How to Repot a Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)


Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata), are plants native to tropical Africa. Characterized by dark green leaves and yellow or grayish stripes, they are very hardy and have become increasingly popular as houseplants in the Western world.

If you’re the owner of a snake plant, then it is important to repot it when needed. Not only will this help to replenish the nutrient level in the soil, but it will also provide a larger space for your snake plant to grow into. Unlike other types of house and garden plants, snake plants do not have to be repotted often, with 3 to 5 years usually being sufficient.

If you suspect your snake plant is suffering from being root bound, then the good news is that there is a way to revive it, and this article is going to show you how! Below, we’re going to be talking you through the tell-tale signs of root bound, how to correctly repot your snake plant, as well as provide helpful aftercare tips that will keep your snake plant at optimal health going forward. Read on!

When Should You Repot a Snake Plant?

If you are noticing that your snake plant is becoming root bound, you should repot it immediately. But, what are the tell-tale signs of a root bound snake plant, exactly?

The main signs of your snake plant being root bound are the leaves yellowing or wilting, becoming increasingly top-heavy, as well as its roots becoming visible. In addition, the roots may appear growing out of the drainage holes, or even on the top of the soil surface.

Another indication that your plant is root bound is if the water is seemingly draining straight out of the pot when you water it. If this is happening, then this suggests that the soil cannot hold onto the moisture and, when you remove the plant from the pot, you will notice tightly packed roots and minimal soil.

The best time of year to carry out this process is either during late winter or early spring. This is the time of year when the plant is getting ready to burst into life with new growth and the repotting is least risky, but it is possible to repot your plants at any time of year.

With that being said, if you are beginning to notice that the roots are beginning to creep through the drainage holes of your pot, or if you’re noticing that the water doesn’t seem to be staying in the soil while watering – these surefire signs are all that you need to know that it’s time to re-pot your snake pot, which brings us to our next section.

How Do You Repot a Snake Plant?

Now that you know when you should repot your snake plant, now it’s time to talk you through how to repot your snake plant successfully. To begin, you will need to ease the snake plant out of its old pot. To do this, grasp the leaves near the top of the soil and gently begin to rock them from side to side. This should loosen the soil from the sides of the pot and it should slide out with ease.

After doing this, it will be time to select your new pot. Ideally, it should be around 2 inches larger in diameter than the pot it is currently growing in. It should not be excessively large as this means there will be a lot of spare soil. This can hold onto moisture and can lead to root rot or mold developing.

You can place a coffee filter in the base of the plant pot to cover the drainage holes. This will prevent loose potting mix from falling out the bottom. Fill the new plant pot with potting mix to about ¾ of the way up.

Loosen the old soil from around the root ball of your snake plant. This will allow new soil to come into contact with the entire root system and stimulate new growth. Make a hole in the new plant pot and gently place the snake plant inside. Firmly pack the soil around the plant, ensuring there are no air pockets around the roots. Top the pot off with soil until there is just an inch of space at the top.

Post Repotting Care Advice

After you have transplanted the snake plant into its new pot, it’s very important that you do your best to avoid something known as “transplant shock” happening. This is a term that refers to the stresses that a recently transplanted plant can experience and, in turn, be unable to re-establish a root system large enough to effectively keep up with the needs of the plant.

One of the best ways that you can prevent transplant shock from happening is by making sure that your snake plant is receiving plenty of water after it has been repotted, as this will raise the chances of your snake plant being able to settle in its new pot.

Alongside this, despite usually being able to tolerate direct sunlight, snake plants that have been recently repotted should be placed out of direct sun for the first month or two while it re-settles into its new pot. This is because you want the plant to put its energy into growing new roots and too much sunlight could cause stress.

We also recommend that you avoid using any fertilizer for the first few months after you repot a snake plant. After repotting, your plant will begin to undergo the process of re-establishing its root system, and the last thing that you want to happen is to burn the roots while they’re still recovering from being root bound and being moved to a new pot.

When it comes to caring for your snake plant after it has been repotted, patience truly will be key.

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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