Ask a Question forum: Repot Snake Plant

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Palm Springs, California
CalifPete
Feb 21, 2018 2:38 PM CST
Hi,
I recently purchased a Snake Plant at Walmart in a 10" plastic pot (I'll try to attach a photo) on Saturday. I received some excellent advice about watering today after I posted a question. After checking to make sure the top 2" were dry, I watered slowly until just a little water exited the drainage hole. I emptied the saucer. Now to my new question. I've watched you-tube about Snake Plant Care and they don't advise repotting until the roots break or distort the plastic pot they're in. They also state that if you use the same size pot it's okay. That plastic pot is pretty ugly and I was thinking about a 10" ceramic pot. Should I live with the ugly pot for about 6 months or so, or should I repot in a nice ceramic 10" pot?
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Feb 21, 2018 3:05 PM CST
Keep it in its ugly nursery pot, where its happy, and put that pot inside a nice ceramic pot that makes you happy! Just make sure that when you double-pot that the ceramic pot is large enough to accommodate the nursery pot and leave enough space so you can lift it easily and see if any water has collected in the bottom of the ceramic. You can use some Spanish moss to lay over the top of the pots to disguise the double-potting.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Palm Springs, California
CalifPete
Feb 21, 2018 5:06 PM CST
Hi Will,
Excellent advise. Thought about that but decided that it may be a problem with drainage. It really shouldn't be since the ceramic pot also has a drainage hole.
Regards
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 21, 2018 5:42 PM CST
Great! Even better!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Feb 21, 2018 11:56 PM CST
What a lovely specimen! As Will said it would look really nice with a ceramic pot to hide the black one.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Feb 22, 2018 10:37 AM CST

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Walmart has been my recent go-to source for some pretty nice houseplants! I saw a few like yours but the ones available had too many damaged leaves, yours is a great looking specimen! Thumbs up
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Palm Springs, California
CalifPete
Feb 22, 2018 11:52 AM CST
Hi Sue,
Thanks for the message. There's two Walmarts in my immediate area. The newer one seems to be a little larger and the plants there were much nicer. I also bought a moisture meter on e-bay, which should be arriving on Saturday - a little more scientific approach to watering. Most likely, the better way is just sticking your finger in the soil, but I may be surprised.
Best Regards,
Pete
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 22, 2018 3:38 PM CST
Pete - Moisture meters measure conductivity, not moisture dierctly. Thus, they are not as accurate as they appear to be. The meter is affected by soil density and mineral salts in the soil. Because they appear to be so "scientific," they tend to cause people to ignore their own tactile sense. I suggest you stick with your finger! Better yet, get a soil probe at www.SoilSleuth.com for about $10.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Feb 22, 2018 4:02 PM CST
However, if you don't feel you are able to get a feeling for the moisture in your pot, if it begins to decline and you are not able to decide if you are overwatering and underwatering a meter can be a form of education. Use it to get a reading, and then use a dowel and make a note of how it looks when you remove it. If you want to pick the pot up to feel the difference in weight from wet and dry that is really helpful. You will become a pro at your plants faster if you learn what your plant looks like and feels like when it's thristy, by looking touching and using a dowel. But if you find the plant is declining, a moisture meter may help you become confident you are reading your plants needs correctly. For me, succulent care was so opposite to tropicals I was a frustrated slow learner. The moisture meter served as a second opinion, not as the only tool i used to water. As an overwaterer, I had to put the emphasis on weather I was letting the roots get enough oxygen, by getting dry enough, I also stopped carrying the watering can with me when I checked my succulents. If I was not sure. I did not water. Worked for me.

Will is a wizard. I hope he won't be upset with my view here. I was a special ed student on succulents. The meter got me off the short bus.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Feb 22, 2018 4:26 PM CST
We've been down this road before, Will. Moisture meters are perfectly scientific. They are usually based on conductivity. They will give you a meaningful result that can guide the watering of your plants. Perhaps more meaningful with a higher quality model, but the entry level version I have works perfectly fine.

As Laurie suggested, you should not rely on them as your only cue, you should confirm their readouts by other means so you know what they mean. And you should not use them to compare across different soil types. A moisture meter is only one tool in the kit, but it can be a very useful one if you're concerned about overwatering, especially when you are aware of its limitations. Smiling

That said, I haven't touched mine in years because it told me what I wanted to know during the period I used it. If you want to use a moisture meter, I'd say the goal should be to reach a level of understanding (of how the seasons and the weather and the exposure affect your watering frequency) where you don't need to stick in a metal prod every week and potentially damage the roots seriously over time. The meter should render itself redundant.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 22, 2018 4:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 22, 2018 5:05 PM CST
I want to be clear that I am referring to the relatively inexpensive moisture meters generally available at garden centers and that sell for under $20. There are much more sophisticated and expensive moisture meters, but that is not what most folks are using.

When I first started working professionally, I was given a moisture meter to use. It got me in trouble with a number of plants, but certainly not all. I found that psychologically it was very difficult to let go of meter readings even when my gut instinct said otherwise. I lost quite a few plants as a result. After subsequent research, I learned that other factors such as soil consistency and mineral salts had a substantial effect on the meter readings.

I am wondering if typical succulent potting mixes are consistent enough to yield reliable results on the meters. The plants I care for are both succulents and non-succulents and use a variety of very different potting mixes.

If you use a consistent potting mix and are aware of water and soil mineral content of a particular plant, then they can be reliable. However, most folks are unaware of these considerations and not likely to make the appropriate adjustments. That is why I don't recommend them. A simple soil probe is a terrific way to learn about moisture content in various soil mixtures and at various potting depths.

If anyone is using meters successfully and get good results, go for it. But I remain hesitant to recommend them to those who are not experienced. And for those who are, they probably don't need them.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Feb 22, 2018 5:20 PM CST
Yes, I think your explanation makes a lot of sense. I can see the difference in our own experiences may have had something to do with the soil. Maybe you're handling all sorts of different things with varying mixes and the meter readings from one plant to the next would vary a lot just due to that. That would be the scenario where I would imagine a meter least useful.

My own situation is pretty strictly limited to succulents and their allies, in all fairness, and my mix is usually biased toward their needs (25% compost/25% coir/50% pumice). They're almost all in the same soil, so measuring one pot gives me a reasonable idea of what might be happening in the next.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
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ctcarol
Feb 22, 2018 6:27 PM CST
I use mine on a regular basis to check my many potted plants and even the garden beds because it can go deeper than my finger. It doesn't work with orchids potted in bark medium, but for most of my potted plants, it does. Mine are not house plants though, so the surface may be dry, but not the deeper soil.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Feb 22, 2018 6:49 PM CST
I've used mine in the greenhouse when I first started. After a while it wasn't useful any more. I know by looking and feeling when my plants need water. I do think they are useful to people just starting out with house plants.
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Palm Springs, California
CalifPete
Feb 22, 2018 10:02 PM CST
Hi,
Thanks to all on the many comments and advice. I'm so glad I joined this forum. I know where to go if I run into any problems. Now to find a nice 10" ceramic pot.

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