shouldn’t need to be a fertilizer expert to care for something as low maintenance as a snake plant. One of the top reasons I recommend these formulas, in particular, is that they’re easy for anyone to use with little risk of overfeeding. 


  • Formulated with organic, nutrient-rich ingredients
  • Easy to adjust to your desired strength


  • Gives off a slight fishy odor

Using an organic fertilizer on your houseplants can offer a little extra peace of mind, especially if your home includes young children or pets. This Neptune’s Harvest liquid concentrate is a great organic option made from North Atlantic fish and seaweed.

The recommended ratio for this fertilizer is 1 ounce per gallon of water. I really like how easy it is to adjust the strength of this fertilizer — it’s perfect for feeding snake plants and other low-maintenance species. 

With this fertilizer, there’s very little risk of overfeeding. However, you will need to fertilize your snake plant more frequently than if you used a slow-release formula.

How To Use: Mix at the recommended rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water (adjust strength as desired). Apply to the soil around your snake plant.

2. Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7

Best Liquid Concentrate Fertilizer

Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7


  • Designed to feed all varieties of cacti and succulents
  • Dropper provides easy measuring without wasted product


  • Long-term use may cause phosphorus or potassium build-up

I already mentioned that fertilizers designed for cacti are great options for snake plants, as well. And this liquid concentrate from Schultz is one of my personal favorites.

This one is best suited to house plants that you know are nutrient-rich already. It contains a low dose of nitrogen to support snake plants during the active growing season without the risk of fertilizer burn.

This formula is packaged complete with a dropper bottle which makes measuring and mixing your snake plant’s fertilizer super easy. And, if your houseplant collection includes a variety of cacti and succulents, then this formula is practically a must-have for routine feeding. 

How To Use: Add 7 drops of fertilizer per 1 quart of water and mix well. The water around the base of your snake plant as needed. 


  • Feeds continuously for 2 months
  • Pre-measured spikes are incredibly easy to use


  • High risk of root fertilizer burn

If you chose to grow snake plants because of how little maintenance they need, sticking to a routine fertilizer routine probably isn’t your idea of a good time. In a pinch, these Miracle-Gro fertilizer spikes can help ensure your snake plant gets all the necessary nutrition.

For the best results, you may want to break the spikes in half to distribute them more evenly. Also, place the spikes in the soil as far away from the plant’s base as possible to protect the roots.

How To Use: Press each fertilizer spike into the soil until it is fully covered. Spikes should be placed at least halfway between the snake plant and the container edge.

Follow the included dosage directions to determine how many spikes to use per plant.


  • Made with organic, vegan ingredients
  • High potassium content is great for potted snake plants


  • May burn plant roots if placed too close

I’m very excited to talk about these alternative fertilizer spikes from arthropods. I can almost guarantee you’ve never used a fertilizer quite like this one.

The concept behind this formula is similar to that behind regular fertilizer spikes. But the small slow-release pods are much easier to evenly distribute throughout the soil. 

There’s also less risk of fertilizer burn thanks to the gentle and mild NPK blend and their impressive list of 100% all-natural ingredients.

How To Use: Push the fertilizer pod into the soil around your snake plant until the capsule is completely covered. The fertilizer pods release nutrients for up to 3 weeks.

EarthPods suggests using 1 to 2 pods for small plants, 2 to 4 pods for medium plants, and 4 to 8 pods for large plants. I recommend the lower end of these ranges when feeding snake plants.


  • A balanced nutrient profile is safe for snake plants and more
  • Packaged in a pump bottle for easy measuring


  • Requires frequent feeding

Miracle-Gro is one of the most recognizable names in plant care for very good reason. If you’re looking for an affordable, tried, tested, and trusted snake plant fertilizer then this liquid formula is my go-to.

Available to buy in singles, 2-packs, or 6-packs, the balanced N-P-K ratio ensures all of your snake plant’s nutritional needs are met with little risk of overfeeding. It’s a great option for beginners who are worried about applying too much fertilizer to their houseplants. 

