Does My Snake Plant Need Drainage Holes in Pot?

You may have been told the fact that Snake Plants ( Dracaena trifasciata ,AKA Mother in Law’s Tongue )are almost indestructible. Although this may be true but it’s important to keep in mind that they are ‘almost isn’t enough! There’s a surefire method to end the life of your Snake Plant it is to let the roots decay.

If you have the Snake Plant in a pot without drainage holes, you must be cautious not to overwater your plant because excess water can remain in the pot of your plant and cause the roots to turn brown.

Snake plants kept in containers don’t necessarily require drain holes for their containers, however, they’ll be more manageable in pots with drainage holes. A pot that has drain holes to your Snake Plant will help avoid the most common killer of the plants – root rot.

Why Is Drainage Important?

A proper drainage system is vital for all container plants, such as Snake Plants. Drainage holes at the base of containers let the excess water to drain out from the container, and helps to prevent a swollen mixing of potting soil.

Furthermore, the movement of water through the potting mix of your plant can help prevent the accumulation of chemical compounds from fertilizers and tap water, which could cause damage to your plant’s root system.

If water does collect within the container of your plant like it does in pots that have no drain holes in them, this may create problems to the Snake Plant.

snake plant white pot white wall

Problems Caused by Lack of Drainage

The growth of the Snake Plant in a pot with no drainage holes can cause many problems for the plant. Let’s examine these issues in greater detail:

Root Rot

If the potting mix in the container plant is always moist, it creates the ideal environment for fungal organisms to thrive and reproduce. Different types of fungi can are responsible for root rot with the most prevalent being those belonging to the Pythium, Phytophthora, Fusarium, as well as Rhizoctonia families.

The fungi that thrive in the moist conditions of containers that are flooded to grow and devour the plant’s roots rapidly causing huge damages.

The signs of root rot may appear similar to symptoms of dehydration, such as dry, curly leaves, and dropping. It is crucial to determine the level of water in the potting mix of your Snake Plant prior to watering it, since the addition of water plants that is suffering from root rot can cause the problem to get worse.

If your plant is suffering from root rot, it’s not required to identify which fungi are responsible for the issue, but rather the signs, and treatment options are similar for all.

Root Burn caused by Excess Salts and Minerals

If you keep the Snake Plant in a pot with no drainage holes, it creates the risk of the build-up of chemicals and root burns much more likely.

The tap water and fertilizers are a source of minerals and salts, which could be beneficial to your plant in very small amounts, but could be extremely harmful when used in large quantities.

If water isn’t able to escape from the pot of your plant These substances accumulate and settle around the plant’s roots. The roots are burned and prevents them from working properly. The signs of root burn are the roots and leaves turning brown and slow growth.

Oxygen Starvation

Most of us imagine plants needing carbon dioxide in order to survive. Although this is true but it’s a less well-known reality that plants also require oxygen.

Plants absorb oxygen and carbon dioxide through their leaves via pores known as stomata. They also absorb oxygen through their roots.

If the roots of your plant are in a watery environment, because they’re in soil that is waterlogged it is likely that they won’t be able to absorb enough oxygen, and they will begin to die.

The signs of oxygen deficiency include poor, stunted growth, and yellowing leaves that eventually fall off, and eventually the death of your plant.

The root rot and oxygen deficiency are both linked If your plant is suffering from any of these conditions you are most likely that it is suffering from the other.

Weak Root System Development

The Snake Plant needs a robust root system in order to thrive. If the roots of your plant are in a water-filled environment and mud, not only will the plant being vulnerable to the issues mentioned in the previous paragraphs, it will also not be able to develop new, healthy roots.

If your root system isn’t healthy the plant will not be able to absorb nutrients from its roots, and the growth of your plant may slow down or stop altogether. It may lose leaves, droop, or even die.

How to Treat Problems Caused by Lack of Drainage

If you are concerned about any of these issues you should address them immediately. Each of these problems could cause the death of your plant within a couple of weeks and so, as soon as you suspect there is something wrong, you should examine your plant’s roots as well as the level of water in the potting mix of your plant. For any of the problems mentioned above, here’s the best way to take care of these issues:

  • Remove your plant from its pot and take away as much of the potting mix surrounding the root as you are able to
  • Utilize a sharp, sterilized set of sharp scissors trim off damaged or rotten roots.
  • If you notice a an accumulation of chemical residues that is crusty around the roots, you can gently wash it out with water.
  • Plant your plants in a very slightly moist, easily-draining pot mix (use 1/3 perlite or vermiculite for better drainage)
  • Make sure you use a pot with drainage holes in case your plant has experienced problems due to drainage issues.
  • Make sure to water your plants sparingly and make sure you check the level of moisture in the mix prior to planting If it’s not dry do not give it a drink!

Be aware that these issues could be extremely serious, and it’s impossible for a plant to be saved that has severely damaged roots. Snake Plants are very tough however, so it’s worth trying!

