Snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), is regarded as a particularly tough houseplant, tolerating neglect of watering and feeding, as well as low light. Drooping snake plants are usually easy to fix if you notice them. Read to get solutions for snake plant drooping leaves!
Reason for Snake Plant Drooping Leaves?
Snake planr drooping leaves, why? Most commonly, these problems are caused by overwatering, inadequate soil drainage, cold temperatures, pests or diseases, poor lighting, or being rootbound. Recovering your plant requires identifying and fixing the underlying issue.
In this article, you’ll learn what it takes to reverse the drooping leaves on your snake plant and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Learn all about how to keep your houseplants healthy in my book, Houseplants Made Easy.
Why Is My Snake Plant Drooping?
Leaf drooping of snake plants is caused by six main factors. As a result, I’ll discuss overwatering and poor drainage first.
Overwatering And Root Rot
One of the reason for snake plant drooping leaves are overwatering and root rot. Snake plants are succulents, which means their thick, rubbery leaves hold moisture exceptionally well. Succulents typically need less watering than houseplants, and snake plants are no exception. They usually thrive in the hot, dry climate of West Africa.
If they receive too much moisture, they can become susceptible to root rot. Let your snake plant’s soil dry completely before watering it again. Make sure that the soil isn’t just dry at the surface by pushing your finger deep into the ground.
As a result, allow 1 to 2 weeks between waterings, making sure to let the soil reach its dryest point before watering again. You should water your plants only with 3% hydrogen peroxide for three months in order to kill any potential root fungus. The plant may need to be replanted (see below tip), removing any mushy or dead roots.
The snake plant usually only requires watering twice a week, and plants that receive more light or heat require watering more often. You can water them even less during the winter, only watering when they seem a bit wilted. The most difficult part about caring for houseplants is watering.
Inadequate Soil And Drainage
Next reason for snake plant drooping leaves is because it was put in a container without drainage holes, this snake plant is drooping due to root rot. ( picture source ) If your watering schedule appears to be in order, it’s possible that the soil is just storing too much water and lacks proper drainage.
Repot your plant in cactus or succulent potting mix to fix this.
This is a fantastic Snake plant potting mix that I’ve used several times with wonderful results. Alternatively, mix half perlite and a little compost with standard potting soil for added fertility.
Remove as much of the old soil as possible while repotting, and use a large enough pot (see below). When you water, water should immediately come out of the bottom drainage holes, indicating that the soil isn’t effectively drained.
If you pour a cup of water into the soil and it absorbs a lot of water, it’s usually a sign that you need improved drainage.
Root Bound: Repotting And/Or Root Trimming Needed
Next reason for snake plant drooping leaves is root bound. One of the most common difficulties with houseplants is that they become rootbound if they are not repotted or have their roots trimmed on a regular basis. Although snake plants don’t require as much repotting as other plants and can tolerate rootbound conditions to some extent, if the situation becomes too severe, they may become sickly and droop.
Snake plants, too, require soil to acquire the minerals and water they require. Tightly linked roots can cause girdling (the roots strangle themselves), rot, and other disease problems, as well as preventing the plant from properly “breathing” (plant roots need air too!).
Snake plants need to be repotted every three to five years, or if you can’t place the plant in a larger pot for some reason, you’ll need to cut the roots to make sure they only take up half to three quarters of the pot’s space.
By pulling the soil away from the sides of the pot with your fingers and examining to see if the plant’s roots are thick all the way to the pot’s sides, you can tell if it needs repotting or cutting. If there appears to be more root than dirt, it’s time to upgrade to a larger pot.
If the root ball is fully solid, pull the roots apart until they produce a lovely branching pattern rather than a clump before planting.
Remove the plant and carefully lay it on its side to trim the roots (whether for repotting in the same pot or to correct a restricted root ball before repotting). You’ll need a pair of sharp scissors or maybe a knife to cut the roots one by one.
Rather than just cutting the bulk into a smaller root ball, gently peel the roots apart, removing large chunks of root where necessary until the root system has room to move and branches outward. The idea is to break apart the clump of roots so that it resembles a regular root mass. For potting mix requirements, see the previous suggestion.
Temperature Issues: Lack Of Heat
Another reason for snake plant drooping leaves is temperature issues. Although a snake plant can become excessively hot, if the leaves are drooping, this is unlikely to be the case. It’s very likely that it’s not getting enough heat. Maintain temperatures above 50°F for a healthy plant.
Keep in mind that even though it’s warm inside, the temperature by the window may be cooler if it’s cold outside. Look for a location where you may put the plant closer to a heat source or a little further away from the window in this scenario.
Poor Lighting Can Cause Snake PLant Drooping Leaves
Snake plants do, in fact, thrive in the shade. They, on the other hand, thrive in partial sunlight. If your plant is getting very little light, it’s conceivable that it’s becoming unhealthy and drooping.
Aside from the health benefits of appropriate lighting, partial sun makes snake plants look nicer, with brighter leaves that show off their unique pattern more. Although snake plants can withstand up to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day, all-day direct sunlight in a south-facing window may be too much for them, causing their leaves to droop.
Place the plant 10 feet away from a south-facing window, or in a sunny west or east-facing window.
If you’re transplanting a plant from a dark spot to a brighter spot, start by exposing it to the light for a couple of hours and gradually increase the length of time it spends in the sun until it gets the full quantity of light at its new location.
Alternatively, you can partially block the sun with curtains, sticks, or other barriers, gradually exposing the plant to more and more light each day without having to move it around.
If your snake plant suffers one of the problems listed above, it may become weak and vulnerable to pests. If your plant is overwatered and/or has poor drainage, fungus gnats (fruit fly-like insects that emerge from the soil as larvae) may attack it. In this situation, you may need to repot the plant in new soil, cut off any decaying roots, then water and drain the plant according per the instructions above. Then a pesticide and water with 3% hydrogen peroxide. 1 tablespoon mild dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s, 1 tablespoon oil (e.g. sunflower or olive), and 15 drops neem oil in 1 cup water is a nice homemade solution. In severe, persistent infestations, pyrethrin-based pesticides may be required.
Spider mites and mealybugs are other uncommon snake plant pests, though they are normally visible before the leaves begin to droop, as the plants can have little brown spots and/or faded dots on their leaves before drooping or loosing their leaves altogether. Spray with an insecticide as directed above. If you’re having trouble getting rid of bugs on your houseplants, check out my article on the best techniques to get rid of houseplant pests.