Repotting Snake Plant: 6 Signs- Learn How to Repot with Ease

Repotting Snake plants is an essential aspect of plant care. Snake plants (Sansevieria Trifasciata), also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue, are tough and resilient, making them a popular choice for novice and experienced plant owners alike. 

However, even these tough plants will eventually outgrow their pots, so it’s essential to know when it’s time to give them a fresh start.

We’ll cover signs to look for and guide you through the process step-by-step, including what supplies you’ll need and tips for a successful repotting. 

6 Telltale Signs: When to Repot a Snake Plant

If you’re not sure whether your snake plant needs to be repotted, here are five signs to look out for:

1- The Roots Are Growing From the Drainage Holes

The unmistakable indication that it’s time to give your snake plant a fresh new home is when its roots begin to peek out from the drainage holes at the base of its pot, like little green escape artists yearning for more space. 

Roots in the bottom of the pot mean that the plant has outgrown its current pot and needs a larger one. If not repotted, the roots will eventually become root-bound, and the plant may suffer.

2- The Soil Drains Too Quickly

Another sign that it’s time to repot your snake plant is when the soil drains too quickly. Snake plants prefer well-draining soil that holds some moisture but not too much. 

If the soil in your plant’s current pot drains too quickly, it’s time to give it a new home in a larger pot with fresh soil.

3- The Pot Is Cracking

A crack in your clay pot not only detracts from your snake plant’s beauty but can also jeopardize its well-being. 

So, it’s time to give the plant a fresh start in a new pot. Unfortunately, a cracked pot can also lead to root rot, which can be fatal for your plant.

You’ll also notice plastic pots start to bulge outward. This is a sign the roots need more space.

4- The Houseplant Keeps Falling Over

If your snake plant keeps falling over (top heavy), it could be a sign that it has outgrown its pot. A larger pot will give the plant more stability and prevent it from tipping. 

Also, if you’re using a lightweight pot, you could switch to an unglazed clay pot. Adding some weight to the base of the plant to help prevent it from tipping over.

5- The Plant Has Several Pups

While a single pup doesn’t necessarily indicate that the plant needs to be repotted, having several pups can eventually lead to a plant that outgrows its pot.

In this situation, you have the chance to propagate while repotting. If the pups have developed enough roots, they can be carefully removed from the parent plant with a sharp knife and repotted into separate containers. 

Over time, these pups will mature into full-fledged snake plants of their own through propagation.

Finally, if your snake plant has several pups or baby plants growing at the mother plant’s base, it’s time to give the plant a new home in a larger pot. This will give the pups room to grow and help prevent them from becoming root-bound.

6- Foilage Problems

Wilting, yellowing, or browning foliage can indicate various issues, including a lack of space for roots to grow. 

How To Repot A Snake Plant – Step-By-Step

how to repot a snake plant on a wooden desk

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Gather the necessary supplies for repotting your Snake plant. You will need the following:

  • A new pot with drainage holes
  • Fresh potting mix
  • A trowel or similar tool for digging and transferring soil
  • Time for an upgrade! If your snake plant has burst the seams of its current pot, it’s time to give it room to breathe with a new pot.
  • Scissors, knife, or shears

Step 2: Remove the Plant

Carefully remove the Snake plant from its old pot, not damaging the roots. Loosen the roots gently with your hands and shake off any old soil that may be clinging to them.

Examine the plant’s roots:

Inspecting the roots during the Snake plant repotting process is a great idea. This allows you to identify any issues and address them before planting in its new pot. 

If you notice mushy or dark spots on the roots, these are signs of root rot and should be carefully removed with a clean (sterile) knife. Cutting away the affected sections encourages healthy new growth.

Additionally, if you see large roots that wrap around the entire root ball, it’s a good idea to slice through these with a knife. This will help prevent the roots from becoming compacted.

Step 3: Prepare the New Pot & Soil

When repotting a Snake plant, choose a pot slightly larger than the current pot. These plants prefer to be somewhat pot-bound and do not like to be in pots that are too large.

