How to Repot a Cactus Plant (Beginners Guide)

Repotting is an inevitable activity in the life of a cactus let alone any other succulent.

Due to the fact that it always growing (just as any plant), it is bound to overgrow its initial pot. And this necessitates a change for your cactus to keep glowing.

Typically between 2-4 years, your cacti require repotting, don’t you wish you had a new home this often?

Right below, you’ll learn about repotting a cactus (the right way) without killing your plant.

First off…

Requirements for Repotting Cacti

Repotting isn’t much different from the initial potting. Below is a recap of the requirements.

The right pot or planter

When it comes to choosing a pot for your cactus, the size and material are of utmost importance.

Usually, a pot made of clay like these terra cotta pots made from Winlyn is preferred over a plastic one. The clay allows the roots to breath more easily which contributes to the general well-being of succulent plants.

Additionally, it boosts the drainage of the cacti potting mix hence providing just the ideal conditions for your cactus – scarce water.

On the size aspect, choose a pot that is neither too large or too small – depending on the size of the cactus you wish to pot. You want to make sure that there is just a bit of space between your cactus and the pot’s walls. A super small pot will choke up the roots ultimately killing the plant. A larger than life pot will lead to the soil mix retaining water, and you know that means for your cactus.

If you don’t know what excessive water does to cacti or let alone any succulent, please be sure to read our article on when you should water succulents. It’s helped over 3000 people and it may help you too.

Also, don’t forget to ensure your pot has a few holes down there. A big enough and well flowing draining system will be crucial to your cacti’s growth.

The proper potting mix

Cacti, being succulents, require a potting mix that is well-draining to provide the water scarcity condition that they’re adapted to. So your normal soil mix is a no-no. (If you’re looking for a premium cacti soil mix, here’s one we highly recommend from Superfly Bonsai).

Instead, you can grab a commercial succulent mix prepared just for your cactus. A typical cacti/succulent potting mix contains a small amount of organic materials, sand, perlite and sphagnum peat moss.

Alternatively, you can prepare your own ideal mix at home as long as you have the ingredients – and it’s not some endless collection of stuff from the outer space, although that’d be pretty cool. Check out the ingredients your cacti soil mix will need.

  • Potting soil
  • Coarse sand
  • Pumice (perlite is also a good option here)

And the procedure is straightforward – mix the above ingredients with potting soil taking up a larger share of the combination while the other two ingredients sharing the remaining part equally.

For instance, 2 parts of potting soil can be combined with 1 part of coarse sand and 1 part of pumice/perlite.

To test if you’ve indeed ended up with the real thing, wet your mixture and try squeezing it. A good one should be coarse and crumby. If not, consider adding more of sand and pumice/perlite. The coarseness and crumbiness (is that a word?) is what allows your succulent soil to have a functional draining system.

how to repot cactus plant
@thepricklybitch

Repoting a Cactus Plant

Here’s a refresher for when you first pot a cactus

In case you aren’t well informed on how to properly pot cacti in the beginning, here is a quick reminder on what you need to do. Just follow the steps below, skip to the next section if you just want to learn how you can be repotting your awesome prickly cactus.

  1. Place a well-draining material at the bottom of your pot. Gravel is fine.
  2. Fill up the pot with a well-draining mix – commercial or homemade – up to a third way of the pot.
  3. Try placing your plant in the pot. This way, you get to know if the pot’s size is ideal for it. The cactus shouldn’t be too deep into the pot nor too high up. And should leave just a bit of space between it and the pot – remember above? And, please don’t forget to watch for spikes. A pair of tongs or even cacti gloves will cover you.
  4. If all is good with the size, hold the plant centrally and fill up the remaining space with more potting mix.
  5. Firm the soil by pressing it gently. Add some more it goes down considerably but be sure to leave some watering space at the top.
  6. Give the plant its first shot of water.

Repotting a Cactus Plant

  1. Loosen up the soil in the pot by running a blunt knife or some other gardening tool in it. Be thorough at this to avert any possibilities of damaging the plant.
  2. Remove your cactus plant being careful not to come into contact with its pricks. Rolled up fun cactus bed sheets or a pair of tongs will do just fine for protection. In case the plant is quite huge, use a rolled up towel or actual gardening gloves.
  3. Rid the roots of large soil debris and see to it that you have individual roots separated from each other.
  4. Check the roots for any pests and diseases. Treat with appropriate chemicals. Also, nip off any dead ones.
  5. Prune the very large roots. Cutting these roots will help your plant grow with much more vigor.
  6. Allow the plant to dry out for up four days. This allows the roots that might have been hurt to heal hence eliminating any risk of rot in the soil.
  7. Follow the potting procedure above to install your plant in the ideal pot. But don’t water it yet. Give it up to a week before you water it.

