Does Snake Plant Need Drainage Hole

Does Snake Plant Need Drainage Hole Image Illustration

Snake plants are one of the most popular houseplants on the market today, and for a good reason.

Not only do they look great in any home, but they’re also incredibly easy to care for; no wonder so many people love them.

But if you’re new to growing snake plants at home, you may wonder: Does a snake plant need drainage holes?

Good drainage holes help ensure that your snake plant receives adequate water without becoming overwatered or root-bound.

They allow excess moisture to escape from the soil and prevent your potting mix from becoming too soggy.

Read on to learn more about drainage holes and why they’re important for your snake plants.

Does Snake Plant Need Drainage Hole?

No, snake plants do not need drainage holes. However, they do still require some type of drainage system. To ensure that your snake plants have enough air circulation and drainage, use a potting mix with good aeration properties. Alternatively, add a layer of coarse sand or gravel to the bottom of the pot.

Why Is Drainage Important?

Drainage is important for your snake plants because it helps to ensure that they have adequate water without becoming root-bound or overwatered. 

The excess moisture is allowed to escape from the soil, and the potting mix stays dry. Without adequate drainage, your snake plant’s roots can become wet and susceptible to disease and rot. 

Additionally, if the water does not escape from the soil properly, then it can cause oxygen deprivation for your snake plants. 

This will leave them vulnerable to a wide range of health issues, such as rotting roots or wilting of leaves due to lack of air circulation.

Using a potting mix with good aeration properties can help provide proper drainage while still allowing enough moisture in so that your plant has enough hydration. 

You should also add a layer of coarse sand or gravel at the bottom of each pot you use in order to increase drainage and air circulation even further. 

Finally, if you are using a container without any type of built-in drainage holes, then make sure that you water sparingly, so that excess water does not accumulate in areas where there is no place for it to go. 

For instance, on the underside or interior sides of pots without holes in them, leading to issues such as root rot or other plant diseases.

Problems Caused by Lack of Drainage for Snake Plant

If you are using a container without any type of drainage holes then it is important to be careful about how much water you provide your snake plants. 

Here are some of the issues that can arise if you do not provide adequate drainage:

1. Root Rot

Root rot refers to a situation when a plant’s roots become diseased or damaged. It can be caused by too much water, not enough air around the roots, or by fungal infection and other types of organisms living in the soil. 

When root rot happens, it’s important to act quickly because it can spread throughout your garden and kill other indoor plants. 

Symptoms include yellow leaves, wilting plants, discoloured roots, and stunted growth. 

To prevent root rot, make sure you are watering your snake plants correctly with just enough water so that their roots don’t stay wet all the time. 

Also, be sure to add plenty of organic matter and aerate the soil regularly so oxygen can get to the roots. 

If root rot has already occurred, you may need to remove the affected plants and replant them in fresh soil. This should help prevent it from spreading further. 

In some cases, fungicides may be necessary to get rid of the root rot-causing organisms other.

2. Oxygen Starvation

Oxygen starvation, also known as anoxia or hypoxia, occurs when a snake plant doesn’t get enough oxygen to its roots. 

This can happen if the soil is too waterlogged or there isn’t enough air around the roots. 

Symptoms of oxygen starvation include wilted leaves, yellowing of foliage and stunted snake plant’s growth.

To prevent oxygen starvation, make sure you are watering your plants correctly and make sure the soil is well-aerated. 

You can also add organic material to the soil, which will help improve its drainage and aeration. 

If oxygen starvation has already occurred, try repotting the plant in fresh soil or use an aerator to introduce more air into the soil.

3. Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies occur when a snake plant isn’t getting enough of the essential elements it needs to survive, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

This can be due to an imbalance in the soil or simply because not enough of these nutrients are being added. Symptoms of nutrient deficiency include yellowed leaves, stunted growth and wilting. 

To prevent nutrient deficiency, make sure you are fertilizing your plants regularly with a balanced fertilizer that contains the right amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Additionally, adding organic matter to the soil can help improve its fertility over time. 

