Leaning Over Snake Plant - Knowledgebase Question

Stanhope, NJ
Question by mcctrm
September 22, 2002
I have a pretty old snake plant that I am trying to save. It seems to have very short roots and the plants are so close to the top of the pot that they can no longer stand up straight but instead lean completely over. I would like to just re-pot it deeper but I don't know if that will utimately help or further damage the plant. I've tried tying it up but the leaves are just too heavy. Please tell me how I can save this plant. Thank You!

Answer from NGA
September 22, 2002


These plants may lean over with age when they are overcrowded or in an attempt to lean closer toward a source of light. However, the most common reason is usually overwatering. This plant really does not need much water at all, so make sure the soil is allowed to dry between waterings during the growing season and that the soil mix is a well drained one. During the winter when the plant grows little if at all, water even less often.

They are naturally shallow rooted as you noticed, and burying them deeper by repotting will not solve the problem -- in fact it would not be healthy for them to be planted deeper and could make the problem worse if the base of the stems has begun to rot at all. You might spread a little sand over the surface instead and see if that helps.

You could also try repotting into a wider pot so that they have more room to spread thus allowing outer portions to stablize the center. Make sure to use a clay pot and a free draining mix if you repot and take care not to overwater.

Alternatively you can trim off the topplers. The tips of the trimmings can be used to make new plants. Take the tip cutting, stick it upright into barely damp sand and be very patient. Eventually a new leaf will grow next to the cut piece.

You might also want to gradually increase the amount of light your plant receives and remember to turn the pot regularly to even out the light each side receives. Good luck with your sanseveria trifasciata -- also called mother-in'law's tongue.

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