Snake plant is a low-maintenance plant and can handle slight neglect or ignorance. However, if the base or foundation where it grows is wrong, it can exhibit various serious problems.
Most of the problems associated with snake plants are linked to the incorrect soil mix. If you think your snake plant will thrive well in any soil, you’re mistaken.
Generally, Snake plants require light, porous, fast-draining, loamy, nutrient-rich, dry, slightly acidic (5.5 to 7.5), and pollutant-free soil to support good aeration in roots and reduce compaction. The best soil mix for snake plants is cacti and succulent mix with a good amount of perlite or pumice.
Let’s face it, though snake plant is a low maintenance plant and a plant perfect for newbies; we often mess with it.
So, what’s going wrong with our snake plant? Is it that we do not have a green thumb, or we do not have sufficient knowledge?
I believe we lack knowledge regarding the simple and basic concepts and often overlook larger aspects.
So, here I will explain the basic component, i.e., soil, that helps downsize all other problems related to Snake plants.
Read the full article to learn the basics of soil, the best mix, and the recipe to prepare your soil mix for the snake plant.
Table of Contents
- What Kind of Soil is Good For Snake Plants?
- 1. Fast Draining and Dry Soil
- 2. Good Soil Aeration
- 3. Nutrient-rich Soil
- 4. Balanced Soil Temperature
- 5. Correct Soil pH
- Signs You are Using Wrong Soil Mix for Snake Plant
- 1. Soil Compaction
- 2. Low Water Infiltration
- 3. Soil Mix Holding Water
- 4. Stunt Growth
- 6. Soil Contamination
- 7. Bad Odor in Soil
- 8. Mold and Pests Infestation
- 9. Yellowing or Drooping Leaves
- Factors to Consider While Choosing a Good Soil Mix for Snake Plant
- Importance of Choosing the Right Soil Mix for Snake Plant
- Best Soil Mix for Snake Plant
- Miracle-Gro, Cactus, palm and citrus Potting Mix
- 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix, 4 Quarts, Brown/A
- Espoma CA4 4-Quart Organic Cactus Mix
- Soil Mixture for Snake Plants, Specialized Soil Mix for Green Sansevieria Trifascatia Zeylanica Plants
- Sun Bulb 5011 Better-Gro Phalaenopsis Mix
- Key Features
- Make Your Potting Mix
What Kind of Soil is Good For Snake Plants?
When it comes to planting, good and healthy soil is always equal to healthier plants. So, the quality of the soil you use determines how your plant will be.
Here is the list 0f the soil properties that snake plants need or the type of soil good for snake plants.
1. Fast Draining and Dry Soil
Generally, factors like soil type that plants require for proper growth depend on their native environment or naturally growing.
Snake plants are native to tropical Africa, where the habitat is rocky and dry.
So what does it indicate?
As Snake plants are adapted to grow in a dry habitat, they prefer dry soil. However, they hate soggy or consistently moist soil and are thus prone to root rot in such soil.
Therefore, Snake plants need dry and well-draining soil that does not hold water for a long time.
Hence, it is advisable to use sand or perlite to improve soil drainage and avoid using garden soil alone.
2. Good Soil Aeration
When the soil is compact, the roots of plants cannot breathe and function properly. Likewise, soil that does not support aeration hinders the growth of the plant.
Hence, the soil of your snake plant must be light and porous so that it can support aeration in roots.
Avoid using garden soil alone for snake plants as the soil density is high. In addition, after a certain period, garden soil becomes compact and thus increases soil compaction and decreases aeration.
However, you can use a certain amount of garden soil mixed with barks, wooden chips, perlite, pumice, or charcoal.
3. Nutrient-rich Soil
Another property of good soil is the nutrition packed in it. Therefore, the quality of good soil depends on the amount of nutrition it contains.
To grow a healthy snake plant, you need to fulfill its nutrition requirement. And, it is possible only if your soil is nutrient-rich.
Healthier soil is rich in organic matter content and consists of healthy soil microorganisms. Hence, I encourage you to choose soil that is rich in organic materials.
4. Balanced Soil Temperature
Soil temperature and plant growth are interlinked.
Moreover, the warmth helps plants to absorb water and nutrition properly. Thus, when the requirements of plants are fulfilled, they ultimately grow healthier.
The ideal soil temperature for snake plants is 60-75 degrees F.
When the soil temperature is extremely low, it decreases water absorption and reduces the photosynthesis rate.
Similarly, extremely high soil temperature stresses the roots of the plants. Likewise, when the soil temperature is high, the moisture loss for soil is excessive. Soil moisture is essential for plants for the absorption of minerals and nutrients.
5. Correct Soil pH
The soil pH influences the solubility of toxic chemicals such as aluminum and other harmful chemicals. To put it simply, soil pH determines how certain soluble chemicals are in the soil.
