Why Is My Snake Plant Drooping?
A snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue, is a hardy house plant that can add a pop of vibrant green color to any room. It can withstand neglect of feeding, low light, and neglect of watering.
Despite this, the snake plant needs attention from time to time. There will come a time when it will droop and sag.
Snake plants can begin to droop for numerous reasons, but the good news is that there are plenty of ways to help them recover.
To properly care for any plant, it is important to understand its requirements. Not all plants require the same things. Some may require more water, light, or nutrition.
You might have a plant that is lacking something or getting too much of another thing. Don’t base your assumptions on general assumptions.
A snake plant may droop for any number of reasons, and the good thing about common problems is that there are also common solutions.
If you recognize the symptoms that your snake plant is experiencing and the problems it is experiencing, you can identify solutions that will help bring it back to vibrancy.
Watering your plants too much is one of the most common issues, especially when you have plants of all kinds. We mean well, we’re just trying to make sure they stay hydrated.
Unfortunately, too much water can ruin any plant, not just snake plants. A snake plant is supposed to be a succulent. This means that the leaves, which are thick and rubbery, naturally hold in moisture.
Succulents require less water than standard house plants, and the snake plant is no exception given that it usually thrives in arid, hotter climates such as those found in West Africa.
It is very easy to overwater a snake plant, as they are succulents. Overwatering can cause root rot, which can be quite harmful for a plant. Thankfully, there is a way to recover from overwatering.
Check moisture levels using a popsicle stick or a finger poked into the soil to determine dryness. Just because the surface seems dry, it does not necessarily mean that it is dry beneath.
Generally, snake plants should be allowed to completely dry between waterings. That doesn’t mean it has to be totally dry through the top of the soil but at least 3 inches should be completely dry before adding additional water to the mix.
There is a way to kill root rot before it spreads. One way is to water your snake plant with 3% hydrogen peroxide for the next three months. This should kill the fungus and restore your snake plant to its former glory.
It might be necessary to repot the whole plant in the case of more severe root rot. Repotting will remove any roots that are dead or mushy, freeing up the root space for healthy ones.
Additionally, snake plants typically only require watering every two to four weeks. Plants that receive more light or heat will likely have to be watered more often.
The leaves of these plants require a little less watering in the winter as they are less likely to undergo wilt.
Another major problem with houseplants, including snake plants, is improper potting. Without the proper root space to grow, the plant’s roots become bound. Basically, the roots are tangled together and cannot grow.
Typically, snake plants don’t need repotting as often as most other plants. They are fine being rooted in odd places, but there are times when this can become extensive, causing the snake plant to become unhealthy and droop.
The snake plant requires only a little water and nutrients, but its roots need soil to take in the water and nutrients. If it remains in the soil too tightly, it can cause girdling.
There are a variety of conditions that can affect the roots, including root rot and other disease issues that hinder the plant from “breathing”.
It is recommended that you repot the snake plant every three to five years. If it is not possible to repot the snake plant or if you are unable to do so for whatever reason, you can also trim the roots of the snake plant.
At most, snake plant roots should take up three-quarters of your pot’s surface, thus ensuring they have ample room to grow without becoming tangled to a harmful point.
When deciding whether a plant needs to be repotted or trimmed, loosen up some soil around the edges of the pot. Check to see if roots are thick enough to reach the edges. If so, start looking for a larger pot.
Sometimes the root ball will become solid because of too much water. When this happens, you can actually tease the roots apart. Do this until the roots start branching out instead of that big clump before you repot.
Trim the roots by taking the plant out of the pot and placing it on its side. Using sharp scissors and a knife, cut each root individually.
It is important to know that you should not just start cutting into the root ball to make it smaller. By separating the roots from each other, you can begin to trim the roots where necessary without severely injuring them.
Make sure the roots are well-assured to give them the opportunity to breathe properly by keeping an eye on their roots from time to time.
If you are watering based on the above guidelines, but your plant still droops, the next step should be to check whether the soil is overly watered. Also, your pot should have proper drainage.
The problem arises when the soil does not drain properly, which causes excessive watering. Because the water cannot drain out properly, it keeps accumulating until it causes root decay.
You can repot your plant if drainage problems are the cause. Place your potted plant in soil that is made for succulents or even cacti, which require less water and nutrients to survive.
To further make your soil more fertile, you can also mix half perlite with the regular potting mix, as well as mixing in a little compost.
Whenever you decide to repot, remove as much old soil as possible. Additionally, make sure that you’re using a pot that is large enough to house the current structure of the roots.
The only way to know whether you have a proper drainage system is to water your snake plant and see water dripping out of the drainage holes.
If you don’t, the water will sit in the soil for longer than necessary because there’s a blockage somewhere.
Many people misinterpret “negligence-resistant” as “doesn’t require attention”, but snake plants tend to grow better in the shade than in partial sunlight.
A snake plant that doesn’t get a whole lot of light could show signs of unhealthy and drooping when it is not getting enough lighting.
For one thing, partial sun is vital to the overall health and beauty of snake plants. For another, sunlight will provide much brighter foliage that will display the snake plant’s characteristic pattern.
It’s not good for your snake plant to be in constant direct sunlight. They can take about eight hours of direct light a day, but going all day in direct sunlight can be too much. That’s right, too much sunlight can cause the leaves to droop.
Ideally, you want your snake plant to be at least 10 feet from windows that face south, east, or west. The western sun is actually more intense than the eastern sun, so if you keep it near a window facing west, keep it a few feet away from the window.
Last but not least, do not stick the snake plant in direct sunlight for the first time. Introduce the plant to the light gradually, starting with a couple hours on the first day. Increase the time each day until the plant gets maximum sun exposure.
You might try using something to block the sunlight. Sticks, curtains, and other items can reduce the amount of sunlight the plant gets, without you having to move it around all the time.
Like with other plants, pests can cause serious problems when it comes to deteriorating the overall health of that plant. Of course, every plant has its own unique set of pests that can do more damage than others.
If you have bad drainage or have drowned your snake plant, eventually fungus gnats emerge from the soil and attack your snake plant. You will need to repot the snake plant into new soil and cut off any of the roots that have rotted.
Then, ensure the new pot drains correctly to avoid any major problems. Once you are finished, repeat the process from above, adding in a pesticide to keep the pests at bay.
Homemade options exist as well when it comes to curing pest problems. Add a tablespoon of dish soap mixed with one cup of water, ten drops of neem oil, and a teaspoon of olive oil.
Pests with an extreme infestation should be managed with insecticides with pyrethrin bases. Mealybugs and spider mites are more rare, but still can cause a problem.
Before the drooping begins, these pests tend to make themselves known as faded spots or brown marks on the plant’s leaves.
If you use an insecticide, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions before spraying. An improper use of the insecticide can ruin the plant and introduce chemicals into the soil that it shouldn’t have.
Maintaining a healthy snake plant is not difficult, but there are steps that can be taken in order to prevent drooping. Several common reasons for drooping occur and are thankfully easy to resolve.
It is very helpful to know what signs to look for when growing snake plants. This will help you identify issues as soon as possible and implement the best solutions as well. If you pay a little attention to your snake plant, it will continue to flourish for many years to come.