Best Soil for Snake Plant – Beginners Guide and Recipe
There is nothing more satisfying than watching a stunning snake plant grow and thrive in your home. They simply radiate with style and beauty. But an important ingredient in achieving success with any Sansevieria is using the right soil. So, what is the best soil for a snake plant?
Snake plants require a loam soil that has
- excellent drainage qualities,
- is light and airy to allow the roots access to oxygen, and
- has nutrients that will fuel your snake plant’s growth and health.
If you hit the right balance with all the above three criteria for the perfect snake plant soil, you’ll find your plant parent journey much more rewarding and hassle-free.
In this article, we’ll be revealing our special Garden Bench Top recipe blend that we use for our snake plants. We’ll also explain the important elements in the soil, and how they benefit your houseplant. This includes other considerations, such as the container (or pot) you are using, and how it impacts on your soil composition.
So go grab your garden gloves, because we’re about to get our hands dirty with the best soil for snake plants.
Our Favorite Recipe for Snake Plant Soil
Let’s kick things off with the recipe we like to use when we repot our snake plants.
- regular potting mix soil
- Charcoal Powder
- Coarse Sand
- rich decomposed home compost or worm castings from a DIY worm farm
You will Need:
- measuring cup
- large plastic container (for mixing)
- garden gloves (optional for those that don’t like to get their hands dirty)
- small shovel or trowel
Note: You can adjust the ratios and substitute components into the recipe to fit your purposes (as we will explain later on in the article).
What is a ‘Part’?
Before we begin, it would be prudent of us to explain the concept of a ‘part’ in terms of our recipe.
Part(s) – is in reference to the ratio (or amount) of material you use. This is where the measuring container comes in handy. It is your reference point for your ‘part’ measurement. In this recipe, ONE FULL measuring container is equal to 1 part.
Of course everyone’s measuring container will be different, but as long as you stick with the same ratios, you’ll end up with the same (or very similar) result.
Best Soil Recipe for Snake Plant
The portions of each ingredient that make up our snake plant soil are:
- 2 parts regular potting mix
- 1 part decomposed compost or worm castings
- 2 parts perlite
- 1 part sand
- 1/2 part activated charcoal
How to Make the Best Soil for Snake Plant
Below are the quick and easy steps to follow for making your own snake plant soil.
- Portion out the substrates according to the recipe above, adding each one to the large plastic container after measuring.
- Put on your garden gloves and use your small shovel or trowel to mix the substrates until evenly and well combined.
Why These Substrates for Snake Plants?
Although it may not seem like it, there is a purpose behind the inclusion of each of these ingredients. Let us explain by exploring each component.
Regular Potting Mix
We like to include a bit of regular organic potting soil to add a mixture of nutrients to the soil. Ready-made potting mix is usually made up of a concoction of materials, usually with slow-releasing fertilizers and some water retaining materials.
Plus it adds a varying substrate to the soil to provide a more stable structure for your snake plant’s roots to grip.
Decomposed Compost or Worm Castings
There is nothing better than homemade compost or worm castings. You know exactly what is included in it (unlike store-bought potting mix) and it is packed full of the organic compounds your snake plant requires to grow healthy and tall.
Perlite is a porous material, and is the medium that delivers aeration to the garden soil. This is extremely important for snake plants, as it ensures oxygen can reach the roots, and the soil doesn’t become too soggy or compacted. The porous nature of perlite creates air pockets in the soil and also helps to expel any excess water, allowing it to drain from the soil.
We’ve already established your snake plant requires excellent drainage – this is where sand comes into the mix. Like perlite, it allows excess water to drain away, avoiding the likelihood of any diseases like root rot in your snake plant.
Sand also helps to provide some solid structure to the soil, which allows the roots to grip onto the soil to support those tall elongated leaves.
This one may seem like a strange one to include, however we’ve seen our snake plants benefit greatly by the inclusion of charcoal in the soil. Charcoal helps to stabilize the other components in the soil recipe. Charcoal is a natural material used for detoxification, and it also helps to prevent fungal spores from multiplying in your snake plant’s soil.
Things to Consider in the Best Soil for Snake Plants
Now that you have the recipe for the best soil for your snake plant, let’s expand on other components of the soil to consider when creating your perfect snake plant soil.
Snake plants are resourceful succulents that are not fussy when it comes to fertilizer. We like to use worm castings or compost to feed our plants. However, snake plants will also happily take synthetic fertilizers.
If you are planning on using a store-bought fertilizer, the key ingredients you need to look for are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Snake plants prefer a balanced soil with all these components in equal parts. They will be present in the potting mix, so just make yourself aware of how much of each is already in your soil, before topping it up.
