There’s something unquestionably satisfying about pairing a gorgeous plant with an equally beautiful pot. Snake plants (Sansevieria Trifasciata), also known as Mother in law’s tongue look appealing with their dazzling upright leaves and evergreen colors, and choosing the right pot for a plant is quite essential. In this article, I will share some tips on how to couple your snake plant with a gorgeous yet convenient pot.
Choosing a perfect pot might not be the most important thing for raising a healthy plant, but it’s definitely a desirable bonus. Every plant has different features that play an important role while deciding the right type of planter. Some plants may dry out the soil quickly, while others won’t. Some species grow very quickly and need frequent re-potting. Type of the foliage is also a deciding factor. For instance, trailing plants look great in hanging planters.
If you are looking for quick recommendations, check out these pots that are suitable for your snake plants.
If you wish to dive deeper into the pot finding adventures, keep on reading. There are few major considerations for choosing pots or containers for snake plants. Let’s go through them one by one.
Know before you buy
Do you have to repot the snake plant?
It depends. Snake plants need to be repotted every 2-3 years depending on their age, size, type of plant and the size of the pot. Repotting is almost always good for your plant, and a fun little project to do for yourself. It helps to grow your plant stronger and healthier. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on repotting your snake plant.
Another occasion when you should be repotting is when you buy a new plant. New saplings come in plastic grow containers and are usually already overgrown by the time of purchase. Recently purchased plants look full and fresh from the greenhouse. However, the plants will die back without proper repotting. For the initial transfer, repotting doesn’t always mean going up in pot size.
Repotting your plant also gives an opportunity to add a fresh potting mix, or replace the old soil. You could replace the old nutrient-depleted soil with a new soil mix.
Does the pot need drainage Hole?
Absolutely. Proper water drainage is extremely important for snake plants. Mother in law’s tongue plants are prone to overwatering, which leads to rotting of the plant roots. This applies to most of the varieties of Sansevieria. For some houseplants, it’s possible to make pots without drainage work with a little finesse. But in case of snake plants, it’s best to always go for the pots with drainage. There are few types of pots available that provide good water drainage, which I’ll explain in a later section.
Where do you want to keep it?
You must also think about the desired location of the snake plant. Will it be an outdoor plant that demands low pot maintenance? Does it have to be extra strong to withstand extreme outside weather? Or you might want to keep the plant in a living room as an ornamental plant. If you are going to place your snake plant on your desk or coffee table, you may need a small decorative pot. Some varieties of snake plant grow tall up to 5 feet or more. They look really nice in a corner of a house. Choose a pot that can sustain the plant’s growth. Bigger pots are recommended for outdoor use and mature plants.
Size does matter
Choosing a pot with the right size is essential to ensure that your snake plant grows neatly without getting sick. However, deciding on the container size can be a little confusing, especially for new gardeners. Here are some guidelines that can help you with that.
Select a pot size comparable to the plant size
Although many plants tend to like some room to spread out, too much or too little space can invite problems. If a pot is too big, soil dries at a slower pace, and holds onto moisture for a long time. This can cause a plant to sit in water for too long. It will ultimately make your snake plant more susceptible to root rot.
On the other hand, a pot that’s too small can cause the soil to dry out quickly. You’ll have to water the plant more frequently. Moreover, your plant can become root-bound and have stunted growth. When a snake plant is too big for its pot, it tends to tip over as well. A rule of thumb is to choose a pot that leaves 2 inches space between the pot and your plant roots.
Consider the growth rate of your plant
For the new smaller plants purchased from nursery, you can use a pot that’s the same size it’s growing in. In case of repotting, a plant has already outgrown its current pot. So, choose a pot that is a few inches larger in diameter. Select a pot 2-4 inches larger size for plants that grow quickly. For the slow growers, a pot that’s 1-2 inches larger is recommended.
In general snake plants are considered slow growing plants. Snake plants that grow outside tend to grow little faster than the indoor plants. And, dwarf Sansevieria varieties such as Sansevieria Trifasciata Hahnii are fairly slow growing and usually won’t grow more than 6 inches wide.
Don’t make a drastic jump in sizes
As mentioned before, too much space can create problems for the plant. So, don’t go extreme and drastically increase the pot size. It will take a long time for the plant to spread out. Meanwhile it can increase your chances of overwatering the plant. For the snake plants, choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the current size.
