Causes, Signs, and Ways to Prevent Snake Plants Dying.

I initially thought growing a snake plant would be the easiest houseplant, but I soon discovered that wasn’t entirely true. Trust me, a single mistake can ruin all your hard work. I noticed my snake plant’s leaves drooping and ignored the signs, but realized later that I had made errors in taking care of it.

Before you decide to grow a snake plant, it’s crucial to understand its causes of problems, signs of distress, and preventive measures to ensure it thrives. To assist you in learning, I’ve explained everything I’ve learned from my experience with snake plants, including noticing all signs of trouble before it’s too late.

If you encounter any issues while reading, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

Quick takeaways:

  • There are a lot of factors that make the snake plant die such as overwatering, poor drainage, or exposure to cold temperatures.
  • Finding a plant with yellow or brown leaves is a classic sign that the snake plant is overwatered. 
  • The snake plant resulting slow draining soil will cause water to accumulate and lead to root rot condition. 
  • The snake plant thrives best in temperatures between 70-90°F (21-32°C) when you provide the plant with a below range of temperature will cause declining plant health.
  • Just make sure to maintain proper watering, good soil drainage, and maintaining temperature for keeping plants healthy. 

Causes of Snake Plant Leaves Dying:

For your understanding, the snake plant is a sturdy and low-maintenance house plant but still has specific needs. 

In case of providing them with the wrong growing conditions, they will cause their leaves to die. Here are some things that you need to avoid that will cause the snake plant leaves to die.

1. Extreme Temperatures:

  • The snake plants are native to West Africa where they handle warm temperatures upto 90 degrees F.
  • Providing the plant with above 100 degrees will give heat stress and make the leaves dry out quickly and will begin to split.
  • Snake plants can’t survive in cold temperatures below 50 degrees F either.
  • If you keep the plant in extreme temperature it will make their tissues shrivel and collapse, making it impossible to water the plant due to which nutrition moves up through leaves, causing plant leaves to die.

Ways to fix:

  • Snake plants grow best between 65 to 75-80 degrees F that’s best found in most households and offices.
  • Avoid the plant getting exposed to extreme temperatures that will make the leaves die so just cut them off and move the plant to a moderate temperature place.
Causes, Signs, and Ways to Prevent Snake Plants Dying.

2. Lack of Enough Sunlight:

  • Many experts say snake plants love low light but actually it’s not true.
  • Plants are adaptable to different amounts of light but if you provide the plant with low sunlight it slows down the photosynthesis process, food-making process and that ends in droopy, yellow leaves which eventually make the plant die.

Ways to fix:

  • Snake plants grow healthiest in bright indirect light so keeping them in the north or east-facing window is best.
  • It can also keep the plant closer to the window in the north or east-facing window but in south or west-facing windows the plant gets direct sunlight that is too bright for the plant which makes them burn so keep them far.
  • Keeping the plant away from direct sunlight is the best location.
  • You can use artificial light if your home or office is dark. That will help the plant with enough light.

3. Overwatering

  • In starting I already have mentioned the snake plants are native to arid environments in West Africa so to make similar conditions, you need to allow the soil to dry out between waterings because overwatering will cause the snake plant to die.
  • The soil has a structure with spaces that allow air and water to circulate all around the roots and if you fill too much water in those spaces that makes it breathless resulting in yellowing, softening, and drooping of leaves.
  • Overwatering will make the bottom of the leaves brown, soggy spots and result in root rot, fungal disease, and fungus gnats.

Ways to fix:

  • The watering schedule does vary according to the time of year, amount of light, temperature, and humidity that is provided to the plant.
  • You can test the soil before watering like how moist or dry the soil is rather than keeping the watering schedule consistent.
  • You can check the soil by digging a finger or a chopstick down 2” to 4” in the soil and if you find they come dry then it’s time to water but if they are moist you need to stop watering until the soil dries. 
  • Buying a moisture meter is considered a good option for deciding when to water the plant.
  • Make sure to water the plant thoroughly so that water comes out of the hole from the bottom of the pot.
  • Always let the plant drain out and remember to empty the remaining water out of the pot so that plant roots are not sitting in water.

