Snake Plant Soil: What Is The Best Soil For Sansevieria?

So you want to know about snake plant soil to repot or transplant your Sansevieria. 

NSCU agrees the best soil for Sansevieria is well-draining soil.  Porous soil with good aeration prevents waterlogged conditions, leading to root rot. It keeps your plant healthy and helps when accidentally overwatered.

replanting snake plant(sansevieria trifasciata) with new soilPin
Repotting snake plants | shoovy-DepositPhotos

A basic potting soil for Snake Plant (Mother-in-laws tongue) combines several ingredients, such as 

  • Two parts coarse sand or perlite
  • One part peat moss or coconut coir
  • One part is garden dirt (outdoor plants) or commercial potting mix.

In this article, I’ll share the soil your snake plant (aka bowstring hemp) needs to grow well.

We’ll look at several types of snake plant potting soil you can buy at your garden center and how to make your own. Read on to learn more.

Preparing Soil for Snake Plants: Repotting or Transplanting

Proper soil preparation ensures healthy snake (dracaena) plant growth. When you move Mother-in-law’s tongue plants to a new pot, using good potting soil can prevent waterlogged soil and stop roots from rotting. 

Preparing involves:

  • Selecting the right soil mixture
  • Gathering necessary materials
  • Following precise steps for successful repotting

To prepare the potting mix for repotting or transplanting Snake Plants, remember this:

  • Use a friable potting mixture.
  • Use a clean, sized pot with adequate drainage holes and the new potting mix.
  • Select a clean and spacious area.
  • Support the base of the plant with one hand and tap or squeeze the pot to loosen the root ball. 
  • Lift and remove the plant, avoiding damage to leaves or stems.
  • Check for damage, disease, or pests. 
  • Trim off any dead or damaged roots with pruning shears.
  • Position it at the same depth as before. Avoid burying the leaves too deeply or overexposing the roots.
  • Add a layer of earth to cover the bottom of the pot. Then, spread the roots over it. 
  • Gradually fill in with the potting mixture, pressing down to remove air pockets.
  • After repotting, water until it flows freely from the pot’s holes. 
  • Place your plant in bright, indirect light and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Check its growth and adjust lighting as needed.

NOTE: When preparing the potting media and repotting, consider your plant’s needs and characteristics. Specific care needs vary depending on the Snake Plant species and environmental factors. 

Here’s a more detailed process check out: Repotting A Mother-in-laws tongue Plant

What Kind of Soil For Snake Plant For Best Plant Growth?

So, what are the basic soil requirements for snake plants? 

Potting soil bags and plant, suggesting gardening activity.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @luckytree_items

As mentioned above, Sansevieria thrives in a fast-draining potting mix. The best soil for snake plants has specific components for optimal growth and health. What are those components?

Well-Draining Sansevieria Soil Mix

As a succulent plant, all snake plant varieties are vulnerable to root rot. This makes a potting mix that drains well ideal. So, choosing a potting mix that promotes good fluid outflow is crucial.

A mix that includes coarse sand or perlite helps provide the necessary aeration and water flow.

When Mother-in-law’s tongue leaves turn pale or yellow, it is often a sign of heavy soil holding excess moisture.

Moisture Retention

Sansevieria (Dracaena) plants prefer well-aerated potting medium but still need moisture retention. Adding peat moss or coconut coir to the potting mix helps hold moisture. It also provides a consistent water supply for a healthy root system.

Soil pH Requirements

Snake Plants prefer slightly acidic soil, with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. This pH range provides an optimal environment for nutrient uptake and growth. The acidity helps help nutrient absorption and plant health. 

Mother-in-laws tongue plants are adaptable and will tolerate a slightly wider pH range. It includes moderately acidic to slightly alkaline soil. However, if the soil pH is too high, they may show signs of nutrient deficiencies. 

To help ensure the soil pH is suitable for your snake plant. Use a pH meter or pH testing kit to check and adjust the soil pH if necessary. 

Gardening soil, tools, and perlite on a wooden surface.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @botanifulyeg

Nutrient-Rich Soil

Snake Plants love nutrients present in the potting mix. Follow these steps to ensure your bowstring hemp plant gets the necessary nutrients:

1. Use a well-balanced potting mix. Add organic matter for nutrient availability, too.

2. Apply a slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants. 

3. Supplement with liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Feed your plant once a month or as directed on the fertilizer label.

4. Check the plant for any signs of nutrient deficiency. It includes yellowing leaves or stunted growth. Then, adjust the fertilization.

