Best Soil For Snake Plants
Known for its sword-shaped foliage and vertical shape, Snake Plants are one of the most loved houseplants.
In warmer climates, they can grow outdoors as well. They do stand out from other houseplants with their patterned vertical leaves.
Additionally, snake plants have natural air purification properties. You can ignore them for weeks on end…
…and they’ll still thrive. Today, I’d like to share with you which type of soil works best for snake plants.
It is my hope that this article will answer any questions you might have about growing plants…
…no matter how novice or experienced you are.
Before that, here we have story from Benjamin about his experience creating best soil for snake plant!
Let us hear Benjamin’s story
I loved this mix so much I had to plant it and see how it works out. It looks like the soil is pretty good for them…
….because they really seem to be thriving! I’m not sure if they’re more picky about their needs or what…
….but whatever this recipe has in it seems to be working well for these plants.
All I know is that now my house smells amazing every time one of them starts growing new leaves…
...which tells me that I did a good job picking out soil for them.
Well I did some research to for creating best soil for snake plant itself, so I applied it to my snake plant…
and voila! In just 3 months this plant is going bigger and healthy out of my expectation!
Snake plants do best with a free-draining soil mix, because they are easily prone to rot. A soilless potting mixture is best to ensure adequate drainage. Also be sure to use a terracotta pot that won’t trap water inside and promptly remove any standing water from the saucer.
Shifrah Combiths, author from apartmenttherapy.com
Here’s the main thing!
Choosing the Right Kind of Soil
As well as being known as Sansevieria and Mother in Law’s tongue, snake plant is actually known as Dracaena trifasciata.
All Sansevieria varieties are tropical plants that originated in Africa or South Asia.
Therefore, they can handle dry air and less water well. They can also thrive in low sunlight.
A snake plant is relatively easy to care for compared to other houseplants.
However, one of the most common problems I’ve heard about this plant is that “it’s rotting”
Basically, Sansevieria roots rot because of over-watering. If they are kept in water for too long, they begin to rot.
It is important to choose a soil mix that drains enough water. Sansevieria roots will need a moist environment…
…for them to absorb water. Ideally, your soil mix for snake plants should be loose, dry…
….and easy-to-drain so as not to hold too much water for too long.
The right soil mix is essential, but you should also remember these two things to keep your plant alive:
- Plants should not be watered more frequently than once a week in most cases.
- If you already have a pot, drill holes in it or choose a pot with drainage holes.
Best Soil for Snake Plant
Garden Soil or Topsoil
You can use regular topsoil in the soil mix, garden soil, or a combination of both.
Garden soil is enriched with nutrients and is high quality. The soil also contains naturally occurring microorganisms…
…that are advantageous to plants. However, garden soil is usually denser than potting soil…
…and requires aeration or additional drainage. Snake plants do not need 100% soil.
A completely soil-free mixture will also work. Yet if you prefer to make your own mix, you should only add 60% soil.
If you choose to use garden soil, I’d recommend sticking to 50%.
It comes from swampy areas that were once filled with decomposed moss. This fluffy and lightweight material..
…turns soil into a richer, more consistent texture. Snake plants grow best in slightly acidic soil…
…so peat moss is ideal for these plants. Peat moss is not the only natural soil conditioner. Coir is a great alternative.
It’s made from coconut husks and is often referred to as coconut fiber.
The brick or pallet form of coir can be separated before using by soaking it in water.
Coir also makes an excellent ingredient for composting. Using 20 – 30% of peat moss or coco coir…
…to create your soil mixture is useful because it provides nutrients and encourages microbial growth.
Coir is a by-product of the coconut industry that can be used in both commercial..
..and DIY potting soil blends as it looks and acts like sphagnum peat moss.
It’s more nutrient-rich than peat moss and lasts longer, but it’s more costly to purchase.
The pH of coir fiber is close to neutral.
Many consider coir fiber to be more sustainable than sphagnum peat moss..
..since it is often sold in compressed brick form.
Coir fiber compressed by BotaniCare is one popular brand.
Vermiculite is a mineral that is mined and heated until it expands into light particles.
Potting soil mixes, both commercial and home-made, contain it to make them more porous.
Vermiculite and calcium are also added to potting soil, making the mix more water-resistant.
Asbestos contamination in vermiculite mines has..
..been reduced following regulations and regular testing.
I prefer organic bagged vermiculite.
Small air pockets form in the soil mixture by using sand. The pockets give water and oxygen passage…
….allowing it to reach the roots. Sand also facilitates drainage of the water. For snake plants, coarse sand…
….is best served in quantities of up to 10 – 15%. Sand should not be used in large amounts as it tends to compact.