When the soil pH deviates from the ideal level, the plant’s chances of absorbing the toxic chemical increase. It is because of the solubility of chemicals in the soil increases. Consequently, it impacts the growth and development of the plant.
Similarly, the acidity level of the soil also affects the absorption of minerals and nutrition. Therefore, balanced soil pH is important for the overall development of the Snake plant.
Snake plants prefer a soil pH ranging between 5.5 to 7.5. However, they can also grow in a soil pH range between 4.5 to 8.5.
Tips that you can follow to Maintain Ideal pH for Snake Plant
- Limerock soils help to retain pH ranging between 7.5 to 8.5. Similarly, Peat moss retains around 4.4 pH, and garden soil retains around 6.5 pH. Therefore, using them helps maintain balanced soil pH.
- When sand is mixed with peat moss domicile limestone, it helps maintain a balanced pH for snake plant soil.
- As snake plant likes neutral to slightly acidic soil, you can sometimes mix Coffee ground in your potting mix. It is a natural remedy to boost the acidic nature of soil mix.
Signs You are Using Wrong Soil Mix for Snake Plant
Soil has an overall impact on the growth and development of your plant.
Generally, you can grow plants in any soil, but their vitality and health depend on the right soil type.
Snake plants are one of the most popular and easy-to-care plants.
However, if you pick random soil, it cannot perform well no matter how hard you care about other influential factors.
Here are vivid signs that you are using the wrong soil Mix for your Snake plant.
1. Soil Compaction
Soil compaction is a process that increases the density of soil. To put it simply, when soil particles are pressed together firmly, it reduces pores, making them compact and less aerated.
If your soil is densely packed and hard to break, it has high compaction. On the other hand, if your soil is highly compacted, you are using the wrong soil mix.
Snake plant needs light, porous and well-aerated soil. If the soil is tight, air cannot reach roots, and consequently, the root cannot absorb the required nutrition from the soil.
If you are using regular garden soil for your snake plant, over time, it turns compact. Therefore, make sure to mix sand, perlite, peat moss, barks, etc., to reduce soil compaction.
2. Low Water Infiltration
Water infiltration is the process by which water moves to the plant root or bottom of the soil. If the infiltration rate is less than 0.06 inches per hour, the soil mix is not workable.
Snake plants prefer fast-draining soil. When the drainage capacity of your potting mix is low, water remains in the soil for a longer period. This can lead to root rot in the snake plants.
Therefore, if your soil has low water infiltration capacity, you are using the wrong potting mix.
3. Soil Mix Holding Water
Snake plants are prone to moist soil. Therefore, if you use a soil mix that holds water and consistently moist soil, you are using the wrong mix.
Your soil mix should not contain more than 20% of peat moss, coconut coir, cocopeat, or any other substance that holds water for a longer period.
4. Stunt Growth
If your snake plant is exhibiting signs of stunt growth, it is plausible that you are not using the proper soil mix.
Unlike any other plant, Snake plants need food to produce healthy growth and offshoots. If the soil lack nutrient, it seriously hampers the growth of your Snake plant.
If your Snake plant is not growing, make sure to add fertilizers or compost in the soil mix. Nutrition in the soil is vital for plant growth.
Unhealthy and undeveloped roots are another tell-tell sign that you are using the wrong potting mix.
A quality soil contains nutrition, balanced pH, good texture, and workability. All of these qualities boost the growth of both the shoot and the root.
The development of roots depends on healthy soil, air, and water to grow. Therefore, if your roots are unhealthy, you might be using the wrong soil combination.
6. Soil Contamination
You should be cautious while choosing soil. Due to the increasing pollution, the soil is largely contaminated.
If your soil consists of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and chromium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, and many unwanted materials, then you are using the wrong soil.
These contaminants disturb soil pH and hinder the overall growth of Snake plants.
7. Bad Odor in Soil
Foul or bad odor in the soil is a tell-tell sign that you are using the wrong soil mix. It is caused by root rot, high water retention in soil, and anaerobic activities in the soil.
When the soil retains water for a longer time, it blocks the air pockets in the soil. In lack of air, the soil induces anaerobic activities, which crashes the healthy microbial activity in the soil. The anaerobic bacteria thus induced causes a bad smell in the soil.
Similarly, when the soil retains water, the roots of the snake plant rot, causing a bad foul.
All of these issues are related to poorly draining soil mix and contaminated soil mix.
Are you facing root rot in your snake plant? Read about How to Revive and Prevent Snake Plant Root Rot?
8. Mold and Pests Infestation
Do you see white stringy clumps or white power substances on top of your soil? If so, you have mold and fungus growth in your soil mix.