If a nutrient deficiency has already occurred, you may need to add supplemental nutrients in order to restore the balance in the soil.

4. Soil Erosion

Soil erosion occurs when water washes away the topsoil, leaving behind the more compacted and less fertile subsoil. 

This can be due to heavy rains or simply because the soil has become overly dry. 

Symptoms of soil erosion in your garden may include bare patches in the lawn, exposed plant roots, and a general thinning of the topsoil. 

Generally, soil erosion can be prevented or reduced by improving soil structure and stability through the use of mulch, compost, or other soil amendments. 

Additionally, you can reduce runoff by planting cover crops, such as clover or rye grass.

5. Accumulation of Salt or Alkalinity

When salts from tap water or fertilizer and alkaline substances accumulate in the soil, they can cause a variety of problems for your snake plants, including stunted growth and yellowing of foliage. 

This can be due to over-fertilization, the use of hard water, or the buildup of minerals in the soil. 

To prevent an accumulation of salt or alkalinity in your garden, make sure you are using a fertilizer that is specifically designed for snake plants and avoid using hard water on them. 

Additionally, performing regular soil tests can help you monitor the levels of salts or alkalinity in your soil and take corrective action if needed.

Accumulation of Salt or Alkalinity Image

6. Insect Infestations

Lack of drainage or humidity control can also lead to insect infestations in your snake plants. Common culprits include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. 

Symptoms of an insect infestation can include yellowing of the leaves, loss of vigor, and small bugs covering the plant. 

To prevent insect infestations, make sure to inspect your plants regularly, as early detection is key. 

Remove any visible insects by wiping them off with a damp cloth and treating the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil. 

Prune away any badly infected leaves and be sure to isolate the plant from other houseplants in order to avoid spreading the infestation. 

Regularly monitor the plant for signs of additional insect activity, and if possible, increase ventilation in order to reduce humidity levels.

7. Disease Spread

Snake plants can be prone to disease if kept in an environment that is too wet or has poor air circulation. Common illnesses include root and stem rot, powdery mildew, and leaf spot. 

Symptoms of disease can include wilting, yellowing, or spots on the leaves as well as a bad smell or a slimy texture when touched. 

To avoid disease spread, prune away any affected leaves, increase air circulation and ventilation, and reduce humidity levels. 

Don’t forget also to sterilize your tools often and don’t re-use contaminated soil. If necessary, you can treat the plant with a fungicide to reduce the spread of disease or any fungal infection.

8. Death of Plants

Unfortunately, sometimes snake plants succumb to a combination of issues. If your plant is not responding to treatment, it may be time to get rid of it. 

To avoid further spread of illness, dispose of the plant and its potting soil mix in a sealed bag rather than composting or re-planting it. 

In addition, thoroughly clean the area and all of your equipment with a bleach-water solution before bringing any new plants into the area.

9. Weak Root System Development

Image of Weak Root System Development

Poor drainage, too much water or fertilizer, and repotting too often can cause snake plants to develop weak root systems. 

Signs of weak root development can include wilting, drooping, and a dry, crumbly texture to the soil. 

To avoid this issue, make sure to provide adequate drainage in your pots, water sparingly, and only repot when absolutely necessary. 

In addition, be sure to provide your plants with nutrient-rich soil to help them develop strong root systems.

10. Loss of Soil Fertility

Over time, the soil in your snake plant’s pot will lose its fertility. This can lead to a decrease in growth and vigor, as well as yellowing of the leaves. 

To prevent this issue, fertilize your plant every two to three months in the growing season and replace the potting soil every two to three years. 

In addition, be sure to check your plant regularly for signs of nutrient deficiencies and treat them accordingly.