4. Underwatering:

  • Snake plants love to be in water when it gets dry but underwatering the snake plant also results in the death of tissues.
  • In case of finding dropping, curling leaves with crispy tips is when the soil is dry for a long time. 
  • You need to cut off the dead leaves and water the plant which will make the soil thoroughly wet and drain completely.

Ways to fix:

  • The amount of water the plant needs does vary from month to month.
  • During the spring to fall season, you need to water it every two to three weeks on average.
  • During winter just water less that is every 4 to 6 weeks.
  • The best way is to first check the soil to find out how dry or wet the plant is before you water the snake plant.

5. Poor Drainage:

  • It’s very important that water drains through the soil and comes out of the pot because this will result in root rot conditions that make the plant die.

Ways to fix:

  • Finding the leaves droopy, and soggy afterward they turn yellow and brown. That is the first symptom that soil has too much water which can be because of the wrong kind of soil, using a non-draining pot, or overwatering. 

6. Soil:

  • The dense soil won’t drain well and in case the soil has a high peat content it becomes compacted and hydrophobic which means it will repel water rather than absorb it.

Ways to fix:

  • To make good drainage, you need to assess which kind of soil you are using. 
  • The soil needs to be light and well-draining such as a potting mix that is built for succulents. 
  • You know what? It’s possible to make your own soil using a good commercial potting mix amended with perlite, coco coir, coarse sand, or pumice that will boost drainage.

7. Pot

  • I will suggest selecting a terracotta pot because here it breathes and makes the moisture evaporate through its walls. 
  • Composite, ceramic, and plastic pots are also fine if they have a hole in the bottom to make the water escape from the pot.
  • Overwatering the plant will result in poor drainage. 

Ways to fix:

  • In case, the soil is slow to drain then overwatering the plant will prevent water from building unhealthy problems, even if you are using a drainage hole pot. 
  • If you find the condition of rootbound just repot the plant for maintaining the health of the plant.

8. Rootbound Snake Plants:

  • The situation of rootbound grows in the snake plant where the root circle is formed inside the pot and does come out of the drainage holes. 
  • In case, it becomes crowded in the pot, it will make the roots not absorb the nutrients and water which is required by the plant.
  • Rootbound cases will result in declining growth and then the plant dies. 

Ways to fix:

  • To prevent rootbound cases, just trim the roots and leaves by repotting the plant.
  • You need to cut off the roots to maintain an appropriate size so that it gets fit into a pot and just take off corresponding leaves.
  • Ensure to remove a quarter of the roots by cutting a quarter of the leaves off from the point of rhizomes.  
  • While repotting the plant, make sure to choose the right size of the pot that is about a third wider than the root ball at the top. 
  • If you don’t grow plants in the perfect size pot, they will have enough room to grow using the soil and absorb nutrients and water but don’t have space to flip over.
  • Just fill out the pot about a third of the way using a fresh, moist, well-draining potting mix. 
  • Plant and fill the rest of the pot using soil in which the rhizomes are 1” to 2” inches down from the top.
  •  Keep the plant in a warm location having moderate indirect light and water the plant after a week. 
  • While trimming and repotting the plant, it does need time to recover because it’s important not to stress the plant. 
  • Don’t fertilize the plant for about a month. 
  • In case you repot the snake plant every 2 or 3 years, there is no need to fertilize it because the soil contains enough nutrients. 

9. Overfertilization:

  • Providing the plant with too much fertilizer will cause roots and leaves to burn. 
  • The mineral salt builds up in the soil and draws the water out of the roots.
  • In case of fertilizer burn, it will cause the plant to wilt and die. 

Ways to fix:

The following are the main two ways to cure the problem:

  • Firstly, trim all dead leaves and flush the soil with water for 10 minutes which will help you get rid of the excess fertilizers. When the plant completely drains out, keep the plant out of the bright light in a warm spot. After recovery is done within a week or two, place the plant back to the original place, stop fertilizing for a few months, and make sure never to fertilize in winter.

