Is My Snake Plant Dying?

Last Updated on July 22, 2022 by Stephanie

If you have an Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is one of the most tough houseplants available.

With such a robust and tolerant plant, its easy to believe that there is there is no danger to it, or that it can be able to withstand the worst of carelessness.

Although it is the case that it is sturdy however, it is important to be aware that it is an animal and is dependent on natures forces. Also, if you do not take care of the plant, itll end up dying eventually.

The process of drowning or overwatering is the main reason for the death of a snake plant. While this plant is as robust as they come The main problem that you will likely face is that you have given the plant excessive amounts of water. Also be on the lookout for other problems like insects, diseases and a lack of proper growing conditions.

This article well examine the issues that you may encounter and show how simple to eliminate them completely or fix the situation if they occur.

How to Know if Your Snake Plant is Dying

The best place to begin to address this issue is to be able to identify that there is an issue at all.

Youll know the snake is suffering from end-of-life issues if it displays any of the following signs.

  • Other people tell stories of the indications that the issue with wet to damp the potting soil, and occasionally there is even a smell of boggyness emanating from the mix of potting soil. In the next article, well explain how you can avoid this issue and what to do in the event that it occurs.
  • The effects of overwatering can also impact the roots that your plants. Theyll begin to become soft and then change into a dark brown hue. If this happens, then things are getting serious.
  • The leaves become dry and crisp. It usually begins at the leafs tips and continues on the edges of the leaves. It could be the result of too little water.
  • If the plant fails to grow and you look at it carefully you might notice tiny brown scabs appearing on the leaves. It is a sap-sucking insect called a scale insect.
  • Another pest you could come across is a tiny, fuzzy, white creature that is known to hide in leaf joints and in other places where it is not noticed by anyone else, unless they are a keen observer.
  • Another sap-sucking insect is called the mealybug. They are two of the most frequent pests that can be a threat to the health that you have on the Snake Plant.
  • When the leaves begin to appear mushy and youre certain that watering too much isnt the reason behind the symptoms This is most likely the cause.

The majority of the issues Ive listed above are visible in the leaves. an attentive eye will allow the owner of the plant to act before the issue becomes urgent.

large snake plant

Possible Causes That Your Snake Plant Might be Dying From


The first thing youll have to do when you suspect that watering is the cause of problems for the plant you are to verify your own suspicions.

Check the soil for potting and if its wet or waterlogged, it is safe to conclude that the diagnosis is correct.

If the situation isnt far enough advanced the plant may recover by stopping watering and let the soil to dry out.

It is essential to ensure that the container is able to remove the excess water within the soil. Make sure there is a drainage hole at the bottom of the container , and that its not sitting on top. in a saucer full of water.

Let the soil completely dry and then let it dry for a few more days before replenishing the water.

Apply water on surface of your soil until it begins to drain through drain holes. Then, let the water evaporate before putting the plant back in its saucer for plant.

Before watering again, make sure that the soil is totally dry. This is done by pushing your fingers in the dirt until its 2 inches in depth. This will be around the second finger.

If your soil is dry, you can apply the method of watering I just described. Avoid falling into the common mistake of following an established timetable.

The plants water loss happens in different amounts based on the conditions surrounding it, the season and the dimensions that the plant is. The best way to deal with this is to begin to feel the soil and water only after it is completely dry.

  • In the most extreme instances, when root rot has begun to spread it is recommended to tip the plant from the pot and scrape off any loose moist soil that surrounds the roots.
  • Then, grab a pair of secateurs and trim any of the roots that are slimy and brown. Then, place your rootball on a piece of newspaper and let it to dry for some time.
  • Once youve dry the roots ball thoroughly is it time to think about the possibility of repotting your plant.
  • Utilizing a potting mix that is free draining like succulent mix or cactus mix put the plant back in a container that is no bigger than the one that the plant was taken out of.
  • Do not reuse the original pot soil, even if it is dry If you are using your original container, make sure you clean it thoroughly prior to repotting.

The plants potting mix will be slightly damp, so dont rush to water your plant.

Let it adjust to its new surroundings and only after it is completely dry do you require provide water.

Snake plants are less likely to suffer water shortage than excessive watering.

In the summer it is unlikely that you will require watering this plant more than once a fortnight.