Signs of an Unhealthy Snake Plant

Signs of an Unhealthy Snake Plant Picture

An unhealthy snake plant can be indicated by a number of signs, including:

  1. Wilting or drooping leaves: This can be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, insect infestations, disease spread, and/or weak root system development.
  2. Yellowing of the leaves: This can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, insect infestations, disease spread, and/or weak root system development.
  3. Brown spots on the leaves: The spots may be caused by an insect infestation or disease spread.
  4. Dry and brittle leaves: This can indicate that the plant needs more water, or that it is not getting enough light.
  5. Stunted or slow growth: This can be caused by nutrient deficiencies, plant diseases, insect infestations, or poor environmental conditions.
  6. Powdery mildew on the leaves: This is a fungus typically caused by high humidity, poor air circulation, or temperature fluctuations.
  7. Root rot: This is caused by too much water and poor drainage, leading to the death of roots.
  8. Premature flowering: This is usually caused by too much light or fluctuations in temperatures, both of which can cause the plant to go into a flowering state prematurely.
  9. Browning of the tips of the leaves: Browning leaves can be caused by too much fertilizer, too little water, or exposure to cold temperatures.
  10. Unusual or foul smell from the plant: This can be a sign of overwatering, disease spread, or rotting roots.

How to Treat Problems Caused by Lack of Drainage

Problems caused by poor drainage in a snake plant can be addressed quickly and easily. Here are some tips to help:

1. Increase Drainage – Snake plants require well-draining soil, so if your potted plant is sitting in a pot without drainage holes, consider repotting it or have at least one hole 

Choose a pot that has plenty of draining holes and use soil that contains perlite or sand to help promote better drainage.

2. Water Wisely – Overwatering is one of the biggest causes of drainage problems in a snake plant, so it is important to avoid overwatering when the soil feels dry.

3. Reduce Fertilizer – Too much fertilizer can cause poor drainage and lead to root rot in your snake plant, so be sure to fertilize sparingly or not at all.

4. Increase Air Circulation – Poor ventilation can prevent the soil from drying out properly and cause drainage problems. Make sure your snake plant is in a well-ventilated area, such as near an open window or door.

5. Prune Your Plant – Remove any dead leaves or stems on the plant to improve air circulation and help the soil dry out faster.

6. Move the Plant – If your snake plant is in a location where it gets too much direct sunlight or not enough air circulation, consider moving it to a different spot.

7. Use Humidifiers – If you’re having trouble keeping your snake plant from getting too dry, try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air. This will help keep the soil moist without causing drainage problems.

8. Add Mulch – Adding a layer of mulch or peat moss on top of your snake plant’s soil can help improve drainage and prevent water from pooling around the roots.

9. Install a Drain Tray – Placing a drain tray under your snake plant’s pot can help drain water in excess, preventing drainage problems.

How to Plant a Snake Plant in a Pot Without Drainage Holes

Planting a snake plant in a pot without good drainage holes can be done but requires proper care and attention. 

The key to successfully growing potted plants like a snake plants without drainage holes is to provide the right amount of moisture, light, and air. Use a moisture meter to get to know the levels of moisture in your snake plant. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  • Step 1: Start by finding a pot with a solid bottom, like a ceramic or plastic pot. Make sure the size of the pot is large enough for your snake plant, and make sure it has no drainage holes. The container should have enough room for the roots to spread out.
  • Step 2: The next step is placing a layer of gravel, charcoal, or pebbles in the bottom of your plant’s pot. This will help to absorb any extra moisture and allow for better airflow around the roots of your snake plant. At least 2 inches of gravel should be added to the pot.
  • Step 3: The next is adding a layer of activated charcoal to your plant’s potting mix. Activated charcoal helps to improve the quality of your plant’s soil by absorbing any toxic compounds or odors from the atmosphere. Layer the charcoal with the potting mix as you fill your planter. Additionally, you can also mix perlite or vermiculite into your potting mix for increased drainage. These rocks help to keep the soil from becoming overly saturated with water.
  • Step 4: Now, it’s time to plant your snake plant. Carefully remove the plant from its current pot and place it in the new container. Make sure to spread out the roots and fill in any gaps with soil so that your plant sits firmly in the pot.

