5 Steps to Repot a Snake Plant

Snake plants are one of the most popular houseplants around, and it’s no wonder why. They’re easy to care for, can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, and look great in all settings.

However, as easy as they are to care for, snake plants can be prone to root rot and other problems if they’re not repotted regularly. “Repotting houseplants helps ensure your plants have plenty of room in the soil for the roots to grow.”

Snake plant transplanted to new pot

Repotting is a relatively simple process, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind to make sure it goes smoothly. In this article, I’ll share with you the 5 steps you need to follow to re-pot a snake plant.

“Repotting houseplants helps ensure your plants have plenty of room in the soil for the roots to grow.” 

Danny Lipford

Let’s dive in!

How To Repot a Snake Plant In 5 Steps

A snake plant can easily be repotted in a few simple steps. However, if you do not take proper precautions, then you might even ruin the parent plant and deter the growth of new plant pups. Here are the 5 steps you need to follow:

1. Prepare the New Soil

The foundation of any good repotting job is the new soil you’ll be using.

Many plant parents make the mistake of using garden soil when they repot their plants. However, garden soil is usually too dense and holds too much water, leading to problems like root rot. Garden soil is also more likely to contain pests and diseases that could harm your plant.

Instead, you should use a light, airy potting mix specifically designed for houseplants. You can find potting mix at most garden centers or online. Alternatively, you can make your own potting mix by mixing equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.

Snake plants are known for being tolerant of a ‘missed watering’ or two thanks to their succulent thick like leaves. However, they still need well-draining soil to prevent root rot. So, make sure to choose a potting mix that drains well.

2. Remove the Plant from the Pot

Once you have your new potting mix, it’s time to remove the plant from its current pot.

Before you do anything else, make sure to squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the roots and release the soil. Then, turn the pot upside down and gently tap it until the plant slides out.

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Make sure not to water your plant for a day or two before repotting to help make the process easier.

Once the plant is out of its pot, look at the soil for signs of fungal or bacterial growth. These can be harmful to your plant and should be removed before repotting.

3. Inspect the Roots

Now that the plant is out of its pot, it’s time to inspect the roots.

First, look for any signs of pup rhizomes, which are small, white, potato-like structures that form on the roots of some snake plants. These are perfectly normal, and you don’t need to remove them.

However, excessive growth of pup rhizomes can overcrowd the pot and lead to problems like decreased airflow and waterlogged soil. If you see too many pup rhizomes, you can carefully remove some of them.

Simply use a sharp knife or garden shears to cut the rhizomes away from the main root ball. You can then plant the rhizomes in their own pot or discard them.

Potting soil ready for transplanted snake plant

4. Fill the New Pot with Soil

Now it’s time to fill the new pot with soil. I know it’s tempting to just dump all the new soil in at once, but resist the urge!

Instead, start by adding a small amount of soil to the bottom of the pot. Your soil mixture should fill approximately 1/3 of the pot. Avoid adding too much or too little soil, as this can lead to problems like waterlogging or poor drainage.

A common mistake people make when repotting is compacting the soil before they plant the snake plant. However, this can actually damage the roots and make it harder for the plant to absorb water and nutrients. So, make sure not to pack the soil too tightly.

5. Replant The Snake Plant

Once you’ve added the appropriate amount of soil to the pot, it’s time to replant the snake plant.

Carefully place the plant in the center of the pot and fill in the sides with more soil. Gently pat down the soil to secure the plant in place, but don’t pack it too tightly.

Make sure to fill some extra mix around the base of the plant to help support the roots. You can also use a chopstick or other sharp objects to slightly loosen the soil around the roots, which will help the plant absorb water and nutrients more easily.

How to Tell if Your Snake Plant Needs Repotting

Now that I’ve gone over the basics of repotting a snake plant, you might be wondering if your plant even needs to be repotted. After all, you don’t want to go through all that work if it’s not necessary!

Here are some signs to look for that indicate your snake plant needs to be repotted:

Roots Coming Out of the Drainage Holes

A telltale sign that your snake plant needs to be repotted is if the roots are coming out of the drainage holes.

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If you see roots poking out of the bottom of the pot, it means the plant has outgrown its current pot and needs to be moved to a larger one. When roots have nowhere else to go, they’ll start growing out of the drainage holes in search of more space.

If you ignore this problem, the roots will struggle to get the air and water they need, which will eventually kill the plant. Therefore, it’s important to repot your snake plant as soon as you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.

