Drainage Holes or Not: What’s the Best Way to Grow Snake Plants?

Drainage Holes or Not: What's the Best Way to Grow Snake Plants?

If you’re a plant enthusiast like me, you know the joy of having lush greenery inside your home. Snake plants, also known as Sansevierias, are among the most popular choices for indoor plants. They add a touch of elegance to any space and have a reputation for being a hardy and low-maintenance plant. However, regarding the best way to grow snake plants, the topic of drainage holes in their containers sparks a spirited debate among plant lovers. Let’s delve into this fascinating world of drainage and find out which approach is best for our beloved snake plants.

As a general rule, Snake Plants need a vessel that has drain holes at the bottom of the container, this is the reason that Snake Plants do not need a lot of water, and precisely if this beautiful house plant receives too much water, it may rot the roots of the plant. Therefore, choosing a container with drainage holes is recommended if you buy a new plant. If you already have a Snake Planet at home and its vessel without drainage holes, do not rush to buy a new pot because there is a solution, which we will discuss later in the article.

Understanding Snake Plants

Before we dive into the drainage dilemma, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty and resilience of snake plants. With their sword-shaped leaves and variegated patterns, they effortlessly captivate our hearts. These plants hail from tropical West Africa and have found their way into countless homes worldwide due to their ability to thrive in various lighting conditions and withstand neglect. Spider plant is considered a great choice when choosing an excellent and convenient indoor plant because it has low maintenance regarding its care.

The Role of Drainage in Plant Health

Drainage plays a crucial role in the overall health of potted plants, including snake plants. Excess water can accumulate in the soil without proper drainage, leading to root rot and other detrimental effects. Like many other houseplants, Snake plants are susceptible to overwatering, so ensuring effective drainage is essential.

Snake plants: what pot to choose

When choosing a type of pot for your snake plant, a few factors must be considered to ensure optimal growth and health. Here are some recommendations:

  • Size: Snake plants generally prefer slightly snug pots. Choose a pot that allows for some room for growth but isn’t excessively large. A pot that is 1-2 inches wider in diameter than the plant’s current root ball is usually sufficient.
  • Material: Look for pots made of breathable materials that allow excess moisture to evaporate. Terracotta pots are popular as they are porous and help prevent overwatering by allowing the soil to dry out more effectively. Other options include ceramic pots, plastic pots, or unglazed clay pots.
  • Drainage: Selecting a pot with drainage holes at the bottom is highly recommended. These holes allow excess water to escape, preventing waterlogging and root rot. If you prefer a decorative pot without drainage holes, consider using a nursery pot with drainage inside the decorative one, or create a layered drainage system within the pot.
  • Aesthetics: Consider the overall aesthetic appeal of the pot and how it complements your interior decor. Snake plants have a striking appearance, so you can choose a pot that enhances their beauty and serves as a stylish accent in your home.

Remember to prioritize functionality and plant health when selecting a pot for your snake plant. Providing adequate drainage and a suitable size create a conducive environment for your snake plant to thrive and add beauty to your living space.

Snake plants are a great addition to your interior design
Snake plants are a great addition to your interior design

Pros and Cons of Drainage Holes in Snake Plant Containers

Let’s weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having drainage holes in snake plant containers.

On the pro side, drainage holes offer several benefits. Firstly, they prevent waterlogged soil, which can suffocate the roots and cause them to rot. Secondly, drainage holes allow excess salts and minerals to escape, preventing harmful buildup that can affect plant health. Lastly, drainage holes promote better aeration and encourage the development of a robust root system.

However, there are a few cons to consider as well. One downside is the potential mess from water seepage, especially if your snake plant is on a beautiful wooden surface or a delicate carpet. Additionally, drainage holes may cause the soil to dry out faster, necessitating more frequent watering. For busy plant parents, this could be a factor to consider.

