Do Snake Plants Like To Be Root Bound? All That You Should Know!


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Do Snake Plants Like To Be Root Bound??- It is that confusing thing that gave me the most headaches in my early days as a snake plant enthusiast. With all that mixed info available online, I found myself uncertain whether I should let them thrive in a tight spot or they’ll require more room for growth.

Now that I’ve learnt from my years of experience with the snake plant, here is the most accurate answer. 

Do Snake Plants Like To Be Root Bound

All that becomes a little confusing, right?  Let’s go through my detailed research and hands-on experience to clarify your curiosity-

Main Facts:

  • The snake plants like it when they’re slightly root-bounded. Excessive root bound can lead to issues. 
  • Emerging roots from drainage holes or deformed pots are the signs of excessive root bound. 
  • Either consider repotting or dividing to address the excessive root bound.

What Is Root Bound?

So, what is root-bound, or when is a plant considered to be root bound? Well, it has to do with the roots and the pots.

Basically, it means that the roots are everywhere in the pot, so the pot has become too small for the roots of the plants. 

Root-bound plants are plants whose roots have grown too large for their pots, causing them to coil around the root ball, becoming entangled and tightly packed within the pot. 

What Is Root Bound

When snake plants are excessively root-bound, they can’t absorb nutrients from the soil, which can cause them to starve, leading to no growth. That is why, to promote the healthy growth of snake plants and let them survive freely, you may need to untangle their roots when it is time.

Do Snake Plants Need To Be Root Bound?

As a general rule of thumb, snake plants like to be root-bound. Even I can say, the snake plants just don’t like it, they love it! 

They naturally grow somewhat tight in their space and do not even mind being slightly pot-bound. They prefer snug pots that are slightly larger than the root ball of the plants. 

You know, I even noticed that some of my root-bound snake plants put out more growth and are seen to be happier than my other snake plants that are in uncrowded pots and soil. 

However, as a snake plant enthusiast, I can tell you that although snake plants prefer to be crowded, excessively root bounded can harm their growth. 

When there is an excessively root-bounded condition, it may stunt its growth. Due to being too rootbound, it may need more space to thrive and maintain its health. 

Do Snake Plants Need To Be Root Bound

So, ultimately, 

It is all about careful attention to your snake plants, whether they like it or not. If you notice your snake plant is just normally growing bigger, shooting up flower seeds, looking healthy, and there is no visible issue, then I recommend you don’t mind it. Your snake plant root is just fine being pot-bound!

Why Do Snake Plants Like To Be Root Bound?

Snake plants are commonly known as reliance plants that can easily habitat in various conditions, no matter how harsh. If we are talking about root-bound plants, they literally enjoy it, I would say. Why? Let me explain!

  • If you notice, you will see that snake plants have succulent-like leaves, meaning they can easily store water and can withstand drought periods. So, by being root-bound, there will be less soil to hold water, allowing the leaves to have more and more water. 
  • There is another notable benefit. As root-bound plants limit the amount of soil available for water retention, there is less chance of overwatering, which can cause root rot and other potential issues.
  • Root bound is another major factor that triggers the normal growth of the plant. When the roots are liked to be combined in one place, it simulates the plants to produce new shoots through hormonal responses. 
  • Last but not least, snake plants get additional stability from roots by being root-bound, which makes them more adaptable to harsh to light conditions. 

How Much Root Bound Is OK for Snake Plants?

Snake plants prefer to be crowded root-bound, which encourages better growth. At the same time, excessive root-bound can hamper growth. So, how much root-bound will balance the benefit and harm? In short, a moderate level

There are some obvious signs that can help you determine whether your snake plant is moderate or highly root-bounded. One of the most obvious signs is that you see the roots coming out of the drainage holes. 

This can mean that the snake plant’s roots are finding space to expand. That’s why they may need larger pots so that the rhizomes and roots have more space to grow. 

How Much Root Bound Is OK for Snake Plants

Moreover, if your snake plant has a plastic container at home, it can be a good indication. When there is excessive rootbound and needs consideration, the plastic pot will begin to be a bit deformed. You may notice the bulge of the plastic as the pup rhizome may push against it. 

In my case, 

I noticed that one of my snake plants is looking somewhat sad or droopy. Moreover, it is also overgrown, has really big foliage, and feels overcrowded. The plant has been in that pot for almost 2 years. So, basically, it was overdue for the consideration of the root-bound snake plant.

Root Bound Snake Plant: Easy Fixes

Root bound is a common issue for snake plants. So, when you spot a root bound snake plant, don’t get worried. There are ways to fix it. The most common ways to fix root bound snake plants are:

Root Bound Snake Plant
  • Repotting: Get a bigger pot with holes at the bottom for water to drain out. Carefully remove the plant from its old pot. Loosen up the roots a bit. Put the plant in the new pot with fresh soil. This gives the roots more room to grow and makes the plant healthier.
  • Dividing: If your plant is really cramped in its pot and you want more plants, you can divide it. Take the plant out of its pot gently. Break up the clump of roots into smaller pieces. Each piece should have some leaves and roots. Plant these pieces in separate pots. This not only helps the original plant but also gives you more plants.
  • Pruning: If you don’t want to repot or divide the plant, you can trim its roots instead. Cut off the outer layer of roots, but don’t cut too much. This helps the plant grow new roots. After cutting, put the plant back in its pot with fresh soil.
  • Air Pruning: If you want to make more plants, you can let the roots dry out a bit before planting them. Instead of putting them directly in soil after dividing, let them sit out for a day or two until a dry layer forms on the cut roots. Then plant them in soil. This helps the roots grow more and makes the new plants stronger.

Tips To Prevent Root Bond Snake Plants:

Use the pot of the right size for your snake plant. Give your snake plant the right temperature, which is around 70-90°F (21-32°C). Then, give it the right watering session, and check 2-3 inches of soil to ensure it is watering enough. And that’s it! With the right care, you will have a healthy snake plant.

Is It Okay For Snake Plants To Be Root Bound?

Although snake plants prefer snug pots, excessive root-boundness affects their thrive. Root-bound snake plants may experience dehydration or nutrition deficiency. That’s why, ideally, they will be repotted in 2 to 3 years.

Do Snake Plants Like To Be Crowded?

The snake plants can tolerate being crowded in their pots. They do not mind rowdiness as long as they are not root-bound. In fact, the snake plants are well known as they thrive in tight spaces even if they are given too much room to grow. 


Do snake plants like to be rootbound? I believe every snake plant enthusiast should know this question to avoid any misconceptions. From my experience, Snake plants like to be root-bound to some extent, and they don’t mind it. Even according to other snake plant enthusiasts, maintaining slightly confined conditions assists the plants in better growth.

That’s why. Ideally, I prefer to repot my snake plants every 2 to 3 years in a slightly larger pot to prevent severe root bound and ensure overall health. Wanna learn more info like this? Then get in touch with planttrick expert.

Raina Trick

Written by

Raina Trick

Meet Rayna Trick: Your Indoor Plant Whisperer! With her roots in environmental science and a passion for exotic succulents, she’s the Green Thumb of the Year. Rayna’s here to be your plant companion, sharing her expertise and nurturing your green oasis at PlantTrick. Let’s make your indoor space bloom, one leaf at a time, together!

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