Snake Plant Roots Above Soil? A Gardener Guide


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Key Takeaways

  • Ensure your snake plant has enough space and well-draining soil; consider repotting if roots appear above the soil.
  • Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot; wait for the topsoil to dry before watering again.
  •  Give your plant indirect sunlight and ample space to thrive, keeping roots healthy and underground.

If you’ve noticed your snake plant roots above soil, you’re likely curious about what this means for the health of your plant. Renowned for their resilience and suitability as indoor plants, snake plants have unique root systems that occasionally become visible. In this brief exploration, I’ll explain why this happens and how to ensure your plant remains healthy.

Snake Plant Roots Above Soil

Snake Plant Roots Above Soil

Snake plants, with their shallow root systems, can sometimes appear to be growing roots above the soil. It might make you wonder, “Is it OK if plant roots are exposed?” While it’s not uncommon for snake plants to be slightly root-bound, it’s essential to provide them with well-draining soil and monitor for signs of stress, such as droopy leaves.

In essence, taking note of the soil for snake plants condition, ensuring adequate indirect light, and repotting when necessary will keep your snake plant in top shape, even if its roots decide to make an appearance above the soil. Let’s learn more!

Snake Plant Roots Above Soil?

You seem interested in snake plants and thinking, do snake plants have deep roots or anything else?  Well, snake plants have this particular part underground called rhizomes. They’re thick and store water and food for the plant. These rhizomes also send out smaller roots that hold the plant steady in the dirt.

Now, if you ask, do snake plants like being root bound? – snake plants are pretty chill. However, if things get too tight down there, the plant might start to feel it. You might see the leaves turning yellow or brown, or the plant might not grow as much. Plus, the roots can begin to rot if they’re all cramped up. Which can even break snake plants at the base.

If you notice these signs, it’s a good time to give your snake plant a new home. Grab a bigger pot with some fresh dirt, and you’re good to go. You can also cut off some rhizomes and plant them separately to make more snake plants. Just make sure you use a sharp knife and be gentle with the severely roots.

So, to keep your mother plant happy, ensure it has enough space, don’t overwater it, and keep it in a spot with good light conditions but not direct sunlight. And remember, well-draining soil is your best friend here to prevent root rot. 

Is It Normal For Snake Plant Roots To Be Above Soil?

Yes!  It is known that snake plants are experts at living in aerial part of the soil. They usually hang out in sandy or rocky places, so they’ve learned to spread their roots wide rather than deep. Most of the time, their roots only go about 3 or 4 inches down. So, get frustrated over roots above the soil cause, trust me, snake plants leaves will grow back if you take care of it correctly.

Now, when it comes to giving your snake plant a new home, timing and technique are essential. You’d want to choose the right container size, with drainage holes to ensure any extra water can get out – we don’t want root rot, after all. A well-draining soil mix is perfect, maybe something with a bit of peat moss or orchid bark.

When you think about how and when to repot a snake plant?, grab a sharp knife (be careful!) and gently take your snake plant out of its current pot. You might notice the shallow root systems and how they spread out. Place the plant in the fresh soil of the new pot, give it some indirect light, and try not to overwater it. Frequent watering is not suitable for snake plants.

What Are The Causes Of Snake Plant Roots Above Soil?

If you ask, “Why are my plant roots coming to the surface?” That could mean a couple of things. Your snake plant may have outgrown its home. When the roots get all tangled up and coiled inside a pot that’s too small, the plant can start looking sad. The leaves might wilt, turn yellow, or even curl. Sometimes, the roots try to escape through the drainage holes.

Another thing could be too much water. Snake plants don’t like wet feet! Overwatering can lead to root rot, which is pretty nasty. The roots turn all mushy and start to smell bad. And that’s not all – the leaves might droop or fall off.

What Are The Causes Of Snake Plant Roots Above Soil

Or, the plant isn’t deep enough in the soil, leaving its roots in the open. It can dry them out, damage them, and make your plant wobbly.

But don’t worry, you can fix this! Try giving your snake plant a new, bigger home with fresh soil that drains well. A mix with a bit of peat moss or orchid bark would be great. You can even make more snake plants by cutting the rhizomes and planting them separately – use a sharp knife.

When watering, only do it when the top inch of the soil feels dry. And make sure the pot has drainage holes so any excess water can escape. To improve drainage, you could mix in some perlite, sand, or gravel.

Lastly, make sure the plant is planted deep enough, and you could add some mulch or pebbles on top to keep those roots safe and sound.

What Are The Signs That Your Snake Plant Is Rootbound?

Have you noticed your snake plant acting a bit strange? Its leaves are curling, turning yellow, or looking limp. That could be a sign it’s root-bound. It means the roots have filled the whole pot, wrapping tightly around themselves. There’s hardly any soil left; the plant’s thirsty, and when you water it, it just runs straight through.

You might also see the leaves drooping, and the plant no longer grows. The roots might even be spiralling all around the pot.

What Are The Signs That Your Snake Plant Is Rootbound

But don’t worry, you can fix this! You’ve got a few options. One is to repot your snake plant into an enormous container with fresh, well-draining soil. Ensure the new pot has drainage holes to help any excess water escape and avoid frequent watering.

Another option is root pruning. Use a sharp knife to cut away some of the tangled roots carefully. Be gentle, though – you don’t want to hurt the plant. Or you can divide the plant into smaller ones. It is pretty cool because you end up with more plants! Just separate them carefully and plant each in its pot.

How Deep Do Snake Plant Roots Grow?

