Overwatered snake plant
Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria trifasciata, are considered to be easy-to-maintain houseplants. However, overwatering seems to be their greatest problem. It’s not that you’ve poured too much water on the plant. It’s the moisture in the soil that’s lingering too long. A common cause is that the soil hasn’t been allowed to dry out properly before watering again. Snake plants are susceptible to root rot when they sit in water for a long time. A healthy root system is essential to the success of any plant that you want to grow. You must take care of overwatering problems early on so they do not harm the plant. This is why we examine the causes and signs of overwatering in the previous article and specifically talking on how you can prevent it from happening in this article.
How to save an overwatered snake plant?
The extent to which your plants roots have rotted depends on how long they have been in wet soil and how badly the roots are rotten. There is no guarantee that the plant will regenerate, but if you intervene early, it could grow back. If there are some dead leaves, but the roots are still intact, it may be possible to get it to sprout again. Depending on the depth of injury to the roots, the plant may not survive.
There are several ways to save an overwatered plant, if it has been that way for a short time. You can follow any or all of these procedures, depending on your plant’s condition.
Remove the plant from its pot
Into the newspaper, place the wet soil and root ball of the plant. After this, lift the entire plant out of the pot. Use a knife to remove the sides so that it’s easier. Take care to remove dirt from roots with your hands, wiping or scrubbing the dirt away gently. Gently remove loose, soggy soil, or rotten roots with the support of a pruning saw.
After that, you should loosen the roots with your fingers. You should protect all living roots and keep the unhealthy ones protected. Healthy roots will be firm to touch and yellowish white in color.
Dry out the roots
Next, you must ensure the plant is dried off completely. You can use paper towels, newspapers, or old terrycloth to remove most of the moisture from its roots. You should gently squeeze and draw water from the roots by wrapping them in a towel or newspaper. Repeat this process until the newspaper absorbs little to no moisture. Sitting the root ball directly on newspaper is the most preferable method of drying it.
If it’s a small plant, you can arrange it on top of a baking rack long enough for the air to circulate around all sides. Otherwise, you can arrange a small fan that blows directly on the plant from a few feet away. This method will increase evaporation and transpiration. Do not use a hair dryer or other heating instrument, as they can cause further damage. Leave the plant in the shade for 3-5 days in a stack of newspaper depending on the temperature where you live. Although it may seem very tempting to repot the plant, don’t. Snake plants can withstand unwatered days even.
Cut off the damaged parts
Watch the plant for signs of wilting and yellowing following a few days. Withered or yellow leaves at the base are dead and cannot be recovered. Cut off all the affected leaves one by one and examine the roots. Make sure the leaves are bright green and healthy-looking. There might be some brown, rotten spots there. You should also remove any mushy parts of the root as well. Check the roots and ensure there are no damaged spots left. Use sharp and sterilized tools while performing this task.
Prepare the soil
Cacti and succulents can be grown in ready-made potting mixes or soil mixes. Any excess moisture sitting on the roots will be moved into the new dry soil. Make sure to use high-quality potting mix. Make sure a minimum of 50% of the mix is made up of additives like perlite, chicken grit, coarse sand, or pumice that will increase the drainage capacity. The pot can be watered much less when it is planted in a fresh mix of soil and any old soil should be removed as best you can. In case your garden is infected by a fungus near the soil line, make sure the potting medium is removed completely.
Plants that have been sitting exposed for days are ready for a repotting, so you may want to repot them in a pot made from clay or terracotta. This will help them dry out faster. Due to the porous nature of clay, water vapor can easily penetrate through the wall and get into the root system. Use a pot just big enough to cover the root system. Providing drainage holes on the bottom of the pot is a must for snake plants. Choose a pot that doesn’t have too many holes.
Pot it up with a clean soil mixture and don’t bury the leaves into the soil, rather pot up the plant dry and let it sit until it is rooted for a few days. Several days later, slowly pour water into the drainage holes until it begins dripping. Leave the plant water-free for at least a week. Allow all water to drain off the saucer for 12-25 minutes. Do not allow water to remain in the saucer.
Snake plants should only undergo this process if their roots cannot be repaired. If the roots of your snake plant are healthy but have some slight damage, it may still be worth repotting and drying out. However, the snake plant’s great thing is that it can be grown from just its leaves, even if the roots had rotted first.
To begin, cut off 2-3 leaflets that are healthy. Afterward, cut each leaf into several pieces that are at least 3-4 inches long. You may now discard the plant and its roots. Keep the soil moist to semi-dry, but never sopping wet, by placing the pieces with their tops up and bottoms down in a moist potting mix. After a month gently tug on the cuttings to see if they resist. It is best to leave them in place for a couple months until they can grow strong roots. Then you can separate them to grow new plants.