Do Snake Plants Need Drainage


While drainage holes are ideal, snake plants can grow in pots without holes if you use a gritty, fast-draining soil and water sparingly, allowing the soil to fully dry out between waterings to prevent oversaturation.

Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or Sansevieria, are hardy indoor plants that can tolerate low light and infrequent watering.

While drainage holes in pots provide optimum growing conditions, it is possible to grow snake plants in pots without holes.

With the right soil mix and watering technique, these plants can thrive.

Should You Use a Pot Without Drainage?

Ideally, all pots should have drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape.

This prevents soggy soil and roots rotting from overwatering. However, you can still grow snake plants in a pot without holes.

The key is to use a very well-draining soil mix and be careful not to overwater. Without drainage holes, you have to allow the water to be wicked up and evaporated from the soil surface.

The roots will suffocate if the soil stays saturated for too long.

Soil Mix for Pots Without Holes

To grow snake plants successfully in a pot without drainage holes, the soil mix needs to be light, fluffy and fast-draining.

Avoid standard potting mixes as these retain a lot of moisture. Opt for a cactus or succulent mix, or make your own blend:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part perlite or pumice
  • 1 part bark chips or coconut coir

This soil blend will be loose and gritty, with plenty of air pockets for drainage. The addition of perlite or bark chips creates space for excess moisture to evaporate out the top.

Watering Snake Plants in Pots Without Drainage

When watering snake plants in a pot without drainage holes, take these steps:

  • Water less frequently, only when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry.
  • Water thoroughly until it runs out the base, then discard any excess water.
  • Always pour slowly and gently to prevent soil compaction.
  • Allow the plant to drain completely before putting back in its spot.

Snake plants store water in their thick leaves, so they are very tolerant if you forget to water occasionally. It’s better to underwater than overwater in a pot without drainage holes.

Provide a Reservoir Layer

To further improve drainage, you can create a reservoir at the bottom of the pot. Add a 2-inch layer of pebbles or gravel before adding the potting mix.

The reservoir will hold excess water that drains through the soil instead of leaving it soggy.

Use Cache Pots

Another option is to plant the snake plant in a pot liner or small pot with holes. Place this pot inside a larger decorative container without holes.

When you water, the excess will drain through the inner pot and be stored in the space of the outer cache pot. This creates a reservoir and prevents soggy soil.

Monitor for Signs of Overwatering

Check snake plants in pots without drainage holes more frequently for signs of overwatering. Look for:

  • Soft, mushy, translucent leaves
  • Leaves turning yellow
  • Mold or rotting at the base
  • Foul odor from the soil

If you see these signs, allow the plant to dry out completely before watering sparingly again. Repotting in a container with holes may be necessary to save an overwatered plant.

With the right soil and watering habits, it is possible to grow snake plants in pots without drainage holes. Just be sure to use a very porous potting mix and never allow the plant to sit in wet soil for prolonged periods.

Aim for thorough but infrequent watering to keep these hardy succulents thriving.

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