Sansevieria black coral is a gorgeous darker variety of snake plant with an interesting banded variegation. And caring for it is a cinch—learn the few things you need to know to keep this plant happy with this care post!
Sansevieria black coral care & propagation
Hey all! It’s been a while since I’ve written about a snake plant. But I recently got myself a sansevieria black coral plant for my birthday, so I had to write about it.
I have made it clear in the past that I love snake plants. They are so easy to care for, have super flexible lighting requirements, and are unbelievably tolerant of neglect. Plus they have such a cool look.
Sansevieria black coral is a variety of sansevieria trifasciata, which is perhaps the most common variety of sansevieria sold as a houseplant. There are loads of different kinds, each with a slightly different appearance.
Sansevieria plants belong to the Asparagaceae plant family and are native to areas of the African subcontinent. They are semi-tropical, but they are very drought-tolerant. And in your local plant nursery, they are most commonly referred to as snake plants.
Sansevieria trifasciata black coral is a cool variety with deeply colored thicker banded variegation. It looks a lot like a regular trifasciata. But if you compare the two side by side, you’ll see the differences.
It’s super easy to grow, easy to find, and affordable. What’s not to love? So let’s talk about care needs.
How do you take care of sansevieria black coral?
The black coral snake plant has very few specific care needs. There really isn’t that much to it. Let’s cover light first. Anywhere from bright, indirect light to medium light is best for the black coral as a houseplant.
It will tolerate lower light levels, but it’s important to remember that this already slow grower will slow down even more. The variegated bands on the leaves might also be less pronounced.
However, unlike many other plants that can survive but not thrive in lower light levels, snake plants show fewer signs of stress when surviving but not thriving. This is just based on my own experience, of course.
For example, while plants like the heart-leaf philodendron can grow smaller leaves with leggier stems, this isn’t something I typically see with snake plants. They just hold up well.
Outdoors, snake plants can be acclimated to be in full sun. However, take it slow if that’s your goal. If you go right from indoors to outdoors in direct sun, it can burn the leaves.
How often do you water a black coral snake plant?
One of the things that makes a black coral snake plant so hardy is its tolerance for drought. Snake plants are technically succulents, and they store reserves of water in their chunky leaves.
In their natural habitat, they have evolved to go very long periods of time without water. And then they may experience a heavy rainstorm, deeply soaking the plant’s roots and giving it the moisture it needs to weather another drought.
While I water many of my tropical houseplants roughly once a week in the spring and summer, I water my snake plants less. Maybe even up to two weeks depending on the temperature, light levels, and soil consistency.
The goal is to let the soil dry out almost completely before watering the plant again. Overwatering your plant will drown the roots and lead to root rot. A symptom of root rot is yellowing, mushy leaves that slowly die off as the plant’s roots are deprived of oxygen.
I plant all of my snake plants in a soil designed for succulents. You can buy a premade mix of something labeled “cactus” or “succulent” soil at your local nursery or online.
If you want to make your own, check out my post about how to make your own succulent soil at home. In a nutshell, a good go-to recipe is one-third houseplant soil, one-third horticultural sand, and one-third chunky perlite.
Using a sandy, well-draining mixture helps to ensure the soil doesn’t retain too much water or moisture. Overwatering or planting a snake plant in soil that is too rich or dense will lead to root rot.
Temperature & humidity needs
Black coral snake plants come from very warm climates. But they do well in a variety of normal household temperatures ranging from the 60s up to the 90s Fahrenheit.
If you have your snake plant outdoors, remember that it’s not a cold or frost hardy plant. It will begin to suffer if it is in sustained temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Even though 50s aren’t ideal, it can handle night temps in the 50s.
Snake plants in general do not require high humidity, and that makes it a fantastic choice for any room in your home. You don’t have to stress about adding a humidifier or anything like that.
How tall do black coral snakes grow?
Black coral snake plants grow in dense bundles of rosettes. Imagine a rosette—now imagine that each of the leaves grows tall and thin. That’s the black coral’s growth pattern.
Each individual leaf can get up to 3 feet tall and a few inches wide. They stay pretty thin, though—even when they get tall. About 2-3 inches wide with pointy tips.
How fast does black coral grow?
Sansevieria plants are slow growers. If you have your black coral snake plant in ideal growing conditions, it will not make it grow that much faster.
You can encourage healthy new growth by giving your plant a heavily diluted houseplant fertilizer monthly in the spring and summer. I like to use something like Liqui-Dirt concentrated plant food for my plants.
Because black coral snake plants are not fast growers, you do not need to repot them often. They don’t mind being a bit root-bound and snug in their pots. I wait several years before repotting most of my snake plants.
Potential snake plant issues
Overall, black coral snake plants are not super vulnerable to pests or issues. There are just a few things to watch out for when caring for your plant.
If you notice tiny gnats flying around your plant, these are likely fungus gnats. They love wet soil and lay their eggs in the top inch or so of soil.
While they won’t necessarily harm your plant, the overly wet conditions that attract them might. It can lead to root rot and kill the plant.
If you notice something that looks like a sticky residue on or around the plant, it could be aphids or scale. Look for crawling bugs—and the best thing to do is buy a store-bought insecticide spray and soak the plant.
And if you notice some sort of soft yellowing or browning spot on one of the plant’s leaves, it’s a fungus called “leaf spot.” Remove the leaf and buy a fungicide to treat the remaining leaves.
How to propagate a black coral snake plant
I have a whole post about how to propagate snake plants. It covers several different ways. But the easiest ways to propagate a black coral snake plant is through division or through leaf cuttings.
Propagating through division
To propagate a snake plant through division, you’ll need to not only remove the plant from the pot but the soil from the plant’s roots. Find the rhizome showing where pup plants have grown from the mother plant.
Below is a picture of what this looks like on a sansevieria trifasciata that isn’t a black coral—but it’s the same process for a black coral. Cut the two plants apart at the rhizome, let them callus over for a day or so, and then plant in their own soil. That’s all there is to it!
Propagating through leaf cuttings
Propagating through leaf cuttings is also a possibility, but it takes much, much longer. You can cut a single leaf and use it—or you can actually cut up a single leaf and plant all of those cuttings separately.
Put them in soil and keep the soil damp but not wet. After several months, you’ll have baby snake plants sprouting and growing from the soil. You can separate the original leaf cutting once the new baby has sufficient roots.
Is black coral snake plant toxic?
According to the ASPCA, snake plants are toxic to humans and pets. They contain saponins, which—if ingested—can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.