Overwatering and slow draining soils are the usual culprits behind a dying snake plant, resulting in yellow or brown leaves that droop and appear lifeless. Snake plants cannot withstand cold temperatures below 50°F and may perish as a result.
If you want to bring back a dying snake plant, it is crucial to mimic its natural habitat by providing proper watering, placing it in a room with a temperature above 50°F, and exposing it to bright indirect light instead of direct sunlight.
If your snake plant is showing signs of overwatering such as yellow or brown leaves with a drooping appearance, or underwatering and cold stress such as curled inward leaves with white patches, continue reading to learn how to revive it.
Snake Plant Turning Yellow or Brown and Drooping
- Indications. The snake plant exhibits signs of yellowing leaves, potential drooping, and a soft texture instead of a firm one.
- Reasons: The reasons behind a dying snake plant include excessive watering, soil that drains slowly, and pots lacking proper drainage.
Snake plants are a hardy succulent that has evolved to thrive in an extremely dry environment with sandy soil, little precipitation and low moisture in tropical Africa.
Overwatering snake plants or using regular potting soil that retains moisture for extended periods can create excessive dampness around the roots, which is unsuitable for this drought-resistant plant.
Yellowing leaves are a sign of distress in snake plants, which is often caused by too much moisture around the roots and can result in a mushy texture.
Snake plants need less frequent watering than other indoor plants and prefer a well-draining soil that is faster than regular potting soil.
In order to prevent the leaves of a snake plant from turning yellow or brown, it is crucial to replicate some of the conditions found in its natural habitat by utilizing a potting mix that is gritty or sandy and drains well, as well as watering only when the soil has completely dried out.
If the soil of the snake plant does not dry out between waterings, this goes against its natural environment and can lead to yellowing leaves and, in extreme cases, root rot, causing the plant to die back. To learn more about reviving a dying snake plant, visit our website!
Snake plants must be planted in pots that have drainage holes at the bottom to allow water to escape easily, which is crucial.
Excess water pooling around the roots due to saucers and trays underneath pots can lead to the dying appearance of the plant.
To discover the optimal techniques for reviving a snake plant, read my article How to Water Snake Plants).
How to Revive a Snake Plant with Yellow or Brown Drooping Leaves
- Reduce the frequency of watering. If you water your snake plants more than once a week, it is excessive. Ideally, snake plants should be watered every two to three weeks. It is advisable to wait until the soil dries out entirely when the leaves turn brown or yellow.
- Change the soil. Despite watering your snake plant correctly, it may still wilt and change color if the soil is slow draining and retains moisture. If your snake plant is in regular potting soil, remove it from the pot and replace the soil with a succulent and cactus-specific formula (found at garden centers and on Amazon) that mimics the well-draining soil qualities of its natural habitat. This will greatly decrease the likelihood of your snake plant turning brown or yellow and dying.
- When planting snake plants, use pots that have drainage holes at the bottom. This is crucial to ensure that any excess water can drain out of the pot easily and prevent the roots from being in overly moist soil for extended periods. It’s best to choose a pot size that matches the plant’s dimensions since larger pots hold more soil and moisture, which can cause yellow or brown leaves if they dry out too slowly.
Determining the frequency of watering for snake plants can be done by checking the moisture level of the soil at the bottom of the pot through the drainage hole; if it feels damp, postpone watering for a few days, but if it’s dry, then it’s an ideal time to water.
By following this watering schedule, snake plants can experience a similar pattern of heavy rainfall and drought that occurs naturally in their native environment.
Normally, snake plants need to be watered every 2 weeks, but the frequency may differ based on the climate and environment of your house. Therefore, it is recommended to determine the appropriate watering schedule for your home by checking the dryness of the soil.
It is important to check for any compacted soil or roots that may obstruct the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, which can impede proper drainage.
If you allow the soil surrounding the roots of your snake plant to dry out entirely and make necessary adjustments to watering frequency or soil replacement, if it was not draining correctly, then your snake plant can recover without experiencing any stress.
Within the next few weeks, indications of recovery should be noticeable in the snake plants.
If the discoloration is continuing to spread and the affected leaf has a soft texture, it is advisable to remove these severely damaged leaves from the bottom of the snake plant, as they are unlikely to recover, and this can help prevent further decay from spreading to other areas of the plant.
Snake plants that are suffering from extensive root decay…
If the snake plant leaves persistently change color even after proper care, it may be due to root rot, which can make it challenging to revive the snake plant.
Propagating cuttings from healthy leaves is the best solution as the remaining parts of the plant may not survive.
Snake plant leaves can easily be propagated from cuttings, and this method of propagation may be the only solution to revive a dying plant, resulting in several new plants.
If you want to produce more snake plants without spending extra money, check out this informative YouTube tutorial on propagating them from leaf cuttings.
(If your snake plant is becoming dark read my article for the answer).
