What Do Snake Plants Symbolize? Unveiling the Hidden Meanings of this Resilient Houseplant

Snake plants are one of the most popular houseplants out there, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they also come with a host of health benefits. Commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, these plants are often associated with protection and good fortune. Many cultures around the world have strong beliefs regarding the meaning and symbolism behind the snake plant, making it a fascinating plant to have in your home.

In ancient Chinese culture, these plants were said to attract positive energy, making them an essential addition to any home or office. Feng Shui practitioners believe that the upward-growing leaves of the snake plant symbolize growth and upward mobility, making them a powerful tool for those looking to advance in their careers. And, as if that wasn’t enough, snake plants are also regarded as a symbol of prosperity and wealth, making them a popular choice for those looking to improve their financial situation.

Aside from their spiritual symbolism, snake plants also have a scientific side, as they are natural air purifiers. These plants can improve indoor air quality by removing harmful toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that snake plants are highly prized. So, if you’re looking to spruce up your home and improve your well-being, it might be time to consider getting yourself a beautiful snake plant.

Origins of Snake Plants as a Symbol

The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, has been used as a symbol in many cultures for centuries. The origins of this plant as a symbol are said to date back to ancient Greece, where it was regarded as a symbol of health and healing. The Greek physician Dioscorides even recommended the plant as a treatment for snake bites, hence the name “snake plant”.

In Chinese culture, the snake plant is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to its owners. It is often placed in entrances or doorways of homes to ward off evil spirits and negative energy. The plant’s upright growth patterns are also seen as a symbol of honor, strength, and resilience.

Another culture where the snake plant has significant symbolism is Nigeria, where it is commonly referred to as “Oga” or “Ogun”. In Yoruba mythology, Ogun is a god of iron, war, and agriculture. The snake plant’s hardiness and ability to survive under harsh conditions is seen as a manifestation of Ogun’s strength and resilience. It is not uncommon for the plant to be used in religious ceremonies and rituals.

Cultural significance of snake plants in different regions

The snake plant has a long history of cultural significance and symbolism in different regions around the world. From ancient times to modern day, the snake plant has been valued for its various uses and symbolism.

  • China: In China, the snake plant is believed to symbolize good luck, longevity, and prosperity. According to Feng Shui practices, the plant is placed in the entrance or home area to attract positive energy and to ward off negative energy. The plant is also known as “the mother-in-law’s tongue” because its sharp leaves resemble the tongue of a scolding mother-in-law.
  • Africa: In Africa, the snake plant is known as “viper’s bowstring hemp” because its long, tough leaves were used to make bowstrings and fishing nets. The plant is also believed to have protective powers against evil spirits and is often planted at the entrance of houses in some regions of West Africa.
  • Brazil: In Brazil, the snake plant is associated with Ogun, the deity of war and iron. The plant is believed to be a powerful protection against negative energies and is used in Afro-Brazilian spiritual traditions to remove negative vibrations from the home or business.

The symbolism and uses of the snake plant have also been studied and documented by researchers and botanists. In addition to its cultural significance, the snake plant is known for its air-purifying abilities and low-maintenance nature. The plant is often recommended for improving indoor air quality, as it helps to absorb toxins and pollutants from the air.

Overall, the snake plant has proven itself to be a valuable plant with various cultural, practical, and symbolic uses. Its popularity and significance in different regions around the world continue to make it a fascinating and cherished plant today.

ChinaGood luck, longevity, prosperity
AfricaProtection, warding off evil spirits
BrazilProtection against negative energies

Table: Cultural symbolism of snake plants in different regions.

Snake plants in spiritual and religious practices

Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or Sansevieria Trifasciata, have been used in spiritual and religious practices for centuries. They are a popular choice due to their symbolic meanings and unique appearance.

Snake plants symbolize longevity and resilience

  • Snake plants have long been associated with the concept of longevity and resilience. Their ability to thrive in harsh conditions, including low light and infrequent watering, is often interpreted as a symbol of perseverance and resilience.
  • They are also believed to bring positive energy into a space, helping to promote health and well-being.
  • In feng shui, snake plants are often used for their ability to absorb harmful toxins in the air, making them a popular choice for improving indoor air quality.

The number three in spiritual and religious practices

The number three is a significant symbol in many spiritual and religious practices. In Christianity, the holy trinity represents the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Hinduism, the Trimurti represents the three aspects of divinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Similarly, the number three is an important symbol in many other belief systems, including Buddhism, Taoism, and Wicca.

Snake plants can also be associated with the number three. The plant is characterized by its long, slender leaves, which often grow in groups of three. In feng shui, this is believed to promote good luck and attract positive energy into a space.

