Snake plant leaves curling?
Common houseplants, snake plants are hardy plants which tolerate changes in watering and light. They are also capable of withstanding irregular waterings and will withstand low light as well. Even though mother-in-law’s tongue plants are extremely hardy plants, they can need some basic care to avoid becoming weak and attracting pests and diseases. Curling of leaves indicates your snake is having some issues growing. Read on to learn what causes a snake plant to have curling leaves and what you can do to prevent this happening again in the future.
Appearance of curling snake plant leaves
If you have noticed that your snake plant leaves curl and want to fix the problem, then you should figure out what the problem is that’s causing the problem. Identify the root cause of the problem by looking for the key signs. Knowing this will help you determine what to do next.
You’ll know that something is wrong when you see curling leaves on a snake plant. But what does that look like? It could be curly leaves, or the leaves could fold up in on themselves. Sometimes the leaves appear yellow. Eventually, their leaves may wilt and die. Once attacked by pests, their leaves may develop wrinkles and uneven surfaces.
While some Sansevieria species do have a bit of waviness along the leaf borders, this is quite common in most other Sansevieria species. The leaves of certain snake plants, like Sansevieria Kirkii and Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii, are naturally yellow and curly, with slightly wavy edges.
An exhibitor of snake plant foliage with twisted yellow borders (Sansevieria trifasciata twist), twisting and turning as they grow.
What causes snake plant leaves to curl?
Curling leaves can easily be managed by looking for signs of them in a plant. Once you identify those signs in a plant, you can then take the necessary steps to cure and heal the plant. Occasionally, curling and distorted leaves are a sign of thrips. Thrips are small insects you may never even be able to see. Curled leaves may also be the sign of fungus, watering system problems or any number of other causes.
Find out how to correctly identify the exact cause of each problem and how to fix each problem with ease.
The most common cause of curling leaves in snake plants is the thrip infestation. Thrips are tiny black insects that can hardly be seen without a magnifying glass. They are barely one twentieth of an inch in length. Infested snake plants will show thrips feeding on the leaves and buds. You can identify an infested snake plant by the small black spots that appear on the leaves and buds. Identify them by putting a blank piece of paper under them, shaking the leaves. If needed, you can use a magnifying glass to confirm that the pest is the thrips. With the help of a sticky fly paper you can also attract them quickly.
As well as the curling leaves, you will also see and feel rough, uneven patches. This is caused by the thrips that feed by making tiny wounds on the leaves. They enter the cell walls and cause the tissues to rot. Thips attack plants above ground, including leaves, buds, and flowers. If left unchecked, these pests can harm your plants, even killing them. In addition, they carry some viruses, so it is essential that you treat them early.
Identify thrips infestations so you can fix the problem. To treat snake plants with thrips, follow these simple steps.
In order to prevent cross-contamination, quarantine your snake plant. Infections in one plant can spread rapidly to other plants if open to cross-contamination.
All infected leaves should be cut off at the base, using a sharp, sterilized kitchen knife or shears.
Put your plants in a safe container so they cannot infect the rest of the garden.
To clean the rest of the leaves, take a cotton ball or cloth and dip it in rubbing alcohol. If you do not have alcohol, wash the leaves by hand with plain water.
You want to be sure that most of the bugs get removed from the plant by wiping both sides of each leaf as well as in between the crevices.
The leaves may curl up over time, but you should see them without curling up for a few weeks. Since snake plants are hardy, treating them as soon as possible means the plant can be saved.
The infestation of thrips is not common with snake plants, but it can ruin them. Be aware of the signs and treat your plants accordingly promptly after catching the infestation. In the case of a plant that has been badly damaged by thrips and doesn’t look like it can be saved, destroy it properly. Dispose of the entire plant far away so as to not infect other plants.
A fungal infection on snake plants has been linked to curling leaves, as well as white cottony mustard sized spheres, reddish brown lesions, and web-like growth. A plant’s leaves will start to change color to a deep brown color as disease progresses. Both southern blight and red leaf spot are fungal diseases that affect the snake plant.
Controlling moisture is the main issue behind fungal infections. Water in moderation to stop the spread of the disease. Here are a few tips to keep your foliage and roots dry.
It is advisable to wipe away the fungi as soon as they appear. Make sure that the soil is replaced if there is also a visible layer of whitish fungal growth.
