Snake plants or mother in law’s tongue are common in many households. Snake plants are beautiful with their sword-shaped leaves and make a great addition to any room. Hardy, low-maintenance evergreens, they are known for being low maintenance. For forgetful gardeners, they are a great choice since they are tolerant of some imperfect growing conditions fairly well. Nevertheless, any plant can only tolerate so much neglect. Snake plants can turn brown if they are stressed by extreme changes in the environment. This post explains how to fix a snake plant with brown tips or spots on its leaves, and how to prevent this from happening again.
The leaves of snake plants get brown patches or tips for a reason? Stress usually causes leaves to brown. Plant stress can be caused by a variety of factors. The problem must be identified and fixed quickly to prevent damage to your plant. Snake plant leaves turning brown can be caused by a number of problems.
Infrequent or sporadic watering is most likely to be the cause of brown, dry tips on your Sansevieria. Despite its ability to store water and withstand long periods of drought, snake plants still enjoy regular watering. During the summer, plants can become extremely dehydrated if they are not watered regularly. As soon as you see brown tips, you’ll realize something is wrong. Brown shriveled parts may extend over the edge of the leaf and along one or both of its sides.
Suddenly exposing an underwatered plant to excess water can also cause leaf browning. You might want to take a look at the potting mix. When the soil is dense, such as mud, it becomes too wet or concrete dries out. Root suffocation can lead to plant disease.
Even though it may seem surprising, snake plants can turn brown if they are overwatered. The brown tips may not be visible right away in this case. Rotting will occur when roots remain wet for too long in the potting medium. As they become mushy, droopy, yellowish-brown, or yellow-green, the leaves will turn yellow. Leaves will have brown spots or patches. When roots become unable to absorb moisture or nutrients, brown tips may appear when the root rot has become severe.
A healthy snake plant relies heavily on proper watering. Snake plants that have become underwatered can be easily treated by simply resuming regular watering. The leaves will begin to look healthier once they receive enough water. Make sure that the soil and roots are not overwatered if you suspect it. Then, begin watering the plant gradually after the plant has dried out.
If your plants don’t seem to be getting enough water, you should check them regularly. Using your finger, you can determine this by feeling the top 1.5-2 inches of soil. The plant can be watered if it is completely dry. During spring and summer, snake plants need to be watered every week or every two weeks. You can water it once a month or even less frequently in winter and fall.
Intens Heat or Direct Sunlight
Your snake plant’s brown edges and tips can also mean it’s suddenly been exposed to too much sunlight. When acclimated to direct sunlight, snake plants can definitely grow there. The plant might not survive if suddenly moved from a basement into the sun. When plants are exposed to extreme heat, they dry out. Yellowing and brown spots can result from this process. It is not a good idea to place the plant over a heater or radiator. The soil will quickly dry out and the leaves will be damaged.
For indirect but bright sunlight, place your snake plants behind a light curtain-covered window. It’s best to expose it to light over the course of a few weeks if you’re moving it from a deep shaded area.
Make sure that lighting conditions don’t abruptly change. If you have snake plants outside, keep them in the shade. Some simple direct sunlight is good for their growth. To prevent heat damage, move the snake plants a few feet away from the heater.
A Fungal or Insect Infestation
Although snake plants are less susceptible to pest infestation, they can sometimes attract insects like spider mites and mealybugs. Both these bugs are sap sucking insects which damage the leaves by making small wounds on them. By sucking the leaves dry they cause leaf dehydration that leads to plant stress and browning of leaves.
Wet brown areas with white thread-like growths signify a fungal growth such as southern blight. Fungal growths first appear white before changing to a deep brown color. Brown lesions on leaves can indicate a fungus red lead spot.
When your plant develops any kind of brown spots, it’s a good idea to check the foliage for signs of infestation.
As a first step, isolate the infected plant so that the disease doesn’t spread to other healthy plants. After identifying the pest attacking your snake plant, you should begin treatment as soon as possible. Wipe off spider mites and mealybugs with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. The leaves can also be washed with mild soap water. Using fungicides may be necessary to treat fungal infections.
Keeping your plants clean and healthy is a simple way to protect them from insects. Water your plants regularly to prevent fungal problems. You need to avoid staying wet for too long.
Unlike other plants, snake plants can survive on soils that are deficient in nutrients. They require low amounts of nutrients, therefore. When you fertilize your snake plants too often or use a strong fertilizer, you can damage their roots. Chemicals that burn the roots also affect the foliage. Often, this results in brown leaf tips or brown edges on the leaves. With a little feeding, snake plants thrive and grow healthier, but be careful not to overfeed them. If the leaves turn brown a few days after the feeding, excess fertilizer might be to blame.
Run plenty of water through the potting mix. In this way, the soil will be filtered of excess nutrients. For a few months, stop feeding the snake plant. You can resume fertilization as soon as your plant appears happy again. During the growing season, use diluted fertilizer no more than once a month.
During winter, when snake plants are in a resting state, avoid feeding them. Do not fertilize young, sick, or newly potted plants. Make sure to apply fertilizers cautiously and in liquid form.
Winter hardy mother in law’s tongue plants should not be exposed to freezing temperatures. The leaves are permanently damaged when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C). The leaves get scars, light brown patches, and a mushy texture. In some cases, the edges of the leaves become wavy and fold over.
If only a portion of the leaf is damaged, you can simply remove it. There is no treatment that can reverse the damage. All leaves with mushy bottoms are already lost. New leaves may sprout from the roots if they are still alive.
Low temperatures shouldn’t pose a problem for indoor plants. In the winter, however, bring your snake plants inside if you keep them outside or on your balcony.
How Can I Save a Snake Plant with Brown Spots?
Identifying the primary cause of snake plant browning is the best way to resolve the issue. Set a watering schedule, reduce fertilizer and sunlight, and treat pest infestations. There is no way to reverse the damage already done. Despite your best efforts to care for your plants, leaf damage remains.
You can simply remove the damaged parts if the damage is minimal. In case the dead brown parts look very unattractive, simply cut them off. However, if the tips are just small brown pieces, leave them alone. When severe damage occurs, remove the entire leaf from its soil line. If there are fungus infestations, always use sterilized tools when trimming leaves. Keep snake plants away from other healthy plants, just to be safe.
As your plant gets healthier, the brown tips will become less pronounced. Snake plants will grow lots of new healthy leaves when the underlying problem is corrected.