Three leavesGood luck and positive energy
Three plants grouped togetherRepresentative of the holy trinity in Christianity
Three plants in a rowSymbolizes the three stages of life in Hinduism

While snake plants are primarily valued for their air-purifying properties and ornamental value, their symbolism adds an extra layer of depth and meaning to their presence in a spiritual or religious setting.

The meaning of the snake plant’s scientific name, Sansevieria trifasciata

The snake plant, scientifically known as Sansevieria trifasciata, is a tropical evergreen perennial native to West Africa. Interestingly, the Sansevieria genus was named after a German prince, Raimondo di Sangro, who was passionate about botany. The prince took the name Sanseverino in honor of his beloved grandmother and added the “ia” to the end of it to make a Latin-sounding name that would be more acceptable to the botanists of his time.

  • Sansevieria: The name Sansevieria honors Raimondo di Sangro’s grandmother, the Duchess of Sanseverino.
  • Trifasciata: The term trifasciata is derived from the Latin words “tri” meaning three and “fascia” meaning band, stripe, or ribbon. This name refers to the three distinct horizontal bands that run along the leaves of the snake plant.

But the scientific name of the snake plant doesn’t just describe its physical appearance. It also has symbolic meanings that are worth exploring.

Here are some interpretations of the symbolic meanings behind the Sansevieria trifasciata:

Symbolic InterpretationDescription
Strength and resilienceThe snake plant is a tough and hardy plant that can survive under harsh conditions. Thus, it is often associated with strength, resilience, and perseverance.
Purity and freshnessIn some cultures, the snake plant is believed to bring purity and freshness into the home. Its air-purifying qualities make it an excellent choice for improving indoor air quality.
Good luck and prosperityThe snake plant is also considered a lucky plant in many cultures. In Chinese culture, for example, it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity into the home. Some people even place a snake plant in their bedroom to promote restful sleep and ward off nightmares.

So whether you’re drawn to the snake plant for its physical beauty or its symbolic meanings, there’s no doubt that it makes an excellent addition to any indoor garden.

Role of Snake Plants in Feng Shui

Snake plants, or Sansevieria trifasciata, are a popular choice when it comes to houseplants and are also highly valued in feng shui. The leaves of the snake plant are long, thin, and resemble the shape of swords, which is why they are also referred to as “mother-in-law’s tongue.” Here are some reasons why snake plants are considered important in feng shui practices:

  • The snake plant is said to bring protective energy into the home. Its sharp leaves are thought to cut negative energy and protect those inside the space from harm.
  • Snake plants are believed to promote good luck, wealth, and prosperity. Feng shui experts recommend placing them in the southeastern part of the home or office, which is the area associated with money and abundance.
  • The snake plant is known for its air-purifying qualities, as it absorbs toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. This makes it an ideal choice for a bedroom or workspace, where it can improve air quality and facilitate a better night’s sleep or work environment.

In addition to the above, snake plants have a significant role to play in feng shui when it comes to their number and placement within a space.

According to feng shui principles, the number 5 is considered to be lucky as it represents the elements of earth, water, wood, fire, and metal. Incorporating the number 5 in snake plant placement is considered to attract positive energy to a space. Here are some ways to incorporate the number 5 with snake plants:

PlacementNumber of Snake Plants
Living Room5 or multiples of 5
Bedroom1 or 2 (avoid multiples of 5)
Workspace3, 5, or 8

By incorporating the number 5 in snake plant placement, you can attract positive energy and promote prosperity and good luck in your home or workspace. Make sure to choose healthy snake plants and keep them in good condition for the best results. Your snake plants will not only improve the aesthetics of your space but also bring harmony and positivity into your life!

The symbolism of snake plants in art and literature

The snake plant has a rich history of symbolism in art and literature. It has been used to represent various ideas and concepts, from fertility and healing to protection and strength. Artists and writers have turned to the snake plant as a source of inspiration, incorporating its symbolism into their work.

  • Fertility: In some cultures, the snake plant is associated with fertility and reproduction. This symbolism can be traced back to ancient Greece, where the plant was dedicated to the goddess Persephone, who was associated with fertility and the harvest. Some ancient medical texts also recommended the use of the snake plant to aid in childbirth.
  • Healing: The snake plant has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and its healing properties are well-documented. In art and literature, the plant is often used as a symbol of healing and recovery. It has been incorporated into images of medicine and healthcare, and is often used to represent the idea of overcoming illness or injury.
  • Protection: The snake plant is known for its ability to purify the air, and has been used for centuries as a natural air purifier. In art and literature, the plant is often used to symbolize protection and safety. It is sometimes depicted alongside other images of protection, such as shields or fortifications, to convey the idea of safety and security.

