Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over: Causes & Prevention

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Get ready to discover the secrets of the resilient and stylish snake plant! It is a favorite among homeowners for its low-maintenance nature and hardiness. 

But what happens when this seemingly indestructible plant starts to falter? As it turns out, even the snake plant is not invincible.

tall viper's bowstring hemp with man wondering about the snake plant leaves failing overPin
Why? Are snake plant leaves failing over?

Homeowners may notice the beautiful green and yellow leaves of their snake plant start to curl, droop, or even fall over. 

In this article, we’ll dig into the causes of this issue. We’ll also give you a snake plant care guide to prevent those precious leaves from drooping. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced plant parent, you won’t want to miss this!

Sansevieria trifasciata (aka Mother-in-law’s tongue, Viper’s bowstring hemp) and other snake plant varieties are low-maintenance, highly-tolerant succulents. They are one of the most popular houseplants among beginners. 

This member of the Asparagaceae family is native to West Africa tropics and grows in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11.

Many homeowners choose this decorative plant because of its:

  • A clean contemporary look for a modern house or apartment
  • Dark green and/or variegated upright growth, and sword-like foliage
  • Thick, upright moisture-holding leaves that outshine other houseplants
  • Ability to handle neglect, droughts, low humidity, and low light conditions.
  • Purifies the air.

Have you ever wondered…

Why Are Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over?

A striking feature of snake plants is their pointy, erect leaves which grow from 8” inches to 5’ feet tall. 

Home gardeners often complain about their snake plant leaves falling over or bending randomly. 

Overwatering, lighting issues, or incorrect repotting practices cause this condition.

Like all types of succulent plants, the mother-in-law plant stores water in its leaves. This makes it flourish in its native dry, rocky environment. 

Sansevieria dislikes wet feet and suffers from root rot if overwatered or the soil is poorly drained. Excess water creates soggy soil that also often attracts pest infestation, mold, and diseases.

Another reason is placing the Sansevieria in areas without good light source for prolonged periods. 

Although snake plants are extremely hardy and grow well without exposure to direct sunlight, extended absence from bright light or exposure to intense direct light causes leaves to fall over.

Remember, this plant prefers bright indirect light, with about 4 to 6 hours of exposure daily.

If there are no watering schedule or lighting issues with the snake plant, the reason for the droopy leaves might be the rootbound is improper repotting. 

snake plant leaves falling overPin

Repotting more frequently than 3 to 5 years or placing it in a pot too large for it also leads to rotting roots.

Related: More on Snake Plant Light Requirements

What Damage Does It Cause?

Sansevieria plant leaves falling over indicates an underlying problem with the plant. When overwatered, snake plants’ roots become soggy and thirsty for the much-needed oxygen and nutrients from the soil. 

Rotten roots affect the plant’s overall health, spreading to healthier roots as well. Fungus in poorly-drained soil develops due to overwatering or improper watering and kills the roots.

The roots of snake plants are normally firm and black or pale, whereas rotten roots are soggy, mushy, and blackish-brown. 

While the roots remain buried, the leaves falling over is a tell-tale sign of rot.

Too much water will also result in yellow or black leaves and may even start to feel squishy.

Sansevieria also undergoes a damaging root condition called root bound. 

As the name suggests, the problem arises when the roots of snake plants are restricted or “bound” by a barrier. Sansevieria plants are very forgiving of being pot or root-bound

Tall snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) doing well being pot bound - Alligator farm St. Augustine Florida 2019Pin
Sansevieria growing in a crowded pot – St Augustine, Florida 2019

When the plant’s container is too small for it, it starts to inhibit healthy new growth. If grown outdoors, walls, footer, or piping can be a barrier. 

Consequently, the plant’s leaves will fall over to indicate stunted growth.

How To Prevent Snake Plant Leaves From Falling Over?

Keep the soil moist but not wet. Moreover, ensure the soil is well-draining. Using extra caution in watering the plant would go a long way. 

Water Sansevieria when 2“ – 3” inches of the soil is dry to touch.

Snake plants exposed to partial sun would need more frequent watering. 

Water the plant once every 2-3 weeks and stop watering once the water runs through the container’s drainage hole. 

Water the plant once a month during winter months. Again, make sure the pot has drainage holes.

Sansevieria care includes a fast-draining potting mix or a regular potting soil combined with coarse sand or perlite added to a pot one size larger.

Expose the indoor plant to the southern window during winter, and an east-facing window is suitable for the rest of the year. 

If the snake plant’s roots start to rot from too much moisture, wash and trim the rotten roots and place them in a new pot with good drainage. 

Prune the drooping leaves. 

Avoid adding fertilizer to the pot until the roots have restored their health.

A potted snake plant with green and white leaves indoors, near other plants.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @mangofroyox

FAQs on Droopy Bent Snake Plant Leaves

How do you fix a bent or droopy snake plant leaf?

  • To fix a bent or droopy snake plant leaf, gently straighten the leaf.
  • Provide support with a bamboo stick or other support stake. 
  • If the leaf is severely damaged, it may be best to trim it off.

How do you strengthen snake plant leaves?

  • Make sure the plant is getting plenty of bright light
  • Make sure it is not over or underwater
  • Additionally, you can try fertilizing the plant with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.

Should I cut brown leaves off my snake plant?

Yes, you should cut brown, unattractive leaves off your plant. See the answer below on HOW.

How do you prune damaged snake plant leaves?

  • To prune damaged leaves on your snake plant, use pruning shears or a clean, sharp pair of scissors. 
  • Cut the leaves as close to the soil line as possible.

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