In the winter months it is likely to reduce to once per month, or perhaps less frequently than the previous.

Feeling the soil will be the best method to determine whether or not you should water.


It is, without a doubt the most frequent issue that youll encounter when youre new to dealing with Snake Plant. It is a plant that thrives in semi-arid and arid conditions.

Therefore, you should let it dry between each and every watering. The first warning sign to look for are leaves that have turned yellow.

They then be soft and mushy, and the leaves will begin to wilt following that.

While whats occurring above ground is likely become the initial sign you get but it is whats happening beneath the ground that is the biggest risk for the plant.

The roots are beginning to decay, which means they will cease to provide minerals and nutrients that are essential for the leaves.


If youre not used dealing with plants that have snakes, the signs and symptoms of drowning and overwatering could sound similar.

The leaves could wilt, turn yellow, and an overall unhealthful appearance is likely to prevail.

The main difference between overwatering and underwatering is that a plant that has been underwatered doesnt have that mushy texture on the leaves.

They become more crisp and more fragile. The reason behind the resemblance of symptoms is quite simple.

In both cases the roots are deprived of the capacity to carry the required nutrients to the above-ground portions in the plants.

Another obvious sign that the issue is due to underwatering instead of overwatering which is the reason for your issues, is the soil. If its dehydrated and appears like dust, then it is underwatering. is the cause.


The plant is used to prolonged periods of dryness, and will rebound quick when you begin a long-lasting routine of watering.

If that occurs then you can apply the same procedure as was previously used.

One thing to verify is to ensure that the soil isnt so degraded that it cant retain some moisture even after irrigation.

If the water flows in a straight line, and the soil has completely dried within a matter of hours, consider repotting it into new pots.

Poor Drainage

It is a matter to be considered with all household plants, not only when dealing in snake plants. Snake Plant.

If the growing medium is not able to drain easily it can become an ideal reservoir for disease as well as other pathogens, and the roots could effectively die.

Its a frequent issue, and it is a bit surprising when you consider how simple it is to avoid. There are several indicators that your soil isnt draining properly.

  • The first one is the feeling. If you feel wet or swollen, its almost always an issue with drainage.
  • If there is a slime or growth of mold on the surface, this is another indication.
  • If the soil has the smell of a swamp then youll know its a waterlogged.


If you are buying a new plant the first thing you should look for is a drainage hole at the bottom of the container. The drainage hole must be wide enough to allow you to insert your fingers into.

Through the Snake Plant and the feeling of the soils growing medium through drain holes is yet another method by which you can determine whether the soil is dry or not.

Its not enough for there to be enough drainage from the hole in the container for your plant. The medium used for growing must also be able to drain easily.

The most effective way to guarantee this is to buy soil specifically mixed for succulents or cactus. It is available in most gardening centers.

If the supplier you choose doesnt meet your needs You can create an un-draining mix on your own by mixing three parts of ordinary potting soil and two pieces of perlite or grit.

The majority of house plants are placed in the saucer. A common error in drainage is to put the pot inside its saucer prior to draining.

The saucer is filled with water and slows the drainage process. Make sure to drain the soil completely after watering. However, If you notice that the saucer is retaining water be sure to tip it off before it causes any problems.

Not Enough Sunlight

If your plant doesnt receive enough light, it may struggle to photosynthesise correctly. If there isnt enough food preparation the leaves can begin changing color, either brown or yellow.

This is most evident particularly on Snake Plants with a lot of color variation on their leaves.

They will start to fade, and then turn green. This isnt a major issue however it can affect the overall appearance of the plant.


Fortunately that the Snake Plant can be actually flexible in the requirements for light and this is among the reasons it is a great house guest.

It can happily live on a windowsill facing north with indirect light, however it can also thrive in direct sunlight if its not prolonged.

The ideal situation is to place your plant in a place that receives bright, however indirect sunlight.

If you dont have enough indirect sunlight from nature in your home, then you can consider artificial lighting to light your plant.

This is the place that the Snake Plant will benefit from the most. In turn, it will produce the most healthy growth.

If youre one who enjoys putting their plants outside during summer months, then it is important to make the transition gradual.

Let the plant adapt to its surroundings by letting it be outside for a few hours every day to ensure that it doesnt get shocked.

Bacterial Soft Rot

The soft rot of Snake Plants is identified by the appearance of wet, round spots. similar to large blisters.

