As a house plant, the snake plant is a common choice. Not only is it gorgeous to look at but keeping it healthy is not too difficult. There will come a time, however, when you will need to repot your snake plant.
When to repot snake plant: Snake plants go by many names. Their scientific classification is Sansevieria trifasciata but they also are referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue. Whatever name you choose to use for your plant, however, you will need to periodically repot it. The easiest way to transplant your snake plant is to check for signs that it is outgrowing its current container. See if the roots are sticking out of the drainage holes and if water quickly runs through the plant, it means there isn’t enough room for soil. Let your snake plant dry out for a week and then gently remove it from its container. Prepare a soil mixture that will drain really well and then find a larger pot for your snake plant. This is also a good time to check for pups or new snake plant buds. You can remove them and actually grow more snake plants for yourself and your friends.
Signs that your snake plant needs to be repotted
Sign 1 – Roots in drainage holes
You might forget that these exist but you should check the bottom of your snake pot plant to see what is going on with the drainage holes. These are in the plastic pot, which is usually housed in a separate, more fashionable pot.
Lift the plant up so you can see the underside of the plastic pot. If the roots of your snake pot are coming through the drainage holes, this is a sign that your snake plant is growing and needs a new home.
Sign 2 – Fast draining
When you water any indoor plant, you want the water to stay in the soil for a while. If the water quickly goes through the plant and pools in the decorative, second pot, then this is a sign there is a problem.
Even though you don’t have to water your snake plant very often, which is part of its appeal, when you do water it, look for signs of fast draining. This is a sign that the root growth is impeding the amount of soil in the pot.
Without enough soil, your plant can’t hold its water. Then, when you do water it, there will be very little benefit, thus causing your snake plant to meet an early demise.
Sign 3 – Cracked pot
While extreme, if there is nowhere for the root ball of your snake plant to go, it just might expand enough that it starts to crack the inside plastic pot.
Plastic can be weak enough for the strong root system of a snake plant to break through. Don’t expect massive tears but do look for buckled edges and small cracks.
Sign 4 – New plant shoots
Look at the soil in your snake plant pot and observe if there are any new shoots, called pups. Snake plants have rhizomes that move under the soil and shoot up new plants.
You still have time if you see these pups but if you don’t take action, they will eventually grow into new snake plants which can quickly overcrowd the current pot.
If you have a lot of pups and they are growing quickly, this is a good time to capitalize on dividing your snake plant.
Sign 5 – Tipsy pots
Dirt is great when inside a pot but not when it is all over your floor. If you find your snake pot has tipped over, don’t blame it on your cat but rather on top-heavy foliage.
As a snake plant grows larger and more vertical, it can become unbalanced. It’s time to transplant it to a more proportioned, larger pot.
How to re-pot a snake plant
Step 1 – create a good soil mixture
Different plants need different soil, and for a snake plant, it’s not enough to simply dig up some dirt from your garden. These plants prefer soil made for cactus and succulents, so you will need to head to your gardening center for a bag.
Make sure the soil you use drains well and is very coarse. You can use a mixture of potting soil, succulent material, and even river sand to make the ideal mix.
Step 2 – Remove your plant
Gently loosen the root structure so that it easily slides out of the current pot. Not watering for a few days can make the process easier.
After the snake plant is out of the container, remove any pups that are sticking out of the soil. You can actually grow more snake plants from these pups, so set them aside in their own containers.
Step 3 – Fill the new container
Find or purchase a pot that is larger in size than the original. Fill this new pot about a third of the way with the soil mixture.
Then, add your existing snake plant. Fill the rest of the pot with the soil mixture, covering the top part slightly.
Try not to pack down the soil as you fill it as you want there to be plenty of air to allow for drainage.
As your plant settles, you may want to put more soil in the plant. In a few weeks, check the level of soil and add more so the pot is filled to the brim.
Do snake plants need clear pots?
Snake plants do not need clear pots. Most people simply use the standard black plastic pot the plant originally comes in and then place it in a slightly larger, more decorate a pot for display.
While you can transplant the whole plant into a nice pot, such as a clay one, this will make future transplanting more difficult.
Snake plants, with their tall foliage and easy upkeep, are a favorite houseplant. Every year or two, check on your snake plant to see if it is outgrowing its current container.