How To Care For The Roots Of Snake Plant? A Step-By-Step Guide


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Why is knowing about roots necessary? It’s said that, “A healthy root makes a healthy plant.” If you are a snake plant enthusiast and it comes to the roots of snake plant you should know more eagerly. 

You may think, why? The answer is, that most of the health issues that snake plants, which are also called dracaena trifasciata, face are caused by root problems. If you’ve recently moved your Snake Plant to a new pot, you may have noticed that its root system looks slightly different from those of your other plants.

Roots Of Snake Plant

It’s not finished here; this article will give you the scoop on what snake plant root types and what do snake plant roots look like and what challenges can arise from snake plant root issues.

Characteristics Roots Of Snake Plant

Snake plants are popular indoor plants with distinctive foliage and easy care. They are renowned for their ability to be resilient in different environments.

Characteristics Roots Of Snake Plant

But the amazing thing is that roots play a very important role behind these features, which are always hidden from us. 

Plants are without roots, like fish are without water. That means roots are the most important part of a plant, including snake plants. So, let’s know what do snake plant roots look like:

Characteristics Description
HardinessSnake Plant roots are known for their resilience and ability to endure various environmental conditions. They are adapted to thrive in low-light conditions, making them suitable for indoor spaces with limited sunlight.
Water EfficiencyOne remarkable feature is their water-efficient nature. Their roots can efficiently store water, allowing your Snake Plant to withstand periods of drought.
RhizomesThe presence of thick, fleshy rhizomes in horizontal underground stems facilitates your plant’s propagation and expansion by generating new shoots.
AdaptabilitySnake Plant roots showcase adaptability, making them suitable for different indoor environments with varying light and humidity levels.
Air PurificationThese roots play a crucial role in your plant’s air-purifying qualities. They can absorb and convert toxins like formaldehyde and benzene into nutrients for the plant.
Drought ToleranceThough these roots are water efficient, they are well suited for the environment where watering may be irregular or less frequent.

These are the key characteristics of your snake plants. But the main problem that can affect your snake plant’s root system is root rot, which is caused by fungal infection or bacterial infection due to excess moisture in the soil. 

Continue reading to know more. 

What Do Snake Plant Roots Look Like?

Snake plant roots are thin, bendy, and packed together, and they are light orange in color. When they’re healthy, the inside of the root looks light green to white. Healthy roots should feel firm and strong when you touch them.

What Do Snake Plant Roots Look Like

They might look like a bird’s nest, and as they age, they usually turn orange.

Types Of Snake Plant Roots

Umm, no worries, there aren’t a dozen types of snake plant roots. Snake plants mainly have two types of roots such as rhizomes and fibrous roots.

Types Of Snake Plant Roots
  • Rhizomes: Rhizomes are thick, fleshy underground stems. They work like storage. They can store water and water and nutrients for your plant. They also produce new healthy leaves and spread horizontally. Not just that it even allows the snake plant to propagate vegetatively. Curious about What should the roots of a snake plant look like? Well basically healthy rhizomes, you will find light orange in color and firm to the touch.
  • Fibrous roots: These roots are thin, wiry, and fibrous structures. Snake plants typically develop a network of fibrous roots that spread horizontally in the soil. They anchor the plant in the soil and absorb water and minerals. These roots of snake plant are orange in color and grow mostly near the surface of the soil. They do not go very deep, as the snake plant prefers well-drained and aerated soil.

Healthy Snake Plant Roots Idea

You need to ensure that the roots of the snake are healthy to enjoy the bushy plant. But what does a healthy root look like? So, basically-

Healthy snake plant roots should feel firm to the touch, not soft or mushy, which could mean too much water or root rot. They should be a light creamy white or beige colour. Healthy roots should have a smooth texture, without cuts or bruises, and shouldn’t smell bad.

Healthy Snake Plant Roots Idea

If your snake plant roots don’t look that way, it means something is fishy, and you need to take action to fix it.

How Do Healthy Roots Contribute To The Plant’s Growth And Development?

There is no substitute for healthy snake plant roots for a healthy plant. Most of the time, the growth rate and development of plants depend on the health of the mother plants roots. An unhealthy root makes your snake plant droopy, discolored, and sensitive to various diseases. Let me explain how a healthy root can contribute to the growth and development of your plant: 

Various factors are necessary for the growth and overall healthy snake plant roots. Water and nutrients are one of them. A strong root is crucial for efficiently absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. The root hairs, tiny extensions of the roots, increase the surface area for absorption, allowing the plant to take in water and nutrients necessary for growth and development.

How Do Healthy Roots Contribute To The Plant's Growth And Development

The roots help anchor and support your plants.  The roots secure the plant to the ground, preventing it from being uprooted by wind or other external factors. The roots also help the plant to grow upright and maintain its structural integrity.

In the case of Snake Plants, healthy rhizomes can contribute to the plant’s ability to propagate and spread. 

Additionally, Robust and healthy roots contribute to the plant’s overall resilience against diseases and stress. They form a strong defense system, helping your plant resist pathogens and adverse environmental conditions.

In a nutshell, healthy roots of snake plants are the foundation for this plant’s growth and development. If the roots of your plants are unhealthy, then they will lose their appearance and can be dead also. 

How Deep Should A Pot Be For A Snake Plant To Allow Proper Root Development?

You know what do snake plant roots look like, but how do you keep them in the right shape? Many people who want to grow snake plants indoors are wondering about pot size for the well being of snake plants. If you are also one of them, then you are in the right place.

You know there are various types of snake plants. The depth of the pot depends on the variety and size of your snake plant. Snake plants have thick rhizomes that spread horizontally rather than vertically. So, you should use a pot that is wide enough to accommodate the root system of the snake plant. 