Keep in mind the root depth
Plants with large roots need deeper pots, while the ones with small roots require shallow pots. Choose a pot depending on the variety of Sansevieria you have. As a rule of thumb, large plants with big foliage develop deeper roots. And, smaller plants can work well with shallow pots. In general, there should be equal amounts of roots and soil. If you’re not sure, simply remove the plant from its container and check the roots length.
Deciding the pot material
Different pot materials have not only different look and appearance, but various functions as well. Let’s look at some of the common materials used for pots.
Clay or Terracotta
Terracotta or clay pots are pretty common, cheaper and widely available in most places. Their standard shape and size makes it easy to find matching pots. These pots are porous, so they can drain water quickly and keep the soil well-aerated. This quality makes terracotta the perfect choice for snake plants. They can offer beautiful patterns, and look excellent with their neutral color.
There are also some disadvantages of using clay pots. They are heavier and easy to shatter if dropped. Extreme low temperatures in winter can make them crack.
Plastic pots are versatile, colorful, lightweight and inexpensive. They are widely available and easy to wash and reuse. Plastic pots are normally available in many different shapes, sizes and patterns. They work well in cases where pot weight is a concern, like hanging baskets.
Being completely impermeable, plastic doesn’t let any water pass through. This might not be the best case for snake plants, as water can’t evaporate from the sides like in terracotta pots. This is why drainage holes are an absolute must for plastic pots. Otherwise snake plant roots will start rotting in no time. Plastic pots tend to fade in the sunlight and go brittle as well.
Ceramic or glazed pots are mostly used indoors as they look absolutely amazing. These pots are sturdy, great for smaller plants, come in various shapes and sizes. They are heavy enough to prevent top-heavy plants from tipping over.
Talking about cons, ceramic material is less porous than terracotta. So, you have to keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil. Large ceramic pots can be extremely heavy and difficult to move around. They also tend to be more expensive than other materials.
Concrete pots have their own unique look, and might go well with your decor. Concrete being a good insulator is helpful to maintain comfortable soil temperature. They are great for small indoor plants or big outdoor plants. Concrete pots left outdoors are immune to weather changes. They will survive coldest winters and hottest summers without a single crack.
As you might have guessed concrete pots are really heavy. It makes them difficult to use indoors for larger plants. Different types of concrete have different levels of porosity.
Wood is typically used for wide planters as well as individual pots. Wooden pots and planters are lightweight, hold water well and easy to make from scrap wood. They have a natural and rustic look. Wooden containers work well for snake plants. Just make sure they are made of rot-resistant woods like redwood, cedar, mulberry, yew etc.
Look for good quality containers as they can shrink or expand slightly. They are usually painted with a non-toxic clear varnish or toner to prevent rot, splintering and fading.
Drainage over Decor
Presence of drainage holes is an extremely necessary condition while selecting a pot for your snake plant. These plants are prone to rotting if they sit in water for long. Water the snake plant when it’s soil is dry and let the excess water drain out.
- If you have already got a pot without holes, you can drill 2-3 small holes at the bottom. However, it might not be possible for all materials.
- Using a cheap plastic container inside a pretty looking pot is a good idea to avoid drilling altogether. It also ensures proper water drainage and keeps your snake plant healthy.
- What if you found a perfectly beautiful pot that suits your decor but it has no drainage holes? In this case, you can place a smaller pot with drainage holes inside the hole-less pot. The inner pot holds the plant, and can be kept on a saucer for water collection. This technique is called double potting and is great for decorative pots.
- Some pots come with a stand, while others only have drainage trays or saucers. All these options are great.
Style and Design
You can express your signature style by selecting specific pot designs and placing them in your home or office. See what compliments the style of your room and choose accordingly.
You can either go for elegant, slender and shiny ceramics to pair with your modern home decor, or select casual, rustic wood, concrete pots for a country style look. You can even grab a basic terracotta or plastic container and embellish it yourself. Some great options are using acrylic paint, buttons, pebbles, shells or decorative paper.
Choosing out of the box pot materials such as metal, cane baskets, colorful glass will give your plant a unique touch. Items like vintage boxes, cookie jars, huge coffee mugs, serving bowls could also be used to make the pot stand out.
Just make sure that the pot doesn’t outshine the plant itself!!