Decoding Yellow Leaves on Snake Plant: A Gardener’s POV

Yellowing foliage is often caused by overwatering, which leads to root rot. Though snake plants are highly resilient, standing water damages their roots, leading to yellow, drooping leaves. 

Thankfully, adjusting your watering schedule can get your plant back on track. With some diligent care, those vibrant green leaves will return. 

In this guide, you’ll get science-backed solutions to banish yellowing leaves for good. Keep reading to revive your snake plant and enjoy its unique, sword-like leaves for years to come.


Yellow leaves on snake plant, what to know?

Yellow leaves on a snake plant may indicate issues such as overwatering, insufficient light, or soil problems. 

To address this, adjust watering frequency, ensure proper sunlight exposure, and consider repotting with well-draining soil for optimal plant health.

Overwatering Can Cause Yellow Leaves On Snake Plants

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You see, the number one cause of yellowing snake plant leaves is overwatering. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. These resilient plants thrive on neglect. Too much water is their kryptonite.

When you overwater, the excess moisture gets trapped in the soil. This leads to root rot, which blocks the roots’ ability to absorb nutrition. Without nutrients, the leaves start turning yellow.

The key is to water only when the soil is completely dry. I recommend sticking your finger in the soil to double check. You can go 2-6 weeks between waterings.(1)

Trust me, it’s better to underwater than overwater with these plants. Their fleshy leaves and roots store moisture. Brief dry spells won’t faze them.

Always make sure excess water can drain out the bottom of the pot. Standing water invites fungus gnats and disease.

With a proper watering routine, those vibrant emerald leaves will return in no time! It’s satisfying to nurse a plant back to health.

So inspect your watering schedule if you notice yellowing. And remember – these succulents thrive on neglect. Let the soil dry out and watch it bounce back.

Inadequate Underwatering Can Also Cause Yellowing

Yellow leaves on snake plant 1

Believe it or not, underwatering can also make your snake plant’s leaves turn yellow. I know, it sounds counterintuitive.

But it’s true – lack of water causes similar issues as overwatering. Without enough moisture, the roots can’t properly absorb nutrients from the soil. These nutrients just sit there inaccessible to the plant.

So even though you might think you’re doing it a favor by withholding water, you’re actually starving it!

The most obvious sign of underwatering is dry, shriveled leaves. They’ll look deflated and wrinkled. The color will fade from vibrant green to pale greenish-yellow.

Don’t be fooled by claims that snake plants can go years without water. They can survive brief droughts, but will eventually need a drink!

I recommend sticking your finger in the soil to check the moisture level. If the top few inches are bone dry, it’s time to water. Leaving the soil too parched for too long leads to yellowing.

Also reduce watering frequency in winter when growth slows. But don’t stop completely!

Pay attention to your plant’s needs and tweak your schedule accordingly. With time, you’ll get a feel for when it needs water.

So inspect those leaves and soil before you water. Yellowing with dry soil likely means underwatering. A simple drink will bring your plant back to life!

Root Rot Caused By Overwatering Can Lead To Yellowing

Yellow leaves on snake plant

Overwatering can lead to root rot, another culprit behind yellow snake plant leaves. When the roots sit in wet soil too long, fungus grows.

This fungus damages and destroys the roots, preventing them from absorbing nutrients properly. Just like with underwatering, lack of nutrients leads to yellowing leaves.

The most obvious sign of root rot is mushy, discolored roots. They’ll turn brown or black and feel soft or hollow. The rot spreads up from the tips, killing the roots.

Without healthy roots, the plant can’t function and leaves start drooping and yellowing. Unfortunately, root rot is hard to detect until advanced stages.

You can prevent it by watering only when the top few inches of soil are dry. Stuck moisture breeds fungus, so make sure excess water can drain out.

Also use a well-aerated potting mix, not heavy soil that retains moisture. And give them sunlight to discourage fungus.

If you catch it early, repotting in fresh dry soil can stop the spread. Remove all mushy roots first.