After that, you can go back to your normal care routine.

BE SURE TO ALSO READ:


Repotting your cactus plant is mandatory to maintain the ideal pot size. And as long as you’ve taken your plants through the above treatment, you should do so without a problem.

Thanks for reading our repotting a cactus plant article, we hope you learned something new today in order to avoid getting pricked by the spiky thorns on cacti. Let us know if you have any tips that we didn’t share below!

Calling all succulents lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, the best soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

How To Take Care Of Succulents In The Winter/Succulent City

Winter brings with it specific needs for your succulents. To ensure they survive, you have to tailor your care to these demands and sometimes harsh conditions.

It could be as simple as that, tailoring your succulent care to the cold environment.

But then NOT all succulents will be having the same demands during this season—there are different types of succulents so there will be different types of care routines as well.

So, before having a look at the specific practices you need to adhere on how to take care of succulents in the winter, knowing the types of succulents you’re nurturing is a good starting point. Let’s get to it!

Types of Succulents

For the purpose of this guide, succulents are of 2 types: hard succulents and soft succulents.

  • Hardy Succulents – refers to a group of succulents tolerant to both frost and very low temperatures. They thrive best outdoors.
  • Soft/ Tender Succulents – these are succulents that can’t bare being in contact with frost and extremely low temperatures.

The temperature aspect here brings on a new twist – for both of these types, the value beyond which they cannot survive varies.

And given that different areas have varied (minimum) temperature readings, you need to be sure your place of residence is ideal for that particular succulent.

How to Determine Your Zone

Determining your area is a straightforward process. By doing this you will ensure that you buy or obtain the right succulents that are capable of thriving in your particular zone’s environment.

Simply head over to  USDA plant hardiness to find out whether you have winter succulents or more summer succulents. Type in your zip code and you’ll find the zone in which your area falls, denoted by Zone “value”, e.g. Zone 5.

To tell if a succulent is ideal, you’re going to compare the value given above and that of the plant. As a general rule, the value of the plant should be lower than that of the area for outdoor growth all-year-round.

Take Phoenix, Arizona as an example. It is rated at Zone 9. That means that all succulents rated Zone 1-9 can comfortably survive outside during winter. Anything above that will have to be taken inside when the season comes knocking.

Caring for Your Succulents in the Winter

As you’ve already seen above, the winter-caring regimen will depend on the type of plant; hardy or soft.

How to take care of succulents in the Winter(hardy)

  1. Be sure to nip off dry leaves – dry leaves are part of a normally developing succulent plant. The plant sheds them and simultaneously grows new ones. But in winter, when the conditions are cold and wet, these dead parts take in huge amounts of moisture which can cause rot and disease to the whole plant. So make sure they are gone as soon as they show up.
  2. Shelter from water – you’re definitely going to reduce your watering frequency during winter. But it’s also important that you stop any other water from coming in contact with your hardy succulent. Usually, snow is a good enough cover, but consider moving your plants under a cover in case it is absent. This way, you avert the rot that comes from prolonged exposure to wetness.
  3. Consider transplanting – this is a step you should take several months prior to winter to ensure roots have adapted and the succulent is well-developed. Instead of leaving them in pots, put your plants into the ground as it offers better conditions. In the event that you come up short on time, move your plants to a location with a few hours of sunlight and free from rain or any other source of water.

Caring for Soft Succulents in Winter

  1. Transfer your succulents indoors – one characteristic of tender succulents is that they don’t survive in frost and extremely low temperatures. Leave them outside to battle these two and you won’t have them a few weeks into the season. Bring them inside where temperatures are fair to them and the frost non-existent. They’ll thank you for that.
  2. Reduce the watering frequency – the soil is drying up slowly because of the winter and the fact that your pots are in-house. If you keep up with the same watering routine, you run the risk of losing your plants to rot. For this reason, your watering should be well spread-out for the soil to dry up completely which allows your soft succulents to thrive.
  3. Ensure maximum light exposure – sunshine is going to be a scarce resource during this time. Also, the fact that your plants are indoors, means there is little exposure to the already reduced sunshine. If you can, place your plants near a window – a sunny one at that – and make sure to rotate the pots so that your plants don’t bend or fade due to light coming from only one side. In the absence of an appropriate window, consider investing in a grow light.
  4. Maintain steady airflow – you need to keep the air moving so as to dry up the potting mix fast, which further averts rot and pest infestation. Just open the windows to let the wind in or make use of fans. You can always combine both for enhanced results.