A recommended guideline is to opt for a pot with a diameter of 2-3 inches larger than the existing one. This will provide enough space for the plant’s roots to grow and spread out while maintaining the right growing conditions.

What Kind of Pots Do Snake Plants Like?

Snake plants can be planted in pots made from various materials, including plastic, terra cotta, ceramic, or metal. 

Terra cotta pots are porous, which can help regulate soil moisture but also dry out faster. Which isn’t a massive concern for Snake plants.

Plastic pots are lightweight, durable, and affordable, but they can retain moisture. So, ensure you use a potting mix that drains well.

Ceramic or metal pots are attractive but can be heavy and expensive. 

We recommend using plastic pots placed inside decorative pots. Which is called cachepot. This doesn’t disturb the plant roots, serves as a saucer to catch any excess water, and allows for more options to match home decor. 

Also, you will be surprised how long a plant can stay in its grow pot before becoming root-bound.

Do Snake Plants Need Deep Pots or Shallow?

Snake plants do not require deep grow pots. They can tolerate a wide range of conditions. While snake plants have a deep taproot, they are generally not very large, and a shallow pot can accommodate their root system.

What’s more important than the depth of the pot is the diameter. Which we covered above.

Now that you have the correct size pot place a layer of fresh potting mix in the bottom of the new pot. 

How Much Soil to Put In Before Adding the Plant?

Determining the ideal amount of potting mix to use during repotting is crucial to your plant’s success. First, remove the plant from its current pot and assess the root ball. 

Next, measure how much soil mix you’ll require to elevate the top of the root system to a height that falls between 1/2″ and 1″ below the rim of the new pot.

This minor adjustment ensures that the roots are nestled in the soil and not exposed while allowing for adequate drainage.

What Type of Potting Soil to Use When Repotting?

Snake plants prefer a well-draining potting mix composed of equal parts of sand, peat, and perlite or coarse sand. This mix is an ideal option for snake plants. 

It keeps the roots healthy by providing ample drainage and airflow and guards against root rot and other issues that could arise from overwatering.

Another option is to use a commercial cactus or succulent potting mix specifically formulated to meet the needs of these plants. These mixes are often made with sand, perlite, coco coir, and peat moss and are designed to be well-draining. 

 It’s crucial to understand that they do not require a potting mix that retains moisture like most common household plants. Instead, their fleshy rhizomes and sturdy leaves serve as a reserve for water, enabling them to endure long periods of drought with ease. 

When repotting a snake plant, use a fresh potting mix that has not been used before. If you are using a commercial mix, check the label to ensure it is suitable.

Step 4: Transplant the Plant Into The New Pot

Nestle your Snake plant snugly in its new home by placing it in the freshly prepared pot. Then, surround it with the remaining potting mix, giving it a gentle pressing down to eliminate any trapped pockets of air.

How Deep Should a Snake Plant Be Planted?

Planting your Snake plant at the proper depth is a key ingredient for its success! To get it right, aim to match the depth of its previous pot or place the root crown at the same level as the soil surface. 

Keeping the root crown above soil level helps snake plants because they are susceptible to root rot if they sit in standing water. 

Over time, the soil level can settle, so it’s a good idea to check the planting depth periodically and add more soil if necessary to keep the root crown above the soil level.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Handiwork

Admire your newly repotted snake plant, sit back, and watch it grow and flourish in its fresh surroundings. Regular watering and proper light exposure will help it thrive even further.

What To Do After You Repot Snake Plant

snake plant in a new white pot

After you repot Snake plant, it is vital to provide the right conditions to help it recover and settle into its new pot. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Water sparingly: Do not water the plant immediately after repotting, as this can lead to root rot. Wait at least a couple days to a week before watering, and then water sparingly to prevent overwatering. Snake plants are drought-tolerant, so they do not need a lot of water. Excess water is often more of a problem than too little.
  2. Place in a well-lit area: Snake plants can handle low-light conditions, but prefer bright, indirect sunlight, so place the newly repotted plant in a well-lit area, but avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
  3. Wait for new growth: After repotting, it may take several weeks or months for new growth to appear. Be patient, and do not be alarmed if the plant seems dormant for some time.
  4. Fertilize sparingly: Snake plants do not require a lot of fertilizer, but you can provide a light application of fertilizer every few months to encourage growth. Be sure to use a fertilizer that is formulated for cacti and succulents.