Aside from its symbolism, the snake plant also has a unique aesthetic that has drawn the attention of artists and designers. Its long, upright leaves and distinctive pattern have been incorporated into a variety of designs, from textiles and wallpaper to pottery and sculpture.

Henri MatisseTête de femme (Woman’s Head)The snake plant can be seen in the background of this painting, which features a woman with a striking profile. The plant adds a sense of depth and texture to the image.
William MorrisSnakehead fabricThis fabric, designed by the famous textile artist William Morris, features an intricate pattern of snake plants. The design is simple yet elegant, and has become a classic in the world of textile design.
Isamu NoguchiAkari Light SculptureThis sculpture, made from washi paper and bamboo, features a delicate snake plant motif. The plant adds a sense of natural beauty to the sculpture, which is designed to cast a warm and comforting light.

In conclusion, the snake plant has a rich and varied symbolism that has been incorporated into art and literature for centuries. Whether symbolizing fertility, healing, or protection, the snake plant has inspired artists and writers with its unique pattern and aesthetic.

Snake plants as a symbol of good luck or fortune

The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is considered by some cultures as a symbol of good luck or fortune. It is believed that this houseplant can bring positive energy and prosperity to a home. One of the reasons for this belief is its ability to purify the air, which can create a healthier and more harmonious environment.

  • In China, the snake plant is known as the “money plant” and is believed to attract wealth and prosperity.
  • In some parts of Africa, the snake plant is used as a protective charm against evil or negative forces.
  • In Feng Shui, the snake plant is believed to bring good energy to the home and is often placed near entrances or windows.

The unique appearance of the snake plant is also seen as a symbol of resilience and strength. Its ability to thrive in less-than-ideal conditions, such as low light or infrequent watering, can be seen as an inspiration for overcoming challenges and persevering through difficult times.

One interesting aspect of the snake plant symbolizes luck or fortune is its association with the number seven. In numerology, the number seven is believed to have special significance, representing wisdom, intuition, and spiritual development. The snake plant is said to embody these characteristics and can therefore be seen as a powerful tool for personal growth and enlightenment.

Reasons why snake plant is associated with number seven:
It has seven leaves per cluster, which some believe can bring good luck and prosperity
It can survive for up to seven weeks without water, making it a symbol of endurance and perseverance
Its long, upright leaves are said to resemble a cobra, a creature associated with spiritual awakening and transformation

No matter the cultural beliefs or personal interpretations, the snake plant can be a beautiful and beneficial addition to any home. Its easy care and unique appearance make it a popular choice for houseplants, and its symbolic meanings add another layer of interest and intrigue to an already fascinating plant.

The association of snake plants with healing and medicinal properties

The snake plant, also known as Sansevieria Trifasciata or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is a popular indoor plant because of its air purifying abilities. But did you know that snake plants also have healing and medicinal properties? Here’s what you need to know about their therapeutic benefits:

  • Improves air quality: Snake plants are known to be effective in purifying indoor air by removing toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. These toxins are commonly found in household items such as cleaning products, furniture, and carpets, and can have harmful effects on our health such as respiratory issues and headaches.
  • Aids in respiratory problems: The snake plant releases oxygen at night which can help improve breathing and alleviate symptoms of respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, and sinusitis. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritated airways and reduce mucus buildup.
  • Promotes better sleep: As mentioned earlier, the snake plant releases oxygen at night which can help improve air quality in the bedroom. In addition, its ability to purify the air can promote a sense of calm and relaxation, making it an ideal plant to have in the bedroom.

Aside from its air-purifying benefits, snake plants also have antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infections and boost the immune system. Research suggests that the plant’s compounds, such as saponins and flavonoids, have potential use in treating diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and microbial infections.

Air purificationRemoves indoor toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene
Respiratory healthImproves breathing and soothes airways, reduces mucus buildup
Better sleepPurifies air, promotes calm and relaxation
Boosts immune systemAntimicrobial properties, potential use in treating diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and microbial infections

Overall, the snake plant is more than just an aesthetically pleasing houseplant. Its healing and medicinal properties make it a valuable addition to any home or office space, providing numerous benefits for our physical and mental well-being.

Symbolism of different variations of snake plant leaves

The snake plant, also known as Sansevieria, is a popular houseplant due to its ease of care and air-purifying properties. Beyond their practical benefits, snake plants also hold symbolic meaning based on their different variations of leaves.

Number 9: Spiritual Growth and Enlightenment

The number 9 is considered to be a sacred number in many cultures, representing spiritual growth and enlightenment. In the world of snake plants, the number 9 is significant because it refers to the varietal Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, also known as the bird’s nest snake plant.