ALSO READ:

General Care for All Succulents in Winter

Forget about fertilizer (for now)

Most succulents are at a dormant stage during the winter seasons. With that said, refrain from trying to force-feed any nutrients by applying fertilizers (homemade or store-bought). Fertilizers during this time period will lead to soft leaves that are susceptible to rot.

Note: There are a few varieties of succulents that grow during the winter seasons. Therefore, it is best that you keep applying fertilizer for such plants to grow even during this time.

Watch out for pests

Especially bugs that appear like tiny cotton balls on the underside of the leaves of your succulents. It’s safe to assume you know what pests can do to your precious succulents plants right?

First, remember to keep the affected plant away from the rest to curb or control the spread of the pests like mealybugs or scale insects. Afterward, eliminate them by spraying the plant with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.

Read how you can safely get rid of mealy bugs or other pests here, we’ve provided an in-depth article for you.

Aim for some light

Winter is a period of time where there is reduced sunlight. With that said, keep in mind that you should try to expose your succulent plants with enough light at least 3 hours per day for continued healthy development.

If you’re living in places where the guaranteed sunlight is less than 3 hours day, you might want to take a look at getting your succulent a grow light of some sort. This will help you guarantee light for your succulent in order to steadily grow.


In a nutshell, your succulents plants will not fall on the wayside if you’re properly caring for it with the conditions it is presented during the winter. Follow the simple routines we’ve outlined above and rest assured that your succulent will continue growing even in less admirable conditions.

Incorporate the above steps and let us know how your succulents grow during the winter, take pictures too! Thanks for reading our article and happy planting!

WAIT! If you haven’t joined the conversation in the Succulent City Plant Lounge, be sure to do so.

Did this article help answer your succulents care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulents lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on Best Lighting Practices for Succulent Growth or even The Correct Way to Water Succulents today!

How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents

Growing hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) plants in your garden is quite simple, especially if you want a lot of them. Their offsets keep coming!

Hens and chicks have beautiful rosettes that come in colors like red, green, blue, and copper. They grow like nobody’s business and produce tons of baby plants cutely called chicks, so it’s likely that you’ll never have to buy more than one Hen.

Hens and chicks are easy to care for and can thrive indoors or outdoors, so they’re the perfect plant for pretty much everyone!

If you want to keep your Sempervivum tectorum looking like spring chickens, then you’re going to need our advice! Find out how to grow hens and chicks in your own garden.

How to Grow Hens and Chicks Succulents
Growing hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) plants is quite simple, especially if you want a lot of them. Their offsets keep coming! @joske.anoebis.goa

Hens and chicks

I bet you’re probably wondering why this plant has such a weird name! It’s called hens and chicks or hens and chickens because it produces a lot of offsets, which are also known as chicks.

In case you didn’t know, offsets are baby succulents that sprout from mature plants, in this case, called Hen. The mother plant “hatches” baby chicks just like a hen does, so that’s how it got its quirky name hens and chicks!

Binomial nomenclatureSempervivum tectorum
Other namesHens and chicks, hen and chickens, hen-and-chicks, hens-and-chickens, houseleek, roof houseleek, hen-widdies
SizeThey can grow up to be up to 4 inches tall
pH6.6 to 7.5
SunFull Sun to Part Sun
ClimateCold Hardy, Winter Vegetables
Growing LocationsThroughout the US
GroundSandy, Excellent Drainage
WaterLow, Drought Tolerant

Sempervivum tectorum

Hens and chicks are also called Sempervivum tectorum. Serpevivum means “always living” in Latin. Sempervivum plants got this name because they sprout many offsets that live on after the mother plant dies.

Sempervivums are also called houseleeks because they used to be planted on thatched roofs to keep them from catching on fire during lightning storms. They store a lot of water in their leaves, so it makes sense that they would prevent fires from spreading.

How to care

Hens and chicks are native to the mountains of Europe, so they’ve adapted to cold weather and are considered a winter vegetable. Even though they’re tough and can withstand less than ideal conditions, there are still a few things you need to know to keep them healthy. Here are some of our best caretaking tips for hens and chicks.

The best soil

If you’ve read our other plant guides, you already know that you need to put your plants in well-draining soil. We talk about drainage so often because it’s super important!

If your hens and chicks get waterlogged, it may get mushy leaves, start to attract pests, or die from root rot. Nobody wants that!