Although this fertilizer is safe to apply directly to the soil, I recommend mixing it with water when feeding snake plants. This extra step will protect your snake plant’s roots from accidental burning.

How To Use: Mix at a rate of 4 pumps per quart of water. Apply as part of your snake plant’s normal watering routine. This fertilizer can be applied as often as once per week.

How to Fertilize Snake Plants

When feeding snake plants, less is more. I recommend diluting fertilizers by half (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) to avoid overfeeding. This isn’t necessary when using formulas with particularly low N-P-K ratios.

Keep liquid fertilizers away from the plant’s leaves to prevent foliar burn. I also prefer to apply granules and spikes closer to the edge of the container rather than the plant itself.

Before applying liquid fertilizer, I recommend moistening the soil. This will stop the fertilizer from draining straight out of the container’s bottom and create a layer of protection around the plant’s roots. For granules and other dry formulas, water the soil thoroughly immediately after applying the fertilizer.

Avoid feeding snake plants that are already stressed for some reason — e.g., pest infestation or recent transplanting. I know fertilizer can seem like a fix for these problems, but it is far more likely to do harm than good! Give your snake plant at least a month to recover before resuming fertilizer.

Avoiding Fertilizer Burn

Overfeeding is one of the most common problems in snake plant care. Too much fertilizer is significantly worse for your snake plan than too little!

Keep fertilizer away from the snake plant’s leaves. Fertilizer that sits on the leaves can burn the foliage.

Avoiding fertilizer burn is all about only applying as much fertilizer as your snake plant can use. For this reason, fertilizer burn is most likely to occur when the snake plant is dormant.

The salt buildup is another problem closely related to overfertilizing. The symptoms are very similar. Salt (a common source of nitrogen) can easily build up in potting soil when the plant is underwatered, too much fertilizer is applied, or the plant is watered with softened water.

When to Fertilize Snake Plants

Snake plants enjoy being fed during the spring and summer months. Most thrive with a single application in the early spring. 

Your goal should be to fertilize only when the plant is actively growing. Indoor snake plants can tell when spring is approaching by the amount of sunlight they receive. If your snake plant sits in a dim window or under a grow light, its growth habits may not perfectly align with the seasons outside. 

How Often to Fertilize Snake Plants

When using liquid fertilizer, fertilize snake plants most monthly during the growing season. Slow-release fertilizers (i.e., granules and spikes) should only be applied once or twice per year, depending on the formula.

Always reference the application guidelines of your chosen fertilizer to determine how often to feed.

Fertilizing Snake Plants in Winter

As a rule, you should never fertilize snake plants in the winter.

Even indoors, snake plants benefit from wintertime dormancy. When your snake plant senses that the days are shortening, it will drastically slow down or even stop new growth. Fertilizer applied during dormancy is almost guaranteed to harm the plant.

Verdict: Best Fertilizers for Snake Plants

Snake plants are easily overwhelmed by too much fertilizer and finding a formula that toes that line can be tricky unless you’re in the habit of diluting down.

My favorite fertilizer for snake plants is Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1. It’s easy to dilute and made with organic ingredients. The only caveat is that you have to tolerate the smell!

Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

Best Organic Fertilizer for Snake Plants

Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1

A water-soluble and organic fertilizer that’s great for improving depleted soil for most indoor varieties, including snake plants. 

If you’re feeding a variety of succulents and other houseplants, Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7 is a low-odor liquid that won’t burn your plants. 

Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7

Best Liquid Concentrate Fertilizer

Schultz Cactus Plus Fertilizer 2-7-7

Easy to use fast-acting, liquid concentrate. Suitable for a broad range of houseplants including snake plants as well as cacti and succulents.  

Another organic option is EarthPods Premium Bio Organic Indoor Plant Food .2-.2-.4. These unique slow-release pods are a bit more forgiving than traditional fertilizer spikes, especially when feeding something like a snake plant.

FAQ’s Fertilizing Snake Plants