As time passes, they begin to sunken, and the leaf material beneath the spots turns soft and sunken. The problem is usually related to poor drainage or overwatering.

  • To prevent this from happening to avoid this issue, allow the mix to drain completely before following a proper schedule of watering as explained earlier.
  • The plant should be watered at its base, so that the soil is moist, without soaking the leaves.

Soft rot can infiltrate the plant through root or leaf injury, as well as through tiny holes created by insects sucking.

When you are aware of the issue, you must isolate your plant to ensure that it doesnt be spread onto other plant species in the garden.

If the plant doesnt appear to be recovering, then it is best to get rid of the plant and do not attempt to compost any of the plant materials.

Pathogenic Infection

There are many pathogens that can attack your plant. If you notice small brownish-reddish patches appearing on your leaves from the Snake Plant this could well be the result of an infection.

Root rot can also be caused by fungal pathogenic infections that can cause death for the snake plant.

  • Always use a fresh sterilized potting mix to plant your home plants.
  • Do not reuse old potting soil and get rid of it when you plant the Snake Plant.
  • In the end, some pathogens could remain in the pot. Before you plant it back into the pot, clean it thoroughly by adding a lid full of bleach into the water that you use to clean it.
  • After being replanted in healthy soil, the plants typically recuperate over time, provided that the disease was not allowed to get too established.

Incorrect Soil pH

If the pH of the soil is not right, it could cause issues for certain plants with regard to their capacity to absorb minerals and nutrients.

The veins are yellowing as an example, could be due to a lack of iron absorption.

I would like to emphasize it is true that Snake Plant is tolerant of an extensive range of pH levels that range between 4.5 up to 8.5.

Ideally, you want the pH to be in the range of 5.5 to 7.5. If youre using a proprietary soil for potting, it must be within this range.

Its usually the case when peat moss has been added that the pH gets too acidic. However, if you do not want excessive water retention and want a cactus-type mix, this shouldnt be a problem.

If youre concerned that an incorrect pH could be the cause of your plants problems You can buy an instrument for soil testing and test the pH levels.

Low Temperature

Snake plants do not want even a hint of frost. To get it could mean death to your plants. The leaves quickly change to into a dark blue and then fall.

It is usually an issue experienced by those who have moved their Snake Plants outside during the summer months, only to do not bring them inside before winter arrives.

The ideal temperatures for Snake plants is between 65-80degF (18 27-27degC) that is easy to maintain in a typical home.

The plant is likely to be unhappy if exposed it to temperatures that are below 55degF (12degC).

Pest Problems

Due to the thick waxy cuticle that is affixed to all the leafy parts of Snake Plant, it is not the most popular choice for insect pests.

The ones that could cause problems are sapsuckers. The two species youre most likely to encounter are scale insects as well as mealybugs. Both depend in camouflage to be their main method of defense.

Mealybugs appear to be tiny fluffy white pieces of fluff. at first glance, an novice gardener may not recognize it as an insect .

They are known to hide in crevices and cracks near the base of the leaves of the plant. Scale insects appear to be a bit more evident, however they arent exactly like insects initially.

  • Clean the mealy bugs from the leaves with an ointment-like cloth and ruby alcohol. The process of finding them is more difficult than eliminating them.
  • Scale insects are a bit more durable and may require to be removed using the finger or a sharp knife.

Both pests can be stopped by careful observation to ensure they dont stand the chance of becoming established.

Regularly wiping the leaves using a moist cloth can keep them in good condition and will help to deter pests.

It isnt required to use pesticides if you adhere to these guidelines. Remember that plants that are healthy are more resistant to attacks in the beginning.

Low Humidity

The majority of plants require some humidity, and the Snake Plant is not an exception.

Although these plants are from dry conditions however, the humidity levels in certain homes may fall below the ideal levels particularly if you have any kind of heating system installed.

Theres no reason to be worried about this. There is no have to rush out and buy a humidifier or misting system.

  • One method to increase the humidity surrounding the plants you have is to group the plants together into plants islands. Because all plants within the cluster are thriving and releasing their water, the humidity of that region will automatically increase through a mini microclimate.
  • If your plant is sitting by itself, cover the saucer of your plant with pebbles, then fill it with water. If the pot is positioned on the pebbles, it will be free of water, but the plant will benefit from the water slowly dissolving.