Planting your succulent in cactus or succulent soil will prevent your plant from sitting in water and meeting an untimely end. Commercial succulent soil is a good choice because it contains porous materials like perlite and pumice that improve drainage and keep your plant nice and dry.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag for your garden if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil you may need by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

Bonsai Jack Succulent and Cactus Soil Gritty Mix #111-7 Gallons -...
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Last update on 2020-03-19 / Amazon

How to water

Watering your hens and chicks plants every two weeks is usually enough, but watch out for signs of under watering like dry, wrinkly leaves.

Fill up a watering can and douse the soil until water runs out of the pot’s drainage hole. In between these deep waterings, let the plant’s ground dry out completely.

Doing this encourages your hens and chicks to develop a healthy root system because its roots will grow deeper as it searches the soil for more water. Letting the soil dry out also prevents root rot.

Light requirements

Hens and chicks can handle anything from partial shade to full sun. Their fleshy leaves are a bit delicate and can burn during the hottest months of the year, so if you keep your succulent outdoors, watch out for signs of sunburn like brown, faded, or crispy leaves.

It’s a good idea to invest in some shade cloth to keep your outdoor succulents cool on hot days. You should also water your plants more frequently during hot weather to cool down the soil.

Temperature and climate

Hens and chicks are cold hardy plants, which means they can survive in below-freezing temperatures. Even if the temperature drops to negative 40 degrees, your plant baby will still be ok. Sempervivum tectorum can thrive in winters thanks to their cold-hardy attributes.

A lot of plants can’t handle temps like that—the water they store in their leaves freezes from the cold and make the leaves brown and mushy. Their ability to survive in cold weather is just one of the many things that make Hens and Chicks remarkable!

Even though this succulent is cold-hardy, it grows best in mild temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. So growing hens and chicks indoors is not only possible, but also good for them as long as they get enough light.

Keep them near a bright window like the south or east-facing window for the best results.

Fertilizing

Hens and chicks can survive in nutritionally poor ground, so you don’t absolutely need to fertilize them. You probably want your plant to grow more quickly and look more vibrant, though, so you should fertilize it once every month or two during the spring and summer.

The best fertilizer for hens and chicks is a low-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Low-balanced fertilizers are milder and have less of a chance of burning the leaves of your plant. When you’re buying a fertilizer, look for one that has three small, identical numbers on the package, like 8-8-8.

Even though you’re using a mild fertilizer, you should still dilute it to half strength. Hens and chicks don’t need as much fertilizer as other plants, so you don’t want to give yours as much as the package calls for. Standard fertilizers generally call for 1 tablespoon of fertilizer per gallon of water, but you should only use ½ tablespoon.

Do Hens and Chicks Bloom?

Some succulents use up all of their resources in order to produce flowers and seeds, which leaves nothing for the rest of the plant. Succulents that die after they flower are called monocarpic succulents.

Hens and chicks flower and die after about three or four years. Your plant may flower earlier if it’s under stress from not getting enough water or sunlight. It flowers early to try and spread its seed in the hopes that the new plants will grow somewhere with better conditions. Even if you take care of your plant perfectly, though, it will eventually flower and die.

When this happens to your hens and chicks, try not to be upset! You can save the seeds from the flowers and plant them to grow brand new babies.

Plus, your main plant probably produced a lot of chicks before it died that will grow and take its place.

Growing and Propagating

Hens and Chicks have no trouble growing and propagating on their own, but if you want even more plants, you can grow them from seed. You can harvest seeds from your mature plant after it flowers or purchase them online like the one and only Amazon.

Mother plant

If you’d rather not go to the trouble of growing succulents yourself (we don’t blame you), your hens and chicks plant will do the work for you. It produces lots of offsets that you can divide from the mother plant and put in their own pots.

Growing from Seeds

Grab a pot or planting tray and fill it up with some succulent or cactus soil.

With clean hands, take the seeds of hens and chicks and place them on top of the soil. Since the seeds are so tiny, it can be hard to see where you’re putting them, so just do your best to space them out a little.

After they’re in the soil, make sure you remember to mist them with some water. Keep them moist over the next few weeks until they germinate. Give them access to plenty of sunlight and keep them in a warm room that’s between 70 and 75 degrees if you can.

It’s unlikely that all of your seeds will germinate, so keep that in mind. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time… keep trying!

Dividing Offsets

Hens and chicks seeds don’t always produce new plants that look like the mature plant they came from. If you want your chicks to retain the characteristics of your hen, the best way to do that is by dividing offsets.

Most hens and chicks varieties grow offsets from a stem that’s attached to the mother plant. That stem is called a stolon. It’s best to wait until the stolon withers to replant these offsets. By the time the stolon withers, the offsets will have developed root systems of their own and have the best chance of surviving.

