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Repotting Snake Plants: The Mix To Use & How To Do It

Snake Plants, aka Sansevierias or Mother In Law Tongues, are diehard houseplants. Here's the repotting of 2 Snake Plants. See the steps, the mix to use & find out when to do it.

two yellow planters an urn and a cylindrical pot they are planted with two different varieties of snake plants Repotting Snake Plants The Mix To Use How To Do It

Snake Plants are one of my very favorite houseplants. Their spiky, patterned foliage is so interesting to me plus you can ignore them and they’re happy as can be. I grow quite a few of them, both indoors and out, here at my home in the Arizona desert. It was time for repotting a few of my Snake Plants so I want to share with you the planting mix I used and how I did it.

I actually repotted 5 of my plants but you only see 2 of them here. The others I did as an arrangement and that’s coming in a future post and video. I call this project the “Snake Plant switcheroo” because I swapped out containers and locations they were in. Sansevieria, also known as Mother In Law Tongue, handle dry air and lower light conditions like champions!

Repotting my Snake Plants:

The planting mix:

Snake Plants prefer to be kept on the dry side and the mix they’re planted in must drain freely. That’s why I add in the succulent and cactus mix. I also toss in a few handfuls of organic compost as I’m planting (I go much lighter on both this and the worm compost when repotting houseplants as compared to container plants in my garden) and a 1/2″ layer topping of the worm compost.

3/4 organic potting soil. I’m partial to Happy Frog because of its high-quality ingredients. It’s great for container planting, including houseplants.

1/4 organic succulent & cactus mix.  I use 1 which is produced locally – this one is good too.

A few handfuls of organic compost. I use Tank’s local compost. Give Dr. Earth’s a try if you can’t find anywhere you live. Both enrich the soil naturally.

Worm Compost. This is my favorite amendment, which I use sparingly because it’s rich. Here’s why I like it so much.

A Snake Plant on a work table with the rhizomes & roots exposed. a clay pot sits on 1 side & a yellow pot on the other side

Here’s the Sanseviera “Laurentii” out of the pot. You can see the thick rhizomes – they store water along with the roots & leaves. 

How I repotted:

Loosen the plants from their pots. For 1 I used a dull knife & with the other, I gently pressed on the grow pot. Both are clearly shown in the video.

Note: Don’t rush to transplant Snake Plants every year or 2 as they prefer to grow slightly pot bound. As a general rule, I repot mine every 3-6 years depending on the size of the pot it’s growing in & the size of the plant itself.  And, it’s best not to repot houseplants in winter because the plants are resting. Mine were long overdue for a transplanting!

Measure the root ball with a trowel (or the knife) to know how much of the mix to put in the bottom of the pot.

Loosen the roots a bit & put the plants in. Continue to fill in the pot with the mix & a handful or 2 of the compost.

Top with a thin layer of worm compost.

2 snake plants in yellow pots sit on a table in front of a garage door

Looking great in their cheery yellow pots side by side. They’ll add a nice pop of color to my living room. I  painted these pots using my very favorite spray paint in Sun Yellow Gloss. If you’re not into spray painting, this pot is very similar to the one you see on the right.

After the repotting was finished, I moved them to a shady place in the garden. I let them settle in for a day and then gave them both a thorough watering before moving them to their spots in the house. Anyone else as crazy about Snake Plants as I am?!

If you love houseplants as much as we do then be sure to check out our care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive.

Happy gardening & thanks for stopping by,

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35 comments:

  1. Those yellow pots really accent the plant!

  2. Can you replant the leaves if they break off?

  3. Hi Julie – Yes you can. A few of the leaves on mine bend completely over & cut them off. I let them heal over for at least a week & then plant them; either back in the same pot with the mother plant or in a separate pot. I’ll do a post & video on this within the next few months. Nell

  4. I thank you for your help I love snake plants and want to be sure I am doing my best for them. However I have a problem. Two of my plants seem to be top heavy and are bending at the top of the soil. What can I do.