Generally, you can fix the problem by loosening soil and improving soil aeration. But, if the mold or fungal growth repeats, you are using the wrong soil mix.
Similarly, pests like bugs, beetle, grubs, flea, black flies are byproducts of the wrong soil combination resulting in bad odor.
Therefore, if your soil shows such symptoms, you need to change your soil as soon as possible.
Learn more about How to Save Snake Plant from Fungus?
9. Yellowing or Drooping Leaves
If your snake plant is yellowing and drooping, it might be linked to the soil problem—soggy soil results in root rot, droopiness, and yellowing of leaves.
Moreover, if your soil is slow draining and holds moisture, it impacts your snake plant, and therefore you need to change your soil.
Factors to Consider While Choosing a Good Soil Mix for Snake Plant
You need to consider several factors while choosing a good potting mix for your snake plant. First, choosing the right soil mix helps your plant grow.
Know the quality of soil that snake plants need by analyzing the following points.
1. Soil Moisture
Soil moisture is a key factor in measuring soil health. This is because the moisture present in the soil dissolves essential minerals and nutrients, which are later absorbed by roots.
Snake plants are vulnerable to high soil moisture but cannot grow in completely draught or moistureless soil. This is because it needs adequate water for proper growth.
The plant can only absorb essential nutrients when the soil consists of some moisture.
So, you need soil that supports a certain level of soil moisture. However, excessive moisture is dangerous for the Snake plant.
2. Drainage Capacity of Soil
Another factor in caring about while choosing soil for snake plants is the drainage capacity of the soil.
If the soil is slow draining, it makes soil soggy and extremely moist. When snake plants are planted in such soil, their root easily rots.
Snake plant is a type of succulent. They are hardy plants, and since they naturally grow in the dry habitat, they are adapted to store water in their hardy and thick leaves.
Slow draining soil, as it holds high moisture, disturbs the natural adaptability of the snake plant. Further, when the drainage capacity of soil is low, it decreases aeration in the soil.
Therefore, you should always choose soil that is free draining for your Snake plant.
3. Nutrients and Organic Matters
While looking for a potting mix for the Snake plant, always ensure the soil is rich in nutrients and organic matter.
The more organic matter in the soil, the more nutritious and porous it becomes. Further, soil microorganism helps soil to regain its texture.
Therefore, it is important to maintain nutrients in the soil for healthier soil and plant.
Out of 16 nutrients plants require, 13 are obtained from the soil. So, your soil is the most important factor for plant growth.
Here is the list of nutrients that Snake plant-soil requires.
|Macronutrients (Primary nutrients)||Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium.|
|Micronutrients (Minor nutrients)||Iron, Boron, Chlorine, Copper, Zinc, etc.|
|Secondary Nutrients (Secondary nutrients)||Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, etc.|
Your snake plant requires all of these nutrients for its proper functioning. However, the most important nutrient is the macronutrient.
However, the plant requires a small number of secondary nutrients and micronutrients for its overall development.
As snake plant is a green houseplant, you can use a balanced NPK ratio (5-5-5) or a slightly nitrogen-rich combination like 5-3-3.
Moreover, soil loses nutrients after a certain time. For example, whenever you water your snake plant, a certain amount of nutrition is washed off along with the draining water. This makes soil mix less nutrient over time.
Hence, make sure to add nutrient-rich fertilizer twice a year to maintain soil health and vitality.
4. Soil Compactness and Aeration
The potting mix for the snake plant should not be compact. Soil compactness reduces aeration in soil, reduces drainage capacity of the soil, and affects root development.
When the soil supports aeration, it reduces the compaction, helps oxidize soil, and allows roots to absorb all necessary nutrients.
Good soil aeration also enhances the root development of your snake plant.
You should always choose a loamy soil mix and of low density, thus exerting low pressure.
Choose the soil mix that consists of perlite, pumice, peat moss, charcoal, or wooden bark as it decreases soil density.
5. Correct Container
You might wonder why I am talking about containers while talking about soil mix?
Well, soil moisture and drainage capacity of the soil are directly proportional to the type of container you use.
Yeah, you read it right. Soil health and container type are interrelated. Now, let me explain the reasons behind it.
When you use terracotta or clay pot, it helps maintain soil moisture, temperature, and water condition.
These sort of pots helps to ooze out the extra moisture present in the soil mix. Further, these pots are breathable and control the temperature as it acts as insulation.
Therefore, a good container also influences and helps to maintain soil properties. As the Snake plant adores dry soil, it is best to use clay or terracotta pots.
Importance of Choosing the Right Soil Mix for Snake Plant
Sansevieria, or Mother Law’s tongue, is the most common house plant. And, the most common problem with it is its root rot, limping, and drooping.
There are two causes for it. One is overwatering your Snake plant, and the next is using the wrong type of soil.
