I was repotting some Sansevieria (Mother-In-Law's Tongue) for my mother. I'm not very familiar with the plant, though, and I'm not sure how deep to repot it.

I repotted one bunch where the junction of the leaves at the base was right above the surface of the soil. My thinking was that if I potted it any lower that water would seep into these junctions and cause rot. I planted it and used a stake and twine to tie them up. After several months of being tied, I let them loose and they were extremely floppy. Some of the other growths I looked at appeared to have those junctions under the soil. I repotted the plant, burying it deeper. There was no flopping and the plants seemed very sturdy in the pot.

After a period of time, several of the "plants" have rotted away. There are still some that look fine and healthy, though. So my question is how deep do you pot this plant when repotting it. I can find plenty of videos of the actual repotting, but none show how deep. Most of them are about propagating the plant. I haven't had much luck there either as they seem to rot on me as well.

I'm not overwatering the plant and in fact I've gone 6 weeks without watering it before. I water based on the soil dampness. I only water when it feels dry down to about 3", give or take. It may be that my soil is holding to much water, but the question is still valid. How deep do you bury this plant when repotting. Thanks.

2 Answers 2


Sanseveria does best in a freely draining soil in typical interior low light conditions. In high light you can actually grow it in a regular soil less mix. It's natural habitat is in bright dry locations in Africa not far from the equator.

It is best potted with the roots just under the surface of the soil. During repotting it is important to remove all soft or rotting roots. Good roots for this plant are firm and white, sometimes orange. I suggest your issues with this are about how you water the plant and the amount of light.

After repotting:

  • move the plant to the highest light area you have. South facing windows work well.
  • water thoroughly till water runs out of the bottom of the pot
  • let at least the top inch, maybe the top two inches of soil dry out

I agree with the already-posted answer. (Except for one thing - if you use a south-facing window, be careful to keep the plant out of direct sunlight.)

But here's my main response. You didn't water it for six weeks and you STILL have rotting? Try a faster-draining soil. I've heard good things about succulent potting soil. See if you can find any at your local garden shop or on the Internet, or you can make your own:

How to make a Snake Plant Potting mix in three category: Perfect, Good, and okay

Also, how cold is the room? If the room isn't warm enough, the soil won't dry out as fast as it needs to, and that could cause rotting. You don't want the roots to sit in water for too long. I actually think you shouldn't water again unless all the soil in the pot is completely dry.

Lastly, is the plant's new pot too big? Snake plants like to be in tight pots, so be careful as far as that goes.

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