What Causes My Snake Plant To Turn Brown? Ultimate Causes And Solutions 

The most common cause of brown tips or edges on snake plants is improper watering. 

As a proud plant parent myself, I feel your pain when seeing those browning leaves. But never fear – this plant rescuer is here to help nurse your snake plant back to health! 

With just a few simple care tips, you can undo the damage and get those leaves flourishing again. Arm yourself with knowledge and tackle those brown spots head on.


What causes my snake plant to turn brown?

Overwatering can cause snake plant leaves to turn brown. Under-watering (1) may also lead to brown spots and tips on snake plant leaves.

How To Identify Browning?

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Is your hardy snake plant suddenly sporting brown, crispy leaves? Don’t panic – this is your plant’s way of signaling it needs some TLC. With the right troubleshooting, you can get your snake plant thriving again.

The key is to assess the browning carefully before taking action. Not all brown is created equal! Take a close look at the damage – are the brown spots located:

  • On the tips or edges of leaves? This indicates underwatering. Snake plants are succulents that require infrequent but deep watering.
  • In splotches on the leaves? This points to overwatering. Too much moisture causes root rot and leaf spot diseases.
  • At the base of leaves near the soil? This is likely fungal disease from overly damp soil. Snake plants need good drainage. See the difference? The brown spots reveal what your plant is lacking. Fix the underlying issue before it worsens. 

When troubleshooting, stick to one remedy at a time. Too much change stresses plants further. 

Prioritize fixing watering first, then adjust light or soil as needed. With consistent care tailored to its needs, your snake plant will recover and thrive again.

 So read your plant’s signals, and give it the TLC it’s requesting! With time and attention, you can nurse those leaves back to lush green health. 

Snake Plant Has Brown Tips

Brown 1

Hardy snake plants can withstand almost anything – but they’re not immune to brown, crispy leaf tips. 

If your sturdy snake plant suddenly has shriveled brown tips, don’t panic. With some troubleshooting, you can diagnose the cause and nurse it back to health. 

Here are the most common reasons snake plant leaves develop brown tips:

  • Excess sunlight – While they thrive in bright light, direct hot sun scorches their leaves. Move to filtered sun.
  • Overfertilizing – Too much fertilizer salts burn the tender leaf tips. Flush soil and reduce feeding.
  • PestsBugs like spider mites suck nutrients, causing brown crispy spots. Isolate and treat infestations.
  • Underwatering – Snake plants store water in their leaves. Too little water causes browning tips. Increase watering frequency.
  • Chilly conditions – Sensitive to cold, snake plants brown in drafts or temperatures below 50°F. Move to warmer spot.
  • Hard water – Mineral salts and chemicals in tap water burn leaf tips over time. Use purified or rainwater. 

The key is pinpointing what factor is causing your snake plant stress. Fix that specific issue, while keeping all other care consistent during rehabilitation. 

With attention to its ideal conditions and causes of distress, you can troubleshoot brown tips and get your snake plant flourishing again. They may be resilient, but even tough plants need thoughtful care!

Direct Sunlight

If your snake plant’s leaf tips turn brown after being moved into direct sunlight, don’t panic. With some strategic pruning and care, you can rehab sun-scorched leaves. 

While snake plants love bright, indirect light, sudden intense sunlight can burn their tender leaf tips. It’s like getting plunged from a cool room into the hot sun – quite a shock! 

To minimize damage, acclimate snake plants to stronger light gradually over weeks. But if browning occurs, take these steps:

  • Prune off the crispy brown portions of leaves with sterile shears. Remove entire leaves only if very damaged.
  • Apply a diluted alcohol solution to your shears before and after pruning to disinfect.
  • Water the plant gently after pruning to reduce stress. Never re-prune immediately.
  • Keep the plant in its preferred bright, indirect light after rehabilitation.
  • If moving outdoors, increase sun exposure by 1-2 hours per day over 2-4 weeks. Be patient – snake plants grow slowly. But with time and ideal conditions, new leaves will eventually unfurl minus the scorching. 

