Known as the mother-in-law’s tongue, or snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), this houseplant is known to tolerate little to no watering, feeding, or light. Drooping snake plants can usually be easily repaired, which is great news.
Is your snake plant drooping? A number of factors can cause root rot, including overwatering, inadequate soil drainage, lack of heat, insects or diseases, poor lighting, or being root bound. If you identify and fix the underlying problem, your plant will be able to recover.
Why Is My Snake Plant Drooping?
Root Rot and Overwatering
Snake plants have thick, rubbery leaves that hold moisture exceptionally well, making them succulents. Snake plants normally thrive in hot, dry areas of the West African tropics, so they do not require as much water as your typical houseplant.
As a result, they are easy to overwater, becoming susceptible to root rot if too much water is applied.
You need to let your snake plant’s soil dry completely before it will resume its former glory. Check the soil deep down to make sure it’s not just the surface that’s dry.
After that, allow the plant to dry completely between waterings, with the top three inches of soil becoming completely dry between waterings.
Approximately three months of watering only with 3% hydrogen peroxide will kill any potential root fungi. In cases of severe root rot, the plant may need repotting (see tip below), which will remove any dead and mushy roots.
Usually snake plants need to be watered once every two to four weeks, with plants receiving more light or heat needing to be watered more often. During the winter, they can be watered even less, only when the leaves look a bit wilted.
Poor Soil and Drainage
It could be that your soil holds too much water and does not drain properly, even if your watering regime appears to be in check.
Repot your plant in cacti or succulent potting mix to solve this problem. Having used this potting mix many times with great success, it is a great potting mix for your Snake plant. If you want to add a bit of compost to regular potting soil, you can simply add about half a cup of perlite.
Ensure that you use a large enough pot when repotting and remove as much soil as possible (see below). It is easy to tell if soil is too well drained by watching water come out of the bottom drainage holes when you water.
It is usually a sign that better drainage is needed if the soil still absorbs a lot of water after you pour a cup or two into it.
Rootbound houseplants are a common problem if they don’t get replanted or trimmed occasionally. Despite the fact that snake plants do not require repotting as often as other plants and are fine rootbound to a certain extent, when it gets really bad they can become unhealthy.
The roots of snake plants need soil in order to receive nutrients. If roots are too tightly bound, they can also cause girdling (the roots strangle themselves), rot and other diseases, as well as preventing the plant from “breathing” properly (plant roots need air too).
When it comes to snake plants, you need to repot them every three to five years; if you absolutely cannot, you can trim the roots instead to ensure they take up no more than half to three quarters of the space in the pot.
To determine if a plant requires repotting or trimming, loosen the soil away from the sides with your fingers and check to see if the roots reach all the way to the sides of the pot. Whenever there are more roots than soil, it’s time to move to a larger pot.
It would be a good idea to move the roots apart before repotting if the root ball is completely solid.
Remove the plant from its pot and lay it carefully on its side; this will allow you to trim the roots as desired (whether for repotting or for repairing a constricted root ball). If you’re using a knife, be sure to sharpen it up first, as you will have to cut each root one at a time.
By separating the roots as you tease them apart, you will be able to grant the roots the room to expand and spread out. By breaking up the roots, the root mass will take on more of the appearance of a normal root mass. Potting mix requirements can be found in the previous tip.
Despite the fact that a snake plant can get too hot, drooping leaves are unlikely to be the cause of the problem. There’s a good chance that it’s not getting enough heat. Temperatures above 50°F are necessary for a healthy plant. Even if it’s warm inside your house, the temperature by the window may be cooler if it’s cold outside. If this is the case, place the plant closer to a heat source or farther away from a window.
Shade-tolerant snake plants are indeed a good choice. Nevertheless, they thrive in partial sunlight. Plants that receive little light may become unhealthy, causing them to droop.Aside from ensuring adequate lighting for health reasons, partial sun also tends to make snake plants look better, with brighter leaves that allow their signature patterns to stand out more. Even though snake plants can tolerate up to eight hours of direct sunlight a day, all-day direct sunlight in a south-facing window can also cause their leaves to droop.
Plant the plant about 10 feet away from a south-facing window or in a sunny west or east-facing window. Due to the intensity of western sun, plants facing west will also do better a few feet away from the window.
When relocating plants from an area that is unlit to a place that is more open to sunlight, gradually expose the plants to more light, starting with a few hours of direct sunlight at first and gradually increasing that time each day until they get the full amount of light needed.
You can also partially block the sun with curtains, sticks, or other obstacles, gradually exposing the plant to more light each day without having to move it.
It is possible for your snake plant to become weak if it has one of the above problems.If your plant is overwatered and/or has poor drainage, fungus gnats (fruit fly-like insects) may attack it. If this is the case, you may need to repot the plant in new soil, cut off rotten roots, and follow the watering and drainage tips above. Next, use water and an insecticide containing 3% hydrogen peroxide.Homemade neem oil is made by mixing 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s with 1 tablespoon oil (e.g. sunflower or olive). A pyrethrin-based insecticide may be needed if an infestation is extreme or persistent.
There are a few other snake plant pests, such as spider mites and mealybugs, but these will usually be evident before the leaf droops as the plant displays brown spots and/or faded dots on its leaves before completely losing its leaves. Spray an insecticide as described above.
How to Fix Drooping Snake Plant Leaves
By following the tips above, you may be able to revive your snake plant leaves to some extent, depending on how badly they are drooping. As far as fixing the existing leaves are concerned, you probably cannot do anything if they are in poor condition. You can either cut them off after new, upright growth begins, or leave them till new growth takes over on its own until they die.
Whenever possible, rotten or dead leaves should be cut just below the rotten or dead part. You must keep in mind that these cut leaves will not regrow their tips. Avoid cutting the leaves off too much, as this may result in the plant dying without enough light to grow.If you wait for new, healthy growth to come in before cutting off the old leaves, your plant will be back to full health sooner.If you follow the above tips, you will never again have a problem with your drooping snake plant.