Growing Your Snake Plant in a Container Without Drainage Holes

You can cultivate the Snake Plant in a container with no drainage holes. It requires a little more attention than in the pot. Here are some tips that can be used to increase the drainage of pots that do not have holes:

Place an even layer of charcoal, gravel or pebbles at the base of the pot for your plant

If you place an extensive layer (at at least two inches) of pebbles, gravel or charcoal at the base of your pot, you’ll allow water to flow down this layer away from the plant’s roots.

Do not use broken pots for this purpose as because the design of the pieces won’t permit water to flow through easily and can often trap moisture in the mix of potting, causing the likelihood of waterlogging.

Add an activated charcoal layer to the potting mix of your plant

Activated charcoal absorbs water , is a fantastic option to increase the drainage of the Snake Plant. It pulls water out of the potting mix of your plant and keeps it from the plant’s root.

Incorporate the charcoal into the potting mix when you plant your plant. Be aware that activated charcoal isn’t identical to ‘barbeque’ charcoal, which can be treated using chemicals. You can purchase activated charcoal at garden centers and aquarium retailers or even online.

Mixing vermiculite or perlite with the mix of potting

Vermiculate and perlite are two kinds of volcanic rocks that absorb water and keep it from your plant’s roots in the same manner to charcoal.

Furthermore the porous nature of these substances implies that they also contain air, which plants’ roots are able to be able to access in order to absorb oxygen.

Mix one-third of vermiculite or perlite in your potting mix to plant your plants. You can purchase perlite and vermiculite from garden centers or on the internet.

If you plan maintain the Snake Plant in an un-draining pot it is essential to choose a suitable container.

The pot should be small enough so that the water doesn’t sit at the bottom of the pot too long. For medium-sized plants pot, one that is six inches in diameter will be sufficient.

In order to help in the evaporation process of the water in your Snake Plant’s pot, make sure you place the plant reasonably warmer area (55 – 85degrees Celsius, 13 to 29 degrees Celsius) in a location that receives plenty of indirect, bright light. It is best to place it just a few feet from a window works well.

If the Snake Plant in a container that doesn’t have drainage holes It’s recommended to plant it in a new pot every year to examine the health of your snake plant’s root system.

If you are experiencing issues in the roots of your plant, like sections turning brown or black, think about repotting your plants in pots that has drainage holes.

How To Water Your Snake Plant Without Drainage Holes

If you choose to keep the plant inside a pot with no drainage holes, it’s crucial to adjust the method of watering.

Snake Plants are extremely drought-tolerant and don’t require a lot of water in order to thrive they are less susceptible to being damaged by excessive watering than when they are underwater.

Based on the environment in the environment you maintain it the plant needs regular watering from once a month or once each three months.

In the summer months, when temperatures are high the plant may require watering every month, or less. In the winter and autumn it is possible that you only need to water your plant once every 2 or 3 months.

Here are some suggestions to water the Snake Plant if you keep the plant in a pot that has no drainage holes:

Verify the content of moisture in the potting mix prior to you begin watering.

Make sure to water the Snake Plant when its potting mix is completely dry. You can test the level of moisture in the mix that your plant is residing in by sticking your finger couple of inches into the mix. If it is damp, the plant isn’t in need of any additional water. You can also utilize a hydrometer for this reason.

Make use of a syringe, or spray bottle for watering your plants

This is a fantastic method to control the amount of water your plant gets. Utilize a syringe for injecting direct into your potting mix or make use of a spray bottle to spray water on the surface.

Take out any excess water as soon as possible.

If you’ve been watering the Snake Plant and you think you’ve overdid it, for instance, if the water is still sitting on the top of the potting mix, gently tilt your plant to ensure that water is able to escape out of the bottom.

Do not water your plants according to a timetable or “just in the event’

Doing the Snake Plant water even when it’s not in need is the most effective method to end its life. If you’re tempted by the thought of topping it up , without first checking be careful!

Even if your plant might require some water, and you don’t remember, Snake Plants can cope with no water and will not suffer the consequences of an untimely watering or two.

Is It Better to Grow Snake Plants in Pots With or Without Drainage Holes?

It’s your choice whether you choose to plant the Snake Plant in a pot with drainage holes or not. The plant will be less prone to issues caused from waterlogged or overwatered soil in a plant that has drainage holes, however it’s possible to keep the Snake Plant happy in a container that does not have drainage holes.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay more focus on your plant and keep an eye out for root issues.

If you’re a novice gardener, or you often overwatering the plants you tend to water, it may be better to stay in the safer side and choose pots with lots drain holes.

A Final Tip

If you are a fan of attractive containers with no drainage holes, but are concerned about causing harm to your plants There is a simple solution.

Simply plant the Snake Plant in a pot with drainage holes. Place the pebbles or gravel inside the container with no holes, and then place your plant in. The water will flow out of the drainage holes in the pot, and then into the container you are using.

It is still necessary to make sure that you don’t drown your plant, however with this method, it’s much simpler to get rid of excess water if you do overdo it.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)