Following these steps can help your Snake plant settle into its new pot and grow and thrive.

FAQ

How often should I be repotting Mother-in-law’s tongue plants?

The frequency at which you need to repot a snake plant depends on several factors, including the size of the plant, the size of the pot, and the growing conditions.

On average, snake plants should be repotted once every 2-3 years. However, if the plant grows very quickly or becomes pot-bound, it may need to be repotted more frequently.

Repotting Snake plants is an essential aspect of plant care. By knowing when to repot and what signs to look out for, you can ensure that your snake plant remains healthy and happy for years to come.

 Can you plant two snake plants together?

Yes, you can plant two or more snake plants together in the same pot. Snake plants are resilient and can tolerate close quarters, making them a good choice for mixed containers or group plantings.

When planting multiple snake plants together, choose a pot that is large enough to accommodate all the plants and the potting mix, but not so large that the soil stays constantly moist. Snake plants prefer well-draining soil, so be sure to use a potting mix composed of equal parts of sand, peat, and perlite or coarse sand.

When planting, arrange the snake plants in the pot to allow for good air circulation around the leaves and roots. If you are planting several snake plants in one pot, space them evenly and leave enough room for each plant to grow.

It’s important to remember that Snake plants can grow quite tall, so be mindful of the eventual size of the plants and choose a pot and location that will accommodate them.

Do snake plants like to be crowded or root-bound?

Snake plants are resilient plants that can thrive being a bit root-bound, but there is such a thing as too much crowding. When a snake plant is severely root-bound, its pot may become damaged or struggle to absorb water and nutrients. 

Leading to stunted growth and a decline in the plant’s health.

Can you repot a snake plant in fall or winter?

Repotting your snake plant is an opportunity to give it a fresh start and a new home. 

The best time to do so is in late winter or early spring. This is when the plant is dormant but ready to start growing. However, if you notice the roots escaping through the pot’s drainage holes or the plant is visibly cramped in its current space, don’t hesitate to repot at any time of the year. 

Should you fertilize a snake plant after repotting?

It’s generally recommended to wait a few weeks to a month after repotting before fertilizing a snake plant. This allows the plant to settle into its new pot and adjust to its new environment before adding any additional stress from fertilization.

When you begin fertilizing, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for houseplants. 

But don’t go overboard with the fertilizer. A gentle touch, in the form of a diluted solution, once a month during the spring and summer growing seasons is all they need to flourish. And during their dormant period of fall and winter, feel free to give them a break from feeding.

These resilient plants can handle a bit of neglect and still thrive. So, if you forget to fertilize, there is no need to fret. Your Snake plant will still bask in good health, even without the extra boost.

Pro tip: Adding some worm compost into the soil mix when transplanting a Snake plant will slowly provide the plant nutrients. If you don’t have a worm bin for composting kitchen scraps, check it out! Worm castings are amazing.

How long should snake plant roots be before potting?

When repotting a snake plant, the length of its roots plays a crucial role. This length varies based on the size of the plant and the pot it currently inhabits. 

Snake plants prefer to be slightly root-bound, meaning they like to have their roots slightly cramped in their pots.

If you’re repotting a young or small snake plant, its roots may only be a few inches long and can be planted in a pot that is only slightly larger than the current pot. 

As the plant grows and becomes root-bound, you can gradually move it into larger pots to accommodate its growing root system.

If you’re repotting a mature or large snake plant, its roots may be several inches or even a foot long. In this case, you’ll need a pot that is large enough to accommodate its root system and allow for some growth. 
It’s essential to choose a pot that is only slightly larger in diameter than the current pot, as snake plants prefer to be somewhat root-bound.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.