How to deal with Dormancy

Every plant goes through an inactive period during which their metabolism slows down and they are able to grow slower. Its like the snake plant is dying.

It is usually in the winter months when temperatures are cooler like Snake Plants. Snake Plant.

For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, you can expect your plant to slow between mid-October and late March.

It is essential that you are aware the signs of dormancy since your plant will need less water and will not require fertilizer during this time.

Use the same method of checking the potting mix prior to providing more water. The frequency should be about half the amount as frequently as it does in the growing season.

Lack of Nutrients in Soil

When your plant grows kept in the pot, it is likely that, sooner or later, it will deplete the nutrients originally present in soil.

The result will be slow growth and a less healthy plant. In the end it could appear that the snake is dying.

  • To get around this issue We can simply include fertilizer. The most important aspect to remember of this issue is Snake Plants require very little in terms of additional feeding.
  • Make sure to use a balanced fertilizer for your houseplants and feed according to guidelines on the label and not more.
  • Eat during growing seasons only and do not feed during the rest of the year.

Root tied

A snake plant is bound when its root ball is completely filled with the pot it was placed in.

This could affect the soils capacity to hold water and nutrients. As time passes, symptoms of the dying plants begin to show.

They dont have to be repotted frequently. Theyre happy even when their roots are very compact.

The signs that you need to repot includeroots that protrude through the drainage holes or up the top of the pot and the pots bulging when it is in a plastic container. The only way to solve this issue is to transfer the pot to a larger pot.

Repotting Your Snake Plant

If your plant is experiencing stress or has grown out of the pot, then it is time to repot it into the container of the next size.

  • Remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for signs of decay. If you find brown or rusty-colored roots, they can be cut back until you get to the white, clean roots.
  • Place your pot in the container that it will be in, and this must be clean, and then use one of the pot mixes weve already discussed.

Do not feel you have to water your plant right away. The soil may hold enough water to last several days, so let the plant to get settled.

Then, look for water and moisture as previously mentioned when soil is dry.

It is crucial to ensure your plant is operating in optimal conditions, particularly if it has been recovering from near death incident.

Make sure to keep it in bright, but not direct light. A lot of light can cause the stress in this delicate stage. Make sure that the temperature isnt too low, and that the humidity levels are at a high.

What do you do if your snake is sick with a fatal illness such as root rot. Then propagation is the only method to keep your dying snake plant.


Snake Plant Propagation

Its a sad reality that when root rot is established, you might not be in a position to save the entire part of the plant.

After removing the rotten roots, if you are unable to locate healthy plant material You may find the alarming reality that the decay has spread to the leaf.

Its not the end of the plant. Keep cutting away at the leafs base by one-inch at a time.

In the end, you will have the material which is healthful. The next step is to reproduce using the material above that cut.

Be aware that your secateurs are carrying diseases, so youll have to wash them with alcohol prior to cutting another one into a healthy plant material.

This plant material is the raw material you need to construct the new plants or plant.

You could use the leaf to cut or If its sufficient in length, you could cut it into four-inch sections and then grow multiple cuttings.

It is crucial to be aware of the location of where the top portion in each section is, so you dont cut from upside-down.

The plant is expected to expand, but it could delay the process significantly.

Put your cut or cuttings in a clean container of water, so it covers around one quarter on the cut. Place it in a sunny location and then replace your water container with fresh water at least once every week.

After about four to six weeks youll begin to notice the first roots start to grow. The plant should remain in the container for an additional 3-4 weeks, so that the roots grow bigger and stronger.

Then, your cut flowers are now ready to be planted in pots with a mix of cactus potting medium.

Make sure the mix is damp but not completely wet. place it in a spot that is bright but not too bright.

New plants are expected to bear identical markings to those from the plants where the cuttings were taken.

If youre looking for a step-by-step guide on growing a snake plant, check out my other post here.


Snake plants are extremely tough and what youve just seen is usually the worst-case scenario. They generally are easy to manage however, you must adhere to these guidelines.

  • Use water sparingly and only when it is dry.
  • Maintain the plant within the temperature range of its operation.
  • Indirect light that is bright and indirect is the best.
  • Make sure to use a potting that is free-draining.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)