  5. Hi Cheryl – I love snake plants too. There could be a few reasons that’s happening so I can’t exactly say what to do about it. The leaves of the taller varieties get heavier as they get tall & naturally bend. 2 of mine do that but not too often. I cut them, heal them & then plant back in. Other reasons: too wet or too little light. Nell

  6. Hi Nell!
    Great blog than you Nell!
    A friend has a snake plant and told me a number of the leaves had fallen over. I asked her what she did with the fallen leaves and she told me she’d popped them in the compost ?? They’d only spent a couple of days in the compost so, I retrieved them, took them home and popped them (5 in total) in a jar keeping just enough water to cover the very bottoms of them. I checked them nearly everyday in the hope they’d grow roots which they did after 4 weeks. SO happy! I kept them in the jar for about 5 months. Why 5 months? because I had NO idea what to do with them and was hesitant to move them because I didn’t want to kill them! Anyhow, I took the plunge last week and potted them. After finding your blog this morning I’m pretty sure I’ve done the right thing by them. I’m hoping they survive their transplant.
    Thanks again for the great info!
    Cheers, Lynnie ? ?

  7. Just curious, do you need to add regular potting soil? Would straight c & s mix work?

  8. Oh great Lynnie! Thanks for sharing. I usually let my fallen leaves heal over for a few weeks & then plant them back in the same pot. They’re really tough so I’m sure yours will be fine. Just don’t over water them! Nell

  9. No you don’t. Straight c & s mix would be just fine too Ty. The important thing is that the mix drains well so the roots & rhizomes don’t rot. Nell

  10. Hi Nell,

    What a wonderful site with informative information. I live in northern New England and have a beautiful mother-in-law’s tongue a friend gave me three years ago and glad I read your blog because I was just about to order all purpose soil for it. That would have been a mistake and now I will order the right soil and worm stuff. Thank you and I will continue reading your info. Wonderful!

    Anita

    PS- I have the large 5 ft tall plant in my large, very warm sun room with Southwest exposure.

  11. Hi Anita – Thank you. I’m so glad you find our site to be helpful. You gotta love Snake Plants! I live in the Arizona desert & you live in northern New England & ours are thriving. You can grow them in potting soil but I’ve found from experience that they do better in the mix I refer to in the post. I use worm castings for most of my houseplants (except bromeliads, orchids, etc). Go easy on it indoors (a 1/2 to 1″ layer is enough depending on pot size). I plan on doing a post & video on this subject in 1-2 months. Happy gardening! Nell

  12. Hi there!

    Had a question… I planted two separate snake plants together in one large pot. I used the miracle grow cactus and succulent soil mixed with some miracle grow moisture control. I think I made a mistake and should have researched beforehand… I’m a newbie. Do my plants have any chance at survival now? Soil is pretty dry and haven’t watered since transplanting yesterday.

    Thanks,
    Liz

  13. Hi Nell, I am new to the world of houseplants, and find your videos and website to be very helpful, thank you for all the good stuff! I just brought 2 small snakeplants (Golden Hahnii variety) from the nursery. I want to have them repotted to better pots, but not sure if I should keep them both in a single pot or plant each separately into 2 pots. What would you suggest ?

    Ben

  14. Hi Liz – I don’t use moisture control soil mix. Snake Plants, like most houseplants,like to dry out in between watering. I water mine every 3 weeks. Being on the dry side won’t hurt them, being too wet will. Nell

  15. Hi Ben – Thank you – welcome to the wonderful world of houseplants! I’ve planted them together & separately so that’s your call. Snake Plants don’t mind being tight in their pots but if you decide to pot them together, of course you’ll need a larger pot. Just don’t get one too big though! Nell

  16. I love my snake plant. A beautiful shoot grew taller than the main plant. But now the main plant is drooping over. Please help! Need to replant?

    P S tried to attach a photo but couldn’t paste here.

    Thank you!!