To separate this kind of offset, break or cut the stolon and carefully loosen the soil around the chick. Lift it up out of the soil and transplant it to a pot filled with succulent soil or a new spot in your garden. Wait a few days to water them so that they get a chance to adjust to their new environment.

ALSO READ:


There you have it! Those are all the things you need to know to become an expert hens and chicks gardener.

If you’d like this guide you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Even if you think you have a black thumb, don’t chicken out! Go buy yourself one. We know you’ll do a great job taking care of it. Happy planting!

How to Water Air Plants

I know, I know—these cute little plants are just to die for! Don’t have soil? No worries! They don’t need it anyway. They absorb nutrients and water through trichomes which is just a fancy name for the fine hairs located on the leaves. (Kind of like our fine hairs on our arms).

This presents endless possibilities on creative ways to display them. From those adorable teensy terrariums to seashells, or anything really, air plants don’t mind at all.

Just check out these modern wall planters that air plants can snuggle in!

With their attractive spiky tendrils, these epiphytes are no doubt a got-to-have in every living room. And if you’re a brown thumb looking for some bragging rights, air plants got you covered.

These trendy plants are low-maintenance and so you can get away with some little negligence. Less maintenance and easier to take care of than your traditional succulent plant, count me in!

Losing an air plant is a sad affair. Though hard to kill, these plants will collapse on you due to several reasons. The most common however, is in regard to watering. To have a healthy air plant, the following watering best practices are valuable.

What are Air Plants?

Air plants are part of the Tillandsia genus which consist of about 650 species. Native to Mexico and the Americas, air plants are epiphytes, which means they grow on other plants and emerge from stem crevices or tree branches. Their roots can also attach on rocks and other shrubs just for support as the roots can’t take in water or nutrients.

In their native tropical rainforest habitats, air plants survive by absorbing water in the humid environment though their leaves. Unlike other plants, these rule-breakers don’t require dirt to grow, just air.

Think air plants are cool yet? If you want to get some for yourself check out where to buy succulents, there might be some sources there for buy air plants too.

Do Air Plants Need Water?

A common myth associated with growing air plants is that since these plants grow in the air, they don’t need water. This is fueled by the fact that they absorb water from the atmosphere and so they can survive long periods with little or no water. If you follow such advice, you’ll soon end up with a withered plant.

While it’s true air plants absorb water from the atmosphere, the environment they’re grown in has a huge bearing on this. Their native tropical rainforest habitats are very humid and they get along pretty well.

In home settings however, the humidity is nothing close compared to the forests out there and so they have to be watered just like any house plant.

One way to water your air plants is to soak them in water. We recommended using a large bowl like this or something similar.

What Type of Water is Used for Air Plants?

Since air plants don’t grow on soil, they solely depend on water to get their minerals and nutrients. Therefore, the best water for air plants would definitely be rain water.

Here’s a neat little tool you can use to collect rain water for your air plants when it rains.

However, this may not be easily accessible and so you may opt for spring water. You may also use creek water, pond water, well water or lake water.

If you can’t get a hold of any of these options, then tap water can be utilized. Your last option should be soft or distilled water. It has little nutrients and minerals—not suitable for air plants as they depend on these nutrients for growth.

Mistakes to Avoid when Watering Air Plants

Thanks to the current digital age, it doesn’t take long for misinformation to spread rapidly. And this has been true when it comes to watering air plants.

Hordes of air plant enthusiasts have lost their plants due to such misleading advice. Avoid the following like the plague…

Assuming there’s sufficient water in the air

Don’t let the name “air plant” fool you. Air plants won’t get all the water they need from the air especially when growing in the living room or office.

Sure, they may absorb itty bitty amounts of water through their trichomes but that is nowhere close to what they need to survive. Depending on the climate of your surroundings, you might need to water your air plants once a week.

ALSO READ:

Excess humidity due to wet bed

Nothing spells disaster for air plants more quickly than a wet bed. They’ll be susceptible to rot. Planting air plants with plants that require constant moisture like moss plants is not recommended. Air plants flourish on dry medium. Avoid very enclosed containers as this may lead to increased moisture leading to rot.

Ways to Water Air Plants

Watering air plants doesn’t have to be a high-brow process. The following ways are ideal when it comes to watering air plants.

Misting

If you live in an arid area, your plants will appreciate periodic spritzing using a spray bottle similar to this.

It’s important to note that this method can’t stand in as the only means o watering your plants. It should only complement other watering methods. The trichomes on the leaves are unable to absorb enough water through misting.