While they can tolerate some sun-scorching, overexposure harms snake plants. 

Acclimate them slowly and prune damaged parts promptly. With care, you can help sun-stressed plants regain their vigor!

Overfertilization of the Snake Plant

While fertilizer provides nutrients, using too much can damage snake plants. Overfertilization causes salt buildup in soil, leading to leaf browning and tip burn.

With some TLC you can rehabilitate an overfed plant. 

Here are tips for reviving an over fertilized snake plant:

  • Flush excess salts by running water through the drainage holes several times. This removes built up fertilizer.
  • Replant in fresh, sterile potting mix if flushing doesn’t fix browning. This gives roots a clean start.
  • Trim off any severely damaged brown leaves to improve appearance. Make cuts just above the soil line.
  • Hold off fertilizing for at least 1-2 months after repotting to allow recovery.
  • When resuming fertilizer, use half strength solution once every 2-3 months during active growth.
  • Stick to spring/summer feeding only. Snake plants are dormant in fall/winter. The key is moderation. While fertilizer is beneficial, snake plants only require light feeding during their growing season. 

If browning occurs, take action to leach out excess salts right away. 

With some TLC and ideal conditions, an overfed snake plant will regain its health and vigor again. Just remember – less is more when it comes to fertilizing these hardy greens!

The Pest Situation

What causes my snake plant to turn brown 2

While hardy, snake plants can fall victim to pests like spider mites, mealybugs and aphids. An infestation sucks away nutrients, causing brown crispy spots and leaf tip damage. But don’t fret – you can treat these invaders and nurse your plant back to health. 

If you spot browning tips or spots, check closely for tiny insects on leaves and in crevices. Isolate any infested plants to avoid spreading bugs. 

You can use natural or chemical pest treatments:

  • Make a natural spray with neem oil mixed with warm water. Coat all leaf surfaces to suffocate pests and eggs.
  • Insecticidal soap is a gentle option that kills soft-bodied insects. Dilute and spray liberally on plant.
  • For severe infestations, use horticultural oils or targeted chemical pesticides as a last resort. Follow label instructions carefully.
  • Repeat applications weekly for several weeks until all signs of pests are gone. Be diligent!
  • Remove badly damaged leaves to improve appearance while new growth emerges pest-free.
  • Keep plants well-ventilated and soil dry to deter future pests. While hardy, snake plants are still vulnerable to sucking and chewing insects that cause brown damage. Treat infestations promptly and completely before they spread.

With vigilance and the right pest remedies, you can defeat critters and get your snake plant flourishing again. Keep inspecting and caring for those leaves.

Watering Problems

While they tolerate drought, too little water over time can stress snake plants and cause browning leaf tips and crispy edges. But never fear – with a little TLC you can bounce back an under watered plant. 

Snake plants store moisture in their thick leaves, so they only need watering every 2-3 weeks when the soil dries out. 

Consistent underwatering leads to these issues:

  • Brown, shriveled leaf tips – Lack of water causes leaves to shrivel and dry out.
  • Wrinkled, thinning leaves – Dehydration makes leaves appear limp and skinny.
  • Slowed growth – Underwatering limits the nutrients available for new leaves.
  • Drooping leaves – Dehydration makes leaves go limp and bend downward. Don’t let underwatering persist or worsen. You can rehabilitate an under-watered snake plant with:
  • A thorough, deep watering to rehydrate dried out roots and leaves. Water until it drains from bottom.
  • Small sips of water in between full soakings if the plant is severely stressed.
  • Gentle removal of severely shriveled brown leaves to improve appearance.
  • Resuming a regular watering routine when the soil dries out, about every 2-3 weeks. 

While resilient, snake plants still need adequate water to look and grow their best. Allowing the soil to get overly arid stresses them over time. 

But you can bring an under-watered plant back to life with some TLC!

Stress Caused by the Cold Weather

While snake plants tolerate many conditions, exposure to chilling cold can cause leaf damage and browning. But never fear – a few adjustments can protect your plant from crispiness! Snake plants prefer temperatures above 50°F (10°C). 

