The snake plant is one of the hardiest succulents you can grow at home. These plants can survive the harshest conditions and are not too demanding in terms of care needs. However, snake plants are not immune to problems and can die from common household hazards.
But before they die, you need to identify the signs of dying and try to revive your plant. Some of the signs of a dying snake plant include:
- Browning leaves
- Yellowing leaves
- White spots
- Curling leaves
- Drooping leaves
- Wilting leaves and dying stems
- Mushy roots
- Leggy growth
This article outlines some of the signs of a dying snake plant, its causes, and what you can do to revive your precious plant. Read through to learn more!
Leaves Turning Brown on Snake Plant
The most common problem with snake plants is brown spots. At first, these spots are tiny and look like dust particles on the surface of the leaf. If left unattended, these little specks can turn into big dark brown or black dead patches.
If you notice tiny brown spots, it’s a sign that your snake plant is already dying from the root up. Brown spots are actually a result of a fungal infection caused by overwatering and poor air circulation.
So, if your snake plant has dark brown patches, it is most likely caused by overwatering. Snake plant needs to be watered thoroughly but can tolerate periods of prolonged dryness. If you water your snake plant too often, the leaves will be deprived of the chance to dry out completely between watering.
Underwatering your plants can also cause the leaves to turn brown on your snake plant. The problem gets worse in a low humidity environment because there’s less moisture in the air for the leaves to absorb. Remember, snake plant leaves can rot and die if they’re not allowed to dry out completely but can also die if they’re too dry.
Dead Stems on Snake Plant
You might also notice that some of your snake plant stems or leaves are wilting and dying. These signs are usually caused by overwatering, but it is not always the case.
Some snake plants are more vulnerable to over-watering than others. Of course, the natural environment of a specific species can affect how much water it needs.
For example, Sansevieria trifasciata requires less watering because it is originally from East Africa and Madagascar arid regions. On the other hand, Sansevieria cylindrical seems to be more resilient to overwatering because it is originally from swampy regions in South Africa.
As a rule of thumb, snake plants should be watered thoroughly but allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Do not wait for the leaves to wilt or droop before watering your plant. While some plants can take weeks without water, snake plants should be watered at least once a week.
Yellow Leaves on Snake Plant
If your snake plant leaves are turning yellow or pale, it can mean that you’re not watering them enough. The yellowing process usually starts with the lower leaves because they have less access to water. So if all of your plant leaves are turning yellow, it is an obvious sign that you need to water them more often.
Too much direct sun can also burn the leaves and turn them yellow or pale. If you’re growing a snake plant in a small space without enough sunlight, move it to a brighter area where it can get at least 4 hours of unfiltered sunlight.
The leaves of your snake plant can also turn yellow if you overfertilize them. Do not apply a complete palm fertilizer to your snake plant. Apply a weak solution of high nitrogen plant food or use a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to one-fourth concentration once every six weeks during the growing season.
Your snake plant leaves may curl inwards or appear wrinkled. This is usually caused by low humidity. Remember, snake plants are originally from arid regions in East Africa and Madagascar.
It’s easy to combat dry conditions by simply spraying the leaves with water every other day or setting your plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Keep in mind that you should leave the plant there for at least an hour before bringing it back to its base.
The leaves may also curl due to direct exposure to heat sources. If your snake plant is placed near an air conditioner or water heater, the temperature can drop drastically at night. This sudden change of temperature can cause the leaves to become wrinkled.
Also, remember that snake plants are cold-sensitive, so it’s best to place them near a window that does not get direct sunlight.
Snake plant leaves may also droop if the roots are being over-watered. If you notice your snake plant leaves hanging low, it means there is too much water in the soil. In this case, remove the container from the drainage tray and let the soil dry out completely.
Snake plants that are exposed to cold drafts may also droop their leaves. Make sure all windows and doors are closed properly, especially during the winter months.
White Spots on Snake Plant
The underside of your snake plant leaves also tend to develop white spots. This is usually caused by cold drafts, prolonged exposure to water, and an abrupt temperature change.
If you notice that the undersides of your snake plant leaves are developing white spots, move it away from drafty areas and ensure that the soil has completely dried out before watering it again.
As for the white spots caused by prolonged contact with water, ensure that you wipe off any excess water or debris surrounding your plant’s base. You can also change the location of your snake plant to avoid direct exposure to water.
The last reason why white spots may appear on your snake plant leaves is because of temperature changes. When the temperature suddenly drops below 10°C, your leaves may develop white spots. Avoid exposing your snake plant to sudden drafts by properly closing all windows and doors or moving it away from drafty areas.
Snake plant roots may also turn mushy if they are constantly wet. If you notice that your snake plant’s roots are decaying, you should stop watering it immediately.
To prevent the mushy feeling on your snake plants’ root system, ensure that the soil has dried out completely before re-watering it again. Also, avoid overwatering your plant to prevent any more root rot problems.
Snake Plant Is Showing Leggy Growth
If you find young leaves sprouting from the soil, this means that your snake plant is entering a new growth phase. Leggy growth usually occurs during spring and summertime when your snake plants need to grow new leaves.
By allowing your snake plants to enter a new growth phase, you ensure that they have a strong root system for next year’s blooms. When your snake plants are done growing new leaves, they will stop producing new growth and return to their usual routine.
Leggy growth may also occur if your snake plant has not received enough sunlight throughout the year. Remember that snake plants require at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimum bloom production. If your snake plant has not received enough sunlight, it may produce long stems to reach the nearest window.
You should avoid overfertilizing your snake plant to prevent unwanted growth that may cause them to die eventually. Never fertilize your plant during the winter period, as this might cause stunted growth. Overfertilization may cause leaf burn, the plant to develop tips, and show leggy growth.
Should I cut off dying leaves from a snake plant?
You need to cut off the dying leaves from your snake plant as soon as possible to prevent the problem from spreading. You should do this if you notice that the problem has covered 50% of the leaf. You should trim snake plant leaves using sharp and clean scissors. Make sure that you cut the leaves one inch above the point where it meets the stem.
How does a healthy snake plant look like?
A healthy snake plant is characterized by a stout stem with lush, dark green leaves. The leaves are either broad or narrow and tend to coil at the tips. Healthy snake plants produce white flowers during the summer months.
How often should I water my snake plant?
You should water your snake plant once every two weeks or when the soil feels dry up to your first knuckle. Remember not to overwater your snake plant because this can cause root rot problems. You should also avoid underwatering as this can cause your snake plant to droop.
While most snake plant issues occur due to watering problems, others may be environmental issues, pests, or diseases. If you notice that your plant is showing signs of dying leaves, mushy roots or white spots, then you may be watering it too much or too little. If the problem continues, it might be time to move your snake plant to a location with less sunlight and more humidity.
You should also watch out for other problems such as pests and diseases and save your plant before it dies. Remember, identifying the problem early enough and finding a solution will save you from the heartbreak of losing your precious plant after investing too much time in it.