But once the rot is advanced, propagation may be needed. You can snip healthy leaves and root them in water to essentially clone your plant.

So monitor soil moisture closely and adjust your watering if leaves yellow. Root rot is often the underlying issue. With quick action, you can revive your plant and enjoy those vibrant leaves again!

Aging Can Also Cause Yellowing of Older Leaves

Yellow leaves on snake plant

Take heart, your snake plant’s yellow leaves may just be a natural sign of aging!

As these plants grow older, the lower leaves will start to yellow and shrivel up. This is normal. The oldest leaves die off to make room for new growth.

Seeing a few yellow leaves here and there on an older plant is no cause for alarm. It’s simply the plant’s natural life cycle in action.

While diseases might cause extensive yellowing, a few yellow leaves at the base is often just old age. So don’t worry if your mature plant gets some yellow patches. It’s still going strong!

Pest Infestations Can Lead to Yellowing Leaves

Keep an eye out for pests if your snake plant’s leaves start yellowing. Sneaky bugs can attack the leaves and sap away nutrients. This lack of nutrition causes yellowing.

Some common culprits include:

  • Mealybugs – These are tiny oval insects that cluster along leaves and stems. They extract sap, leaving yellow spots where they feed.
  • Aphids – You may see clusters of small green, yellow, brown or red bugs on new growth. As they feed, leaves can turn yellow and misshapen.
  • Scale – These immobile pests attach themselves to leaves and look like tiny bumps. They drain juices, leading to yellow leaf patches.

In addition to yellowing, you may notice curling, wilting, spots, or sticky residue if pests are present. They disrupt the leaves’ ability to photosynthesize.

Start by hosing down plants with a strong spray of water to dislodge bugs. For more severe infestations, wipe leaves with an alcohol-soaked cloth or cotton ball. This helps destroy soft-bodied insects.

Insecticidal soap or neem oil also combat heavy pest invasions without harming your plant. Isolate any heavily infested plants to prevent spreading.

With quick action, you can eliminate the pesky bugs and get your snake plant thriving again. Inspect closely for signs of crawling or clustered insects if you notice mysterious leaf yellowing. A bit of pest patrol can bring back green vitality!

Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow? It Could Be a Nutrient Deficiency

When your snake plant leaves start turning yellow all over, it often means there’s a nutrient deficiency

It’s like you’re giving your plant bad food! Just like us, plants need a healthy diet to turn green!

Here are some tips to fix yellow snake plant leaves and prevent more from turning yellow:

  • Feed your plant fertilizer in spring and summer when growth is high. This gives your plant a boost of the nutrients it needs. Look for a balanced liquid fertilizer made for indoor plants.
  • Only use half the recommended amount of fertilizer. Too much plant food can actually hurt or “burn” your snake plant!
  • Make fertilizing part of your seasonal snake plant care to prevent nutrient deficiencies. It’s best to avoid yellowing leaves rather than treating them later on.
  • Make sure your plant gets bright indirect sunlight rather than direct sun, which can scorch leaves yellow.
  • Use a well-draining potting soil rather than heavy garden soil that stays soggy. Good drainage prevents wet roots which leads to yellowing.

Fluctuating Temperatures and Humidity Can Cause Snake Plant Leaves to Yellow

Your snake plant can easily become stressed, leading to yellowing leaves. Things like temperature fluctuations and low humidity take a toll. Here’s how to keep your plant comfy and green:

  • Snake plants like steady temps between 65-80°F. Avoid overwatering and letting it sit in cold drafts, two common reasons for yellowing.
  • Low humidity dries out the leaves. Use a pebble tray or humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • But also check for pests like spider mites during humidity spikes. They thrive in wet conditions!
  • Give your plant bright indirect light. Direct sun can scorch leaves yellow.
  • Let the soil mix dry out between waterings. Overwatering promotes fungal diseases that cause yellowing.

