Why Is My Snake Plant Not Growing?
You may wonder why your Snake Plant doesn’t seem to be growing. Snake plants should stretch upwards over time, but are not particularly fast-growing houseplants. The information contained in this article will help you determine why your Snake Plant is not growing, and help you make the necessary adjustments to get it growing again.
What To Do If Your Snake Plant Is Not Growing
A Snake Plant will appear to stop growing because of two main reasons;
- There is a shortage of one or more of the essential conditions to promote healthy development, including light, water, or nutrients.
- Stress caused by a problem, like pests, diseases, changes in temperature, acclimation, or overwatering, caused your Snake Plant to cease growing.
Since there are so many causes, it’s important to do some detective work before trying to fix your plant. It’s usually easy to figure out what’s wrong, and then fixing most problems straightforward.
We’re going to walk you through a few common Snake Plant reasons for not growing, and answer a bunch of questions on why you need to help your plant grow.
How Do I Know If My Snake Plant Is Healthy?
Keeping your plant healthy requires a quick inspection and knowledge of the environment it is growing in.
Look for upright, stiff leaves that don’t have brown or yellow spots. Don’t worry if your plant’s leaves aren’t growing straight up all the way, this usually indicates that your plant isn’t growing right.
Often, drooping leaves indicate root rot, which occurs when plants are overwatered.
Examine both sides of the leaves as well as the soil to see if there are any signs of pests or diseases.
You can tell if your plant is rootbound by the roots growing out of the drainage holes.
Do Snake Plants Grow Slowly?
Growing Snake Plants can take up to three inches per month as their leaves grow, depending on the suitability of their environmental conditions. The rhizomes of these plants produce 2-4 new leaves at a time during the growing season, and they can grow up to 6-10 new leaves per year.
A snake plant typically grows about 2 inches a year and needs to be replanted every 2-3 years if it has become rootbound to prevent a stunted growth.
During the winter, snake plants grow very little new growth, however, they will begin producing new leaves by early spring and enlarge existing leaves.
Causes Of A Snake Plant Not Growing
I’ll walk you through the reasons you may not see snake plant growth in order to fix any major issues.
Lack Of Light
Snake Plants are sometimes sold as “low light” plants, but they always prefer bright, indirect light. Snake Plants can survive in low light conditions for a long time, and will rarely suffer if they don’t get too overwatered.
The Snake Plant will refuse to grow without adequate light, however, until the amount of light reaches a critical level.
In conditions of bright indirect light, Snake Plants do best indoors. However, they can withstand brief exposure to direct sunlight during the early morning and late afternoon. Your Snake Plant gets too little light if it doesn’t cast a fairly clear shadow against a nearby wall or floor. You can check this by holding your hand up just in front of one of these surfaces.
A light sensor on your phone may work. There are a lot of free light meter apps available on the Apple and Android app stores to help you check how much light your plants are getting. Indirect light is approximately 10,000–20,000 lux (1,000–2,000 foot-candles).
When you do this, you will find out just how bright this is. This will make it possible for you to move your Snake Plant to a more appropriate location, and your Snake Plant should respond by putting out new growth within a few weeks.
Despite being extremely drought tolerant, Snake Plants will drastically reduce their growth rate if left without enough water. It is normal for me to water Snake Plants in the first week or two after the soil has dried out, but they will not show signs of distress until much later.
You can tell a plant that is underwatered by its dry soil, curling leaves, brown leaves, and lack of growth.
You should check the soil every few days by pulling a finger through it to check for moisture, to make sure your plant is getting the water it needs. It is also very useful to lift the pot up to check the weight, as dry soil is lighter than wet soil, and you can see how heavy the pot should be before watering.
In addition to underwatering, overwatering can also kill your Snake Plant. Unfortunately, overwatering causes root rot, and often leads to death of the plant. When watering your snake plant, always err on the side of caution since the plant can still thrive in water that is too deep.
If you see yellowing leaves on your plants, you need to act rapidly if you want to save them. Here are some steps you can follow to fix your plant.
- Carefully remove the Snake Plant from the pot.
- Root rot appears brown/black, limp, and smells. Rotten roots will be mushy, frail, and brittle.
