In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on repotting snake plants (scientific name: sansevieria) that are in a small pot into a larger pot. Further, we discuss in detail when to repot snake plant and how to repot snake plant. should do it, and finally why a repotted snake plant is necessary for your plant to grow and thrive.
Whatever types of sansevieria plants you have, there will come a time when you will notice the pot bulging and it will look uncomfortable in the pot that the plants are planted in.
If you see root coming out of the pot and out of the holes at the bottom of the pot is a good indicator that your snake plant could be suffering from a lack of growing space. When you see these signs, it’s a clear indication that your sansevieria plant needs to be transferred into a larger pot.
While most house plants are fine to be left on the same pot during their lifespan, most varieties of sansevieria plants, especially the ever-popular sansevieria trifasciata (or commonly known as mother-in-law’s tongue), golden hahnii, and sansevieria laurentii, are all known to have long leaves, grow tall, wide and top heavy. For this reason alone, transferring your snake plant will become necessary.
If you think your snake plants are due for a new container, read on for important issues to note. For instance, when the best time, and what do you do exactly when you repot a snake plant? You can also consider dividing your sansevieria plant into more than one plant. Let’s begin with a step-by-step process you can follow to transplant a sansevieria plant properly.
Table of Contents
Why Repotting Snake Plant?
The number one reason is the root showing up on the outside or bottom of the pot. This would be an obvious sign to repot into a larger container.
Bulging pots should also be observed. Pots will bulge when the root doesn’t have much space anymore. This can cause a house plant to be pot-bound and a clear indication to get a new container. The advantage of plastic pots is that it’s relatively less expensive and a lot lighter than the alternatives.
However, if your container is made of clay, it can crack and will no longer be usable. With this, you really should check your plant’s roots from time to time.
When the container that your plants become crowded, your plants will be in distress. When it is under distress, your plants will stop growing, have stunted leaves, and quickly dry out.
This is because your sansevieria plant can’t get enough nutrients and moisture due to its root situation.
The biggest benefit of a repotted plant is to promote healthy growth. Besides that, depending on the age of your sansevieria, dividing your sansevieria plant can let you grow more one snake plant. A snake plant is a fairly easy plant to propagate.
Another benefit of repotting snake plants is that it’s a great opportunity to renew the bad or old soil with new and fresh potting soil and a little compost. This will ensure that your sansevieria plants will get the right nutrients. You can even make your own potting mix. Finally, don’t forget this is one opportunity to pick out a better new pot for your house plant for your home garden!
When Should I Repot Snake Plant
Generally speaking, the best time to be repotting a snake plant or any type of houseplant is during spring when houseplants are just about to enter their growing period.
The same applies to all varieties of houseplants. You can have houseplants transplanted during the late winter or early spring.
With that said, however, repotting snake plants out of these time periods is recommended whenever it is required. Note that the best age to transfer a plant is within a year and up to six years old.
This will really depend on the growth speed of your snake plant. The best time to repot is right after transplanting a snake plant.
While it’s true that most sansevieria like their root to be bound to the pot. Transferring a snake plant to a larger pot is necessary if the plant’s roots are already trying to take grow outside of the pot.
Follow these steps to repotting a snake plant in a new pot with fresh gardening soil or potting mix will result in a healthy and thriving plant.
Materials Needed to Repotting Snake Plant
If you feel like you already need to tranplant your plant because they’re showing any of the signs I mentioned, then be prepared with the following:
Correct pot size
Sansevierias (particularly mother-in-law’s tongue) are a good container plant. There are many types of pots to use and choose from. You can use pots that are made of different materials. The easy choice of many gardeners is plastic pots. However, the important decision on what to use is the pot size. The container size will depend on the age and how big your snake plant is. But obviously, add your house plant to any type of pot you like!
Typically, it may be best to use large size pots that are about 2 to 3 gallons in size. A snake plant is rather tall and top heavy with its foliage, so depth should be considered too.
Measure the diameter of your current pot and make sure that the bigger pot you use may need to be more than an inch wider.
Does the material matter? In our opinion, whether it be plastic, ceramic, or event terracotta pot (i.e. clay pot), as long as the pots are sized properly.
Do the pots need holes to drain excess moisture? Of course, don’t forget to make sure that the grow pot you use will allow good and well draining – so make sure there are drainage holes in your pots.
