Can Snake Plants Survive Winter Outside? (An Honest Answer)

As a plant enthusiast, you might have fallen for snake plants’ captivating beauty and air-purifying abilities and considered them for your outdoor space.

But as winter looms, the question arises: can snake plants survive winter outside?

The answer is a cautious yes, provided they receive some help. By nurturing your snake plants outdoors, you can enjoy their stunning visual appeal and air-cleansing qualities, even in winter.

Can snake plants survive winter outside

In this guide, we’ll delve into the specifics, easing your winter plant-care anxieties and turning this frosty season into a time of flourishing growth for your snake plants. Let’s embrace winter with green thumbs at the ready!

Understanding Snake Plants

Let’s take a moment to get to know these wonderful plants a little better. Scientifically known as Sansevieria, Snake plants are more than just a pretty face in your garden or living room.

They’re a remarkable blend of beauty, resilience, and adaptability.

Originating from West Africa’s tropical and subtropical regions, snake plants have made themselves home in various environments worldwide, showcasing their adaptability.

They are remarkably hardy, enduring conditions that many plants would find challenging. This resilience is partly why they’ve become popular among novice and experienced gardeners.

Understanding Snake Plants

Coming to their aesthetics, snake plants are a visual treat. Their tall, stiff, sword-like leaves stand upright, showcasing patterns that range from solid green to a mix of green and yellow stripes.

The leaves can be cylindrical, flat, or concave, adding an interesting dimension to their overall appearance.

There are several common varieties of snake plants, each with its distinct charm. The Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ is popular for its vibrant yellow leaf margins.

The ‘Zeylanica’ variety, with its wide, dark green leaves, creates an impressive display. Meanwhile, the Sansevieria ‘Hahnii’ is a compact variety, forming an attractive rosette of leaves.

In terms of their care, snake plants are not demanding. They tolerate low light conditions, irregular watering, and even a certain degree of neglect.

However, their resilience doesn’t make them invincible, particularly against frosty winter conditions. But don’t worry; with the right care and strategies, your snake plants can weather the cold outdoors. Let’s explore this further.

Can snake plants survive winter outside?

Having familiarized ourselves with the characteristics and varieties of snake plants, it’s time to address our main query – can these plants, known for their tropical origins, survive a harsh winter outside?

Natural Habitat

To begin, let’s consider their natural habitat. Snake plants are native to West Africa, specifically Nigeria, the Congo, and Senegal.

The climate in these regions is typically warm and tropical, with temperatures rarely dipping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

This background gives snake plants a preference for warmer conditions and showcases their adaptability to different environments.


However, when it comes to cold temperatures, snake plants have their limitations. They are not frost-tolerant and can suffer when exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

If left in freezing conditions, their leaves may become soft, discolored, and eventually rot away. This reaction is primarily because their water-rich leaves can freeze, causing cell damage that leads to these symptoms.


But what if the temperature drops only occasionally? Can snake plants handle short periods of cold? Here’s where the resilience of snake plants shines again.

They can tolerate cooler temperatures temporarily, ideally not below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). If the temperature drops further, they can survive briefly, but prolonged exposure will lead to damage.

While snake plants are highly adaptable, their tropical roots make them susceptible to cold damage. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep them outside in winter, but you’ll need to take some precautions.

Read on as we explore how to help your snake plants thrive outdoors, even when the mercury drops.

Factors to Consider Before Moving Snake Plants Outside

Before moving our snake plants outside to brave the winter, let’s consider some key factors affecting their survival. Careful planning can make all the difference between a thriving plant and a withering one.

Factors to Consider Before Moving Snake Plants Outside

Hardiness zone

Firstly, consider the hardiness zone of your location. Hardness zones, defined by the USDA, are geographic areas where specific types of plants are known to grow well.

Snake plants typically thrive in USDA zones 10-12. If your zone dips below this range, particularly in winter, outdoor survival will be challenging for your snake plants without added protection.


Next, let’s talk about acclimatization. This term refers to gradually adapting a plant to a new environment. If your snake plant has been living comfortably inside your warm home, suddenly moving it into the cold outside could be a shock.

To avoid this, acclimatize your plant by gradually introducing it to outdoor conditions before winter.

Impact of temperature fluctuations

Lastly, it’s crucial to understand the impact of temperature fluctuations and frost on snake plants. Rapid temperature changes can stress your plant, while frost can cause severe damage, as mentioned earlier.

Snake plants, like us, prefer consistency in their conditions. So, if your region experiences sudden cold snaps or regular frost, you must take extra precautions.

Understanding these factors and preparing accordingly can significantly increase your snake plants’ chances of winter survival. But how exactly can you prepare? Let’s delve into that next.

How to Prepare and Protect Snake Plants for Winter Outside?

So, you’ve decided to give your snake plants a winter adventure outside. That’s great! But it’s not as simple as just moving them into the cold. To maximize their chances of survival, here are some key steps you can follow.

How to Prepare and Protect Snake Plants for Winter Outside

Selecting the Appropriate Outdoor Location

The location of your snake plants can play a significant role in their survival. Choose a spot that offers some protection from harsh winter winds, which can cause the plant’s temperature to drop even further.