Dunking

If your plants are thirsty and you’re in a rush, you can give them a quick drink to last them the whole day by dunking them in water.

To do this, just submerge the plant in water once or a few more times and they’ll be good until you have enough time to give them a thorough drink. Like a short swim!

Tips for watering air plants
@zoiascreations

Soaking

Giving your plants a full bath is the best way to water your plants.

This ensures that trichomes have enough time to absorb water and nutrients. To properly soak your plants, fill a bowl with water and fully submerge your air plants.

For much bigger air plants and depending on their number too, you can opt for the bath tub or sink. Be extra gentle with air plants that have blooms and don’t submerge the buds. Let the plants stay soaked in the water for at least one hour, on a weekly basis on the minimum side.

To remove the plant from the water, hold it from the base and pull it upside down, shaking it gently to get rid of excess water. Use water at room temperature to avoid shocking your plant.

Drying Air Plants

Once you’ve figured out how to successfully water your plants, what follows is leaving them to dry out right after their bath time. Lay them on a colander, towel or a dish drying rack and set them in a brightly lit area for two to four hours.

Also ensure the area has plenty of air circulation—they’re air plants, remember?

Only return your plants to their display after they’re fully dry to prevent water from accumulating inside the plant which will ultimately result to rotting.

How Frequently Should I Water my Air Plant?

Watering air plants at home
@airplantdesignstudio

This largely depends on the climate in your area.

While, air plants grown in humid areas may do well with watering only once a week, those in drier areas may need frequent soaking. You can also look dehydration evidence on your plants.

A parched air plant has curly leaves with a dull color while a hydrated plant has open and wide leaves.


Think you’ll give air plants a try now? If not, here’s some rare succulentsyou can check out.

But for those that want too, it’s actually not that hard to care and water air plants. Let us know if you end up trying to care for some air plants, we’ll have more articles about this soon. In the meantime, happy planting!

Has this helped you at all? Be sure to share with a fellow green thumb, i’m sure the info will help them too!

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Everything You Need to Know About the Snake Plant

Many succulents are short and squat because they’ve adapted to grow in arid climates, but not the snake plant! It’s a tropical plant that’s known for its beautiful tall leaves and color variations. Some varieties have leaves with thick, buttery yellow edges, while others have striking dark green stripes. Interior designers love this plant, and so do we―it compliments pretty much any style of decor and looks great in arrangements!

Succulents are known for being hardy, and snake plants are no exception. They’re one of the easiest types of succulents to care for, so we love to recommend them to new gardeners and people with black thumbs.

Even if you forget to water your snake plant for a month, you probably won’t kill it, so don’t let your lack of gardening prowess stop you from owning this wonderful plant!

Even though snake plants are tough, you’re still going to need our advice to keep your plant looking its best. In this article, we’ll give you lots of helpful care taking tips with some fun snake plant facts thrown in for good measure, so keep reading!

Sansevieria Trifasciata— the Snake Plant

History and Origin

Snake plants are native to tropical West Africa and are an important part of African culture. Nigerians believe that the plant provides spiritual protection. They use it in a ritual to remove the evil eye, a malevolent stare that casts a curse on its victims. This succulent is also associated with several African gods, including the god of war.

The Chinese also think that this plant brings good luck like the jade plant. They believe that the gods will bestow the eight virtues, which include long life and prosperity, onto its caretakers. Even if this succulent didn’t bring us good luck, we’d still keep it around because it’s so pretty!

Sansevieria Trifasciata

Snake plants are a type of Sansevieria, which is a genus made up of seventy different flowering plants. These plants are grouped together because they all have shared characteristics like narrow, upright leaves and short, thick roots.

Because the snake plant belongs to the genus Sansevieria, its full scientific name is Sansevieria Trifasciata. The second word in its name, Trifasciata, comes from Latin. It means “marked with three bands.” Several snake plant varieties are variegated, which is just a fancy way of saying that their leaves have different colored streaks. These colorful markings are why snake plants got the name Trifasciata.

In addition to its scientific name, the snake plant has a few nicknames. It’s often called mother-in-law’s tongue because of its sharp, pointed leaves. If you ever buy this succulent for your mother-in-law, don’t tell her what it’s called!

Snake plants are also known as viper’s bowstring hemp because they have strong fibers that were once used to make bowstrings.

How to Care for Snake Plants

Best Soil for Snake Plants

Snake plants are sensitive to water and prone to root rot, so it’s important to plant them in soil that drains well. Commercial succulent or cactus soil is great for them because it has added sand that helps with drainage. Read our best soil article to understand what the best soil mix is for your succulents.

