What Causes Droopy Snake Plants?
The snake plant, or Dracaena trifasciata (formerly Sansevieria trifasciata), is a generally very low-maintenance and easy-to-care-for indoor plant. In addition to brightening your space, keeping snake plants comes with several health benefits.
A healthy plant will have tall leaves that generally stick up straight, but if your leaves begin to look floppy, something might be wrong.
Here are some of the most common reasons your snake plant leaves are drooping and the solutions to the problem.
Mother-in-law’s tongues, as they are also known, are native to dry, rocky western Africa, which means they do not require a lot of water. However, if they go for too long with completely dry soil, they will certainly get thirsty and their leaves will begin to droop.
If your snake plant is in a position where it receives a lot of direct sunlight, it may need to be watered more often than every two weeks which is typically recommended. You do want to allow your snake plant’s soil to dry out in between waterings, but do not let it remain bone dry for long.
Give your plant some water and see if it perks up. You may need to adjust your watering schedule as well. A general rule of thumb is to water your plant when the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry.
This is one of the most common issues with snake plant care. Overwatering your plant can lead to root rot, which will inevitably lead to droopy leaves. As we mentioned earlier, snake plants tend to like dryer soil, as they are from an arid climate, so giving them too much water will cause more damage than help.
Not only can too much water cause your plant’s leaves to droop, but they may also become yellow and mushy. This is because the excess water in the leaves causes the cellular structure of the leaves to begin to break down.
Remember that snake plants are classified as succulents, so they are capable of storing a good amount of water in their thick fleshy leaves and underground rhizomes.
Reduce the frequency of waterings, and ensure your soil and pot have adequate drainage. Only water when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry.
If your plant pot does not have proper drainage holes and well-draining succulent potting mix, it is at risk of drooping leaves and root rot—even if you are on a proper watering schedule.
The snake plant root is susceptible to fungal diseases, which arise when too much moisture is left in the soil. Regular potting soil is not recommended for snake plants, as it does not drain properly.
Make sure your pot has sufficient drainage holes so the water can escape. If you notice that your plant has yellow leaves or they begin to droop or become mushy, you should check your plant’s pot and consider repotting it in a new pot with better drainage.
Your potting soil also plays a big factor in how well your plant drains. To improve drainage, you can add perlite to a peat-based potting mix or opt for a well-draining soil mix specifically blended for succulents.
Snake plants can tolerate up to 8 hours of light per day, but all-day direct sunlight in a south-facing window may be too much for them and cause sunburned droopy leaves. Conversely, poor lighting conditions can also cause your plant’s leaves to wilt and droop.
While snake plants can generally thrive in a variety of light conditions, it may be necessary to move them around to find the right balance of indirect light and shade.
Though they can handle temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, anything colder than that will damage the plant and cause drooping leaves.
These plants cannot handle extremely cold temperatures and should be brought inside to a warm spot during winter months. Avoid placing them near cold windows in the winter or drafty A/C vents in the summer.
Common houseplant pests like spider mites and mealybugs can damage the leaves of your snake plant. These pests infest your plant to feed on its juicy sap, drawing nutrients from the plant and causing the leaves to wilt.
In order to treat your plant and get rid of the pests, you can use a homemade insecticide consisting of 1 tbsp. of mild dish soap, 1 tbsp. of oil (sunflower or olive oil) and 15 drops of neem oil, all mixed with 1 cup of water.
It is important to check for these pests often, especially if you have had issues with root rot or mushy leaves, as these conditions are more attractive to pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I cut my drooping snake plant?
It is recommended to prune a fallen snake plant leaf. Save healthy portions of the leaves to propagate your snake plant.
Why does my snake plant have brown leaves?
Brown leaves can be caused by a number of things such as overwatering, underwatering, and too much direct light. Check your plant’s soil and see if it is moist or if it is dry. If it seems alright and you are on a proper watering schedule, then check your plant’s position in the house.
What can I do to make my snake plant stand up?
If your snake plant leaves begin to droop, or it has grown very large and the weight is causing the leaves to fall over, you can use stakes to help them stand up. Position the stakes behind the wilting leaf and drive it down a few inches into the soil.
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