A location near a wall, under the eaves, or amidst other plants can provide some shelter. Also, ensure the spot receives enough sunlight, as snake plants need light even in winter.

Choosing Suitable Containers and Soil Mixtures

The container and soil you use can also influence your plant’s resilience to cold. Opt for containers that insulate well, like wood or thick plastic. Avoid metal, as it can get very cold.

Ensure the container has good drainage to prevent water logging, a condition snake plants despise. For the soil, use a well-draining mix. A mixture of potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite works well.

This helps to prevent the roots from sitting in water, which can lead to rot, especially in colder conditions.

Protecting Snake Plants from Extreme Cold and Frost

Despite all precautions, you might need to take additional steps if extreme cold or frost is expected. Consider moving your snake plants to a sheltered location or even indoors temporarily.

If that’s not possible, use frost cloths or blankets to cover your plants at night, providing an extra layer of insulation. Uncover them in the morning to allow light in.

Following these steps can significantly improve the chances of your snake plants surviving the winter outside. But how should you care for them during the cold months? Let’s explore that next.

Additional Winter Care Tips for Outdoor Snake Plants

Now that we’ve discussed the steps to prepare your snake plants for winter outside let’s look at additional care tips to help them thrive during the colder months.

Additional Winter Care Tips for Outdoor Snake Plants

Watering Guidelines During the Winter Months

In winter, snake plants require less water than in warmer months. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot, especially when the soil doesn’t dry out as quickly in the cold. A good rule of thumb is to allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again.

Adjusting Watering Frequency Based on Temperature

The frequency of watering your snake plant should adjust based on the temperatures they’re exposed to. If the winter is mild, watering once every three to four weeks may suffice.

However, you may need to reduce the frequency in colder conditions. Always check the soil’s dryness before watering.

Pruning and Cleaning Snake Plants Before Winter

Before winter sets in, giving your snake plants a bit of a clean-up is beneficial. Remove dead or dying leaves to prevent them from rotting and potentially causing disease.

Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and allow for better photosynthesis.

Remember, each snake plant is unique, and your plant may require adjustments to these general guidelines. Pay close attention to its condition and adjust your care routine as needed.

Next, let’s talk about how to spot and handle winter stress in your snake plants.

Signs of Winter Stress and Plant Care

Despite our best efforts, snake plants can still experience winter stress. Recognizing the signs early and knowing how to respond can help your plants recover and thrive.

Signs of Winter Stress and Plant Care

Identifying Signs of Cold Damage or Stress

Snake plants display several signs when they’re stressed due to cold weather. The leaves may become soft and mushy, often accompanied by discoloration, typically turning yellow or brown. In severe cases, the plant may look wilted or appear as if it’s collapsing.

Providing Necessary Care to Revive Damaged Snake Plants

If your snake plant shows signs of cold damage, don’t panic. First, move the plant to a warmer location if possible. Cut away any severely damaged or rotten parts to prevent the rot from spreading.

Remember to use a sterile tool to avoid introducing any pathogens.

Propagating Healthy Parts of the Plant

One silver lining of a damaged snake plant is the opportunity to propagate. If parts of your plant are healthy, you can propagate these to grow new plants.

Simply cut a healthy leaf section, allow it to be callous over for a day or two, and plant it in a well-draining soil mix. You’ll soon have a new snake plant thriving with the right care.

Remember, resilience is one of the snake plant’s greatest strengths. With your attentive care, it can bounce back from winter stress. Let’s wrap up with a few pro tips to maximize your snake plant’s outdoor winter survival.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should snake plants be covered during frost?

Yes, covering snake plants during frost can protect them from damage. Use frost cloths or blankets to provide insulation and remove them once the temperature rises.

Is it better to keep snake plants indoors during winter?

It depends on your climate. In regions with harsh winters, keeping snake plants indoors is generally safer to protect them from extreme cold and frost.

Can I grow snake plants in USDA zones 5 or below?

While snake plants are hardy, they prefer USDA zones 10-12. Growing them outdoors year-round in zones 5 or below could be challenging without significant protection during colder months.

What should I do if my snake plant gets too cold?

If possible, move it to a warmer location, trim damaged parts, reduce watering, and provide appropriate care. In severe cases, consider propagating healthy sections.


We’ve journeyed through the fascinating world of snake plants and their resilience to survive winter outdoors. From understanding their characteristics to preparing them for the cold and caring for them during winter, we’ve covered everything you need to know.

We’ve also looked at how to identify and handle winter stress.

So, can snake plants survive winter outside?

Yes, they can, with a little help. If you’re in a milder climate or willing to provide extra care during harsh weather, your snake plants can brave the winter chill.

Remember to consider your local climate and hardiness zone, prepare your plants well, monitor them for signs of stress, and adjust your care routine as needed.

With these tips and recommendations, you’re ready to help your snake plants conquer winter outdoors!

We hope that this guide has been helpful. You can read about similar topics here on our website. Check back again soon for more.

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