10. Insects and Pests:

  • The snake plants are considered tough and resilient but you know they get attacked by spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and fungus gnats. 
  • If you don’t cure them as soon as possible they can destroy the snake plant. 
  • In case the snake plant has spider mites you will see webbing and little red or black, eight-legged critters.
  • Aphids do have the same size with green or black color as small as tiny, pear-shaped, or oval bodies.
  • Talking about mealybugs, they are white or cream-colored cottony bodies. 
  • You know these bugs use to suck the sap out of the leaves which make them to cause a yellow, stippled discoloration, weakening of the plant, and stunted growth.
  • They used to release a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew.

Ways to fix:

  • To cure snake plants just spray Horticultural soap and/or Neem oil that will control pest infestation. 
  • Just spray on the entire surface of the leaves on both sides and follow every instruction.
  • Use a solution of alcohol and water to wipe down the leaves.
  • The fungus gnats get to attack the roots of the plant.
  • In order to treat the eggs and larvae in the soil first drench the soil with one part 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to three part water. Doing this will kill the eggs and larvae, benefiting the release of oxygen. 
  •  You need to put the sticky traps on the soil’s surface that will help in catching the flying adults. I suggest you use yellow traps. They are the best color and are easily available online.
  • If the plant doesn’t get treated, repeat the hydrogen peroxide solution, after two or three weeks when the plant is ready to water again. 
  • If you are having a significant infestation it’s best to discard the soil, wash the roots with the help of hydrogen peroxide solution, and then plant the snake plant in fresh soil.  

11. Diseases:

  • If a snake plant is stressed and weak by poor cultural conditions it will become prone to disease.
  • The snake plant gets affected mainly by fungal infections such as root rot, southern blight, and red leaf spots.

12. Root Rot:

  • If the plant has been saturated for a long time due to overwatering, leaves limp and droop which will cause the plant root rot, which is a soil-borne fungus.
  • All these diseases kill the plant so make sure to cure the plant as soon as possible.

Ways to fix:

  • To cure the plant first, turn the pot on its side and then gently pull the root ball out.
  • Next, you need to shake or wash off the roots which will make you see the root clearly.
  • If the snake plant roots are healthy they will look white to a light organ but if unhealthy they will look black, mushy, and smell bad.
  • You need to cut the affected root and leaves with the help of scissors or a knife.
  • The next step is to wash the root until it gets clean and then drench the root into a solution of one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts water.
  • You can also spray the plant thoroughly with neem oil or a fungicide in which copper is available as an ingredient. 
  • Try the idea of covering the roots in cinnamon, a natural fungicide.
  • At last plant the remaining ingredients, roots, rhizomes, and healthy leaves in fresh soil in a pot and make sure to water the soil when it gets dry.

13. Southern Blight:

  • The southern blight is considered another soil-borne fungal disease that grows in moist and humid conditions.
  • If any part of the soil gets in contact with soil such as stems and lower leaves it can get affected.
  • Southern blight is also called stem rot and crown rot.
  • When the infection gets started it will quickly move through the plant causing water-soak spots on the leaves and collapsing the plant tissue.
  • All these diseases will cause the plant to die.

Ways to fix:

  • You need to discard the severely infected plants with their soil and pots.
  • Cleaning the tools and pot to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • The light infection gets treated with a fungicide that is made specially for southern blight or a systemic fungicide that gets to travel through roots and then the foliage.
  • Make sure to remove infected plant tissue, change the soil, and then follow package instructions.

14. Red Leaf Spot:

  • The red leaf spot is an airborne fungal disease that has high humidity levels all around the plant and moisture.
  • In starting it will be small red spots that expand and form tan centers.
  • These spots then turn to liquid lesions and then destroy your plant.

Ways to fix:

  • Just make sure to remove the affected foliage and treat the plant with the help of neem oil, a sulfur spray, or a commercial fungicide.
  • You need to give the plant chunky, well-draining soil, bright indirect light, and a pot with a perfect drainage hole. 
  • Make sure not to overwater a plant and keep the humidity low with enough air circulation.

Providing all the conditions the plant needs will keep your snake plant away from any problems and allow you to have a healthy life to enjoy for many years.

Signs of a Snake Plant Dying:

The snake plant is one of the most stylish and easiest to care for but there are some cases when the plant looks good and usability still the plant suffers from problems that will result in the death of the snake plant. 

