Skip to Content

How to Tell If Your Snake Plant Is Dying? (7 Signs+What To Do)

The Snake plant does not give up on you easily and hence is the most preferred species for beginners and forgetful growers.

However, not every hobbyist is successful with a snake plant. Is there a way to detect signs of a dying snake plant and save it? Let’s find out!

A snake plant will always give you some visual cues when they are stressed out. It is crucial to identify these visual cues and take the necessary steps to save your snake plant from dying.

We should never stress our plant, though it can tolerate extreme temperatures and atmospheric conditions.

If the snake plant is stressed or if the plant is moved from one extreme to another, it can develop stunted growth, which is not considered healthy.

In this guide, we will help you identify the signs of a dying snake plant and help you save them as well. So, let’s get right into it.

Also read: Why Do My Houseplants Keep Dying? (13 Common Problems)



7 Signs your Snake plant is dying

The snake plant is known to withstand drought conditions. The most common issue that this succulent face is the overwatering situation and the root rot.

If neglected in the overwatering condition, the plant develops root rot and then invites the pest situation, which is worse and difficult to get back from.

There are many signs that the snake plants send us before it gives up on us. We will need to decipher the signs, for which we will help you in this guide.

However, before we proceed, please note not to try and fix all the issues and move gradually.

A stressed plant cannot tolerate a lot of changes and needs to adhere to keenly.

Below is the list that will tell us that the plant is in danger and needs your attention.

ProblemsCauses
Leaves turning brown–Pests   
–Overwatering of the plant
White spots–Fungal or bacterial disease
Leaves curling–Pests
–Environmental changes
–Too much water
Droopy leaves–Too much stress
–Watering issues
Dying leaves–Environmental stress
–Pests–
Watering issue
Leggy growth–Low light
–Overfertilization
Yellow leavesPests
Underwatering
Overfertilization

We will discuss in brief the signs and the causes and certain tips on how to prevent the problems.

Snake plant leaves are turning brown

The Snake plant leaves turn brown and sometimes has brown spots on it. These can be caused by various reasons. However, the most critical factor is pest and overwatering.

Overwatering

The Snake plant can tolerate drought but what it cannot tolerate is excess water. The key to getting a healthy snake plant is to water it when the soil is completely dry.

The snake plant being succulent does not demand much water. 

These plants should be kept in a pot with a good drainage system.

A snake plant is made to stand on still water will suffer from overwatering condition and might develop root rot.

The best way to avoid an overwatering situation is by feeling the soil. If you see the topsoil dry, do not water the plant instantly. Check at least 1-2 inches below the soil.

The soil should feel completely dry, and only then we should consider watering the plant again.

If the plant is overwatered, the snake plant will develop brown spots on the leaves, which are also known as edema or leaf blight.

Take the necessary steps when you spot the brown leaves. Overwatering may exterminate a snake plant. Thus, it should be avoided at all costs.

Pests

The snake plant generally is pest tolerant, but the pests could be transferred from some infected plants.

If the plant has overwatering conditions, then they are prone to develop root rot, likely followed by a pest situation.

These pests, which are mostly spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids, are known to attack and feed on the newest leaves.

Check for white spots on the leaves for the spider mites and furry cotton balls for the mealybugs. If you find any of these, then the plant is infected.

When the pest attacks the plant, then the leaves will turn yellow and then brown.

To avoid the situation, we can follow two methods being:

  1. Use of pesticides
  2. Organic methods

We can use light pesticides on the snake plant to remove the bugs from the plant.

The key to getting the pests removed is by following the procedure instructed on the pesticide.

The second method is going all organic, and we can use a neem oil solution mixed with lukewarm water to fix it.

Take neem oil situation and mix it in lukewarm water.

Spray this solution on the snake plant for two weeks. We say to follow this process for two weeks is because the pests lay eggs on the leaves.

Following this process for two weeks will ensure that any probabilities of the eggs on the snake plant is eliminated. 

If using pesticides, never add an extra amount of pesticide to the plant, thinking it will help. The plant is already stressed, and we need not stress the plant further.

I always prefer to go all organic, and I suggest the same.



Snake plant has white spots

The Snake plant is prone to diseases because they are likely to be overwatered easily or moved from extreme to another.

Whenever you see white spots on your snake plant’s leaves, the first thing that should come to your mind is isolation.

Isolating the plant from your other plant will help curb the spread.

These white spots are known as powdery mildew and start with few spots on the leaves. If left untreated, then it spreads across the entire plant.

It is just the first sign of powdery mildew and is caused by fluctuating temperatures and a cooler environment. Water droplets collected on the leaves can also cause this. However, the root cause is a fungus.