  17. Hi Terri – It’s hard to say because I don’t know what’s causing it. If the main part of the plant is drooping, 1 cause could be over watering. Nell

  18. I have 2 snake plants indoors that I’ve had for several years. Both get sufficient light and I hardly water them since I read they don’t need alot of water. I let them get very dry before watering and I don’t soak them at watering time. However, some of the leaves look shriveled and are starting to bend over. What am I doing wrong?

  19. Hi Gloria – Shriveled leaves are a sign of not enough water. Mushy leaves are too much. To give you an idea: I live in the Arizona desert & water my SPs thoroughly every 3 weeks. A little less often in the winter. Nell

  20. Hi Nell. I have a snake plant still in the plastic pot that I purchased it in several years ago. It sits in a clay pot on my covered patio. It gets watered with the hose when I happen to be outside; not on a regular basis. It’s basically ignored. I noticed that it has busted through the plastic pot. I would like to repot it and bring it inside, which is what I originally intended to do. Shld I replant it in another plastic pot, so that I can remove it from the decorative pot when I water it? Don’t want it to drain through onto the floor. Or, shld I transplant into a terra-cotta pot and leave it outside where it seems perfectly content to being ignored? I live inSan Diego. Thank you.

  21. Either would work fine Maxine – Snake Plants aren’t fussy as to what type of pot they’re grown in. They do break though grow pots over time, as you know. I used to grow them outdoors in bright shade when I lived in Santa Barbara. I currently have mine growing in 3 different types of pots & all are doing great. Nell

  22. How long does Snake plant take to grow?, also, what is the best way to water them (eg. spray them, or straight to the soil?)

  23. Hi! I’ve enjoyed reading over your website and watching your videos. They’ve been very helpful. I recently purchased two snake plants from Lowes that were each in a 9″ plastic pot. My goal was to combine them together to make a larger plant to use indoors. The pot I purchased has a tapered shape and is 13.5″ D at the top of the new pot (does have drainage holes). Is this too large? I thought it would be ok but when I started to repot I ran out of soil; need a few more inches at the top. It’s hanging out like that until I can get more. I didn’t water yet. The plant needs adjusted some for centering but there will still be a few inches of space around the top of the new pot. I wish I could attach a photo. Ideally I would have liked to add more leaves but when I went back for another plant they were out. I would like the plant to continue to grow upwards. There are very tall leaves in the center of each plant but the surrounding leaves were various heights starting about half the height of the tallest leaves.
    Thank you!

  24. Hi Carlo – It depends on the growing situation. Here in Tucson where it’s warm for many months, mine grow faster than they did when I lived in San Francisco which has fog & is much cooler. Although they aren’t high light plants, they grow faster with more light. Water them via the soil – they don’t need misting. Nell

  25. Hi Alisha – Thank you! If you’re potting up sansies in 2 – 9″ pots into a 13.5″ diameter pot, they’ll do fine. They don’t mind growing tight in their pots. I’ve combined Snake Plants in various pots & they’ve all done fine. Nell

  26. Hi Nell.
    Nice website. Thanks.
    2 of my favourite plants are MILT and Aloe Vera which both grow pretty good in pots in my garden here in North Thailand. The pots are sitting on soil and have holes in the bottom so drainage is good and presumably the roots are extending into the soil beneath. I haven’t lifted them so I am guessing. One of my MILT plants has been in the same medium/large pot for at least 10 years cos it was in the garden when we bought the property.
    I give both the MILT and the Aloe Vera moderate water and use a small amount of wood ash for mineral replacement I don’t add anything else. They appear to be thriving well.
    I tried using wood ash in combination with nitrogen fertiliser that we use on our crops on some other plants I have. Disastrous! The soil turned into an Ammonium factory that I could have sold to Monsanto!
    I also have Lucky Bamboo in vertical sided drinking glasses on the table on my verandah. No soil, no pebbles. They get early morning direct sunlight. The rest of the day they are in shade. But UV radiation remains high all day. I just give them a refill of oxygenated water every few days. Nothing else.
    Seems to be working. No algae, and the roots are clearly growing.
    I also have a cactus which is now 7 foot tall having grown it from a straggling root 4 years ago. He lives
    in a medium sized pot with a hole in the bottom resting on soil.
    Any advice on looking after Aloe Vera ( which looks like a cactus but isn’t ) and cactuses, appreciated.
    I am pretty sure North Thailand is very similar to the Arizona desert. But when it rains here we are talking a serious drenching.
    Have a nice day!
    Chris.

