The snake plant (Sansevieria) is a hardy, green plant that requires adequate soil moisture to thrive. Snake plants can suffer from root rot and other problems caused by overwatering. Then, how do you recognize overwatered snake plants and how do you save them?
Snake plants that are overwatered will display signs such as drooping, yellowed leaves, and falling over easily. Snake plants must be removed from their pots, their rotting roots cut off, and a fresh potting mix used to prevent them from dying. If you want indirect light for your plant, locate it where the light is bright.
There are many signs that start to appear on the leaves of Sansevieria plants when they are overwatered. You can tell when your snake plant has been overwatered, and you can prevent and stop the plant from dying due to waterlogging by following this guide.
Signs of Overwatering in Snake Plants
The snake plant leaves will show you if they are waterlogged. Overwatering results in the leaves of a snake plant becoming heavy, squishy, and limp. Sometimes they may fall over as well. To check for excess water, you can push your finger through the soil to test for wetness. Snake plants that are overwatered show the following symptoms:
Soft, mushy or squishy leaves
Snake plant leaves suffer significant damage when they absorb excess water. As a consequence of excessive water consumption, leaves eventually burst. When the plant is overwatered, the leaves become soft, mushy, and squishy.
Snake plants have rigid and green leaves with erect stems that stand upright. In addition to serving as a water storage surface, leaves hold water that has been absorbed from the soil within the inner surface of their surfaces.
Rotting roots and smelly soil
Root rot is a disease caused by fungal and bacterial infestation of your plants’ roots. Overwatering is one of the primary causes of root rot, where the soil remains wet for extended periods of time. A moist soil provides the perfect environment for fungi, bacteria, and worms, which break down the roots of the plants, causing them to wither and eventually die.
By smelling the soil, you can tell right away if your plant has root rot. Take a small pinch of soil from one of the plants’ base and place it in your nostrils. When a soil sample is smelly, it indicates the presence of fungi caused by dampness. In addition to this, you should look for extra evidence of root rot at the roots.
Crusty white roots are a sign of a healthy snake plant. You may notice portions of the roots turning brown (or black) if your plant is suffering from root rot. To save the snake plant from overwatering, remove the affected roots, wash the plant with water, and transplant the new plant into a new container.
Dropping leaves are a clear indication that you have a snake plant problem. The most common reason for a drooping snake plant is too much water. Underwatering and nutrient depletion can also negatively affect your plant’s leaves.
You can begin by checking your snake plant’s soil if you notice your leaves drooping:
- The presence of wet soil indicates that you have overwatered your plant (which may also account for the drooping leaves).
- You can also evaluate additional factors such as temperature, potting medium, stress, or underwatering in snake plants if the soil is dry.
You might want to check the root zone and treat root rot if the snake plant leaves droop. Drooping leaves can also mean that the plant is suffering from root rot.
The snake plant falling over
There’s nothing wrong with a few leaves on your snake plant falling over. Nevertheless, if you notice your leaves falling over within a short period of time, it might be a sign that you have overwatered your snake plant. In the case of snake plants, water is stored in their leaves, so when too much water is ingested, it makes stress on the leaf base, causing the leaves to fall over.
Leaves turning yellow
Snake plants have green leaves of varying colors depending on the species and variety. The yellowing of sansevieria leaves can be a sign that they are unwell due to overwatering, environmental stress, inadequate sunlight, or excess fertilizer. Waterlogged roots suffocate and cannot absorb nutrients, water, and oxygen, causing the leaves to turn yellow. The leaves of snake plants can also become brown from prolonged water stress.
Can a Snake Plant Recover from Overwatering?
You can save snake plants from overwatering if you treat them early enough. Plants that sit in waterlogged soil for a long period of time can develop root rot, a fungal disease that can kill the plant quickly. If you stop watering the plant first and put it in a sunny place, you can start saving the plant. In addition, excess light can cause additional problems to your plant, so do not place it in an area with high light intensity, but choose a low to medium intensity location, preferably near a window, and let it dry out completely.