Alternative Drainage Methods for Snake Plants

Suppose you’re not a fan of drainage hole pots or want to explore other options. Fret not! There are alternative ways to ensure good drainage for your snake plants:

One option is to create a layered drainage system by adding gravel, rocks, or pebbles at the bottom of the pot. This technique collects excess water at the bottom while keeping the upper soil layer relatively dry. Another alternative is to opt for self-watering containers or pots with built-in reservoirs. These containers have a water storage compartment that gradually releases moisture to the plant, reducing the risk of overwatering.

Another clever method is to create a false bottom or elevate the plant in the pot using a platform or other potting mix. This technique helps create space for excess water to accumulate below the snake plant’s roots, keeping them safe from waterlogging.

Choosing the Right Approach for Your Snake Plant

Deciding on the best approach for your snake plant depends on several factors. Consider the environmental conditions in your home, such as humidity and sunlight levels. Evaluate your watering habits and plant care routine. If you forget to water or have a busy schedule, a pot with drainage holes might be the way to go. However, if you enjoy being hands-on with your plant care or prefer specific container aesthetics, alternative drainage methods might suit your style better.

Best Practices for Snake Plant Care

Best Practices for Snake Plant Care
Best Practices for Snake Plant Care

Regardless of the drainage method you choose, there are several best practices to follow to maintain a healthy snake plant. Providing the proper care and attention ensures your snake plant thrives and remains a vibrant addition to your home. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to snake plant need:


Snake plants are versatile and can tolerate various lighting conditions. However, they prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Place your snake plant near a window with filtered sunlight or in a well-lit room. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.


Snake plants are drought-tolerant and can survive with infrequent watering. It’s crucial to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Allow the soil to dry out partially between waterings. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil; it’s time to water if it feels dry. Be cautious during winter when the plant is dormant, as it requires even less water.


Use a well-draining soil mix specifically formulated for succulents or cacti. This soil type ensures proper drainage and prevents excess moisture retention, which can cause root rot. Avoid heavy soils or those that retain water for too long.

Temperature and Humidity:

Snake plants can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but thrive best in average room temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C). They can withstand lower temperatures, but keeping them away from drafts or cold air is advisable. as the moisture meter, Snake plants adapt well to average household humidity but can tolerate lower humidity levels too.


Snake plants are not heavy feeders, so they don’t require frequent fertilization. Feed them with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength or use a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer) once every few months. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can lead to fertilizer burn.


Snake plants typically grow slowly, and pruning is not often necessary. However, if you notice any dead or yellowing leaves, trim them close to the base with clean pruning shears. This will improve the plant’s appearance and overall health.

Pest Control:

Snake plants are generally resistant to pests. However, occasionally, they can be susceptible to mealybugs or spider mites. Inspect your plant regularly, especially the undersides of leaves, for any signs of pests. Treat them with an appropriate organic or chemical pest control method if detected.


Snake plants prefer slightly snug pots, so repotting is not required frequently. However, if the plant has outgrown its current pot or the soil has become compacted, you can repot it during spring or early summer. Use a pot size slightly larger than the current one and fresh well-draining soil.

By following these best practices for snake plant care, you’ll provide your plant with the ideal conditions for growth and ensure its long-term health and beauty. Enjoy the company of your thriving snake plant!


In snake plant care, the question of drainage holes versus alternative methods is an exciting debate. While drainage holes offer practical benefits, alternative approaches can provide viable solutions for those seeking alternatives. As a plant lover, I encourage you to experiment and adapt based on your experience. Whether you go with drainage holes, layered systems, or self-watering containers, the most important thing is to ensure the health and happiness of your snake plants. So, embrace the green thumb within you, and let your snake plants thrive!

Drainage Holes or Not: What's the Best Way to Grow Snake Plants?
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Hey, My name is Liat and I am addicted to house plants! I have at home more than 50 different types of plants of all kinds - succulents, cactus, tropical plants, orchids and more! Feel free to share the blog with friends on social networks.

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