Does Snake Plant Like to Be Root Bound?

Today, we’re going to talk about a very resilient and easy-to-care-for houseplant – the snake plant. You might know it by its other names, mother-in-law’s tongue or Sansevieria. These striking, tall plants are a favorite for many indoor gardeners due to their minimal care requirements and ability to withstand various environmental conditions. But one question often comes up about these hardy plants: do they like being root-bound? Let’s dig deeper to find the answer!

Root Bound Plants

First things first, what does it mean for a plant to be ‘root bound’? Picture this: you’ve got a plant in a pot, and it’s been living there happily for quite a while. But as it grows, its roots start to run out of room. Eventually, they begin to form a tight circle around the inside of the pot. This, my green-thumbed friends, is a plant becoming ‘root bound’.

For many types of plants, this can cause serious problems. The plant might stop growing, leaves could yellow or drop off, and in extreme cases, the plant might even die. But then there are some plants, like our friend the snake plant, that seem to actually enjoy this tight squeeze. So, what’s the deal with that? Let’s find out.

Snake Plants and Their Root System

Snake plants are unique and, dare we say, quite ‘unfussy’ in their growing habits. They have robust, thick roots that are designed to store water – a handy adaptation from their native environments in West Africa. This makes them incredibly drought-tolerant and gives them the ability to thrive even in cramped conditions. In fact, a tight fit can often make a snake plant feel more at home. They are known to prefer their roots a little bit constricted, as this often stimulates them to bloom.

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Signs Your Snake Plant Is Root Bound

Now you might wonder, how do I know if my snake plant is root bound? Well, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for. First, you might notice the roots are starting to sneak out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or even push up the soil in the pot. Secondly, if your plant isn’t growing as much as it used to or if the growth seems stunted, that’s another hint.

Another key indicator is watering. If water runs straight through the pot without being absorbed, or if the plant dries out quickly after watering, it could mean that your snake plant is root bound. That’s because the root ball is so dense, it’s preventing water absorption.

Remember, while many plants can suffer from being root bound, snake plants seem to wear it like a badge of honor, often producing more pups and flowers when their roots are a bit snug. Let’s dive deeper into how to handle a root-bound snake plant in the next section.

To Repot or Not to Repot: Making the Decision

Deciding whether to repot your snake plant can be a bit tricky. Just because your snake plant is root-bound doesn’t mean it’s unhappy. But, if you start to notice a severe decrease in growth, wilting, or the soil drying out excessively fast after watering, it might be time to give your snake plant a bit more space.

If you do decide to repot, make sure to be gentle and go slow, as the roots can be sensitive to change. When choosing a new pot, don’t go too big. A pot that’s just a couple of inches larger in diameter than the old one should be perfect.

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Caring for a Root-Bound Snake Plant

If your snake plant is root-bound but still seems happy, it’s perfectly okay to let it be. However, you might need to water it a little more frequently, as root-bound plants tend to dry out faster. On the flip side, be careful not to overwater. Snake plants are prone to root rot if they sit in too much water.

Also, even if your snake plant enjoys being root-bound, it might still appreciate a bit of fertilizer now and then. A slow-release fertilizer applied during the growing season can keep your snake plant healthy and thriving.


So, there you have it, folks! In the world of snake plants, being root-bound isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might even be just the way your plant likes it! As always, the key to a happy plant is observing and understanding its specific needs.

Does Snake Plant Like to Be Root Bound?