Brown Spots in Snake Plant? Brown Tips in Snake Plant? Here’s Why!

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Brown tips or spots on snake plant leaves?

Often referred to as snake plants or mother in law plants, snake plants enhance any home or office space with their stunning sword-shaped leaves. It is hard to beat the low maintenance and evergreen characteristics of these plants. They can survive in many imperfect conditions, which makes them a great choice for the forgetful gardener.

But snake plants can tolerate only so much neglect. They can become brown when they are excessively stressed by changes in their environment. On this post, I cover how to take care of snake plants that have brown tips or spots on the leaves and how to avoid it happening again.

Snake plants usually develop brown tips or patches on their leaves as a result of stress. There are many factors that can cause your plant to experience stress and it is critical to correctly diagnose and address the problem right away to save your plant from severe damage. Snake plant leaves typically turn brown due to a number of common problems.

Watering Problems

Infrequent or sporadic watering of your Sansevieria might be to blame if you see brown, dry tips. Despite the snake plant’s ability to store water and endure long periods of drought, it still needs a regular watering routine. If you don’t water for a long time, the plant can become severely dehydrated. The first sign of dehydration is crispy, brown tips. Parts of the leaves that have gone dry and shriveled may spread to the edges and all along the side.

The sudden presence of excess water can also cause the leaves of an underwatered plant to brown. It may be worthwhile to consider the potting mix. If it is dense like mud, it either becomes soggy and waterlogged or becomes overly dry. The roots of the plant are likely to become suffocated, making the plant unhealthy.

The snake plant would turn brown if it were overwatered as well. However, in this case you would not notice the brown tips right away. If the potting medium is left wet, the roots will rot and become mushy. Leaves will turn yellow or yellowish brown in color. The leaves will receive brown spots or patches of soft tissue. Even after the root rot has severely impacted the roots, the brown tips can still appear since the roots can no longer absorb moisture or nutrients.

It is important to water your snake plant properly to keep it in good health. Under watered snake plants can be easily treated, as you only have to resume watering it regularly. You will be able to tell the leaves look healthier once they get enough water. If you think the leaves are too wet, check the roots and soil condition immediately. You may have to let the plant dry out before you can start watering.

You should check your plants routinely to see if they need water or not. The easiest way to tell this is to run your finger between the top 1.5-2 inches of soil. During the spring and summer, snake plant needs watering only after it has become completely dry. In general, watering a snake plant once every two weeks is sufficient. If you water it once a month in winter and fall, you can water it less frequently.

Excess Heat or Direct Sunlight

Snake plant edges and tips can also appear brown when suddenly exposed to excessive sunlight. Snake plants can grow in direct sunlight if they are acclimatized to it. When you suddenly move your plant from a basement to the outdoors, it may not be able to stand the intensity of the sun. Extreme sun exposure results in plant tissue drying out. Heat from a heater or radiator will cause the leaves to yellow and develop brown spots, so putting the plant near one is not a good idea. It will dry out the soil and damage the leaves.

You can rectify this issue by placing your snake plants behind a window with light curtains that provide bright light, but indirect light. Gradually expose it to light over the next few weeks if you want it to be moved from a deep shaded place.

Keep your outdoor plants out of direct sunlight. Some sunlight is good for snake plants, but keep them in a shaded area. Heat damage to the snake plants is minimized by moving them away from the heater.

Insect or Fungal Infestation

Although snake plants are less susceptible to pest infestation than other plants, they are capable of attracting insects such as spider mites and mealybugs. The leaves of these bugs are damaged by tiny wounds caused by sap sucking insects. The sucking of the leaves causes the leaves to lose moisture, and this causes stress and browning of the leaves.

Southern blight, for example, appears white at first but then turns a deep brown color. Wet brown areas with white thread-like growths indicate fungal growths. A red spot on your plant’s leaves can indicate an outbreak of fungus. If there are brown spots on the leaves, it’s always a good idea to check the foliage for signs of an infestation.

You ought to isolate the infected plant so that the disease does not spread to other healthy plants, and you ought to begin the treatment as soon as possible after you identify the pest attacking your snake plant. For controlling spider mites and mealybugs, use alcohol dipped cotton swabs to wipe off the bugs. You can also wash the leaves with mild soap water. Fungal infections will require treatment by chemical agents such as fungicides.

The best way to protect your plants against insects is to keep them healthy and clean. Maintain a good watering regimen to prevent any fungal infections. Make sure the soil and leaves don’t remain wet for too long.


Snake plants have adapted to survive in nutrient-deficient soil. Therefore, their nutrition requirements are small. Use of a strong fertilizer or overfertilizing your snake plants can damage their roots. When the roots have been damaged by powerful chemicals, it impacts the foliage as well.

A little feeding can help snake plants grow healthier, but it is best not to overdo it. Excess fertilizer may cause the browning of the foliage or browning of the leaf tips. If you see the browning several days later, you might suspect excessive fertiliser was used.

The potting mix should be washed vigorously with plenty of water to remove excess nutrients. Stop feeding the snake plant for a few months to save it. Once your plant looks happy again, you can resume the fertilization. Dilute fertilizer only once every two weeks during the growing period.

Cold Damage

The mother in law’s tongue plant is not hardy to cold climates and should not be placed in temperatures below 50°F (10°C). Their leaves suffer a permanent damage when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C). There will be brown patches, light brown patches, and little mushy texture on the leaves. Sometimes they will become wavy and fold over.

It is not possible to reverse the damage, but if only part of the leaf has been damaged, simply remove it. All leaves that are mushy at the base should be discarded. The roots may still be alive, so new leaves may sprout from them.


If you purchase the snake plant online, sometimes it can get injured during transport. And if you have physically damaged the leaves, it will become brown patches. The outer foliage of a big plant may suffer damage from moving it from one place to another.

How to save them?

The best way to treat snake plant browning is to identify the primary cause and resolve that problem by improving the growing conditions. This may include changing the watering schedule, reducing fertilizer and sunlight, and treating pest infections. In spite of taking good care of your plant, you will not be able to reverse the leaf damage that has already occurred.

As long as the damage is minimal, you may want to just cut away the dying brown tips if they look unappealing. However, if the brown tips are just small, you may want to leave them that way. When the damage is severe, snip off the whole leaf at the soil line. Isolate your snake plant from healthy plants, especially if there is any fungus infestation. Always use sterilized tools to cut the leaves.

Your plant will become healthier as its brown tips are less noticeable because they will not be re-grown. Your snake plant will continue to grow a large number of new healthy leaves once the underlying problem is rectified.

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