Snake Plant Root Rot: Know the 4 Alarming Signs! (2021)

Snake plants are beautiful houseplants that many people like to keep. The snake plant, however, has a big enemy- root rot!Root rot can be identified by mushy, brown, or wrinkled leaves or a soft stem. Overwatering, a small pot, or poorly draining soil are the most common causes of root rot. It can, however, also be caused by a pathogen.Make sure the environment is good, don’t overwater it, make sure the plant is in a large, well-draining pot, and keep it away from other plants with root rot.

Snake Plant Root Rot Signs

Wrinkly Leaves

If the leaves of your snake plant are wrinkled, your snake plant might be suffering from root rot. A rotten root system prevents your plant from absorbing water and nutrients. Therefore, neither water nor nutrients can reach the leaves.It will take very little time for the leaves to dry up without water. Wet clothes tend to wrinkle as soon as they are dry. They are rigid and strong because they contain water. In the absence of this, wrinkles are inevitable.Snake plants aren’t the only ones. When leaves don’t get enough water, they will wrinkle.

 Brown Leaves

Along with, or sometimes instead of, wrinkled leaves, you may also find that they have turned brown. When the leaf is not given water, it will quickly dry up, as the remaining water in the cells will evaporate into the air, particularly when the room is too hot.There is no way for chloroplasts to repair themselves since there is no water to carry nutrients to them. This causes the beautiful green colour of the leaves to fade and they cannot absorb sunlight.

Mushy Leaves

There are times when the leaves are not dry; instead, they are mushy. Water provides the cells with the nutrients that they require to repair themselves, which they will be unable to achieve without it. Due to a lack of water, they will try to hold on to as much water as possible. A mushy and horrible leaf results when the cell walls break down, but the water inside them stays.Low temperatures make the water easier to evaporate, so muggy leaves are more likely.

Soft Stem

Lastly, snake plants with soft stems show signs of root rot. Stems can become soft for the same reasons as leaves .As the cells cannot repair themselves due to a lack of nutrients from the soil, they will try and hold onto as much water as possible.Although the cell walls collapse, the water remains inside- instead of evaporating, it slowly leaks out.Consequently, the stem’s structure becomes floppy, sometimes unable to support all the leaves.

Snake Plant Root Rot Causes


Most likely, you are to blame for your snake plant’s root rot. The old saying goes, “too much of anything can make you sick,” and that’s 100% true when it comes to watering snake plants.There is a mistake that many snake plant owners make in being too strict about watering. There is, however, one problem here: you often find yourself watering the plant before it is fully absorbed.The roots are unable to absorb all the water and become clogged with water, which in turn prevents them from absorbing nutrients.

The Pot Is Too Small

It’s also possible that the pot you’ve placed your plant in is too small for it and it’s causing root rot.The soil can absorb any excess water in the pot when the pot is large enough, allowing the plant to absorb it when it’s ready. However, if your pot is too small, there will be more water, taking up less space and not allowing any of the water to be stored in the soil.Water will collect around a single point, where the roots will occupy most of the space.

The Soil Isn’t Good

It’s possible that the soil is the cause of the problem as well as the pot. Snake plants prefer a well-draining soil, as do most plants.Ideally, excess water will drain away from the roots to the bottom of the pot in a well-draining soil. In any case, the soil can retain the water in close proximity to the roots, usually at the location where the water was poured in.Perhaps there are no holes on the bottom of the pot, so excess water doesn’t drain.


Occasionally, you may do everything you can to ensure everything is perfect. Still, things can go wrong even then.Sometimes, root rot will not be the result of your actions (or inactions), but rather the result of a pathogen such as bacteria or virus. You may accidentally give some of these to your plant when you water it, and others may be carried in the air.The pathogens that cause root rot can still infect your snake plant, even though they are far more common in the wild than in house plants

How to Fix Root Rot in Snake Plants

Change the Environment

If you notice root rot in your plant, the first thing you should do is change the environment. Putting it somewhere too humid is one of the most common issues. It is true that snake plants grow in reasonably moist environments in the wild. However, there are other plants to absorb some of the water. In your house, this doesn’t happen.The plant will have too much water to absorb if there is too much water in the air.In addition, make sure the temperature is between 55-85F and the window gets as much indirect sunlight as possible.

Water the Snake Plant Less

Overwatering is one of the biggest causes of root rot, so it may help to water the plant less often if that is the cause. Generally speaking, every 2-8 weeks is fine, though the specifics will depend on the type of snake plant you have.Check the soil instead of watering it on a schedule. You can water the soil if its top 2 inches are dry. If the soil is damp, however, it is best to leave it for a few more days.A moist soil indicates that your snake plant has not absorbed all of the water you added last time.

Change the Pot

It is also important that your snake plant is potted correctly. Don’t forget to choose a big enough pot. When a plant’s pot is large enough, excess water can be absorbed into the soil, where it can be consumed by the plant.It would also be a good idea to get a more draining soil as this will ensure the soil flows through the pot instead of being trapped by the roots.You may also find it helpful to use a pot with some holes in the bottom.

Fight the Pathogens

Your root rot may be the result of a pathogen if everything appears to be upright. There’s no hope for this. It doesn’t mean, however, that there is no hope left.A fungal, viricide, or bactericide spray would be the best way to solve this problem. Don’t make it too strong, because too much strength may damage the plant.You should also not be surprised when I say that you need to remove the plant from other plants. It is impossible to prevent a pathogen that causes airborne root rot from affecting other plants.

Maybe It Isn’t Root Rot 

A root rot’s symptoms may also be the symptoms of a completely different problem. Pests can eat most plants. Snake plant pests include spider mites and mealybugs.They become incapable of repairing their cells when they devour the plants, and the results are often similar to root rot. This is particularly true when they grow underground and consume the roots.If you discover them, you will need to use an insecticide, or, if you discover mealybugs, you might have to just chop off the parts with them on. They are protected from insecticide by their hard shells.

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