Houseplants forum: re-pot snake plant?

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Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 18, 2014 3:07 PM CST
Hi, I just became a houseplant grower about 2 weeks ago due to my a/c contractor's advice on growing indoor plants for refreshing air. Now I have dozen of small/medium plants inside and more than dozen questions/problems for you kind people. First, I got a 10" pot (plastic) of 20+ snake plants (about 10" to 30" tall, half are 25+"). I thought the pot is small for the bunch, so got a 12" clay pot (also taller). Then b4 re-potting, I read that snake plants love to bound their roots so small, tight pot is good. Now I hesitated and like to hear 2nd opinion here.

If it's a go, should I remove the old plastic pot? or just keep it and put the whole thing in the new pot and add/fill mix?

Thanks for help.
Fiat (Modesto, CA - the central valley, hot & dry in summer/cool, cold & damper in winter)
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 18, 2014 5:09 PM CST
Oh, I am sorry. Guess I should post my question on the thread of topic: "Sansevieria, greatest house plants alive!!" Please, threegardeners move my post to the thread. Thanks
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
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threegardeners
Aug 18, 2014 7:00 PM CST

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Aug 19, 2014 7:44 AM CST
Hi & welcome! You have excellent taste in plants!

No plant likes to be rootbound. What they like is for their roots to NOT rot, which can happen so easily in a pot with dense soils, like ground dirt, or bagged mixes of predominantly tiny particles of peat. Having very little soil around the roots makes it difficult for even the most dedicated plant-overwaterers to rot the roots of their plants. This is not ideal, just a way of coping with inappropriate "ingredients" in a pot. A more porous, chunky soil (like cactus/palm, if one is buying bagged,) can have air in it even when it is moist. Roots need oxygen and moisture at the same time to function. When there are tiny particles of any kind in a pot, such as peat, sand, silt, clay, they filter into all of the tiny spaces in a pot, eliminating the air. "Overwatering" is the label and manifestation when roots have suffocated and/or rotted, combo of both. There is no one thing folks can put in to make soil better, but removing tiny particles of any type will definitely help. Over time, organic bits decompose into smaller bits, so even the "best" soil, if it has organic components, will need to be replaced when this happens. The speed at which this happens depends on many variables, but on average, about 1-3 years.



Sans make rhizomes (that eventually turn into pups) and thick orangish roots, so need plenty of space to do so. Also, when the pot is too full, the pups may not find their way to the surface. When there is no pot causing the rhizomes/pups to twist and turn, they don't come up right against the mama.

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Cinta
Aug 19, 2014 10:43 AM CST
fiat, Welcome.

I am not a expert on the snake plant that would be more in one of the members Stush ballpark he loves them and has a lot of different beautiful specimens.

My sister had one in a huge pot for 20 yrs it bloomed every year and the flowers were nothing to look at but the fragrance was knock your socks of awesome. I read pot bound helps to make them bloom.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 19, 2014 10:20 PM CST
Hi Purple, Thanks. Your message/info are so detailed and subtle that no simple "go" or "no go" (re-potting wise) can be found! I guess I'll just take that spacing need for the bunch and do it in a few days. Hope the bigger pot will do good.

Hi Cinta, I wonder your sister's "one" in a huge pot stands for "one single stripe leaf of sans"? or bunch of leaves bound together? I quickly scanned the photos from your link and didn't find it. I guess I can only dream to have my sans bloom any time soon. (maybe a more reality that I see their flowers from "above" sometime in the future :)

These are my 3 pots of different sans:


Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/06274b


Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/e9f6c2



Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/a68920

If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Aug 20, 2014 12:21 AM CST
It was multiple fans. She started with one and it multiplied in the pot until the pot was filled and very thick.

She grew it in a big picture window so it got a lot of sun.

Plantomaniac08
Aug 20, 2014 6:18 AM CST
Fiat,
I am confused, I thought Purple was pretty detailed in her explanation (no offense) and her first sentence states what she thinks. "No plant likes to be rootbound." She also mentioned you need to be sure you don't put it in potting mix that's going to cause it to rot. I read it as, you should give it room to grow, but make sure you put it in as potting mix that's fast draining and won't stay wet too long.

If you need advice on a potting mix, there are several "schools" of thought on that. There's the Gritty Mix, the 5:1:1 mix, and some people mix up their own potting mixes (like myself). I mix up Miracle Gro Cactus and Palm potting mix with rinsed perlite (a ratio of about 50/50). Be sure to rinse the perlite, as it has excess fluoride in it which a lot of plants are sensitive to. I will say that from reading about different mixes, what makes the Gritty Mix ideal is it has large particles (something else Purple hit on, too small of particles in your mix won't allow the roots to breath and they can rot), but it requires more frequent waterings due to that. I think the 5:1:1 mix is more for tropical plants ('Peace Lilies,' stuff that cannot handle drying out like the Gritty Mix does).