Are there any specific beneficial organic or inorganic amendments for snake plant soil?

Several organic and inorganic amendments can be beneficial for Mother-in-laws tongue soil:

  • Organic matter: Compost, well-rotted manure, worm castings, and leaf mold. These excellent organic amendments improve soil structure, add nutrients, and enhance moisture retention.
  • Inorganic: Perlite and vermiculite are amendments that improve soil liquid outflow and aeration. Adding them to the potting mix creates a well-aerated environment.

These amendments help improve the quality of the potting mixture and provide essential nutrients. It also improves soil structure for ideal growing conditions for Mother-in-law tongue plants.

Best Planter or Pot for the Snake Plant

Choose a pot with drainage holes to ensure the excess water drains out. Select a commercial premium potting mix for cacti and succulents, or make your own.

While a plastic pot is fine for growing the plant. We like a terracotta pot to use as a cachepot.

Troubleshooting Mother-in-Laws Tongue Health Issues

Snake plants are easy to care for but face health issues if their growing conditions are not met. Proper diagnosis and addressing the issues will help restore your plant’s health. 

It’s crucial to identify the issue’s symptoms and possible causes. Repotting with a new potting medium may not be the best option.

Here are some common snake plant health issues and their possible remedies:


Overwatering is one of the most common problems with snake plants. When the soil has poor water movement, it leads to excessive moisture around the roots. Over time, this can cause root rot and other issues for your plant.

Symptoms include: 

  • Yellowing or wilting leaves
  • Mushy or rotting roots
  • A foul odor

Check out this article: Signs and Step-by-Step Solutions to Remedy Overwatered Sansevieria Plants


Insufficient watering can cause the soil to dry out. It can deprive the plant of essential moisture and lead to stress and stunted growth.

Signs of underwatering include dry, brown, or crispy leaves and stunted growth. 

Check out our article about How To Revive an Underwatered Snake Plant.

Root Rot

Root rot is usually caused by overwatering or poorly aerating soils. 

If the roots are affected:

  • Remove the plant from the pot
  • Trim away the affected roots
  • Repot in fresh potting mix 
  • Adjust your watering habits to prevent future issues.

For a more detailed solution, read How To Save Rotting Snake Plants

Soil Compaction

Over time, the soils become compacted, especially if not aerated. Compacted soil restricts water flow and root growth. It negatively impacts the health and development of your plants. 

Soil compaction can also be the reason why your snake plant is dying

To remedy compaction, use a well-aerated potting mix with:

  • 3 parts of all-purpose potting media
  • One part coarse sand or perlite – we like perlite over sand
  • One part coco coir
  • One part fine pine bark


  • Carefully remove the plant from its current pot
  • Shake off the old soil from the roots
  • Loosen the compacted soil by breaking apart any clumps.
  • Remove compacted areas with your fingers or a small tool.
  • Repot in a larger pot (or the same pot) with the prepared potting mix. 
  • Make sure the roots are evenly covered, and press the soil around them.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can occur in Sansevierias if the soil lacks essential nutrients. Plants may exhibit slow growth, wilting or yellowing leaves, and poor health.

Giving your plant a balanced and nutrient-rich potting mix is vital to support its growth and vitality. 

To remedy this:

  • Apply a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for indoor plants.
  • Ensure the earth is enriched with essential nutrients using a nutrient-rich potting mix.
  • Check the plant’s nutrient needs and adjust the fertilizer application accordingly.

pH Imbalance

Snake plants prefer slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

Extreme pH levels can affect the plant’s ability to take up nutrients. This results in nutrient deficiencies and other health issues. 

So, maintaining the proper pH balance is crucial for the snake plant.

To address pH imbalance:

  • Test the soil pH using a soil pH testing kit.
  • If the soil pH is too acidic (below 6.0), raise it by adding lime or dolomite to the soil.
  • If the soil pH is too alkaline (above 7.0), lower it by adding elemental sulfur or organic matter such as peat moss.
  • Retest the potting medium after the adjustments. Then, check and maintain the pH within the appropriate range.       

Pest Infestation

Common pests on snake plants include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. 

The spots where the spider mites have caused infestation tend to have brown spots.

These tiny pests are difficult to see with the naked eye, but you may notice brown spots, fine webbing, or yellowing leaves on your plant.

Use neem oil or a mild insecticidal soap to treat the affected areas. You can also quarantine the plant from others to prevent the spread of pests.