You might be thinking, how Deep Do Snake Plant Roots Grow? Well, they spread out with new rhizomes. Because snake plants are succulents, they store water and nutrients in their thick leaves and rhizomes. They’re happy with a bit of soil.

To keep your snake plant’s roots in tip-top shape, here’s what you can do:

How Deep Do Snake Plant Roots Grow
  1. Use a potting mix that’s just right for cacti and succulents. It should drain well, helping to keep those roots healthy.
  2. Be careful with water. Too much, and you might end up with root rot, which is terrible news for the roots.
  3. Only repot when necessary, like when the roots have taken over the pot. It also gives your plant a chance to flower and keeps the roots from getting damaged.
  4. Try propagating your snake plant. You can start new plants using the rhizomes or even leaf cuttings.

Remember, the roots should be firm and light orange—that’s when you know they’re happy. Before planting a snake plant, take a moment to inspect its roots; ensuring they’re healthy and intact can significantly increase your plant’s chances of thriving in its new home.

What Should You  Do If Your Snake Plant Roots Are Above Soil?

Your snake plant might be feeling cramped! When the leaves start curling, wilting, or turning yellow, and you see a big tangle of roots all wrapped up when you take it out of the pot, it’s a clear sign that your plant is root-bound. Don’t worry, though; you can fix this.

You’ve got a few options:

First, repot it into an enormous container with fresh soil. Make sure the new pot has drainage holes to prevent any excess water from causing root rot.

If you’re brave, try trimming the roots for a healthier plant. Just use a sharp knife to trim away some of those tangled roots.

Another option is to divide the plant into smaller ones, giving them all more room to breathe.

No matter your approach, expect a quick bounce back to health for your snake plant. Just keep in mind its preference for indirect light and minimal water. Noticing your yellow snake plant leaves turning green again can be a delightful sign, indicating that your plant is recovering well from previous stress or poor conditions.

How To Prevent Snake Plant Roots From Growing Above Soil?

Regularly monitor your snake plant’s watering needs, ensuring the soil drains well and only adding water when the top layer feels dry. It helps in preventing excess water from causing any trouble.

If you ever think your snake plant might be dealing with root rot, here’s what you should do-

How To Prevent Snake Plant Roots From Growing Above Soil

Take a sharp knife and carefully cut away the rotten roots. After that, let the plant dry out before putting it in fresh soil. A new pot with drainage holes would be perfect.

Remember, keeping a regular check on your plant can make a difference and help you catch any signs of trouble early on. This way, your snake plant can enjoy healthy growth without droopy leaves! If your snake plant broke off at the base, don’t toss it away; with the proper care, you can save it and encourage new growth.

How Can You Care For Snake Plant Roots That Are Exposed Above The Soil?

They’re a type of indoor plant that grows from something called rhizomes. Think of rhizomes as underground stems that shoot up leaves and roots. Sometimes, you might notice these roots poking out above the soil. It’s not the end of the world, but it can make your plant look funny and affect how steady it stands.

Alright, here’s what you can do if you see roots showing:

  1. Frequent Repotting: Grab a bigger pot and fresh soil, and move your snake plant into this new home. Make sure you cover all the roots and rhizomes with soil. It gives your plant more space to grow and keeps the roots from drying.
  2. Root Pruning: Take a sharp, clean knife or scissors and trim off the roots sticking out. Cut down the damaged snake plant part. It makes your plant look tidy and takes away some of its stress. Be careful not to cut too much or hurt the good roots.
  3. Dividing: You can split your snake plant into smaller ones. Just cut the rhizomes into parts, ensuring each has at least one leaf and some roots. Pop them into new pots with fresh soil, and cover the roots and rhizomes well. It is a great way to get more plants for free!

Just pick the method that works best for you and your plant. But remember, don’t do this in winter or if your plant is sick or stressed. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Cut The Roots Of My Snake Plant That Are Above Soil?

Propagating a snake plant is easy! Cut a leaf with a sharp knife, and you can root it in water or soil. Ensure proper light and use fresh, well-draining soil to prevent root rot. Remember, a pot with drainage holes is a must!

Can Snake Plant Roots Be Propagated When They Grow Above The Soil?

Snake plants quickly make more of themselves! With little time, you can propagate them in many ways. They root well and create baby plants during the growing season. Just replant these; you’ve got new snake plants to enjoy!

Is It Ok If Plant Roots Are Exposed?

Seeing big roots on the soil’s surface around a tree isn’t a good sign. Typically, tree roots grow just below the ground, spreading wide but staying hidden. 

How Long Can Roots Be Out Of Soil?

Plant roots need oxygen, nutrients, and water. Without these, if you pull a plant out and leave it lying around, it could die in days or weeks, even in the best soil. 

How Deep Do Snake Plant Roots Grow?

Snake Plant roots, a mix of thick and smaller rhizomes, should be firm and light orange when healthy. They don’t grow deep, preferring to spread outwards. Use well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes to encourage healthy growth and prevent root rot.


Wrapping things up, when you notice snake plant roots above soil, it’s a sign to pay attention. These hardy indoor plants usually have shallow root systems, but they still need proper care. 

Use well-draining soil, ensure indirect light, and avoid overwatering to maintain their health. If roots are visible, consider repotting with fresh soil and an appropriately sized container with drainage holes to prevent root rot.

A bit of attention and care can go a long way in keeping your snake plant happy and thriving. For more tips and tricks on snake plant care, check out our detailed guide and give your green friend the love it deserves!

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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