Drooping Snake plant leaves
Drooping Snake plant leaves

The Plant is Top-Heavy or Leaning

Another sign that your snake plant needs to be repotted is if it’s top-heavy or leaning. Snake plants have tall, thick leaves that can make the plant top-heavy. Paired with disintegrating potting mix, this can cause the plant to lean to one side or even topple over.

If you see your snake plant leaning to one side or looking like it might fall over, it’s a good indication that it needs to be repotted. The extra space and support provided by a larger pot will help the plant stand up straight and stay healthy.

Pot Drains Too Quickly

If you notice that the pot drains very quickly after watering despite not saturating the soil, it’s a sign that the soil is poor quality or compacted.

When soil is compacted, it doesn’t allow water to move through it very well. This can cause the roots to suffocate and the plant to dry out, even if you’re watering your snake plant regularly.

If you think your snake plant’s potting mix might be compacted, it’s a good idea to repot the plant into a fresh pot of high-quality potting mix. This will give the roots the aeration and drainage they need to stay healthy.

Plant Has Too Many Pups

As a plant parent, you may know that snake plants grow “babies” or pups. These pups are clones of the mother plant and can be transplanted to create new plants.

If your snake plant has too many pups, it’s a good indication that it’s pot-bound and needs to be repotted. Too many pups crowded into one pot can stress the plant out 

and lead to problems like yellowing leaves.

Snake plant pups

The Plant Looks Unhealthy

If your snake plant looks unhealthy, it might be a sign that it needs to be repotted. Common signs of an unhealthy plant include yellowing leaves, wilting, or stunted growth.

If you notice any of these problems, it’s a good idea to check the roots to see if they’re pot-bound. Often, when plants are pot-bound, their roots start to die off, which can lead to the plant looking unhealthy.

How Big of a Pot Does a Snake Plant Need?

When it comes to pot size, a general rule of thumb is to choose a pot that’s 1-2 sizes up from the current one. So, if your snake plant is in a 4-inch pot, you should choose a 6- or 8-inch pot.

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Your pot should be 1/3 bigger than the roots of your snake plant so that the roots have enough room to grow without being too cramped. If your pot is too big, the roots will have too much space and will let excess water sit around, which can cause problems like root rot.

Best Soil for Snake Plants

Earlier, I talked about how you shouldn’t use garden soil for your snake plant since it can be too dense, compacted, and low in nutrients. Instead, you should use a high-quality potting mix that’s designed for succulents and cacti.

Here are some soil types that would work well for a snake plant:

  • Light loamy soil: Soil that’s light and loamy is easy for roots to penetrate and has a good balance of water and air. Its pH also falls between 5.5 and 7.0, which is ideal for snake plants.
  • All-purpose potting mix: All-purpose potting mixes are designed for a wide range of plants and usually contain a mix of perlite, peat moss and vermiculite. These ingredients help to aerate the soil and improve drainage.
  • Cactus potting mix: Cactus potting mixes are similar to all-purpose mixes but often contain extra ingredients like pumice or sand to improve drainage.

How Often Should You Re-Pot a Snake Plant

Re-potting can be a big stressor for plants, so you don’t want to do it more often than necessary. In general, most snake plants only need to be repotted every 2-5 years. Plants in low-light conditions or that are growing slowly may only need to be re-potted every 5-10 years or so.

Potted snake plant

How to Care for a Recently Transplanted Snake Plant

After you’ve transplanted your snake plant, it’s important to give it the care it needs to recover from the stress of the move. Here are some tips for caring for a recently transplanted snake plant:

  • Water your plant deeply but less frequently than usual. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
  • Place your plant in a bright, sunny spot so it can start to acclimate to its new environment.
  • Don’t fertilize your plant for at least six weeks after transplanting.
  • Keep an eye on your plant and watch for signs of stress, like yellowing leaves or wilting. If you see any problems, give your plant extra care and attention.

By following these tips, you can help your snake plant recover from being transplanted and get it back on track to being healthy and happy.

Final Thoughts

Snake plants are tough, low-maintenance plants that are perfect for beginner gardeners. If you think your snake plant needs to be repotted, follow the steps I outlined in this article, and you’ll have your plant transplanted in no time.

Just remember to give your plant the care it needs afterward to help it recover from the stress of being replanted.

Brock

Brock is the head gardener and editor-in-chief at Bigger Garden. Every year you can expect to see something new in his raised beds, from purple broccoli to cotton candy peppers.

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