My mix is not perfect, but amending the store bought stuff (as Purple also hit on) will help.

You have beautiful plants, but I wanted to express one concern. That last one, the 'Gold Hahnii' (if you didn't know this already), is known for it's fussiness. Hahniis in general are a little more difficult to care for than the other types (such as 'Futura' in your second photo, or the tall one in your first). This one I've read requires no water in winter. It may look like it needs a drink, but it is extremely susceptible to rot in the winter. That one may or may not be overpotted. How big was the root system when you planted it over? Again, with their susceptibility to rot, that is the only one that concerns me (repotting wise).

If you ever have any questions about Sansevieria, Stush2019 has been growing them for longer than I've been around (I've been around a while if that says anything). There are a ton of folks on this forum that know a lot about plants (so I'm not saying you should soley ask him questions), Sansevieria included, but Stush could tell you in more detail certain things I cannot.

I hope this helps.

Planto
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Aug 20, 2014 8:40 AM CST
I didn't think there was enough info when I replied to have an opinion about when to repot, so tried to offer some general info about the plant to help you get to know it better. Looking at the 3 new pics, the last 2 look fine until spring to me. Can't see the pot/surface of the first one to have an opinion of when I might repot it. With enough info about a plant, its' owner could be able to make an educated decision of their own.

The only ways to kill a Sans (that aren't on purpose) are to rot it or freeze it, I've never killed one, so you won't hurt it, no matter when you think the time is right for repotting. If the pot is plastic, you may be able to feel bumps on the side, which would be a pup/new rosette that will have a tough time finding the surface in a confined space.




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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Aug 20, 2014 9:03 AM CST
fiat said:Hi Purple, Thanks. Your message/info are so detailed and subtle that no simple "go" or "no go" (re-potting wise) can be found! I guess I'll just take that spacing need for the bunch and do it in a few days. Hope the bigger pot will do good.

Hi Cinta, I wonder your sister's "one" in a huge pot stands for "one single stripe leaf of sans"? or bunch of leaves bound together? I quickly scanned the photos from your link and didn't find it. I guess I can only dream to have my sans bloom any time soon. (maybe a more reality that I see their flowers from "above" sometime in the future :)

These are my 3 pots of different sans:


Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/06274b


Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/e9f6c2



Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/a68920



Hi Fiat! Looking at your photos, the first one, you can repot that one now if you want. The last two, they are still okay with their containers, although, I would really add more perlite and/or pumice in that, just to make it a coarser mix.

These plants are quite slow growing indoors, so it can stay awhile in a smaller container, some even wait till the roots break the pot. Or some repot just because it is top heavy already having outgrown its container. As mentioned already, the best way to kill it is when it gets cold and wet. Given very warm temps it can get watered more often, they are actually water hogs in tropical areas, if grown in-ground, but there are more aspects helping it dry out outdoors, the sun/heat/wind.

But since you have them indoors, have to make sure you got your media very well draining since it will take awhile longer to dry out, that is why the often recommendation is to pot them smaller, so water drains faster to dry out.
Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 20, 2014 12:51 PM CST
Wow! You guys are all not only great kind helpers but amazing plant growers with so much knowledge, experience, and insights. I am a (never?) retired scientist and now humbled and inspired by you to be a new nature lover. But I am just a starter of plant growing and have been overwhelmed by all your wonderful reply, message, info. Let me say: all respects, all thanks to you all, but bear with me for my total ignorance, confusion, and inexperience on plant growing.

Planto - the Hahnii came (from a nursery in Ohio) in a 4" pot. One week after I re-pot to 6" (square). I'll be careful not over-watering it. When re-potting, I fill some mix (miracle gro) in the bottom of the new pot, water rinse, then I just remove the old small plastic pot from the plant and put the whole plant (include the old soil, mix) in the new pot, and fill up with mix, water again. Flaw?

Purple - Thanks for replying again. Sorry the Laurentii picture does not show the pot top well. It's first time I see the "pup" in your picture. It's amazing! When re-potting, if I see them in there, what do I do? Still put in the new pot? ...

Tarev - How do you "add more perlite" in the existing pot? just spread some of the white perlite particles on top of the existing mix?

Again, many thanks.
If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat

Plantomaniac08
Aug 20, 2014 1:57 PM CST
Fiat,
No need to feel like you're ignorant. Everyone started somewhere and even the "experts" don't know everything there is to know. I've been growing plants for years (not as long as some folks on here), but I learn something new all the time!