Snake Plant Leaves Curling
- Indications. The snake plant may exhibit signs of inward curling leaves, which may split or appear wrinkled.
- Reasons. Insufficient watering, soil that has turned water-repellent, or exposure to low temperatures.
When the leaves of your snake plant start to curl inwards, it is typically a sign that the plant has not been receiving enough water or has been exposed to cold temperatures causing damage.
Snake plants have the ability to retain water in their leaves, and when they experience a lack of water, they utilize the stored moisture, resulting in the inward curling of their leaves due to drought stress.
At times, the leaves that are not given enough water can appear wrinkled or even develop a split along the leaf.
One reason why snake plants may die is due to the misconception that they require very little water, leading people to water them infrequently or with insufficient amounts of water.
Although snake plants can survive without water for 2 or 3 weeks due to their drought-resistant nature, it is crucial to give them a substantial amount of water during each watering session, which they store in their leaves as a survival tactic against drought.
Leaves curling inwards can also be caused by soil mixes that become hard when they dry out.
When the soil is dry, it can cause water to be repelled from the surface and flow down the pot’s sides, eventually draining out of the holes.
Although it may seem like the snake plant has been adequately watered, if the water does not penetrate the soil correctly, the roots will be unable to absorb moisture, resulting in drought symptoms such as curled leaves.
Cold Damage Causes Leaves to Curl
Snake plants cannot withstand cold or freezing temperatures since they are tropical plants.
Snake plants need a temperature range of 50°F (10°C) to 75°F (23°C) to thrive. If the room they are in gets colder than this, their initial response is to curl up as an indication of distress.
If the snake plant is exposed to extreme temperatures, it may develop white, mushy patches on its leaves within 1-4 weeks of being exposed to the cold.
If the leaves of your snake plant are touching a cold window, it can result in the plant dying.
How to Revive a Snake Plant with Curling Leaves
If your snake plant is experiencing drought stress and its leaves are curling:
- Immerse the root ball of the snake plant in a basin of water for 10 minutes. In case the soil is not absorbing water, this technique will enable the roots to absorb the necessary amount of water.
- Ensure to water the plant thoroughly. If you water it lightly, only the top layer of soil will get moistened, and the roots won’t receive enough moisture. Watering generously will help excess water drain out of the base’s drainage holes, indicating that you have given enough water to keep your snake plant healthy.
- If you notice water running off the surface of your snake plant and the soil beneath it is dry, then it’s time to replace the soil. To mimic the well-draining and porous soils of its native environment, snake plants require a special succulent and cacti soil that allows water to infiltrate properly without baking hard like some potting mixes, ensuring that the plant receives adequate drainage.
By following appropriate watering techniques and soaking your dehydrated snake plant in water for 10 minutes initially, you can expect to see signs of improvement within the next week.
The leaves that have curled in can begin to retain water once more and regain their plump, full texture instead of appearing wilted.
Reviving Cold Damaged Snake Plants
As long as you move your snake plant to a room with a temperature above 50°F (10°C), it can bounce back from its curled appearance caused by exposure to temperatures below that level.
But, if there are white patches on your snake plant that feel soft and rotten, those leaves are unlikely to recover.
Using a sterile pair of pruners, trim the affected leaf blades down to the soil to stop the spread of damage.
Snake Plants With Brown Spots
Snake plants thrive in warm and sunny environments, although they can also grow in shaded regions, particularly under the cover of trees.
Snake plants can thrive in full sun in certain circumstances, but they prefer bright indirect light and can even endure in considerable shade. This is according to research conducted by the University of Illinois Extension.
Diminished light can impede the development of snake plants. Check out my article on why a snake plant is not flourishing and how to address it).
Transferring the snake plant from a shaded location to direct sunlight can result in leaf discoloration with brown spots.
Although the sunburned areas of the snake plant‘s leaves do not heal in terms of appearance, they are not fatal to the plant and it can survive for an extended period despite such damage.
Trimming the affected leaf blade to the soil level can promote the growth of healthy leaves.
Snake plants can become very top heavy, and pots with a larger base can prevent them from falling over and suffering bruising.
- When the soil is excessively wet and overwatered, the snake plant may start to wither, turn yellow or brown, and droop; similarly, temperatures below 50°F can lead to cold stress and ultimately cause the snake plant to die.
- Curling leaves in a snake plant may suggest either cold stress due to low temperatures or drought stress as the leaves retain water.
- When brown spots appear on the leaves of a snake plant, it is usually an indication of sunburn, as these plants thrive in bright indirect light and may develop brown spots if exposed to direct sunlight.
- If your snake plant is dying, you can bring it back to life by replicating the conditions of its natural habitat, which include limited watering, indirect sunlight, and a warm environment to avoid cold stress. Additionally, if the plant is beyond saving, you can take cuttings from healthy leaves and use them for propagation.