How to Repot a Snake Plant: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Repot a Snake Plant: A Comprehensive Guide

Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, belong to the Dracaena genus, previously classified in the Sansevieria genus. These popular houseplants are derived mainly from the species Dracaena trifasciata.

While snake plants can remain in the same pot for several years, there comes a time when repotting becomes necessary.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the entire process of repotting a snake plant, from determining when to repot to selecting the right pot and soil mix, and providing additional care tips to ensure your snake plant thrives.

How Do You Know When to Repot a Snake Plant?

Snake plants are resilient and can tolerate being in the same pot for an extended period. However, there are several signs that indicate it’s time to repot your snake plant:

  1. Bulging plastic pot: If your snake plant is in a plastic pot, you may notice the pot starting to bulge out. This occurs when the rhizomes under the soil have no room to grow, causing the pot to warp and bulge.
  2. Cracked or broken pot: Snake plants in terra cotta or ceramic pots can exert enough pressure on the interior of the pot to cause cracking or breaking.
  3. Lifting out of the pot: When the rhizomes of a snake plant grow vigorously, they can push the entire plant upward, causing it to lift out of the pot.
  4. Foliage filling the pot: If the foliage of your snake plant has completely filled the entire pot, with little to no visible soil, it’s a clear sign that the plant has outgrown its current container.
  5. Roots coming out of the drainage hole: If you notice roots protruding from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, it’s a strong indication that your snake plant needs a larger pot.

When Should You Repot Your Snake Plant?

While you can repot a snake plant at any time of the year if necessary, the best time to do so is around late winter or early spring when the plants are starting to grow again. However, repotting can also be done during the growing season without adverse effects.

It’s important to avoid repotting when the days are getting shorter. Repotting before the days shorten allows your plant to establish itself in its new pot and adapt to its surroundings before growth slows or stops.

How to Propagate Snake Plant in soil
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How to Repot a Snake Plant: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know when to repot your snake plant, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of repotting.

1. Remove Your Plant from Its Pot

The first step is to remove your snake plant from its existing pot. Depending on the type of pot, this can sometimes be challenging. Here are a few methods to consider:

  • For flexible pots like plastic nursery pots, gently press the sides to loosen the root ball, then tip the pot over and slide the plant out.
  • For rigid pots like clay or ceramic pots, slide a knife around the inside perimeter to loosen the plant, making it easier to remove.
  • If your snake plant is extremely root-bound or the pot is difficult to remove, carefully break the pot using a hammer.

2. Loosen the Root Ball

Once the plant is out of the pot, you may find that the root ball is tightly packed. In this case, it’s beneficial to loosen the root ball by gently teasing some of the roots free.

Don’t worry if you accidentally break a few roots; snake plants are resilient and can tolerate some root damage.

3. Select a New Pot

Choosing the right pot is crucial for the health and growth of your snake plant. Consider the following factors when selecting a new pot:

  • Size: The new pot should be one size larger than the old pot. For example, if your snake plant is in a 6-inch diameter pot, choose an 8-inch diameter pot. Going much larger can lead to excess moisture retention and potential root rot.
  • Depth and Width: Snake plants have shallow root systems, so opt for a pot that is wider rather than deeper. Standard-sized pots or shallow, wide pots are ideal.
  • Drainage Hole: Always select a pot with a drainage hole to prevent water from accumulating and causing root rot.
  • Material: Terra cotta pots dry out faster than other pot materials, but they require more frequent watering. Consider your growing conditions and choose a pot material accordingly.

4. Choose a Good Potting Soil Mix

When repotting your snake plant, it’s essential to use a well-draining potting mix. Here are some options to consider:

  • Commercial Mixes: There are several potting mixes available specifically formulated for snake plants. Look for mixes that are well-draining and suitable for succulents or desert plants.
  • DIY Mix: You can also create your own potting mix by combining equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand or pumice. This mixture provides excellent drainage while retaining enough moisture for the plant.

It’s worth noting that the potting mixes from Oh Happy Plants are highly recommended for snake plants. They offer specialized blends for different indoor plants, ensuring optimal growth and health.

5. Repot Your Snake Plant

Now that you have your new pot and potting mix ready, it’s time to repot your snake plant. Follow these steps:

  1. Add some soil to the bottom of the pot, creating a layer for the plant to sit on.
  2. Place your snake plant in the new pot, ensuring that you have loosened the root ball slightly.
  3. Fill the remaining space around the plant with soil, gently pressing down to remove any air pockets.
  4. Leave about a 1/2 inch or 1 inch from the top of the pot to allow for a water reservoir when watering.

6. Water Your Plant

After repotting, give your snake plant a thorough watering. Allow any excess water to drain out through the pot’s drainage hole. Set your plant in its new growing location, ensuring it receives the appropriate light conditions.

To determine when to water your snake plant again, avoid relying on moisture meters, as they can be unreliable. Instead, use your finger to gauge the soil moisture.

Wait until at least the top inch or two of soil has dried out before watering again. Avoid overwatering, but don’t wait too long before watering to prevent dehydration.

Additional Snake Plant Care Tips

Proper care goes beyond repotting. Here are some additional tips to ensure your snake plant thrives:

Light Requirements

Contrary to popular belief, snake plants require adequate light to grow and thrive. While they can tolerate low-light conditions, they perform best in bright, indirect light.

Place your snake plant near a window, ideally with a few hours of direct sunlight each day. Keep in mind that light intensity decreases significantly the further you move away from a window, even if it’s just a few feet.

Watering Guidelines

Watering your snake plant correctly is crucial for its health. Follow these watering guidelines:

  • Thorough Watering: Always water your snake plant until water flows out of the drainage hole. This ensures that water reaches the entire root system.
  • Avoid Shallow Watering: Shallow watering encourages shallow root growth and can lead to drying of the roots. Water deeply to encourage healthy root development.
  • Check Soil Moisture: Use your finger to check the top few inches of soil. Wait until it has dried out before watering again. However, don’t let the soil dry out completely.
  • Avoid Overwatering: Overwatering can lead to root rot. It’s better to underwater than overwater your snake plant.

By providing the proper light and water requirements, along with repotting when necessary, your snake plant will thrive and bring beauty to your indoor space.


Repotting a snake plant is an important part of its care routine. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this comprehensive article, you can ensure your snake plant remains healthy and continues to grow.

Remember to choose the right pot and potting mix, provide adequate light, and water your plant correctly. With proper care, your snake plant will thrive and enhance the beauty of your home or office space.

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