  • The ‘Hahnii’ variety features compact leaves that grow in a rosette shape, resembling a bird’s nest.
  • These leaves are typically green with light gray-green horizontal stripes.
  • They are known for their air-purifying abilities and ability to thrive in low-light conditions.

The bird’s nest snake plant is said to represent spiritual growth and the ability to rise above challenges. Its compact nature and ability to thrive in adverse conditions symbolize the resilience needed for personal growth and enlightenment.

Other Symbolic Variations

While the ‘Hahnii’ variety holds significant meaning, other variations of snake plant leaves also hold symbolic value:

  • The Sansevieria cylindrica, also known as the African spear plant, is known to represent resilience and strength due to its tall, cylindrical leaves.
  • The Sansevieria zeylanica, or bowstring hemp, is said to bring good luck and prosperity due to its narrow, sword-like leaves.
  • The Sansevieria ‘Black Coral’, with its dark, almost black leaves, represents mystery and elegance.


Beyond their aesthetic value, snake plants hold symbolic meaning based on their different variations of leaves. From spiritual growth to resilience and luck, these plants offer a way to incorporate meaningful symbolism into your home decor.

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’Spiritual growth and enlightenment
Sansevieria cylindricaResilience and strength
Sansevieria zeylanicaGood luck and prosperity
Sansevieria ‘Black Coral’Mystery and elegance

Regardless of the specific variety, the snake plant is a powerful symbol of growth, resilience, and prosperity.

Interpretations of the meaning of snake plants in dreams..

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, can have spiritual meanings and powerful symbolism in dreams. Dreams of snake plants can vary based on cultural interpretations and personal experiences. Here are some interpretations of the meaning of snake plants in dreams:

  • Healing: In many cultures, snake plants are believed to have healing properties. If you dream of a snake plant, it may be a symbol of your need for healing or your spiritual journey towards healing.
  • Protection: Snake plants are also known for their ability to purify the air and protect us from harmful toxins. If you dream of a snake plant, it may represent the need for protection or purification in your life.
  • Growth: Snake plants are notoriously easy to care for and can thrive in almost any environment. If you dream of a snake plant, it may symbolize your personal growth and resilience in challenging situations.
  • Resilience: Snake plants are known to be resilient and strong. If you dream of a snake plant, it may serve as a reminder to stay strong and persevere through difficult times.

Interpreting dreams is subjective and can vary based on individual experiences, but snake plants in dreams often have themes of healing, protection, growth, and resilience. If you dream of a snake plant, reflect on its potential symbolism and what it may represent in your life.

Common symbols associated with snake plants

GreeneryRepresents growth, abundance, and vitality.
SnakeSymbolizes transformation, rebirth, and spiritual evolution.
Sword-shaped leavesRepresents strength, resilience, and protection.
RootsSymbolize grounding, stability, and being rooted in your beliefs and values.

Snake plants in dreams can have several meanings and interpretations. Whether you view them as symbols of healing, growth, protection, or resilience, they often represent positive changes and personal evolution in your life. Take time to reflect on your dreams and the symbolism they may hold.

What Do Snake Plants Symbolize FAQs

1. What is the meaning behind the snake plant?

The snake plant symbolizes resilience, fortitude, and rejuvenation. Its leaves stay green all year and its ability to thrive in low light and poor soil conditions is a testament to its strength.

2. What does the snake plant represent in Feng Shui?

In Feng Shui, the snake plant is considered a powerful air-purifying plant that can bring positive energy to the house. It represents the element earth and is believed to promote good luck, prosperity, and health.

3. Can snake plants bring bad luck?

No, snake plants are often associated with good luck and positive energy and are believed to ward off negative energy.

4. Are there any cultural meanings associated with snake plants?

In some African cultures, snake plants are believed to have healing properties and are used for treating ailments such as headaches, respiratory disorders, and snake bites.

5. What colors do snake plants come in and do they have different meanings?

Snake plants typically come in shades of green but can also have yellow or white variegation. The color does not affect the symbolism of the plant.

6. Are snake plants easy to care for?

Yes, snake plants are low maintenance and easy to care for. They require minimal watering and can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

7. Can snake plants grow outside?

Yes, snake plants can be grown outside in warmer climates and are great for landscaping. However, they should be protected from frost and extreme heat.

Closing: The Resilient and Fortifying Snake Plant

Thank you for exploring the world of snake plants with us. These resilient and hardy plants are highly symbolic and can bring a sense of calm and positive energy to any space. Whether you’re using them for decoration, air purification, or medicinal purposes, snake plants stand the test of time and represent mental and physical fortitude. We hope you learned something new about these fascinating plants and encourage you to continue exploring the natural world. Keep on reading and we’ll see you again soon!