While hardy, cold drafts damage their leaf cells, leading to:

  • Shriveled, brown leaf tips – Cold dehydrates and kills tender new growth first.
  • Curled, wrinkling leaves – Chill damage causes unsightly wrinkling and curling.
  • Slowed growth – Cold diverts energy into survival, not new leaves.
  • Wilting and drooping – Chilling destroys cell integrity, causing limpness. Shield plants from problematic cold drafts:
  • Avoid placing near drafty windows and doors during winter.
  • Keep away from air vents that may blow cold air directly on plants.
  • Move away from heat sources like radiators that cause extreme temperature swings.
  • Use sheer curtains to filter cold window drafts.
  • Maintain indoor temperatures above 50°F (10°C) in winter. With a little cold protection and TLC, your snake plant will perk right up again! 

Even hardy plants have their temperature limits. But adjusting growing conditions can help avoid chill damage and brown unsightly leaves. 

Maintain warm temps and your snake plant will stay happy and healthy!

Changes in the Environment

What causes my snake plant to turn brown 3

Ain’t no secret that snake plants can adapt to all sorts of environments. I’ve seen them thrive in homes and gardens alike. 

But you gotta be careful moving them between extreme conditions. One time, I brought a snake plant outside too fast without easing it in. 

Within a week, its leaves were looking dull and droopy

The poor thing was overwhelmed! Since then, I’ve learned to make the transitions gradual. If your snake plant’s been living indoors for a while, you need to get it used to the outdoors slowly. 

Start by leaving it in partial shade for a few hours daily. Slowly increase the sun exposure over one to two weeks

This lets the leaves toughen up before the blazing sun. Be sure to check for brown spots or burnt edges

It needs more time to adjust if those appear. Go slower next time – no need to rush the process. 

Once your snake plant has adapted to the sunlight, it’ll be happy as a clam basking in the rays! Under-sunning is as bad as over-sunning, believe it or not. 

Your outdoor snake plant will yeller if it only gets a couple hours of sun. 

Aim for six hours minimum after the acclimation period. Any less and the leaves may lose their vibrancy or develop brown tips. 

There ya have it – the secrets to transitioning a houseplant hero between places seamlessly. 

Take it gradual, monitor for signs of stress, and give plenty of sun. With some TLC, your snake plant will flourish whether indoors or out!

The Type of Water

You know what they say – too much of a good thing can be bad! While chlorine helps keep our tap water safe for us folks to drink, it may cause problems for our green friends.

I’ve seen more than a few snake plants over the years get brown, crispy tips just from watering with plain old tap water.

Turns out, areas with high chlorine levels in the pipes can harm these curious critters.

The technical term is “chlorine burn.” Science says safe levels for humans aren’t always safe for plants.

Just a touch too much chloride in the soil and those beautiful snake plant leaves pay the price with ugly brown spots.

What a crying shame! Luckily there’s an easy fix – boil that tap water before watering.

The process removes about 99% of the chlorine.

Simply fill a pot and bring it to a roiling boil.

Let it sit covered for around 15 minutes to cool slightly before using.

I always leave my boiled water out overnight just to be sure all the chlorine evaporates before giving my 80+ plants a nice long drink.

No more burnt tips or black spots since switching to boiled water, I kid you not. 

Snake plants are troopers that can survive a little chlorine here and there.

But why risk it when boiling water takes mere minutes? 

Keep those lovely leaves green and healthy with this simple trick.

Snake Plant Has Brown Spots

Brown 2

Thought I’d share some expertise on what might cause brown spots on snake plants, as they’re different critters than brown tips.

We talked before about how too much water can scorch those tips.

But splotchy brown patches often mean other issues altogether.

Two main culprits spring to mind – overwatering and pests.

Too much H2O is just as bad for the middle of leaves as the ends.

The soil stays wet too long, and next thing you know whole sections are browning.

Some say snake plants only need water every couple weeks.

I stick a finger in soil before each water – if it’s dry an inch down, it’s thirsty! Pests are more common than you’d think too.