Best Soil Types
Whether you have a sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue) or any other type of snake plant, you’ll need well draining soil around your houseplant. These houseplants are very prone to root rot when there is a lot of moisture due to overwatering. Don’t let your sansevieria sit in moisture soaked soil around for a long time.
It’s best to use a soilless potting mix, gardening soil, or ready-to-use cactus and succulent potting mix. These are known to be great when it comes to good drainage.
- Knife– this is optional, but if you see that your houseplant has gotten big and are ready for a transplant or a division, then have one handy.
- Watering – Not much is needed, but this may help if you soften the potting mix or gardening soil around the wrapped houseplant before transferring.
- Mesh tape or cloth– this may be placed at the base of the pot. The purpose of this will be discussed later on.
Other than the materials I’ve mentioned, your usual gardening equipment like your gloves or shovel should also be ready if you don’t want to do this with your bare hands.
Step-by-Step Directions on How to Repot Snake Plant
It’s actually very easy to transplant your sansevieria plant, so even if you’re doing this for the first time from home, don’t worry it will be easy.
However, I would like to share with you my guide as to how you can effectively and efficiently transfer your houseplant. Here are a few easy steps that you can follow.
Remove the Plant From the Old Pot
Step 1 is to remove your snake plant from the old pot. This is literally the next thing you should do once you have all of your materials prepared. It’s simple and easy.
It’s good to wet the soil first before you extract your houseplants from the old pots. Moist soil may be easier to remove especially from the base of the pot.
Try to remove half of the potting soil first in your pots and see if the plant is already ready to part with it. If not, keep on removing more potting soil making sure you go all the way around the pot. This way, you will notice the roots and root ball as you make your way down to the base of the pot.
Don’t be scared of damaging the roots of your houseplant. Since your houseplant have overgrown the old pot, the root ball may be large compared to the pot.
Most of the time, damaging the roots may happen – don’t worry. This is especially because the roots will be relatively large compared to the pot.
What’s important is that you keep your sansevieria’s root ball close to the snake plant itself remain in tack and still in a root ball. You should also be careful when it comes to handling the plant itself to avoid damaging its leaves.
Examine the soil
You can simultaneously do this with the extraction of your sansevieria plant from its old pot. It’s great to check the gardening or potting soil for snake plant so that you can see if it’s still in good condition or just really needs to be refreshed.
A good sign that the soil is still good or healthy is seeing its ability to drain well.
Healthy soil may still be used to transplant, but it doesn’t mean that bad soil is already hopeless. Generally speaking, bad soil is very dry and can easily crack.
If the soil around the top is showing that sign, you can still use it but not much of it when it’s repotted. It would serve as a filler but it’s the best way if you add organic matter to it so it would still allow drainage.
Examine the roots
After you’ve decided whether to reuse the soil your sansevieria plant was in or not, you should also check how your plant’s rhizomes and roots are doing.
Again, sansevieria plants are susceptible to root rot when the soil has too much moisture due to overwatering. Best way is to check for any signs of this.
A sansevieria plant with root rot will have dark or black mushy spots on its root. If you find some on your sansevieria plant’s roots, then this can be easily remedied with your knife or scissors. You can simply cut or slice the rotted roots away. This is the only way to get rid of the root rot.
If you already have tall sansevieria plant with bulgy roots, you can also get rid of these types of rhizomes and roots. You can cut a bit of the root ball out from the root ball to avoid overgrowth in the bigger pot.
However, if you are aiming to continuously grow your sansevieria plant, then only cut small portions of the root ball as much as possible. Remember, with good roots, dividing your sansevieria plant will be more successful.
Prepare your New pots
Take your new larger pot and check the drainage hole at the base of the pot. Check that the holes are not blocked and are completely open.
To prepare your larger pot, mesh tape or cloth will then be needed. The mesh may serve as a safety net for your soil. This will verify that the soil will not escape through the drainage hole at the underside of the pot.
It’s also good to confirm that your larger pot is dry when you transfer a plant. This way, it’ll will make it easier for you to adjust the soil all the way around the larger pot when you have to do so.
Transfer sansevierias Into a New Pot
Because sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue) are great container plant, one of the keys to a have a successful repotted snake plant is to have mesh at the foundation of the new pot. This will alow the roots to bind as snake plants prefer bury their roots into the pot.
Place the sansevieria plant in your pot and hold it with just one hand. It’s really up to you if you’d like its roots to touch the pot or not. To keep things clean you may want to use a newspaper or plastic sheet to cover your workspace.
