10 Common Snake Plant Problems and How to Fix Them

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Learn about the 10 most Common Snake Plant Problems and How to Fix Them to make sure you keep the plant in the best of its health!

The best way to maintain Sansevieria (Dracaena trifasciata) at the top of its health is to keep it away from all the potential issues. If you are unsure about the troubles this plant can face, here’s an exclusive list of the Common Snake Plant Problems and How to Fix Them.

Here’s all you need to know about growing the greatest snake plant ever

Common Snake Plant Problems and How to Fix Them

1. Brown and Mushy Roots

Common Snake Plant Problems and How to Fix Them

If you notice mushy and brown roots during repotting, this can be due to overwatering and fungal infection. Waterlogged condition decreases the oxygen concentration in soil, barring the roots from absorbing the essential nutrients for plant growth.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • To prevent root rot and fungal infection, do not let the plant sit in water, especially in humid and wet weather.
  • Never use common garden soil to re-pot the plant as it may reduce drainage and have pathogens. Always go for a good quality potting mix designed for succulents.
  • Trim the affected areas of roots before transplanting the plant into a new container.

2. Leaves Curling and Folding


When a plant goes through stress, its leaves curl inward or outward. This might be due to too much sun exposure, shrimp infestations, under or over watering, root rot, and transplant shock. All these can be taken care of quickly with preventive measures.

How to Fix this Issue:

To help battle this issue, we have a very detailed post on how to avoid snake plant leaves curling here

3. Leaves Turning Yellow

Common Snake Plant Problems and How to Fix Them 2

This can be due to many things–Overwatering, low light, and harsh sun exposure. Pests are also the reason behind brown spots and yellow leaves.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • Avoid frequent watering.
  • Prevent pest-related issues by applying pesticides and pruning the affected foliage. This will help the plant to return to its normal and healthy growth pattern.
  • Notice the light exposure; if you’re keeping the plant in extremely low light, the leaves may lose variegation and turn slightly pale.
  • Too much sunlight leads to burnt yellow foliage, change the location to fix this issue.

4. Falling Leaves


Overwatering is one of the biggest reasons for falling leaves in a snake plant. The foliage begins to mush at the base, wrinkles, and falls over.

Sometimes tall growth of leaves can also be the reason behind their fall. Also, keeping this plant in the dark for a long time leads to this condition.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • Allow the soil to dry out a bit before the next watering session.
  • If you have a taller sansevieria variety, cut the tallest, floppy leaves and propagate them in another pot to maintain the upright structure of your plant. We have a great article on how to grow snake plants from leaves here
  • Avoid keeping the plant in the dark spot. Make sure it gets plenty of indirect light.
  • Avoid using too large or small pots. Pick a container that’s 1-2 sizes bigger than the plant’s rootball.

5. Leaves with Brown Tips or Spots

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Use of hard water, too much fertilization, sudden changes in climate, immediate temperature change, extreme temperatures, and exposure to frost are the reasons behind brown tips or spots:

  • Cold drafts freeze up the plant cells, causing brown spots.
  • Also, prolonged exposure to the scorching sun can cause brown leaf tips or spots.
  • Excessive nutrients can also result in brown edges on the leaves and tips.
  • Salt buildup due to hard tap water can also result in brown tips.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • Save the plant from cold drafts, sudden temperature fluctuations by placing it at a spot safe from such conditions in your home or garden.
  • Use fertilizer in weak strength as snake plants grow best in soil with low nutrients. Replace tap water with rain or RO water to avoid mineral buildup.
  • Read our informative article for more tips on this issue here.

6. Mushy and Soft Leaves


Soft mushy leaves are a common sign of overwatering that causes root rot, leaf fall, and too much moisture in the foliage resulting in a mushy texture.

This problem can also arise if your pot has no drainage holes or the growing medium is dense or compact, which does not drain properly. If your snake plant sits consistently in a wet area, leaves can turn mushy.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • Repot the plant in a well-draining medium in a pot with drainage holes.
  • Trim the damaged roots and leaves to boost healthy growth.
  • In excessive humid surroundings, move the plant to a drier location and provide ample indirect sunlight.

7. Leaves Splitting

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One of the most common snake plant problems is splitting leaves that are caused mainly due to physical damage and low humidity levels, which leads to dehydrated foliage with cracks and splits.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • Snake plants need 40-50% humidity. Instead of misting the plant, use a humidifier or take these measures listed here.
  • Splitting leaves are also caused due to damp soil that suffocates the plant. Do not water the plant until topsoil turns dry—use a finger or moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture.

8. Leaves Bending or Drooping


Bent or droopy foliage in snake plants can be a sign of overwatering. The thick leaves of this plant save water and can withstand a bit of negligence. Excessive moisture can unintentionally result in root rot.

When roots are damaged, they face problems in transferring water and nutrients that lead to bent, droopy foliage. Contrary to the fact, underwatering also makes leaves droopy.

One more reason behind this is an uneven distribution of light, which forces other plant leaves to bend towards the direction of strong light.

How to Fix this Issue:

  • Regulate the watering schedule; water the growing medium only when the topsoil dries out.
  • Rotate the plant weekly, so every part gets even sun exposure.

9. Stunted Growth

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If you notice your snake plants not showing any visible growth over a long period, improper light and pest infestation could be the major reasons.

Snake plants are susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites that suck the sap from the leaves, stressing their growth.

How to Fix This Issue:

  • Keep the plant under bright indirect light for 4-5 hours a day.
  • Mist the leaves with insecticidal or neem oil solution to deal with spider mites and other pests. Alternatively, you can also rub the underside of the foliage with a cotton pad dabbed in neem oil to keep the mites away.

10. Thin & Outstretched leaves


When the snake plants don’t get enough light, they direct their energy to grow longer leaves to reach the light source. This also leads to thinner foliage as the plant focuses on developing towards the light source; not healthy and wider.

How to Fix This Issue:

  • The sad part is you cannot fix an overstretched or thin foliage snake plant. Move the pot to an area with bright indirect light to promote healthier new leaves.
  • Cut the abnormally stretched leaves to maintain a lush look of the plant.

Note: Droopy foliage can also be a symptom of excessive heat, though snake plants can withstand full sun; prolonged exposure to harsh direct light can affect the plant. In such cases, place it in an area with bright indirect light.

Check out our article How to Force Kalanchoe to Flower More | Kalanchoe Flowering Tricks and Tips here

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