You can also make your own succulent soil from scratch. You’ll save some money and get to control exactly what goes into it, so try it out if you can. There are lots of homemade soil recipes floating around on the Internet, but we like to use three parts of potting soil, two parts of coarse sand like builder’s sand, and one part of pumice.

We won’t lie, though―as much as we love a good DIY, we usually use commercial succulent soil because it’s more convenient.

We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil, it helps fight root rot, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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Last update on 2020-03-19 / Amazon

Repotting Snake Plants

Unlike other succulents, snake plants prefer to be a little squished in their pots. You don’t have to repot these guys until they’re busting out. Wait until you see obvious signs of overgrowth, like excessive top heaviness that makes your plant topple over or roots that stick out of the drainage hole. You can expect to repot your snake plants every three to six years.

Here’s some nifty geometric planters in case you want to get fancy.

Repotting a snake plant is pretty easy, but there are still a few things you need to know. Snake plants like to be root bound, so each time you repot yours, choose a pot that’s only a few inches larger than the old one. The pot you pick should definitely have a drainage hole because snake plants can rot if they sit in any water.

When you’re ready to repot, get your succulent soil and fill the new pot about a third of the way full. Support your succulent by placing your hand on top of the soil and gently turn the pot over. Your plant should pop right out, but if it doesn’t, try tapping on the sides of the pot a little. If it just doesn’t want to come out no matter what you do (we’ve all been there), try watering it. Soaking the soil will loosen the roots and make it easier for you to get your plant out. 

Now, place your plant in the new pot and see where it sits. If your plant sits one to two inches below the pot’s rim, you’re good to go! If not, add or remove soil until it’s positioned properly. Allow your succulent some time to adjust to its new pot before you water it―a few days is usually enough.

Hold off on fertilizing it for a few weeks, too, so that you don’t damage its unestablished roots.

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How Much Water Does a Snake Plant Need?

Succulents need a lot less water than other kinds of plants, and they also need a different watering schedule. Succulents do best when you let their soil dry out completely between waterings, which usually takes about a week.

Snake plants require a bit less water than other succulents, so you may want to water yours every week and a half to two weeks instead of every week.

How to Water a Snake Plant

To water your snake plant, fill up a watering can and pour water onto the soil until it starts to run out of the drainage hole of the pot. Make sure that your succulent doesn’t sit in any water―if you keep your pot on a saucer, lift up the pot once or twice a day and drain any excess water. Make sure that the soil is dry to the touch before you water your succulent again.

Considering that succulents need less water than other plants, it sounds a little strange to flood your snake plant with water every other week. But trust us―this watering schedule works!

If you’re still unsure how much water you’ll need, read our complete watering guide for succulents here. (It’s helped over 2000 succulent lovers to date!)

Snake Plant Light Requirements

Snake plants love indirect sunlight, but they’re pretty adaptable and can survive in full sun and low light conditions. Because they only need indirect sunlight to thrive, they make great houseplants like these.

To keep your snake plant healthy and happy, try placing it near an east facing window. These windows provide a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning and indirect sunlight for the rest of the day, which is perfect for this plant. If you want to keep it close to a brighter south or west facing window, just make sure that you shield it from the sun’s rays by closing the blinds a little. Too much direct sunlight will burn the leaves of your snake plant.

Outside, the best place to put your snake plants is in the shade. While they can be planted in areas that get full sun, we don’t really recommend it. In full sun they’re much more likely to develop symptoms of sun damage, like dark brown spots on their leaves. You’ll also have to water them more often because the heat from the sun causes the soil to dry out faster. If you’re not always great at remembering to water your plants, keep them in the shade!

If you’re dying to plant this gorgeous succulent in a sunny spot in your garden, we get it! We think it would look fab out there too. Just make sure you keep a close eye on it and have shade cloth on hand in case it starts to burn.

Snake Plant Temperature Requirements

Just like real snakes, snake plants don’t like the cold! They can’t tolerate temperatures below 40°F. If you leave them outside in freezing temperatures, the water inside their cells can freeze, expand, and burst their cell walls.

This will cause tissue damage and make the leaves look brown and mushy in certain spots. Your plant can even die if it’s left outside in the cold for too long! If temperatures in your area drop to forty degrees, make sure you bring your outdoor snake plant inside or put some frost cloth over it to keep it as warm as possible.

If you keep your plant inside, that’s ideal. Snake plants do best in temperatures between seventy and ninety degrees, so indoor environments are perfect for them. They’ll reward you for keeping them indoors by purifying the air you breathe. They remove toxins like formaldehyde from the air and release lots of oxygen, improving the air circulation in your home.