To cure this, we will need to follow the steps:

  1. Take three teaspoons of baking soda
  2. Take one teaspoon of vegetable oil
  3. We can also add one teaspoon of eco-friendly liquid soap
  4. Mix the solution in 1 liter of water
  5. Keep the solution in a spray bottle
  6. Spray the entire plant with the solution after sunset

Note: Spraying the plant after sunset is crucial because we have used vegetable oil so that the solution can stick to the leaves, but during the presence of the sun, the solution may burn the leaves.

We can also use fungicides for the problem. However, use a lighter dose. The plant should not be affected.

Always isolate the plant to curb the spread of the powdery mildew on other plants.

Snake plant leaves are curling

The curling of the snake plant leaves can be because of the following reasons:

Pests

Snake plants are affected by the presence of pests such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.

These pests attack the snake plant’s newest leaves, which then loses its variegation and turns yellow.

If left untreated, the yellow leaves turn brown and often start shedding.

To avoid the situation, we need to isolate the plant and discard the affected leaves.

We can use a neem oil solution or the above mixture used to treat powdery mildew.

There are also pesticides available in the market; however, we will need to follow the label’s provided instruction.

Never add extra pesticide as it might stunt the snake plant.

Environmental changes   

What is referred to by the environmental changes in the snake plants?

The snake plant is tough and thrives in the most aggressive conditions. It might be that we would like to move our snake plant to the outside.

We can move the plant to our yard. However, gradually is the key. No plant likes to move from one extreme to another.

For a human to adapt to a different environment is tough, and it is the same with the plants.

If we want to move the plant to the yard, then provide the plant with an hour of direct sunlight daily. Follow this for a week and then slowly increase the time.

Finally, the plant should adapt to the changes and be ready to move to the yard.

Providing natural conditions to the plants is as important as nurturing it.

The process is the same if we want to move the snake plant from the yard to low light conditions.

Decrease the amount of direct sunlight the snake plant receives and then move the plant inside.

Too much water

The snake plant is succulent and does not like being overwatered. To combat the overwatering issues, we will need to:

  1. Make a watering regime
  2. Always follow the rule; Feel the soil
  3. If the soil feels wet, then leave the plant and water after a few days
  4. Make sure that the drainage holes are cleaned
  5. Use a well-aerated potting soil mix

Following the above steps will help us with the overwatering issues, and the plant should thrive.

We do not want the plant to stay overwatered as it will lead to a root rot situation, after which it isn’t easy to get back the plant.

Snake plant has droopy leaves

Why Is My Snake Plant Falling Over? (7 Causes+What To Do)

There could be multiple reasons behind the droopy leaves, but the most common issues for snake plant are:

Too much stress

The snake plant develops stress during the winters if not cared for. We need to focus on the placement of the snake plant during the winter.

If the plant is kept near the window, then consider closing the window as the cold draft might stress the plant, and we will notice the droopy leaves on the plant.

Also, never place the snake plant near the radiators because the radiators will change the moisture level, and the draft from them will cause the leaves to wilt and go droopy.

Always check for humidity levels during the winter, and regular misting will help relieve the plant’s stress.

We have already talked about not moving the plant from one extreme to another.

Watering Issues  

The issues related to watering could be both underwatering and the overwatering of the snake plant.

Underwatering and Overwatering

Though succulents can tolerate drought conditions and can last for days without water, the snake plant will face droopy leaves if left for a longer time.

It is correct that the soil should be completely dry before watering the snake plant. However, never stress the plant or deprive the plant of water.

The plant absorbs essential minerals and nutrients from water for proper growth.

Hence, make a watering regime for your snake plant and feel the soil before watering it.

We always suggest feeling the soil because the snake plant can get overwatered easily or because we had cared a little extra.

Feeling the soil is the most appropriate method before watering any indoor houseplant.

Also read: Overwatering vs. Under watering

Snake plant leaves are dying

Let us look at the reasons behind the dying leaves of the snake plant.

Environmental Stress

Stress is not good for any houseplant for the matter and might result in the plant’s death.

Snake plants do not require any extra care and can thrive through the worst of situations.

Make sure that the plant gets enough sunlight and the right amount of humidity. Often, moving the plant to extremes causes stunted growth on the snake plant.

You might also notice the plant in a dying situation when you have just purchased the plant. It is because the plant is adapting to the new environment.

Please do not worry.

Provide the plant with the utmost care and nurture. It will take a few days for the snake plant to adapt to the new environment, and it will settle.

Once the plant has completely adapted to the environment, you will see the leaves healthy as it should be.

