How to Repot a Snake Plant in 6 Easy Steps

how to repot a snake plant

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Almost everything that goes into caring for a snake plant is easy, including repotting. Snake plant is a hardy houseplant with strong roots and upright growth that thrives well in sturdy, wide, shallow pots.

As your snake plant matures, it grows taller, produces new leaves, and develops offshoots called "pups" which are actually new baby snake plants. The right planter can handle the height and width of the plant, providing it with 2 inches of space between the leaves and the edge of the pot.

Even for beginner plant parents, repotting a snake plant is no cause for concern because they are forgiving and virtually indestructible. Here's how to repot a snake plant in just a few easy steps.

When to Repot a Snake Plant

The best time to repot a plant is in spring when your plant comes out of winter dormancy and begins actively growing. How quickly it grows depends on where you keep it. With more exposure to sunlight, a snake plant sends up new leaves and can grow 3 to 6 feet taller every year. If it's kept mostly in shade, expect it to grow slowly and be slightly less healthy in general.

Here are the signs to look for that indicate it's time to repot a snake plant"

  • A plastic cache pot that is splitting and cracking
  • Plant fills the entire pot to the inside edges
  • Plant falls over repeatedly
  • Water drains too quickly
  • Roots growing through the drainage holes
  • Several new pups start to emerge
  • It hasn't been repotted in five years

Repotting a Snake Plant

If your plant is in a plastic pot, now is a good time to choose an attractive clay or ceramic container. Even when the plant is thriving, it's a good idea to replace the potting medium at least once every five years. Snake plants are hardy and adapt to poor soil, but repotting with fresh material increases available nutrients for a happier plant.

When you're ready to repot, choose a new pot at least 2 inches wider with at least one drainage hole in the bottom. Cactus potting medium or a combination of regular potting soil with perlite and sand mixed in works best. Keep a garden trowel and sharp knife or pair of scissors handy. Working on a flat surface is easiest.

  1. Remove the Snake Plant From Its Pot

    • Lay the potted snake plant on its side.
    • Grasp the base of the plant with one hand, holding the bottom of the pot with the other hand.
    • Gently pull and wiggle to ease the plant out of the pot .

    If your snake plant is in a plastic pot, you may need cut the pot off with scissors. You can also run a garden trowel or knife around the inside perimeter of the pot to loosen soil. Make sure to keep the tool straight up and down and not angled in toward the roots.

  2. Remove Excess Soil From the Rootball

    • Use your fingers to comb through the rootball removing as much old potting soil as you can. Healthy snake plant roots are large, white and easy to see.
  3. Inspect the Snake Plant

    • If you want to keep your plant at a specific height, now is the best time to remove taller leaves by cutting them at the base. (You can propagate the cuttings.)
    • Brown or severely damaged leaves should also be removed with a sharp knife or scissors.
    • Remove any damaged roots you find, though it's unlikely you'll find dried out or mushy roots unless your plant has been severely over or underwatered.
  4. Place the Snake Plant in Its New Pot

    • Grasp the plant close to the bottom of the leaves and hold it in the center of the new pot.
    • Use your other hand to begin filling in around the rootball with potting mix. Keep the plant at the same soil level as in its original pot, patting down the potting material around the rootball to keep the plant upright.
    • Leave about 1 inch of space between the top of the soil and the pot rim to allow space for mess-free watering.
  5. Water the Snake Plant

    • If the soil mix in the new pot is fairly dry, go ahead and give it a good watering.
    • When it starts to drain from the bottom, you can stop watering.

    If the soil mix is moist throughout, you can wait several days to water. Snake plants are drought tolerant and sensitive to overwatering. Too much water after potting up can cause the plant to stress, so it's better to err on the side of caution.

  6. Resume Normal Care

    • Place your snake plant in a spot where it receives bright, indirect light.
    • Wait to water again until soil is dry to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
  • How often should you repot a snake plant?

    Snake plants don't need to be repotted often, but truly this depends on growth rate. A rapidly growing plant may need to be moved into a wider container every two years. Even if your plant is a slow grower, plan to repot in five years to replenish soil mix and nutrients.

  • What kind of pot is best for a snake plant?

    The best kind of pot for a snake plant is one made of ceramic or clay. These sturdy materials stand up to strong, thick roots and also dry out quicker than plastic, which suits this plant's preference for drier soil.

  • Do snake plants like big or small pots?

    Snake plants like wide pots. The depth isn't as important as the width, which needs to balance the height of these tall plants. Snake plants don't mind being slightly potbound, but severely potbound plants can retain too much water and struggle to take up nutrients. A good rule of thumb is to use a pot that allows 2 inches of free space on all sides.