If you have gravel, you can also use it instead of mixing it in the pot. Just lay it at the base instead of mixing it in.
It is made of volcanic rock and looks like white granules of popcorn or Styrofoam balls.
Perlite provides good soil aeration and drainage by allowing the water to pass through.
You can substitute perlite with other materials, such as pumice, aquatic plant soil, rice hulls, or chicken grit.
Recycled glass is also used as a sustainable alternative. Perlite at up to 40% in a soil mix can help drainage and keep roots healthy.
Similar to perlite, pumice is also a volcanic rock. Its surface is pitted and has many cavities, which range in size…
…from a few microns to a few millimeters. The porous surface of pumice helps to improve the air circulation in the soil…
….thereby promoting photosynthesis. Another benefit is that the inorganic rock is not attractive to fungi or insects.
Pumice is an ideal soil additive for snake plants since it reduces density without compromising moisture…
….and nutrient retention. It can be added as much as 40% to the total soil mix, just like perlite.
Compost or Manure
Composted manure is rich in nutrients and is made from biodegradable waste. Worm compost, cow dung…
…or any sort of manure enriches the soil. The decomposition of organic matter into humus is stimulated…
…by compost because it contains healthy bacteria and microorganisms. Snake plants can thrive without compost…
…or chemical fertilizer, but adding it will help suppress diseases and pests on them.
If you have access to compost, try to add a handful to the soil mix, however be alert not to add too much: a little goes a long way.
To neutralize the pH of peat-based potting soil, mix pulverized limestone or dolomite with it.
For every 6 gallons of peat moss, use about 1/4 cup.
It is easy and inexpensive to mine these minerals since they are found in natural deposits.
If you’re making your own potting soil, Joe’s lime is a good choice.
Composted wood chips
As a result of the pore size of the wood chips, potting mixes with composted wood chips lighten up.
Using composted wood chips as an ingredient in DIY potting soil recipes..
..will take a lot of time and can rob the soil of nitrogen as they breakdown.
That’s why it may be necessary to add a bit of blood meal or alfalfa meal.
For potted perennials and shrubs, mix composted wood chips into the potting mix.
To make your own, hire an arborist to bring you a load of wood chips and make a compost pile.
Turn it every few weeks until it is fully decomposed.
Potting mix for cactus and succulents
Snake plants do well in a potting mix designed for succulents and cacti, as snake plants are succulents.
However, the mix is too coarse for snake plants, so extra drainage is necessary.
The soil-less mixture usually consists of sand, peat, pumice, etc.
You can use it directly, but you might want to mix it in with regular soil.
I suggest mixing a maximum of 30% potting soil into the snake plant soil mixture.
Making the Planting Mix
There are several good combinations that I have used and have seen others use.
They provide adequate drainage as well as valuable nutrients from the soil.
Although you can mix and match as per your personal preference, make sure the mixture is not too dense.
Several Planting Mix Recommendations:
- 50% soil + 30% potting mix + 20% perlite
- 50% soil + 40% coir + 10% sand
- 45% soil + 45% perlite + 10% sand
- 30% soil + 30% peat + 40% pumice
pH in soil is determined by a combination of positively and negatively charged ions. Elements such as sodium, calcium…
…aluminum, iron, and potassium are positively charged. Conversely, the chloride, sulfate, carbonates…
….and bicarbonates of soil are all negatively charged. Acidic soil has a pH below 7, whereas alkaline soil has a pH above 7.
A pH range between 4.5 and 8.5 suits well for most Sansevieria plants, but most snake plants…
…require a pH range between 5.5 and 7.5, i.e. neutral to slightly acidic.
In nature, soil pH ranges from 3.5 to 10, but many factors affect the pH of soil, such as weather conditions…
….temperatures, geological history, fertilizers used, and presence of industries.
Alkaline soils such as limerock usually maintain a pH around 7.5 to 8.5.
Unlike peat moss that contains a pH of around 4.4, garden soil has a pH of 6.5.
Soil can be altered to a pH between 6.0 to 6.8 with dolomitic limestone, which also adds sufficient levels…
…of calcium and magnesium to the soil.
Last but not least…
If you are growing many Sansevieria plants in your nursery or garden and wish to achieve optimal soil conditions…
…the following table will help you develop an understanding of the nutrient requirements.
These ranges of five important elements are specifically for potting Sansevieria.
Deficiencies in certain nutrients
To ensure success of snake plant growth, make sure it receives the necessary nutrients.
Though you don’t need to go through much hassle when dealing with this plant..
..it is still important that the soil you use is rich in the required nutrients.
Your plant could also be suffering from nutrient deficiencies..