Lower Light Conditions

Snake plants thrive best in bright, indirect light. But they can also tolerate low-light conditions. 

If the snake plant is not receiving enough light, it may exhibit stunted growth, weak stems, or pale or yellow leaves. 

Move the plant to a brighter location, but avoid direct sunlight.

Moreover, regularly inspect the plant for signs of distress. Then, provide appropriate care to prevent future health issues.

Best Potting Soil For Snake Plants

Excellent snake plant soil choices exist for pre-made potting mixes. Here are three brands that stand out:

A Sansevieria plant with its roots exposed and ready to be planted. The plant has green leaves with yellow edges.Pin


Made by one of the most famous names in plant care, Miracle-Gro. Their cactus palm and citrus potting media mix includes perlite and sand with woodland-based ingredients. These items make for a fast-draining and nutritious potting mix for snake plants.


  • Well-known and widely available brand
  • Designed for indoor plants like snake plants
  • Contains a blend of organic materials and plant food that provides essential nutrients
  • Keeps moisture while promoting adequate water runoff


  • The mix can be too dense and keep too much moisture. This leads to root rot if not careful with watering

Ramsey Succulent Potting Mix

Seaweed is the key ingredient in the Ramsey succulent mixture. The mix combines part perlite and sand. It makes an indoor potting mix with great water flow and high nutritional values.


  • Specialized potting mix tailored for succulents
  • Water-percolating and promotes good airflow to prevent root rot
  • Contains coco coir and perlite for optimal growing conditions for succulents


  • Limited availability, unlike mainstream brands like Miracle-Gro
  • The mix needs more amendments because it can be overly dry or lacks organic matter

rePotme Cactus Soil Mix and Succulent Potting Mix

This succulent potting mix is a rich, hand-made mix. It includes tiny pieces of bark, pumice, stalite, and diatomaceous earth.

The latter provides this cactus mix with an excellent means of natural pest control.


  • Specialized mix formulated for cacti and succulents
  • Provides excellent water flow, preventing moisture-related issues
  • A combination of organic materials and mineral components that promotes healthy root development


  • Availability may be limited compared to more widely known brands.
  • Some users have mentioned that the mix can be quite gritty and may require additional organic matter for moisture retention.

Knowing how snake plants respond to different potting mixes is vital to knowing which brand suits them best. 

What Can You Add to Commercial Soil To Make Snake Plant Potting Mix Better?

Plants are like children. Two similar plants have their unique personality and preferences.

A clear plastic container filled with soil and perlite beside a potted plant, on a grassy surface.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @southside_plants

As a result, some people (like me) tweak the recipe for a “custom” potting mix. Add a little extra to a commercial mix if your plant isn’t happy. Plus, drainage issues are still possible. 

  • Adding some gravel at the bottom of the pot is a great way to improve the water flow.
  • Consider adding pumice, coco coir, or perlite to a mix that doesn’t remove moisture well. These can improve water retention in good potting media.
  • Add coarse sand to the commercial potting mixture to enhance water dispersal.
  • Mixing vermiculite can also enhance water retention and still maintain adequate water dispersal.
  • Adding good organic matter to a commercial potting mixture can improve its quality. 
  • Compost or well-rotted leaf mold adds essential nutrients to the mix. It promotes plant health and provides a more balanced growing environment.
  • Add a small amount of rich potting mix (less than ¼ of the final mix). Doing so adds nutrients to the regular potting mix.
Watering a Sansevieria plant in a pot has green leaves with yellow edges.Pin

Sansevieria Potting Mix Soil Recipes

The great news is you don’t have to buy a special mix to create the perfect medium for your snake plant.

An easy mix uses:

  • 2 parts of coarse sand or perlite
  • 1 part peat moss or coconut coir
  • 1 part garden soil or potting mix

NOTE: Do not use garden soil on plants growing indoors. Natural organic ingredients are great for plants growing outdoors.

Here are other examples of DIY snake plant soil recipes:

Moisture-Retentive Snake Plant Potting Mix:

  • 1 part commercial potting mixture
  • 1 part peat moss or coco coir
  • 1 part perlite

This recipe adds organic matter and perlite to improve moisture retention and good drainage.

Fast-Draining Sansevieria Potting Soil:

  • 1 part commercial potting mixture
  • 1 part coarse sand
  • 1 part perlite

This recipe enhances potting media’s fluid movement and airflow. It also prevents waterlogging and root rot.