I think Miracle Gro by itself won't be fast draining enough, amending it with perlite would be better IMO. Okay, I didn't realize the pot was a couple inches larger than its previous pot. It still looks bigger than I would put one of those in. Maybe a 4.5-5 inch pot? Depending on where you put it, they may not bust out the pot as fast as you'd think. The lower the light, the less water you'll want to give them, the less they'll grow. Sans can take direct sun (I have mine in a sunny window), and while they say "low light," they really want some sun. And with some sun, they'll grow for you better and faster. As to not removing any of the old soil, some feel that it is better to remove oil soil because the two types of soil (old and new) may dry out at different rates. I didn't remove the old soil from a ZZ Plant I had and while the new soil dried out faster, the old soil did not and it eventually rotted on me (okay, this is maybe the worst case scenario here).

I believe (I'm trying not to speak for folks here) tarev means to mix perlite in with the existing soil (not place it on top). It won't do you any good to just have it on top, but throughout the entire mix, it will be able to "do its thing."

Planto

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Aug 20, 2014 3:14 PM CST
Yup, Planto got it right ..to mix the perlite or pumice in. I just remove the plant carefully, tease out the soil, then add the perlite or pumice into the soil, mix well, and put back the plant. Then I water just enough to let the water drain out, to settle the air pockets there.


Name: Fiat
Modesto -The Central Valley of (Zone 9b)
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fiat
Aug 20, 2014 4:51 PM CST
Ok, re-potting done! Since it's a big and long bunch, the process wasn't very smooth and short (spend long while to make them stand up right). I did best I can though. (Tarev, sorry too late to see your message that I didn't "tease" out the soil...)

Here are some pictures after re-potting: (forgive my messy patio)


Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/42459b



Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/41a493



Thumb of 2014-08-20/fiat/81f9b8

If a plant looks good, smells good, don't eat it, grow it!
Fiat

Plantomaniac08
Aug 20, 2014 6:17 PM CST
That looks like the perfect size pot. Hurray!

Planto
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Aug 20, 2014 8:00 PM CST
Looks good Fiat! You can loosely tie/bunch the mid section of the leaves for now if you want, till it gets its bearings.

Or put a big rock at the very base, for further support too..it also helps me see if the soil is still wet, when I pick up the rock and look below, if it looks damp/wet, I delay watering. Smiling
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Aug 21, 2014 8:48 AM CST
Excellent! I think the hardest part about potting a Sans is getting it to stay upright. I also do the rock thing Tarev described. Once the roots start roaming around the pot, it should be pretty sturdy, securing itself in position.

As you've probably realized already, there's no one right/wrong way to do anything regarding plants. Different interpretations of the info, climates, home environments are major factors that can cause different results from same efforts. So only by absorbing tons of info/anecdotes can one best find what can and will produce the desired results - with your plants at your house under your style of care. Believing a thing will work is at least 50% of having any success. Your gut instinct is usually helpful, don't ignore that, your minds' way of trying to assemble what you've read into a plan of action. Whenever I'm confused, I usually do nothing, seeking more info until I feel confident about what I *think* I should do.

My only discrepancy with what's been said since my last input is that I believe some air pockets in soil are good, desirable. This is because when roots have only moisture but not oxygen, they can rot. I also believe the roots have an easier time roaming around in a looser soil than if it's been packed down. Because of these beliefs, I don't usually water plants right after potting because I think it does ruin the little air pockets and compacts the soil more than I prefer. The first few times it's necessary to water a plant, I try to use a gentle sprinkle vs. a more vigorous flow that would move the particles around in the pot. This is what I believe and what works for me, for the plants I have, in the environment I have to offer. There are others out there doing things differently but getting desired results, which would make their methods superior for them, for the plants they have, in the environment they have to offer.

Glad to hear you are a scientist. There's a lot of mythical advice out there with no science behind it all. I try to ignore that stuff, you probably will too, ability to recognize something totally unsupported by science or logic is the 1st step to weeding that stuff out. I don't believe plants are illogical or mythical. The "likes to be potbound" thing is probably at the top of my list of pet peeves regarding mindlessly regurgitated plant sound bytes. If one investigates the science, or even employs simple logic, that theory is bogus. I don't have any formal training regarding plants, and consider myself a permanent student, perfectly capable of investigating/reading/absorbing anything that interests me as someone in a classroom. If I ever arrive at the point where I think I know everything, I'll be bored and looking for a new hobby. This has happened with a couple of individual plants, but fortunately, I don't think that's possible in regard to plants in general (and just made more room for different plants.) I look forward to learning new things right up to my last day here on this earth, almost exclusively possible because of the generosity of time and spirit in which gardeners and scientists share their experiences.
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magpie1998
Jul 31, 2016 3:33 PM CST
[Last edited by magpie1998 - Jul 31, 2016 3:35 PM (+)]
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