Keep an eye out for signs of infestation like webbing, bugs crawling around, or trails across leaves.

Mealybugs, spider mites and scale insects can cause nasty damage.

Isolate the plant and spray down with insecticidal soap as needed.

Best way to avoid both issues? Use well-draining soil, put in bright spot with airflow, and water judiciously.

Healthy habitat means less stress and fewer pest problems.

Overwatering Situation

Another issue I’ve run into more in a time or two is overwatering. Now snake plants are succulents, so they like it dry. 

Too much drink leads to brown tips or spots every time. The soil stays wet and their roots can’t breathe right. 

Before ya know it, leaves are yellowin’ or droopin’ as the plant gasps for air. If you see browning starting, especially at the base, it’s likely too much H2O. 

Ease up immediately! These plants are experts at storing water, so they truly only need a sip every few weeks when the dirt’s bone dry. 

Stagnant water is just as bad too. Be sure those drainage holes aren’t blocked so excess can drain out. Never leave ’em standing in a saucer for days. 

An old trick is using your finger to test moisture levels. Stick it an inch down – if wet, hold off watering. 

Once dry, go for it. Consistency is key here. Some folks repot in terra cotta to wick away excess. 

Just don’t overfill the pot either. Airflow all around is best. With a little patience and practice, you’ll get the hang of it. 

Your snake plant will thank ya by staying gorgeous and green for years to come! Let me know if any other questions come up.

Pest Condition

These low maintenance plants are troopers, but even they need some love now and then. Too much water is a fast track to root rot, which can then lead to pests taking hold. 

Mealybugs love a weak plant and will feast on those succulent leaves. Next thing you know, the poor thing is balding with yellowing or browning across the crown. 

Some swear by cutting off blemished sections to stop the spread. I say deal with the cause first before resorting to pruners. 

Check the soil – if still moist below the surface, hold off watering a couple weeks. Improving drainage and airflow helps too. 

Once any pests are gone, be vigilant for new growth. Those first leaves that come in after stress are often targets. 

But given time and TLC, snake plants bounce back fast. Their minimal care needs make them a cinch to keep vibrant for years. 

Now thesefolks don’t mind dry spells. Water only when that soil is bone dry an inch down. Too wet and those tips scorchfast. 

Find the right rhythm and your plant will reward you withhappy green leavesfrom stalk to tip. Through patience and observance, any browning can be avoided or overcome. 

Keep conditions in check and snippity snap – your snake plant will thrive!


That about wraps it up for snake plant care and phenomenon. We covered a lot on bringing out their best green side whether indoors or out. 

I always learn something new every season in my yard and greenhouse. Experience is the best teacher when it comes to happy houseplants. 

I hope my tips on sunlight, water, pests and more come in handy to keep yours in tip top shape. 

These leafy friends truly are resilient so long as you meet their needs. With just a bit of TLC on the regular, they’ll reward you with years of lush foliage. 

Feel free to check in anytime for extras on them or my other plant babies. Wishing you and yours the happiest of gardening seasons! 

I’ll be around should questions ever pop up. In the meantime, go forth and don’t be afraid to experiment. That’s how we all get better at this crazy plant pursuit. Ta-ta for now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are My Snake Plants Turning Brown?

Too much sun exposure can cause snake plant leaves to burn and turn brown at the tips. Snake plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Putting them in a spot that gets direct afternoon sun may lead to burnt leaves. 

Lack of water is another common cause. Snake plants are drought tolerant, but will still need water once the soil dries out completely. Signs of dehydration include wrinkled or limp leaves and brown tips. 

Be sure to water thoroughly when the soil is dry. Overwatering can also cause yellow or brown leaf tips and spots. Snake plants are prone to root rot if their soil stays constantly moist. 

Only water when the soil is dry and allow it to dry out between waterings. Improper drainage makes overwatering more likely. Cold drafty areas may cause tip burning. Snake plants prefer warm temperatures around 70°F. 