Soil with poor drainage, high density, compactness, and low air circulation increases the chances of root rot, limpness, and droopiness in the Snake plant.
Similarly, using less nutrient soil causes stunted growth in snake plants.
As soil is the base in which plants grow and thrive, choosing the right soil mix for snake plants is necessary.
Best Soil Mix for Snake Plant
Today’s market is crowded with many brands and dealers that claim their product as the best.
In such a situation choosing the right and the best product can be hectic and difficult.
When buying the best soil mix for your snake plant, you must be careful about a few aspects.
There are various types of soil mix out there in the market.
Generally, the types of Soil mix found in the market include all-purpose Potting Soil, organic Potting Soil, Seed starting Mix, Orchid potting soil, cacti, citrus potting soil, moisture control potting soil, and outdoor potting mix.
Hey, do not get overwhelmed to see all these different types. Here, I will be explaining which type is perfect for your Snake plant.
Since the Snake plant is succulent, the regular potting mix alone cannot be used for it.
Instead, it would be best to look for cactus and succulents mix, Orchid potting mix, or a mixture of organic soil/ regular potting mix, perlite, and Cactus and succulents mix.
Here are some of the best soil mixes that you can use for your snake plant.
- Fast-draining and nutrient-rich
- It contains forest products, sphagnum peat moss, sand, and perlite, which help reduce compaction and increase aeration in the soil.
- It is pre-mixed so that you can use it directly.
- Rich in organic matter and nutrients.
- A Well-draining perfect soil mix for snake plants.
- Easy to use.
- Balance pH for snake plant.
- Natural mix with enhanced myco-tone that helps your plant so survive longer.
- Ideal soil mix to grow snake plants.
- It supports good aeration and reduces compaction.
- Helps growth and development of roots.
Soil Mixture for Snake Plants, Specialized Soil Mix for Green Sansevieria Trifascatia Zeylanica Plants
- Contain Peat moss, perlite, lime, and worm castings.
- Rich in organic matter.
- Light soil mix that improves aeration.
- It helps to enhance the health and new growth of your snake plant.
- Nutrient-rich soil mix consisting of Canadian chunk peat, western fir bark, hardwood charcoal, and perlite.
- Light and porous soil mix that can be used for snake plants.
- Supports root ventilation and proper drainage.
- Maintains the moisture in the soil that helps plants absorb nutrients.
Has your Snake plant outgrown the size of your pot? Learn How to Repot a Snake plant.
Make Your Potting Mix
While you can buy your soil mix directly from the market, it’s fun and easy to make your soil mix.
Speaking personally, I always make my soil mix. However, I feel more control over things when I make my one mix as I can alter the composition based on the plant and needs.
Before heading to make your soil mix, here are the materials required.
|Peat Moss||1. Retains soil moisture
2. Holds Nutrients
3. Enhances Soil Aeration
|Coconut Coir||1. Does not alter soil pH
2. Holds moisture in soil
3. Makes soil porous and light
|Compost||1. Encourages healthy microbial growth
3. Nutrient packed
|Vermiculture||1. Rich in nutrients
2. Supports microbial growth
|Perlite/Pumice||1. Makes soil light and porous.
2. Improves drainage
3. Helps retain Water
Here, I would like to share some of my favorite soil recipes, which you can use for your snake plant.
- 1 part of river sand/coarse sand
- One part of old compost or 1/2 part of fresh compost or worm casting.
- 1/2 part of perlite/pumice
- 1/2 part of peat moss/ coconut coir
- 1/3 part of garden soil
Note: If you do not have access to perlite or pumice, you can use an equal part of crushed charcoal or wooden bars to make soil porous and light. Interestingly, charcoal helps in preventing fungal growth in the soil.
- 3/4 part of organic potting mix
- 1/4 part of cacti and succulent mix
- 1/4 part of a compost
- 1/4 part of potting mix
- 1/4 part of peat moss or coconut coir
- 1/2 part of perlite or pumice
- 1/4 part of organic compost (manure, vermiculture, homemade compost, etc.)
Fertilizer is important for plants and soil; however, the type of fertilizer you use impacts to soil.
An indicator of good soil is the nutrient content in it. Hence, fertilization is important for soil.
However, excessive synthetic fertilizers degrade soil quality over time, and they are not eco-friendly either.
Therefore, I recommend using organic fertilizer to improve the quality of the soil over a long period.
Soil is the component upon which plants grow and thrive. Therefore, you must be attentive while choosing the correct soil for your plant.
Frankly speaking, there is no hard and fast rule for the soil mix of snake plants. Moreover, there are no such things as labeled or a fixed recipe for it.
All you need to keep in mind is the basic properties that the Snake plant soil needs. Given that, you can always mix and match composition according to your preference and need.