Nutrient-Rich Snake Plant Soil Mix:

  • 1 part commercial potting mix
  • 1 part compost or well-rotted leaf mold
  • 1 part perlite or vermiculite

This recipe adds organic matter and nutrients. It promotes healthy growth for snake plants.

When making your own “best soil mix” for Mother-in-laws tongues, remember:

  • The mix should be fast-draining
  • It must be loose enough that repotting healthy plants requires minimal effort

If your snake plant has root rot, it can be salvaged by:

  • Removing the root ball
  • Trim away the diseased roots and leaves
  • Repot in a fresh potting medium

A granular, soil-free potting medium is ideal.

Peat moss is great at absorbing excess moisture. It’s also a soil component that can go bad over time.

Consider substituting coconut coir or pine bark when mixing your snake plant mix.

Here is a simple guide on how to mix DIY Sansevieria soil:

1. Gather the ingredients: Depending on the specific recipe you choose. 

2. Prepare a mixing container: Choose a clean container or bucket large enough to hold the amount of potting media you’ll be mixing.

3. Measure the ingredients: Determine the amount of each ingredient based on the chosen recipe. Use equal parts of each ingredient if the recipe calls for a 1:1 ratio.

4. Add the ingredients to the container: Pour the appropriate amounts of each ingredient into the container, layering them evenly.

5. Mix thoroughly: Use a garden trowel or your hands (wear gloves) to mix the ingredients together. Break up any clumps and mix until the fertile soil is well-blended.

6. Check the consistency: As you mix, assess the consistency of the medium. It should be loose, friable, and crumbly. Adjust the mixture by adding more of a specific ingredient if needed. For example, add more perlite to improve drainage if the soil seems too compacted.

7. Store or use the potting mix: Once thoroughly mixed, your custom Sansevieria soil is ready to be used or stored. If you’re not using it at once, put it in a sealed container to maintain its quality until ready for planting.

Remember to follow the specific ratios and ingredients mentioned in the chosen recipe. But feel free to experiment and adjust the recipe based on your Sansevierias’ needs.

Snake Plant Quick Facts & History

The snake plant is a popular houseplant loved by many for its striking appearance. It’s also perfect for beginners due to its easy care requirements.

With its long, upright leaves like snakeskin, the plant has become a staple in many homes and offices. 

Here are some facts about the well-loved Sansevieria:

  • Native to West Africa, Madagascar, and parts of Asia
  • Nicknamed mother-in-law’s tongue, bowstring hemp, and devil’s tongue
  • Popular houseplant species include Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Known for good luck, fertility, and air-purifying properties
  • According to NASA, snake plants remove toxins and produce oxygen
  • Thrive in various light conditions, from full sun to low light
  • Prefer to be root-bound and can stay in the same pot for years
  • Use porous media with sand or perlite and peat

Snake Plant Soil Questions and Answers

Can I use succulent soil for Snake plant?

Yes, succulent soil mixes work great for Sansevieria (Dracaena trifasciata) plants.

Do snake plants like coffee grounds?

Coffee grounds (as a fertilizer) are good for acid-loving plants. Adding coffee grounds to your compost heap is a good idea but not needed for Sansevieria.

How does the soil type affect the watering schedule for snake plants?

The snake plant soil type affects the watering schedule. 

Potting media with good water flow often need more frequent watering than heavy moisture-retaining mediums.

But a potting mix that keeps moisture longer needs less watering than sandy soil with good fluid movement. An example is heavy clay soils.

Snake plants prefer slightly dry conditions and are prone to root rot if overwatered. So, use a porous mix that allows excess water to flow away. 

What type of fertilizer is best for Bowstring Hemp plants? How can I ensure my Snake plant is getting the necessary nutrients from the soil?

A balanced, all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer is suitable for snake plants. A 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 liquid houseplant fertilizer will work well.

The numbers show the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. 

Or, you can choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for succulent or cactus plants.

Alfalfa Meal

You can also use Alfalfa meal, an organic fertilizer made from alfalfa plants. It’s rich in nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It has an earthy smell and is better used on outdoor plants.

When added to the potting mix, alfalfa meal slowly releases these nutrients. It then provides a natural plant nutrition source. 

It can also improve soil structure and help retain moisture. Using alfalfa meal to amend snake plant soil can promote healthy growth and plant vigor.

How often should I fertilize the potting soil? 

Snake plants generally don’t need frequent fertilization. Fertilizing them once or twice a year during the growing season (spring and summer) is enough. 

Over-fertilization can lead to the burning of plant roots. Diluting the fertilizer to half-strength is advisable to avoid potential damage.

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