Placing one in a spot that sees cold drafts or near an air vent can damage the tips. Find a spot away from drafts. Fertilizer burn is possible if using too much or applying it too often. Only fertilize during the plant’s active growing season in spring and summer, following label instructions. 

Pests like spider mites can cause leaf spots and browning. Check for tiny webs or yellow stippling on leaves. 

Isolate and treat with insecticidal soap if an infestation is present. Age and dormancy may also turn leaves brown. Older leaves on mature plants near the bottom occasionally die off. This is normal. 

New growth at the top remains green. Dormancy in winter may cause some tip browning as well. With the right growing conditions and care, snake plants can stay green and healthy for years. 

Be on the lookout for signs of over- or under-watering, pests, or other stressors. Adjusting watering and light levels is usually enough to reverse brown tips or leaves. 

Early intervention prevents damage from spreading. With a little TLC, snake plants bounce back fast from most issues.

How Do You Fix Brown Tips on Snake Plants?

One of the most important things is watering right. Choose rain or hose water if you can. Tap can contain chlorine that harms plants. If using tap, add a filter to remove chemicals. Feeding monthly is also key. 

During spring and summer I give mine a balanced fertilizer low in nitrogen. Too much can burn tender roots. Mix it into the soil well so it gets absorbed. From time to time, pruning back branches promotes new growth. 

Removing any brown or spindly bits lets the plant focus energy on lush new shoots. This helps maintain a thick appearance. 

By addressing water quality, nutrients and occasional trimming, you can have snake plants with vibrant green tips all season long.

Should I Cut Brown Leaves off Snake Plants?

When it comes to caring for snake plants, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But generally speaking, removing wilted or yellowing leaves is a good way to keep your plant happy and healthy. 

You can also snip off older stalks that begin drooping or shriveling up. If your snake plant seems to be getting too much sun or water, reducing the frequency of its drinks may help prevent stress. 

Watch for any browning around the edges that could indicate the need for an adjustment in care. Monitoring your snake plant’s condition will help you give it just what it needs. 

With a little regular maintenance like leaf trimming and adjusting its routine if browning starts, you can keep those streaky leaves a vivid green.

Should I Cut Brown Spots on Snake Plants?

Those streaky snakes are troopers that hardly fuss, but brown spots still ain’t pleasing to the eye. If your plant is displaying such, there are handy options to try. 

Start by giving leaves a good wash to remove dirt or mystery muck using water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Soak for 10-15 minutes weekly to purge the imperfections. An alternate method some wield is copper sulfate solution. 

Use a Q-tip to spot treat marred areas a few times per month. This mineral mixture will work overtime to heal your plant’s complexion woes. 

With regular maintenance like this, I’ve found snake plants perk right back up, lovely and green once more. Hopefully one of these easy treats does the trick for you too!

Why is My Snake Plant Turning Brown and Soft?

If you find that your snake plant is turning brown and soft (2), it may be time to water it less frequently. 

Hydrating the plant properly is crucial in keeping it healthy and full of energy. Aim for a light mist instead of a soaking-type watering regimen when watering your snake plant. 

This will allow the soil to stay moist but not soggy, which is important for root health. As long as you provide sunscreen and indirect sunlight exposure when possible,your snake plant should be just fine!

Why is My Snake Plant Turning Yellow and Brown?

If your snake plant leaves are turning brown or yellow, the cause may be environmental. These tropical beauties prefer warmth, and struggle in cold weather climates. 

Cool temperatures can cause them to lose water faster than their roots can replace it. This stresses the plant and leads to wilted, discolored foliage. 

Unfortunately, not much can be done besides waiting for conditions to improve if winter is the culprit. 

However, if temperatures where you live stay mild, try nudging your plant to a warmer spot with brighter indirect light for now. 

With some patience, your snake plant’s complexion should bounce back once spring weather returns and ends its winter dormancy period. 


  1. https://balconygardenweb.com/common-snake-plant-problems-and-how-to-fix-them/
  2. https://gardenforindoor.com/snake-plant-turning-brown-and-soft/


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