The following are some signs that will be shown if your snake plant is dying:

Plants Turning Yellow:

  • Turning off the snake plant to yellow is a sign of more than one thing such as over-watering, under-watering, or nutrient deficiency.
  • You need to pay attention to the soil in the pot which means it can become soggy and waterlogged. 
  • Plants turning yellow will cause roots to rot out at the bottom of the pot, which makes the plant have brown or black spots on snake plant roots.
  • All this type of damage will cause leaves to turn yellow and then fall off entirely after they begin to rot.
  • If the plant is getting too much water in its soil mix, you will find the plant to turn yellow.
  • In case you water the plant constantly but don’t let any excess drain out from drainage holes that are present in the base.
  • If they aren’t having any drainage holes the excess moisture will result in root rot and leaf burn.
  • You need to take care not only where the holes are located but also to see how often they drain off.

Browning Leaves:

  • Finding leaves to turn brown is also a symptom of over-watering the snake plant where the roots drown in water whenever the soil doesn’t get dry between watering or when the plant does sit in a puddle of water.
  • Not providing the plant with a sufficient amount of light and nutrients that will cause the leaves to have brown leaf tips. Hence provide the plant with as much as natural light possible.
  • It will turn brown or cause dark green leaves when the snake plant gets too much fertilizer for that you must stop fertilizing altogether and wait to get the best result. In case it’s not getting just repot the snake plant into fresh potting soil rather than using leftover potting mix from another plant because it will make an excess amount of nutrients to get released.

Curling Leaves:

  • Noticing the plant leaves curling down is a straight sign of over-watering. To cure the plant from browning and curling leaves repot the plant as soon as possible.
  • I will suggest, using some sort of soil that drains well like  cactus potting mix
  • You know the principle of all succulents are the same which means they don’t need much water but are greedy to get fertilized every few months mainly during summer due to the rise in the temperature.

Drooping Leaves:

  • Drooping of leaves is considered the surest sign that the plant is going to die due to underwatering. Not watering the plant for a long period of time will start its leaves drooping down and after only a few months the plant will die. 
  • To cure snake plant and save it you need to give more water than normal watering until you see any sign of damage disappear— but this doesn’t mean to overwater them because this problem will make the plant to get sick. 
  • While watering just make sure the soil gets soaked completely without getting soggy and allow the draining of excess amount of water.  
  • If still, you don’t see any results just repot the plant into fresh potting soil.

White Spots:

  • Having white spots on the leaves indicates a sign of bacterial or fungal infection. This is actually the first sign indicating the plant is infected so treat the plant as soon as you find any white spots because not treating it at the right time will make the plant die. 

Mushy Roots:

  • Keeping the plant soil dry will make the plant have mushy roots.
  • To check it, you need to gently pull the roots out of the pot, and finding them soft means just watering them immediately. Make sure not to let them get dry again. 
  •  I suggest you use an old toothbrush to gently scrub any excess amount of dirt around the roots before starting to replant them in fresh soil. 

Wilting Leaves and Dying Stems:

  • Finding the snake plant leaves wilting or dying stems is because the plant is getting overwatered. 
  • To protect the soil not getting soggy also water approximately every two weeks and let the top inch or two of the soil dry out in between watering. 
  • The plant struggling from overwatering will lead to root rot and eventually, the plant will die. 

Leggy Growth:

  • To have leggy growth of the plant indicates that the plant is under stress. 
  • Keeping the plant near a window but still it doesn’t get enough sunlight will create an issue. To solve the problem move the plant closer to the window or just try exposuring natural light which just turning off any indoor lights.
  • Leggy growth is also because of not giving the plant enough water. Mainly when the plant has recently moved from one location with higher humidity to a location with less humidity. Here the plant needs more watering because in low humidity the roots cannot absorb water as effectively as they used to in higher relative humidity levels.
  • Make sure not to leave time between watering to avoid extra moisture from evaporating before watering the next watering dose. 
  • In case still to see the plant is not getting cured it means the plant needs some fertilizer. But make sure about over-fertilizing because fertilizing means providing nutrients not burning the plant.


Hence after finding all the causes and signs behind the snake plant dying you will for sure be successful in growing the snake plant healthy and blooming best. Just make sure to read each sign that will be found before the plant dies and fix the plant according to the cause.  

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