It is wise to dispose of the plant if the fungal issue is too severe to save. Be careful not to harm another plant in the process.
Those leaves that are healthy but have not been affected by the fungus can be propagated. Remove those healthy leaves, wash them thoroughly and cut them in 3-5 inch sections. After planting the pieces bottom side down in the soil, water them regularly.
Chemical fungicides in general do not always provide full suppression of the fungus. However, they can still control the spread of fungus effectively. Generally, chemical control for fungus is more of a preventive measure than a treatment.
In snake plants, watering problems and their effects often appear similar, such as over watering followed by under watering. Sansevieria has its leaves curl when it is over watered. Snake plants store moisture in their succulent leaves that lose their shape when deprived of sufficient water. Similar signs of underwatering are brown tips on the leaves and brown edges.
Snake plants are more likely to suffer from drought symptoms when there is too much water in the soil, as the roots are destroyed by rot. Underwatering is a more common problem for indoor plants than overwatering. Plant symptoms of overwatering are not necessarily caused by too much water. Inadequate drainage of containers or too frequent watering can also lead to symptoms of overwatering. Leaves of snake plants can curl downward as a result of excessive watering. Besides curling, leaves can become mushy and droopy, and turn yellow.
In order to identify the cause of the overwatering issue, check the soil’s moisture content. If your soil is dense and clay-based, that might be the cause. If it is too loose and does not hold water, maybe the opposite. If you don’t have a moisture meter, you can simply stick your finger in the soil and see how wet or dry your soil is. Do this 3-4 days after you’ve watered the plant.
You need to ensure the underlying problem is corrected if you have snake plant leaves that are due to improper watering.
To begin with, unpot your plant to see if the roots have rotted. Usually, overwatering makes roots rot.
Remove parts that seem dark, mushy or decayed, and damaged leaves if that is the case.
The quality of your potting mix should be examined. If it is too loose, add appropriate additives. On the other hand, if it is dense and has caused rot, discard the soil and use fresh potting mix.
Put your plant in its new pot, and water it consistently according to the weather.
Modify your watering schedule in accordance with the season.
After care and prevention measures
Plant worries can be caused by treating snake plants with chemicals or repotting them to prevent the spread. Ironically, the treatments can make the plants weak and it can lead to more issues. Since prevention is always better than cure, making sure your snake plant is healthy will prevent it from having curling leaves. Strong, healthy plants resist pest infestation and will survive disease better. Your plant will remain healthy and durable with good care that takes into account its various habitat requirements.
In the spring and summer, when they grow faster, you need to feed them and water them regularly. Sansevierias are drought-tolerant plants, so they don’t require daily watering.
The winter season is the time to lower the watering. Water just enough so the soil doesn’t get totally dry. Don’t forget to empty the drainage tray after watering so the plant doesn’t stand in the water.
Light and temperature requirement
The snake plant prefers bright, filtered sunlight in the afternoon. Direct sunlight in the afternoon can be too harsh for the plant. Though it can tolerate full sun, be careful not to abruptly move it from a low light area to a bright sunny one. You should transfer your plants gradually if you intend to do so. Do not place snake plants in deeply shadowed corners in your house.
It is ideal to have our snake plants in a temperature range between 50° F (deg C) and 85° F (deg C). Since they are tropical plants, however, they are not winter hardy. When the temperature below 45-50° F is reached, they can get damaged on the leaves. If the roots aren’t kept dry, frost can even kill the plant.
Ideal soil mix
This plant needs dry, well-draining, gravelly soil. The best ingredients for this soil are pumice, perlite, coco coir, gravel, peat, chicken grit etc. A potting mix should have at least half of those additives, which retain moisture needed for the plant, and the remaining half can be regular soil.
Even the best potting mix does not last forever. Organic matter breaks down, nutrients are washed away, and the soil deteriorates. Repot snake plants every two to three years to refresh the previous soil. Worn-out potting soil can’t drain well and gets compacted, resulting in soggy soil.
During the growing season, feed your Sansevieria plants at least once a month. However, if you live in a warmer climate, you can feed your plant all year round. Avoid fertilizing during the winter.
Snake plants respond well to liquid fertilizers and slow release granular fertilizers. Use any general purpose balanced fertilizer diluted in water. Don’t overfeed your plants.