However, I suggest that you leave about an inch of space between the top of the soil and the roots and add a little space from the base of the pot.
As you hold onto your sansevieria plant in place, you may start filling your pot with gardening or potting soil you may have. Again, make sure you give about one inch or two from the top of the soil to the root ball. You may use regular soil as sansevieria typically thrive in any soil.
Just check that after a few inches of a soil layer, you add in sand or perlite with it too. This will allow better drainage to get rid of the excess moisture and avoid overwatering the plant.
You can also use some cactus or succulent mix that you have, and usually this kind of mixture already has perlites, moss, and sand in it.
Cactus potting mixes are specifically made for a sansevieria plant that requires well draining soil, so you won’t have to add other ingredients to it.
It’s also up to you if you’d like to add decoration to the top layer of your soil with attractive rocks or pebbles. This creates a way to enhance your garden.
Just check that before you add anything, you place a thin layer of worm compost on top of your soil. Worm composting is a simple process. A little compost will go a long way in helping nourish and is good snake plant care.
So those are the five easy and simple steps you can follow to repot a snake plant.
Well, it would go differently if you’re dividing your plant but it’s there is a really simple way to dividing your sansevieria.
One thing to note, if want to propagate by dividing your plant in order to regrow new sansevieria plant, is to confirm that all houseplants still have their rhizomes and roots. One tip is to use one new pot to propagate by dividing your cuttings or leaf cuttings. Afterward, take care to transfer cuttings when you are dividing them. Place them into a separate new pot so that when they start dividing, they have room to grow.
How Often to Water Snake Plant?
Now, aftercare is important. Questions you may have are how much to water or should I water snake plant after repotting? Well, immediately after potting, you may need to allow your plant to settle first.
This means that you don’t need to be watering snake plant after repotting. But if you feel the top of the soil is a little dry, it’s ok. We recommend that the best way is to wait for one day or two before you add water to your plant again. Too much moisture is not good for your plant.
A good way to water your plant is by using a self-watering or automatic watering system. A good-looking and practical way is to use these watering globes.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to not overwater your plant. Sansevieria trifasciata do not like being overwatered; so ensure that you don’t add any more than required.
After watering your plant for the first time after having it transferred, wait for the moisture to recede and its soil to completely dry out before watering again.
During winter, the most you should be watering is one to three times a month.
Do You Need to Fertilize Snake Plants?
When it comes to fertilizing, do you need to add any? Simple answer is no.
No, you shouldn’t add fertilize your plant right away. You may wait for one month before you add fertilizer or add some when your plant is actively growing. If you add too much fertilizer, you may cause harm to your plant so be wary of this one tip.
If you’re ready to add fertilize your plant, you may use an all-purpose fertilizer. Typically, the best time to add fertilizer to a sansevieria plant is during the summertime.
The frequency to add or use any fertilizer should only be once every three months during the summer to avoid over fertilizing.
Light Requirements for Sansevieria
Part of the aftercare is light conditions or sun exposure for your snake plant. So the question is how much light does a snake plant need? Sansevieria plants can be planted indoors and outdoors. What’s important is that it gets bright indirect light or partial to full sun for at least six hours a day for the best growth. Sansevieria plants are considered low light succulents.
Take care to notice any signs of over exposure too.
If your sansevieria plant begin to develop white spots on their leaves, then they would possibly be over-exposed to light and may stunt the growth. Sansevieria plant prefer indirect light or low light conditions.
Well, a repotted sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue) can definitely be a very fun gardening project for your garden. The outcome is always great when your sansevieria plant are healthy and thriving. Just remember not to let your plant the conditions to have too much moisture, so don’t let it sit in oversaturated soil to prevent root rot.
Snake plants, in general, are really attractive – but are top-heavy because of their foliage – so seeing it in a larger new pot where it can breathe is well worth it. Any type of sansevieria plant is always a good choice for any home garden as can thrive in most conditions. Add them to any indoor garden, whether it be in the living room or bedroom. Don’t forget sansevieria plants are an excellent choice for an outdoor garden too.
I hope you like this guide and find it helpful. If you plan to transplant your sansevieria plant soon, be ready by having your soil prepared and new larger pots in hand. Good luck!
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Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She furthered her gardening education by working on various organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to discuss gardening tips and tactics. Whether it’s succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs, growing and caring for just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden always makes her happy.