- The affected roots should be gently pruned with sterile pruning shears if root rot is present.
- Most of the soil should be removed from around the remaining roots by hand, then washed off with water. This is crucial because pathogens that cause root rot likely remain in the soil.
- Use diluted hydrogen peroxide on healthy roots (Optional, but helpful).
- Make sure your Snake Plant is repotted to a suitable pot with plenty of drainage holes and in fresh, useful soil.
- A Snake Plant usually takes several months to establish new, healthy roots. After that time, it will begin growing and can recover fully.
Your Snake Plant won’t grow new leaves unless it has enough, healthy roots to support new growth. If your plant’s roots have filled the pot, this can hinder the plant from growing new leaves.
The foliage of a snake plant can be tightly packed but a rootbound snake plant might also achieve the point where it doesn’t have any room left to add new leaves.
Snake Plants should not necessarily be repotted, and in fact many prefer to keep them rootbound so that their growth is constrained and they stay at their desired size.
Whenever possible, repot your Snake Plant into a pot between two to four inches larger than its current pot. It is tempting to put your plant in a much bigger pot, but this can result in overwatering. The significant increase in soil volume will take a long time to dry out, and the roots may take some time to gain a foothold in the new soil.
When you first bring snake plants home, they need a period of adjusting. Snake plants tend to be grown optimally by the grower, and so the conditions in your home are unlikely to be the same. During the first few weeks of living in these new conditions, your Snake Plant may stop growing until it gets accustomed to the new surroundings.
Wait a while, and you will soon see new growth if your plant is doing well and all its basic care needs are being met.
Lack Of Fertilizer
Snake plants don’t require much care to grow, but they can slow down or stop their new growth if they lack nutrients. A water-soluble, balanced fertilizer made at half the recommended strength is perfect for fertilizing my Snake Plants. I use it every 2-3 months during the growing season.
If choosing a fertilizer, the main goal is to provide an adequate supply of main nutrients for the Snake Plant, whether you add compost to the potting mix, use natural products such as worm castings or compost tea, or choose Synthetic fertilizers off-the-shelf.
Be aware that too much fertilizer causes the plant to fail to grow. Too much will ruin the roots, leaves, and even kill it completely. Too much fertilizer is more likely to make the Snake Plant unable to grow than too little.
Keep an eye out for salts building up on the soil surface, or a plant developing brown spots or tips despite meeting all other care requirements. If you suspect too much fertilization, flush the soil with copious amounts of water to wash out the excess. If you are unsure that overfertilizing is the cause of your Snake Plant not growing, do not fertilize for at least six months.
Pests And Disease
Neither pests nor diseases will cause your plant much stress and halt growth completely. The majority of Snake Plant diseases are caused by overwatering, so making sure this aspect is properly looked after is paramount to preventing problems.
Most types of pests seem to be attracted to Snake Plants during the rhizosphere, as well as scale and mealybugs. Therefore, you should check your snake plants often and treat them promptly to avoid damage.
Watch for any signs of pests on both sides of the leaves, especially where the plant emerges from the soil.
Follow these steps to treat the problem if you detect any pests;
Immediately remove the house plants from the pots. Wipe off all pests manually, or spray the plant with water from a hose or shower head.
A solution such as diluted hydrogen peroxide, shortening, or isopropyl alcohol spray should be sprayed on the plant.
Make sure to repeat the treatment every or every other week for three to four weeks until all pests are eradicated.
Once you are confident that the plant has been properly treated, you can return it to its original spot.
How Can I Make My Snake Plant Grow Faster?
It is best to optimize the care conditions and to avoid any sources of stress in order to attain maximum growth of your Snake Plant. Particularly, it is imperative to ensure that the growth is as quick as possible by ensuring that it receives adequate, but not excessive, light, and small quantities of fertilizer, at least twice a year.
It is normal for a Snake Plant to stop growing in winter due to reduced light levels. However, if you want your Snake Plant to grow all year, you could use a grow light.
Although it is always disappointing when a plant doesn’t grow as well as it should, this can be a great opportunity to learn more about the plants you have, like the Snake Plant. Hopefully, nursing your Snake Plant back to health will prevent issues with your other houseplants.