Note: While planting your snake plant, you should avoid packing the soil too tightly as this will limit the amount of oxygen that can reach the roots.

  • Step 5: After planting your snake plant, the final step is to water it thoroughly. Water your plant until the top of the soil is moist but not soggy. Avoid over-watering your Snake plant, as this can cause root rot. Allow plenty of time between watering sessions, and always check the soil before adding more water.

12 Other Plants That Dont Need Drainage Holes

  1. Oleander Plant: These hardy, drought-tolerant plants are popular for their brightly colored blooms and ability to tolerate dry soils.
  2. Chinese Evergreen: This low-maintenance plant is an excellent choice for beginning gardeners and is known to be one of the most adaptive houseplants.
  3. Pothos: These easy-to-care-for vines thrive in bright, indirect sunlight and can tolerate low levels of moisture without drainage holes.
  4. Kupukupu Fern: These ferns are especially tolerant to dry air, making them an ideal choice for those with low humidity levels.
  5. Crotons: These colorful, slow-growing plants can be grown indoors and don’t require drainage holes as they are quite drought tolerant.
  6. Dumbcane: Also known as Dieffenbachia, these shade-loving plants need little water and don’t require drainage holes.
  7. Schefflera: These tropical plants thrive on neglect, so they’re perfect for busy people who don’t have a lot of time for maintenance.
  8. Cordyline: These plants are loved for their unique foliage and bright colors and can tolerate low levels of moisture and humidity.
  9. Spider Plant: These easy-to-grow snake plants are known for their ability to purify air and do not need drainage holes.
  10. Succulents: These low-maintenance plants are ideal for those who want to add a bit of color to their home or garden.
  11. Rough Horsetail: These hardy, drought-tolerant plants are perfect for outdoor gardens and can survive without drainage holes.
  12. Pineapple: This tropical plant is known for its delicious fruit, but it can also make a great addition to your home.

Snake Plant Pot Ideas

When it comes to potting your Snake plant, the options are almost limitless. Here are some ideas for the best pot for snake plant you can use for your snake plant:

  • Terracotta pots: This classic material is a great choice as terracotta is porous and helps to keep your soil from becoming overly saturated. Additionally, these traditional pots also come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • Hanging baskets: If you’re looking for a more creative option for your Snake plant, consider getting a hanging basket. These baskets are great for keeping plants off the floor and creating an interesting feature in any room.
  • Wooden planters: For those wanting to add a bit of natural charm to their home, wooden planters are a great choice. These planters come in a variety of styles and can be sealed with varnish or waterproofing for extra protection from moisture.
  • Ceramic pots: If you’re looking for a modern touch, ceramic pots are an excellent option. These containers come in all sorts of colors and can add a unique twist to your interior decor.


How to water plants without drainage holes?

To water snake plants without drainage holes, use a syringe or spray bottle to apply a light mist of water over the top of the soil.  This will slowly hydrate the plant and help prevent overwatering. Also, allow the top of the soil to dry out between waterings and avoid leaving your plant in standing water.

How big of a pot does a snake plant need?

Snake plants typically prefer a pot that is slightly bigger than their root ball. Depending on the size of your plant, you can choose a pot that is about 2-4 inches wider than the root ball.

How often do you water snake plants?

Snake plants are drought-tolerant and can usually go for weeks without water. However, during the growing season, it’s best to give them a good drink every two to three weeks. During the winter months, you can reduce watering even more and only water when the top of the soil dries. 


So, do snake plants need drainage holes? The answer is no, but they do still need some form of drainage. 

The easiest way to ensure good drainage for your Snake plant is to use a pot with at least one drainage hole and add some gravel to the bottom of the container before you fill it with soil. 

Additionally, make sure not to pack the soil too tightly, as this can limit oxygen flow to the roots. Lastly, water your plant thoroughly but avoid over-watering as this can lead to root rot. 

By following these simple tips, your Snake plant will thrive for many years to come

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