Best Fertilizer for Snake Plants

Fertilizer can encourage your snake plants to flower and help them grow faster. You can fertilize them as often as once per month during the spring and summer months.

To get the best results, use a balanced fertilizer. You can tell that a fertilizer is balanced if it has three identical numbers on the package, like 8-8-8. These numbers indicate that the fertilizer contains equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the three main nutrients in fertilizer. We recommend that you pick up an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 formula and dilute it to half strength before applying it to your succulent.

Pests

Succulents can sometimes get infested with pests like mealybugs. Plants that are kept outdoors and ones that are overwatered are more susceptible to infestations, but any plant can become infected.

The two main pests you need to watch out for are mealybugs and spider mites. They stymie your plant’s growth and suck the sap from its leaves, wounding them in the process. If they’re left on your plant long enough, they can even kill it. That’s why it’s so important to get rid of these nasty little critters as soon as you spot them!

Mealybugs are often mistaken for mold because they’re white and fuzzy. If you see lots of white, fuzzy spots on your plant, grab some isopropyl alcohol and put it in a spray bottle or on a q-tip. Spray or wipe the affected areas with the alcohol. Do this as many times as it takes to get rid of all the mealybugs.

Because they’re so small, you probably won’t be able to see the spider mites on your plant, but you will be able to see the damage. Spider mite damage appears as small yellow and brown spots on your plant’s leaves. These mites are related to spiders, so they’ll also leave webbing on your plant that looks similar to a spider web. If you see any of these warning signs, start spraying your succulent’s leaves, especially the undersides, with water and insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Propagating Snake Plants

One of the reasons why we love succulents is because you can get baby plants from them for free through a process called propagation.

Division is one of the most popular ways to propagate snake plants because it preserves the variegation patterns of the mother plant. If you want your new snake plant’s leaves to have the same thick yellow borders as your old plant, then don’t propagate it with leaf cuttings or rhizomes―divide your plant instead.

Propagating Leaf Cuttings

To take a leaf cutting, grab a sharp knife or a pair of shears and cut a leaf off of your plant. You want to make the cut pretty close to the bottom of the plant.

Now, take that leaf and cut it up again into a few different sections. As you’re cutting, make sure that you note which end of each section is the bottom. The “bottom” of each cutting is the side that was closest to the roots of the main plant when it was still attached.

If you plant the top sides of the cuttings in soil, they won’t root, so that’s why this step is so important. We like to take a non-toxic sharpie or pen and mark which sides we need to plant so that we don’t get confused.

Leave these cuttings to dry out for a few days. Then, fill a planting tray or pot with succulent soil and plant the cuttings bottom side down in the soil. You should keep them in bright, indirect sunlight and mist them with a spray bottle once a day to keep them moist.

Propagating succulents from leaves isn’t an exact science, and not every leaf will take, but you should see some roots and buds after a few weeks. Once your baby succulent grows a bit larger, you can water it the same way you water your mature snake plants.

Propagating Rhizome Cuttings

Propagating rhizome cuttings is pretty much the same process as propagating leaves. If you’re not familiar with rhizomes, they’re kind of like roots, except they grow horizontally. Plants that have them use them to store nutrients. Rhizomes sometimes sprout up through the soil near your main plant and grow new leaves. They can be cut and used to grow new succulents.

It’s important to wait until a rhizome sprouts a leaf before you cut it. Once that happens, take a sharp garden knife and cut the rhizome as close to the bottom as you can. Allow the cutting to dry out for a few days, and then plant it in soil, cut side down. Water this cutting the same way you watered the leaves.

Dividing Snake Plants

You can also cut your snake plant in half with a sharp knife to gain a brand new plant. Like we mentioned earlier, division is the best way to ensure that your new plant will have the same variegation as your main plant.

Cut your plant and its root structure in half right down the middle. Plant each half in its own pot with some succulent soil. Allow these plants to take root for a few days before you water them, and then water them as normal.


By now you’re probably dying to run to your local garden center and pick up one of these plants. We don’t blame you! Snake plants are beautiful, low maintenance houseplants that anyone can grow and enjoy regardless of their gardening skill level.

We love their gorgeous tall leaves, color variations, and greenish white flowers. We hope that this guide has helped you figure out how to take care of a snake plant once you get it home from the nursery, whether or not you have a green thumb!

Last update on 2020-03-19 / Amazon

Leave a comment below about what you enjoyed learning about in this article, we’re curious! And if you have a new snake plant after this, let us know the progress of your succulent baby, happy planting!

Enjoyed learning about Snake Plants? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully. With this ebook you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

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