The snake plant is a tough plant that may grow quite large if cultivated properly. It is thought that keeping snake plants in small pots where their roots are not spread will encourage the plant to grow more vigorously. Do snake plants like being rootbound? Let’s find out!
Snake plants prefer pots with smaller roots so that they can adequately hold soil. A dense root system may displace much of the soil and leave your plant with a root ball. This will contribute to the decline of your plant. If your snake plant has roots that are bound, your plant needs to be repotted immediately.
Although your snake plant did well in its pot, it will need to be replanted since it will outgrow its pot.
Plants that are kept in small pots grow slowly and have poor health, as their roots don’t have enough space to grow.
Yet how will you know when it is the right time to repot your snake plant and how can you fix a root bounded snake plant? Let’s learn all about them in detail.
Can snake plants be root bound?
Plants that have been contained by roots for too long may affect the growth of the plant. Plants grown in smaller pots do not grow as well as those that are grown in larger pots. The same applies to any fruits and vegetables, as well.
The plant expands its roots to grow and is likely to develop a solid root structure that supports its large size when it is planted in the ground.
In spite of this, when we confine a plant to a pot, it has a limited amount of soil, nutrients, and space to grow. What happens if the plant fills the pot to the brim?
- A dense root ball will be left behind by root displacement, resulting in a clear cavity.
- The plant is unlikely to have enough room to grow new roots.
- A crack in the pot is likely to result from the pressure of the roots.
A plant is deprived of nutrients and water during this entire process. As the soil is displaced and there is not enough medium to hold it in place, all the water and nutrients move through.
The plant does not have a chance to absorb any of this, so it will stay thirsty and deprived of nutrients.
Your snake plant may die if you don’t act quickly. It may then be impossible to save.
Do snake plants like small pots?
With shallow root structures, snake plants don’t need a deep pot. However, that doesn’t mean you can keep them in a small pot.
Root problems and root-bound plants can occur when roots are not given enough space to expand.
Furthermore, the snake plant also grows pretty tall, so if the pot is too little, it is likely to fall over. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right size pot for your snake plant.
How to tell if snake plant is root bound?
You can check whether or not your snake plant has roots by:
- Keep an eye out for visual cues
- The snake plant’s root ball can be examined by removing it from the pot.
One of the first and foremost signs that the snake plant is root bounded will be some visual cues:
- Dehydrated plant
- Soil dries up quickly
- Water drains out too quick
- Droopy leaves
- No new growth
- Yellowing of leaves
- Roots spiraling all around the pot
It is likely that your snake plant is root-bound if you see these signs without finding a plausible cause.
If you want to investigate further, you need to check the roots of the snake plant. To do this, you can follow these simple steps:
- Place the container on its side.
- Don’t apply any force while removing the plant.
- To loosen up the soil, use a long, thin knife to cut around its edges.
- After the soil loosens up, gently slide the plant out.
- Look at the root ball for signs of possible problems once your plant has been removed.
Root-bound snake plants have roots that are all tangled up densely and take the shape of the pot, leaving little to no soil in the pot.
How to fix a root-bound snake plant?
After identifying that your snake plant has become root-bound, you have two options.
- Repot your snake plant
- Divide your snake plant
Although repotting is the preferred method, some people prefer dividing their snake plant in order to repot the plant in the same size pot and have two plants at once.
In the following sections, let’s examine each of these methods in detail.
Repotting a snake plant
Snake plants are often root-bound, so repotting is an obvious solution.
If you move your snake plant to a bigger pot, it will have more room for its roots to grow.
Fresh soil will also be placed in this additional space to provide nutrients and water for your plant.
It is a straightforward and easy process:
- Choose a container of the right size.
- Place the plant in a sink or table and stand it on its side.
- Try removing it slowly.
- Removing the old soil after the plant is out will help your plant grow stronger.
- Trim off root damage and inspect for root damage.
- Put 1/3 of the container full of fresh potting mix into the new container.
- Place your snake plant in the soil, and fill the hole completely with dirt.
Snake plants don’t require frequent repotting once the job is finished. You can rest your mind in peace for a few years.
Dividing a snake plant
The snake plant can sometimes be divided into two halves, giving you two plants in the same size pot.
I used to do this when I wasn’t interested in keeping large-scale pots on my desk.
To divide snake plant, follow these steps:
- The snake plant must be watered thoroughly a day or two before splitting. This will loosen up the soil.
- Put the plant on a flat surface after taking it out of the pot.
- Divide the roots and stems using a sterile knife or clippers.
- Repotting the plants in separate containers will most likely require separating the roots and plants into equal halves.
- Repot your plants in the new container with potting mix.
- Plants are stressed by repotting, so they need to be watered to reduce that stress.
They will then need to be placed in an area with enough light to grow and flourish.
How do I know when to repot my snake plant?
Plants with shallow roots should be repotted every 3-4 years. Snake plants can last for several years in a pot.
Plants shouldn’t be repotted more than once a year because the roots need time to establish, hindering growth.
You may have to consider repotting your snake plant sooner if it shows signs of being root bound.
As snake plants lie in a dormant state in the winter, it is advised to repot them in spring or early summer.
Best soil and pot for snake plant
You should not go with a pot that is too big for your snake plant since that will adversely affect its growth.
One rule of thumb is to use a pot one size smaller than your current one. If you have a 4′′ pot, use a 6′′ pot.
Since snake plants prefer dry soil, the prefer ceramic and terracotta planters. Anything bigger than that may slow the roots down.
Plastic and metal planters should be avoided at all costs because you may end up overwatering them, which will lead to various issues.
It is equally important for your snake plant to be provided with the appropriate soil mix. In order to create a soil mix, you must have well-drained and nutrient-rich soil. To achieve this, you can mix together:
- Usually I use Miracle Grow Indoor potting soil, 3/4 parts of organic potting soil.
- 1/4 part succulent soil mix (This cactus mix can also be used)
- One handful of compost
This mix will not only provide the snake plant with appropriate nutrients but also aerate and drain the soil as well.
It depends on your snake plant’s growth whether it needs to be repotted anytime soon.
If your snake plant’s roots have grown greatly and displace the soil in the pot, then you will probably need to repot it soon.
You can let your plant be in a pot for a few years, however, if there’s still enough space for it to grow.
As snake plants have shallow roots, they do prefer smaller pots. But that doesn’t mean they cannot become root-bound.
The plant needs to be inspected so you can determine whether you need to repot it now or wait a little bit more.
The plant’s health will be affected if the root system is bound, and that’s why you shouldn’t let the plant get root bound.
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