  27. I repotted 2 snake plants into one. Some of the leaves are very pale yellow at the bottom. Did I not plant them deep enough?

  28. Hi Jimmie – As long as the rhizomes & roots are covered, the plant is fine. Could be too much water. Nell

  29. State of leaf determines state of root. Same for any plant. The leaf is the barometer of the health of the plant. Leaf totally dependent upon the root that feeds it.
    If I see a plant in my garden with leaves that don’t look right he is either getting too much or insufficient UV, too much or insufficient minerals, or possibly toxic chemicals. If he has rot at his base it is probably down to too much irrigation. Like Nell said. If the leaves of any plant, high or low, don’t look right. you need to take corrective action immediately. If not, your plant is under threat.
    I watch my cactuses, snake plants and Aloe Vera very closely here in Thailand.
    Ain’t growing plants just like a Kansas Combine Harvester reaps non-GM corn.
    Best US beef is grass fed. Same with free-range chicken.
    If the egg has an orange yolk it is highly likely to be OK. If the yolk is yellow the hen lived in a cage and was fed whatever made economic sense for the breeder.

    A pretty plant in a pot is a pretty plant in a pot. Feel good factor. I have no problem with that. We need more plants on patios and inside houses.
    But an agricultural plant is a totally different kettle of fish.
    That applies to herbs and spices just as it applies to Pacific Salmon and Wagyu Beef.
    Nature created.

    Ain’t plants beautiful?
    Home grown fruit and veg not only looks pretty, they are seriously healthy if you eat them.

    An oxygen producing plant inside a US home is definitely good news.

    Keep planting!
    Chris
    { Brit living in agricultural Thailand and a Trump supporter. }

  30. Hi. I recently potted two Sansevieria using MiracleGro’s Moisture Control potting soil assuming it would not retain too much moisture, but as I am reading up on Sanke Plant, I am wondering if I should re-pot them in a mix of cactus soil. A MiracleGrow rep claims they should be fine. Please advise. I know Sanke Plants do not like wet feet. Thank you.

  31. I have a snake plant that I want to make into 2 plants, what is the best way to do that? Also, if I’m just goi going to use potting soil and cactus soil what would be the ratio I would need to use? Thanks

  32. Hi Nell!
    I am new to indoor plants. I recently bought golden pothos and spider plant for my living room . I used the readymade soil which was specially designed for indoor plants . I want to keep snake plant in my small bathroom , because it doesn’t need much water and can survive in dark with less sunlight. My question is should I just use the same soil which is specially made for indoor plants or should I have to do all the mixes you showed in the video.
    I had used ” miracle grow indoor potting mix ”
    Thanks
    Zara

  33. Hi Kimberly – I either gently cut or pull them apart. Sometimes you can start by making a cut & them pull them apart, depending on how tight the rootball is. I use approximately 1/2 ps to 1/2 S & c mix. Nell

  34. Hi Jason – I’ve never used that mix before. I know it’s supposed to prevent both under or over watering but don’t know how it works with plants which like to be kept drier. You could always buy a small bag of succulent & cactus mix & try it 1/2 & 1/2. Nell

  35. Hi Zara – Welcome to the world of houseplants! You can use potting soil but you might want to buy a small bag of perlite or pumice & add a bit of that in to facilitate drainage. With potting soil, you have to be very careful not to over water, especially with the Snake Plant in lower light. Nell

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