With attentive care, you can keep your snake plant’s leaves vibrant! Fertilize during the growing season, watch for pests, and maintain ideal conditions. 

Your efforts will help snake plant leaves turn green again!

Propagating Plants Can Save Severely Yellowed Plants

If your snake plant is more yellow than green, propagation can save it! Here’s how it works:

  • Take some healthy leaf cuttings from the plant while it still can.
  • Stick the cut ends in water or moist soil. Be patient as they form roots.
  • Once rooted, plant the cuttings in fresh soil. Now you have baby snake plants!
  • Propagation is like cloning your plant. You get genetic copies to start over with.

It’s so cool to watch brand new plants grow from leaves. And it lets you save a plant that’s too far gone. Those pups will be back to vibrant green in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will yellow snake plant leaves turn green again?

Once turned yellow, snake plant leaves are turning will generally not regain their green color. New growth should appear green if the underlying issues have been addressed.

Minor yellowing may stop progressing once conditions improve. In severe cases of stress or deficiency, removing yellowed leaves may encourage fresh growth.

How do I care for a yellowing snake plant?

To remedy yellowing and encourage new green growth:

  • Provide bright indirect light in a well-lit area away from direct sun or low light conditions.
  • Use a well-draining potting mix and only water when the top inch of potting soil is dry. Avoid leaving in soggy, poorly draining soil. (2)
  • Check for signs of pests like spider mites and treat accordingly.
  • Fertilize yearly in spring and summer with a balanced houseplant fertilizer to address potential nutrient deficiencies.
  • Move to a stable temperature between 60-80°F away from vents or direct sunlight that causes fluctuations.
  • Be patient! It can take several weeks for new growth to replace yellow snake plant leaves once conditions have improved.

What type of light does a snake plant prefer?

Snake plants, also called sansevieria trifasciata or dracaena trifasciata, thrive in bright indirect light or indirect sunlight.

They can tolerate very low light but may grow leggy or lose vigor. Direct sun can cause leaf burn, especially on tighter growing varieties.

East or north-facing windows are best. They make wonderful indoor plants that do well in office conditions.

What are the common pests and diseases that cause yellowing?

Less common issues that can cause yellowing include pests such as spider mites or diseases like fungal root rot from overly wet poor drainage.

Check closely for tiny red spider mites on the underside of leaves. Isolate and treat immediately if spotted. Improve drainage if leaves are consistently yellow and soggy.

How often should you water a snake plant?

It’s best to water snake plant with yellow leaves only when the soil is completely dry. Overwatering can cause yellow or brown tips and leaves turning yellow.

During its growth period in spring and summer, water every 7-14 days. Water less in fall and winter—around every 2-4 weeks.

The soil should be allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. Check soil moisture with your finger before watering.

Sum Up

To sum up, I highly recommend snake plants for beginner plant parents! These succulents are famously low maintenance and difficult to kill. 

Their sculptural, sword-shaped leaves add dramatic flair without demanding constant care. However, yellowing leaves can occasionally occur if overwatered, underwatered, or pest-infested. 

Thankfully, adjusting your watering schedule and checking for bugs will typically get your plant thriving green again. With a bit of attentive care, snake plants will rewarding you for years to come. 

So don’t be intimidated by yellow leaves – they are easily fixed! Snake plants deserve their reputation as resilient plants. 

Their ability to bounce back from adversity makes them the perfect choice for busy yet aspiring plant lovers. Give them a try and enjoy their exotic, upright beauty!


With proper care snake plants can thrive for years. If yellow leaves occur, adjust watering, check for pests, or repot in fresh soil. 

These resilient plants bounce back well when issues are quickly addressed. 

I hope this guide gave you solutions to revive your snake plant’s vibrant green leaves. Please share any other tips that worked for you in the comments. 

Caring for plants can be so rewarding, especially tough yet beautiful specimens like the snake plant. 

Give it a try and enjoy its uniquely upright foliage! With a bit of attention, you can keep your snake plant healthy and happy.



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