What type of soil mix do snake plants need?
Since snake plants are native to the dry habitat of West Africa, they need loamy, well-draining soil that does not retain moisture. In their native habitat, snake plants experience long periods of drought followed by a thorough soaking when it finally rains.
Therefore, they are drought tolerant and well adapted to dry soil. When snake plants don’t have well-draining soil, they are very susceptible to root rot.
For the snake plants in our home, we need to mimic their natural habitat as best we can. Considering that you are following proper watering habits for your snake plant, you’ll need a good soil mix recipe to set you up for success.
Why Are There So Many Snake Plant Soil Mix Recipes?
It seems that for every houseplant enthusiast you find online, there is a different snake plant recipe.
Don’t be discouraged, as everyone has their own way of doing things.
Each person has a slightly different home environment in terms of temperature, humidity, and light exposure. Subsequently, plant enthusiasts often adjust soil mixtures according to their environment.
Fortunately, there are common ingredients that experts agree should be in your snake plant soil mix. And while the percentages of each ingredient may vary slightly between recipes, the relative portions are similar.
Our Snake Plant Soil Mix Recipe
Here, we will share our preferred recipe along with several recipes that other plant care enthusiasts recommend. Read along to learn which soil mixture may work best for the snake plant in your home environment.
Our Snake Plant Soil Mix Recipe
|Coco Coir or Peat Moss||20%|
|Cactus Soil Mix (garden center)||10%|
|Pumice or Perlite||40%|
|Fine Orchid Bark or Coco Chips||10%|
This soil mix aims to have plenty of filtration, some nutrients, slow-release fertilizer, and aeration.
If you are an underwater-er and frequently forget to water your plants, you may want to increase the Cactus Soil Mix to 20% and decrease the Pumice or Perlite to 30%.
Why Not Just Use a Cactus Mix From a Big Box Store Only?
The Cactus soil mix from regular stores includes potting mix, nutrients, and aeration amendments. While this is beneficial for your snake plant, the portion of potting soil in these ready-made cactus mixes is too much. Therefore, the soil mix is too dense and moisture-retaining to be used as the sole ingredient in your soil mix.
Pumice versus Perlite
Most plant experts agree that using pumice is better than perlite.
Pumice is heavier and more like a small natural stone, making it less likely to degrade, flake, and float to the top of your soil.
However, pumice is more expensive and less accessible than perlite.
Most big box stores don’t carry pumice, and you’ll usually have to purchase it online. It is very acceptable to use perlite instead, but do keep an eye on your soil to see if you might need to add more perlite occasionally as it degrades.
Snake Plant Soil Recipes From Other Houseplant Enthusiasts
Ashley’s Snake Plant Soil Mix Recipe
|Aeration Substrate- Perlite, Pumice or Orchid Bark||⅔|
Ashley Anita uses these general portions to ensure adequate drainage for her snake plants. She also purchases premixed potting soil for her snake plants to save her time when she prefers not to mix her own soil.
The ready-made soil mix that Ashley Anita purchases online is available on repotme.com, and it is this Classic Orchid Blend shown here:
For more snake plant tips from Ashley Anita, see this video where she covers repotting and general care.
Garden Bench Top’s Snake Plant Soil Mix Recipe
|Regular Potting Mix||2 Parts|
|Worm Castings||1 Part|
|Coarse Sand||1 Part|
|Activated Charcoal||½ Part|
Why use regular potting mix in your recipe?
Garden Bench Top explains that regular potting mix already has some nutrients added, aeration amendments, slow-release fertilizer, and density. This is useful as part of your snake plant soil mix, as it diversifies the mixture.
Why activated charcoal?
Garden Bench Top advocates for the use of activated charcoal for the following reasons:
- Detoxifies soil
- Helps stabilize other components in the soil
- Prevents the growth of fungal spores
Click here to see Garden Bench Top’s full video on Snake Plant Soil mix.
The Indoor Nursey’s Snake Plant Soil Mix
Photo from The Indoor Plant Nursery
Another excellent information source, The Indoor Plant Nursery, is a community of plant scientists, licensed gardeners, and highly experienced plant care enthusiasts.
They provide two different recipes and state that either of these will keep your snake plant happy. The variation in recipes is due to ingredient availability.
|Organic potting soil (made for indoor plants)||¾ Part|
|Succulent soil mix (or cactus mix works well too)||¼ Part|
|Compost (worm compost is excellent)||A handful|
|Potting soil (indoor mix)||¼ Part|
|Peat moss or coco coir||¼ Part|
|Perlite /coarse sand||½ Part|
Out of these two recipes, we prefer Recipe# 2.
This is because the “succulent mix” they recommend in Recipe #1 can vary between retailers.
As we’ve mentioned, Succulent or Cactus mix from a big box store has a high portion of potting soil and not enough aeration amendments. On the other hand, the cactus or Succulent mix purchased from a plant expert will already have coarse sand and perlite added.
The differences in the meaning of “Succulent/Cactus mix” is one of the primary reasons why snake plant soil recipes can be confusing and inconsistent.
Which Soil Mix Recipe Is Right for Your Snake Plant?
As you have likely observed, all of these compiled recipes have similarities and share a common goal of ensuring that your snake plant has plenty of drainage. We recommend you consider the following elements when deciding which ingredients to use or leave out.
How much light can you provide?
If you can provide bright indirect light for at least 5 hours/day, consider including worm castings in your mix.
This is because you can expect your snake plant to grow regularly in these good lighting conditions. And with regular growth, organic fertilizer is great for your plant.
How often do you water your plant?
Do you wait for your snake plant soil to dry out completely (the most recommended method)? Or do you usually water your snake plant before it completely dries out?
If you water more often than most, use a recipe with higher aeration portions. This will help prevent excess moisture leading to root rot.
How much humidity is in your space?
Snake plants are native to dry habitats and don’t require high humidity.
If you are keeping your snake plant in a humid environment, such as near other plants that require high humidity (55-75%), you’ll want to use a recipe with higher aeration portions.
This is due to the likelihood that the increased moisture in the air may cause your soil to take longer in drying out.
We have shared a number of soil mix recipes for healthy snake plants. As you may have gathered, aeration and proper drainage are essential for this plant. To choose the best soil mix recipe for your snake plant, evaluate your environment and your plant care habits. Happy growing!