..and now the pests are causing the leaves to yellow.
It is imperative to fertilize the plant with fertilizer rich in nutrients.
Do a little research on the best fertilizer for snake plants before getting it.
Following are the possible nutrient deficiencies in snake plants that may affect the color of the leaves:
⦿ Nitrogen: Snake plants with low nitrogen levels have pale yellow leaves.
⦿ Magnesium: It affects the height of the plant. Leaf chlorosis is possible.
You should provide the snake plant with soil that contains such essential nutrients in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Rules Of Thumb For Choosing A Potting Soil
- Potting soil used in containers should be light and fluffy.
- Choose potting soil that contains peat moss, pine bark, and perlite or vermiculite
- There are two types of fertilizer: starter charge and slow release formulation. Adjust your fertilization practices accordingly
- You may need to adjust watering patterns if you use potting soil that contains moisture-retaining substances.
Fertilizing The Soil
Bagged potting mix is trending more and more towards highlighting improvements on the bag.
The most common way to enhance potting soil is..
..by adding either a starter charge of fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer.
You should know that both of these ideas are great and help you as a gardener..
..but there are some things you should know.
It is not necessary to fertilize the potting mix after the initial “starter charge” of fertilizer.
At the very least..
..there should be a tiny amount of fertilizer within the mix.
It just means you don’t have to fertilize right away.
After two to three waterings, most of the starter charge has been removed from the soil.
Although a starter charge can help you a little at planting, you still need to fertilize regularly.
With slow-release fertilizer in the bag, you have more nutrients incorporated into your garden..
.but they last for only a month.
Again, you should fertilize your plants regularly in addition to the fertilizer in the bag.
Our experience with this slow-release fertilizer has been that if the bags of potting mix sit around for a long time..
..or get wet and sit around, then the fertilizer in the potting mix begins to release..
..and when you plant flowers they become burned because of too much nitrogen.
Check to make sure you aren’t getting wet potting mix when you buy it with fertilizer added.
Make sure it doesn’t look like it has been sitting around too long.
Treatments That Retention Moisture
Many potting mixes now contain moisture-retaining gels and chemicals, as well as fertilizer additives.
..this can help reduce watering over the course of the season and it really has no downside.
Because the soil will not dry out as quickly as usual when temperatures are still cool..
..you will need to be extra careful not to overwater your flowers.
You also need to be aware that most of these ‘moisture retainers’ will not allow you to leave..
..for three weeks and have everything stay intact.
Over the summer..
..the soil’s ability to retain water decreases, and by mid to late summer, it may not be doing much anymore.
Therefore, when you need the ability to hold water the most – when it is really hot – it may not function.
Even if the potting mix is moist, the plant still needs fertilizer to thrive.
A lot of gardeners live in areas where there is enough rain to keep the potting mix moist..
..however, it is still important to make sure that the plant receives regular fertilization.
In moist potting soil, a plant can starve to death..
.. especially if there is a lot of rain that washes nutrients from the soil.
Mixing Potting Soils
Some gardeners swear by mixing their own potting soils using everything from lawn clippings..
..to fish heads to powdered clay, as well as doing things differently in other aspects of gardening.
If you adjust your watering and fertilizing to match your mix, plants will be pretty tolerant..
..and they can even grow better when they are given a custom mix, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
You know the feeling when your potting soil runs out halfway through a large container..
..and you have to switch to a new type halfway through? I’m sure I have.
Here’s a tip for those of you who find themselves in this position.
To make the potting soil blend better, mix both types as much as possible.
When you mix them together..
..you will get an even blend of potting soil and your plants will thrive.
If you simply pour a different potting mix on top of another and don’t mix them..
..there is the potential that your plants may not be able to grow down through one mix.
..and into the other if the mixes are different enough.
If you find yourself having to switch potting soils in the middle of a container, then please blend it.
There are many reasons for this, so rather than making this something of a physics lesson..
..please simply take my word for it. You will be appreciated by your plants.
Actually, snake plants don’t need a special soil and can easily be planted at home with a few available resources.
They tolerate a wide range of conditions and can be grown in a variety of conditions.
See having Snake plant is good choice for you to have! It’s cool, its famous, it’s easy to have and care!
What else do you need? In this pandemic time like this, is a good choice for you to have an new activity…
…and having snake plant is a good choice for you to have!
Last thing for sure. This plant need to be care carefully, remember plant need the “love” too.
Alright that’s all for today! Do you have any questions about all of this?
Or do you want to add more method for creating best soil for snake plant?
Let me know your recommendation from the comment below.
I hope you can now take care your snake carefully and grow it big!
Thanks for reading this article! Bye!