How to Save Overwatered Snake Plant
Reduce the amount of water that a snake plant receives each week in order to save it from becoming overwatered. Once the soil has dried out completely, stop watering the plant. The main consequence of overwatering is evaporation and root rot. Here’s how to save your overwatered snake plant:
Move the snake plant to a sunny spot
Put the plant in a sunny spot so that it can lose as much moisture as possible since its leaves are droopy due to excess moisture. Excess sunlight can worsen the stress of your plant. Take care not to leave your plant in overly bright light for too long.
Remove it from the pot
Remove the plant from the pot by gently tapping the sides of the pot. This will loosen the soil and facilitate its removal. To expose your snake plant’s roots, gently pull the soil from the pot when it is loose enough.
Treat root rot
Make sure you identify any roots with symptoms of root rot.The brown patches on the roots of the affected plants are slimy.
Root rot can be treated in the following manner:
- Remove excess soil from the roots. For an accurate estimation of how far the damage has spread, you must expose the roots.
- Remove all affected roots from the plant, leaving only the healthy ones in place. A failure to remove every source of rot could result in the rot spreading again.
- It is also possible to rub fungicide on the root ball after pruning the sick roots to prevent future occurrences of the disease.
Before transplanting the roots in a new pot with new potting medium, allow the roots to dry out for a few hours.
Repot the snake plant with a new potting mix
Put a new potting mix in the pot so the soil is well-draining. It is important to replant the snake plant in order to save it from overwatering. For a few days, do not water the plant to prevent the symptoms of waterlogging from getting worse.
Place the snake plant near a window
You need to place your snake plant in a bright, indirect spot to fix an overwatered snake plant. The plant can withstand some direct sunlight and makes a good east-facing window plant. Plants need light waterings every few days, letting the top inch of soil dry between them. Take care not to overwater the plants when you are going on vacation. Instead, use other watering methods, such as water spikes, to keep the plant hydrated for as long as possible.
Treating Severe Root Rot from Overwatering
A plant’s roots can rot if left unchecked for long periods, spreading to leaves and stems as well. Plants can become wilted and dry up certain parts of their bodies due to the stress caused by the situation. You will be able to tell if the roots have reached the leaves by observing how well they are doing. There might be an imbalance between the plant’s food supply and the leaves’ requirements for nutrients (or the leaves may be infected with root rot).
You can save your snake plant from severe root rot by following these steps:
- The plant can be uprooted from damp soil pretty easily. In addition to the leaves, it is highly likely that the potting medium will also emit a foul odor if the rot has reached them. It is important to remove the infected surface and clean the rotted areas.
- Plants should be cleaned thoroughly, with leaves and roots trimmed carefully after cleaning. Look at how the infection originates from the base of the plant to determine whether it is infected. To search for brown marks within the leaf structure, slice the suspected leaves.
- Make sure the snake plant is in the right potting medium and observe how it recovers over the next few weeks.
- Snake plants can survive for long periods of time without water because they are succulent. As you monitor your plant’s recovery, we recommend not watering it for about one week.
Is My Snake Plant Dying from too Much Water?
A snake plant can die from overwatering even though it isn’t necessarily water that does it in every case. Overwatering encourages microbial and fungal growth within the potting medium, which in turn reduces the plant’s ability to absorb water. When the situation is ignored for a long time, the rot spreads to other parts of the plant and the snake plant dies.
Ways to Prevent Overwatering Sansevieria
Staying on top of your snake plant’s watering needs will prevent overwatering. Depending on the time of year, snake plants need to be watered only once or twice a week.
- You can leave your plants without water for up to a month during the winter months. Provide a little water if you see that the leaves of the snake plant are wrinkling.
- When you plant snake plants, ensure that the medium is well-drained. The soils in some regions are highly water-retentive and prone to overwatering.
- Before adding further water to your plants, always make sure the soil is dry.
- Plant your snake plant in a pot that isn’t too large because, even though extra room gives the plant room to grow, it also increases the possibility of overwatering, creating a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria, which result in root rot.
Despite the fact that the plants need water, they only need a small amount. When the potting medium of your plant is wet and damp constantly, it is highly likely you are overwatering it, which might cause root rot and other diseases.