However, I never use too deep pots for my snake plants. Because they can retain too much soil moisture and make your snake plant root rot. I always prefer to follow this rule of thumb is to choose a pot that is 3 to 4 inches deep for small to medium-sized snake plants such as Dracaena Trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, or Dracaena trifasciata ‘Twisted Sister’ and up to 6 inches deep for large snake plants.

But don’t forget to make proper drainage holes in the pot. Otherwise, when you water your snake plant, it will get stuck in the pot and keep the soil consistently moist. Snake plants are sensitive to these conditions. 

What Challenges Can Arise From Snake Plant Root Issues?

Snake plants are drought-tolerant succulent plants. They are native to tropical West Africa, particularly countries like Nigeria and Congo. They grow Predominantly in arid and semi-arid environments, making them well-suited for indoor growth due to their low water requirement. But keeping the healthy snake plant roots is such a hassle. You need to care for it correctly to avoid roos issues.

If your snake plants can’t meet their proper requirements, their roots can be damaged. Let’s see what challenges you may face from snake plant root issues: 

Root Rot

Root rot is a common root issue of snake plants that you can face.  This is a fungal or bacterial infection that affects the roots and rhizomes of the snake plant. Excess water is the main reason for this problem. 

It can be detrimental to your snake pants. It causes the roots to decay and lose their ability to absorb water, nutrients, and oxygen from the soil. This affects the health and growth of your entire plant, as it becomes deprived of essential resources. Root rot can also spread to other healthy roots of your plants. 

If the roots of your snake plants are rooted and you remove the plant from the pot, you will find a brown, black, grey, or mushy appearance of the root with a bad smell. Root rot can kill your plant if not treated promptly.

Ways To Revive

To revive a snake plant with root rot, you need to remove the plant from the pot. Then, inspect the roots and find out the infected ones. Then, gently cut off the infected parts using a sharp knife, and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil. You should also reduce the watering frequency and avoid getting your snake plants leaves wet.

Root-Bound Conditions

If you notice your potting soil is drying up quickly or water draining out too fast, yellowing, wilting, curling, or browning of the leaves and no new growth. Then, look at the base of your plant.

If some roots are growing out of the drainage holes or the surface of the soil, it means your plant roots are bound. This can harm the snake plant because it prevents the roots from absorbing water, nutrients, and oxygen from the soil. 

Ways To Revive

After ensuring the root-bound issues, you should consider repotting your snake plant. First, take a new pot that is 1-2 inches wider than the current one, with drainage holes at the bottom. Then remove your plant and lose the dense mass of roots that are tightly wrapped around the root ball of snake plant using your hands. You should cut off the damaged roots. Then, plant it in a new pot with a proper potting mix.

Root Shock

This condition occurs when you suddenly expose your snake plant to a different environment, such as a change in temperature, light, humidity, or soil. Root shock can cause your snake plant to wilt, droop, or lose leaves. If you have recently moved your snake plants to a new spot that is not suited to the previous environment, then you will see the signs of root shock. 

Ways To Revive

You can prevent root shock by acclimating your plant gradually to its new location, and avoiding extreme changes in conditions. To revive a snake plant with root shock, you need to provide the plant with optimal care, such as adequate water, bright indirect light, and fertilizer, and protect it from stressors.

Care Considerations For Snake Plant Roots In Different Environments

So you already understand how much root health is necessary for a healthy snake plant. But the query is how to take care of the roots of snake plants in different environments.  Snake plants have various types, and they can grow both indoors and outdoors, so their caring processes are also different. For indoor snake plant you can follow the below steps to care for their roots: 

Care Considerations For Snake Plant Roots In Different Environments

For outdoors, you can follow these steps to care for your snake plant roots

  • Plant your snake plant in sandy or loamy soil for outdoor planting. It can prevent waterlogging.
  • When you plant your snake plants outdoors, ensure planting at the same depth as they were in their original containers. 
  • Outdoor Snake Plants are generally more tolerant of occasional drought, so allow watering when the top 2-3 inches of soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Choose a location with indirect sunlight or partial shade for planting your snake plants.
  • If your region experiences frost, consider protecting outdoor Snake Plants during colder seasons like winter.
  • Don’t provide excessive fertilizer to your snake pants, as they are not heavy feeders. Excessive fertilizer can damage the roots. 
  • Maintain adequate spacing between your Snake Plants when planting outdoors. Otherwise, plants become overcrowded, leading to root problems. 
  • Pay attention to the changing seasons and adjust care accordingly to keep the roots of your snake plant healthy. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What Role Do The Roots Play In The Water Uptake?

The roots play a vital role in the water uptake of plants. They are the main organs that absorb water from the soil and transport it to the rest of the plant. 

Does Snake Plant Have Very Shallow Roots?

Yes, snake plants have very shallow roots. They do not grow deep into the soil but rather spread horizontally through rhizomes.

Do Snake Plants Like Crowded Roots?

Yes, Snake Plants (Sansevieria) tend to thrive when their roots are slightly crowded. Generally they grow indoors. Crowded roots contribute to the plant’s stability, as they anchor the Snake Plant securely in its growing medium. 

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, how to care for the roots of snake plants. If you want to keep your snake plants healthy and well-growth, you have to keep the roots healthy first.  As roots stay under the soil and are invisible to us, it’s necessary to know how I understand whether my snake plant roots are healthy or not.

To ensure the health of your snake plant roots, inspect your plants for any signs of damaged roots that I explored in the article. Consider repotting your snake plants after 1-2 years. And prune the damaged roots during repotting. Avoid overwatering and follow other instructions to keep your snake plants’ root healthy. Stay with Plant Trick to get more info like this.

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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