Also, take care during the winter and remove the plant from the place it receives a cold draft.

Pests

Yes, the pest situation can lead to the demise of the plant. We have come across this point once again, and treating the pest situation straight away is the key.

Please do not allow the pest to spread to your other plants, and hence isolating them is very important.

The snake plant leaves turn yellow because the spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids feed on the newest leaves.

Then the leaves turn brown and finally shed off the plant.

We can use a neem oil solution or a mixture of eco-friendly soap to treat the pest situation.

Apply the solution for over 14 days to ensure the pest is completely removed.

The use of pesticides is also permissible but be mindful not to overdo.

Watering issues

Snake plants have water stored in their leaves, and it is succulent. 

Succulents do not require a lot of water and are prone to overwatering issues.

In the case of dying leaves, it could well be both the cases of underwatering or overwatering the snake plant.

If the snake plant is underwatered, then we will see the leaves turning yellow and shedding off the plant.

If the plant is overwatered, then we will notice the leaves turning brown and shedding off the plant.

Both scenarios are equally dangerous and cause stress to the snake plant.

Hence, always go with a watering regime and feel the soil before watering.

Never allow the snake plant to sit on still water. Check for the drainage holes.

Also read: How To Save A Dying Snake Plant?

Snake plant is getting leggy

The reasons behind the leggy growth of the Snake plant are:

Overfertilization

The snake plant requires feed for proper and healthy growth. We can feed the snake plant with fertilizer during the growing season.

Never feed the plant during the winter, as it will result in stunted growth. Winter is the state of dormancy for the snake plant.

Also, the snake plant requires a very mild dosage of fertilizer.

If we are using fertilizer from the market, always follow the instructions provided. Never add a little extra for extra growth.

Fertilizer spike can cause leaf burn and will damage the plant. We will see that the plant has brown tips and develops a leggy growth.

Hence, try to add less than the amount prescribed to avoid overfertilization.

Also read: How much fertilizer do snake plant need?

Low Light   

The snake plant needs direct sunlight for at least an hour every day for healthier growth. It results in the development of variegation in the leaves.

We might face difficulties providing more direct sunlight during the winters, so it is better to move the plant to a brighter spot.

Try to keep the plant away from the cold draft and away from the radiators.

If the plant receives a lot of chilly drafts and is kept away from the bright light, then it will develop a leggy growth.

Maintain the humidity of 40-50% by using a humidifier or dehumidifier depending upon your location. Move the plant to a brighter spot or use artificial LED lamps if needed.

Also read: How much light do snake plant need?

Snake plant leaves are turning yellow

The most common reason behind the yellow leaves on the snake plant is:

Overfertilization

As suggested above, overfertilization leads to the nutrient spike and causes stunted growth. Because of overfertilization, the leaves on the snake plant turn yellow and sheds off the plant.

We need to take care of the fertilization because the plant does not demand too much feed.

Always use the feed during the growing season only.

Snake plants like a balanced 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 fertilizer but in very minute dosage only.

When the fall is near, reduce the feed to half and halt during the dormancy period, which is the winter.

If we have already overfertilized the plant, then keep the plant under rushing water and flush the excess fertilizer.

Once the process is over, do not fertilize the plant for at least a month.

Provide the right amount of sunlight and watering conditions.

Pests   

Though it is pest resistant, we can never know in the case of plants as to from where the pests attack the plant.

Snake plants are prone to be attacked by spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids.

These sap-sucking pests like to feed on the snake plant’s new leaves, which turns the leaves yellow.

Treat the pest situation immediately by isolating the plant first. We can follow the method listed above to cure the snake plant.

We can use:

  • Neem oil solution
  • Horticulture oil
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Pesticide

If using the pesticide, please follow the instruction that is labeled.

Underwatering

Never stress the snake plant with underwatering. Underwatering of snake plants will result in the leaves of the snake plant turning yellow.

If the plant is not provided with water, it will not absorb the minerals and nutrients. That will stress the plant, and it will be difficult for photosynthesis.

If neglected, underwatering conditions can destroy the plant, and there is no coming back from this situation.

You might need to remove the yellow leaves because it is not useful to the plant now, and it will only cause issues.

Please do not worry, because once we water at the right time, the plant will start to grow naturally, and we will see healthy leaves growing.

Also read: Why is my snake plant dying?


Source: The University of Arkansas Division of AgricultureUniversity of Minnesota, Snake plant profileLighting Indoor Houseplants

How To Save A Dying Snake Plant? (+Common Problems & Solution)
← Previous
Why Is My Snake Plant Falling Over? (7 Causes+What To Do)
Next →