Other nutrients to consider when selecting your fertilizer are zinc, boron, manganese and copper. All play their role in developing a vibrant and healthy snake plant.
Water Absorbent Organic Materials
While we encourage the inclusion of organic materials like coconut coir, sphagnum or peat moss in most indoor plant soil. When it comes to snake plants (and succulents in general), we only recommend small quantities.
We haven’t included it in our recipe because our ideal soil mix usually has a percentage of these materials in its soil already. However, feel free to add 1/4 – 1/2 a part of these organic matter to your snake plant soil mixture. It will help to retain water, which means less watering.
Does the Container / Pot Matter for snake plants?
Yes – the type of pot you use for your snake plant matters.
The most important thing to remember when you are caring for a snake plant is drainage.
A well-draining soil and pot is critical for a snake plant to thrive.
Containers made out of organic materials like cement and terracotta pots will naturally absorb water away from the soil – which is perfect for a snake plant. And to a lesser degree, ceramic pots (that are not glazed on the inside) will also wick water away from the soil.
However, plastic pots will not have the same water absorption abilities. It is for this reason, you should pay extra attention to using well-draining soil for your snake plants that are situated in plastic containers.
Pot with Drainage Holes
With all the emphasis on drainage that we have harped on about in this article, we hope that using a pot that has sufficient drainage holes for water to escape would be the logical choice.
But, just so we cover all bases, always choose a container that has plenty of holes for drainage. We strongly recommend using a pot with more than one drainage hole. This will avoid any issues should the drainage hole become blocked.
To help avoid blocked drainage holes, try using a layer of medium-sized pebbles or stones at the bottom of your pot BEFORE you fill it with soil. It will help to prevent soil from clogging up the water drainage holes, and the soil from wicking up any excess moisture the pot may be sitting in.
The size of your pot is dependent on the size of your plant.
Snake plants don’t like too much room, so avoid the temptation to plant them in a pot that is too large.
We understand some people like to try and cheat by planting their houseplants in pots two to three times the size that is appropriate for their plant, so they can avoid the need to repot their plants.
Unfortunately this strategy is flawed, and will only lead to more frustration. Keeping overly large pots sufficiently moist for your snake plant is hard. To ensure your snake plant receives enough moisture, you will have to continually top up your water in your large pot.
This generally also leads to other issues. Such as attracting pests (like fungus gnats), as well as potentially developing fungal diseases like root rot.
How to Repot a Snake Plant
A good opportunity to use our special soil recipe is when you repot your snake plant. Snake plants generally need repotting once every 2 years. However, if you see your snake plant begin to grow quicker than expected, make sure to occasionally remove your plant from its pot to inspect the root ball and make sure it isn’t becoming too root bound.
Even though repotting sounds like a daunting process (especially for novice gardeners), it isn’t too difficult once you have done it a few times. We’ve put together a complete guide for repotting snake plants to help our community with these challenges.
Here’s a quick video by JoyUsGarden guiding you through the process of repotting her snake plants.
Common Questions for Snake Plant Soil
Can I use Cactus Mix or Succulent Soil Mix for Snake Plants?
Since snake plants belong to the succulent family, cactus soil or succulent mix would be perfectly suitable to use as potting mix. The usual properties of cactus soil satisfies all three of the criteria we require for the perfect soil mix for your snake plant; light and airy soil, adequate drainage properties, and plenty of nutritional value.
Can You Plant Two Snake Plants Together?
Planting two (or more) snake plants together is a common practice with experienced indoor plant gardeners. In fact, planting snake plants in a row along a rectangle planter can create a very effective green wall effect. It looks stunning contrasting along a white wall in a hallway.
For more of a visual impact, try planting different varieties of snake plants together. Such as variegated alongside non-variegated snake plants.
The only consideration you need to allow for is that the planter or container is large enough to accommodate the numerous snake plants.
How Often Should You Repot Snake Plants?
On average, snake plants need repotting every 2 -3 years depending on the rate of growth. If you are caring for your plant in optimal conditions, the growth rate will be faster. In cases like these, we like to repot closer to the 2 year mark, rather than leaving them to get root bound.
Final Thoughts on Best Soil for Snake Plant
Snake plants are beautiful houseplants and can really attract the attention of anyone in the room with the stunning long foliage.
To get the best out of your plant, you need to provide the best soil mix for snake plants by using our special recipe. Our snake plant soil mix encourages plant growth with all the necessary nutrients in the soil. It is also the optimal soil, with ideal drainage properties, yet is a mix that holds enough water to supply your sansevieria with enough moisture to keep it happy.