Why is My Snake Plant Yellowing? Tips to Revive Your Plant

The snake plant is a popular choice for indoor gardening due to its low-maintenance nature. However, if your snake plant is turning yellow, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. This article will guide you through the possible causes of yellowing snake plants and provide solutions to revive them.

Common Causes of Snake Plant Yellowing

Overwatering Can Cause Yellow Leaves in Snake Plants

Snake plants have succulent leaves that store water. When the soil is overwatered, the plant cells absorb more water than they can store, leading to yellowing leaves. If not corrected, the yellow patches can turn black or brown, indicating root rot. To fix this issue, remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for signs of rot.

Overwatering can cause yellow leaves in snake plant

Water-retaining Compact Soil

Compact soil that retains water for too long can also cause yellowing in snake plants. This is especially true if the soil lacks proper drainage. Using a well-draining soil mix that contains perlite and coarse sand can help prevent overwatering and subsequent yellowing.

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Low Temperature

Snake plants prefer temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to low temperatures can stress the plants, causing their leaves to turn yellow. If you keep your snake plant near cold, drafty windows, it’s important to move it to a warmer location.

Mineral Deficiency

Mineral imbalances in the soil, particularly a deficiency in iron, can lead to yellowing leaves in snake plants. Chlorosis, characterized by pale yellow leaves, is a common condition resulting from mineral deficiencies. Supplementing the soil with iron can help alleviate this issue.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections, such as root rot caused by Fusarium and Pythium, can thrive in soggy soil conditions. These infections impede nutrient and water absorption, resulting in yellow spots on the leaves. Check the roots of your snake plant for signs of rot and foul odor.

Sunlight Overexposure

Snake plants can experience leaf discoloration when exposed to prolonged direct sunlight. The leaves may turn pale yellow or develop scorched spots. To prevent this, provide bright but indirect sunlight by using window drapes or placing the plant further away from direct sunlight.

Overfertilizing in Winter

Overfeeding snake plants with fertilizer, especially during winter, can lead to yellowing leaves. This stress, combined with a lack of essential nutrients and water, can cause significant leaf damage. It’s best to fertilize snake plants after winter has passed and the soil salts have dissipated.

How to Save Your Yellowing Snake Plant

To save a yellowing snake plant, follow these steps:

1. Water Only When the Soil Dries

Stop watering your snake plant until the soil completely dries out. Water it only when the top two inches of soil feel dry. Ensuring proper drainage and allowing the soil to dry between waterings will help prevent overwatering.

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2. Use a Fast-draining Soil Mix

Repot your snake plant using a fast-draining soil mix that contains perlite and coarse sand. This will ensure adequate drainage, preventing water retention and soil compaction.

3. Maintain Optimal Temperature

Keep the temperature in the range of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, avoiding cold draft-prone areas. Placing your snake plant away from windows, doors, and AC vents will help maintain a stable temperature.

4. Filter Direct Sunlight

To protect your snake plant from excessive sunlight, install window drapes or place taller shrubs or trees near the plant to filter the sun’s rays.

5. Use a Cactus Soil Mix

To address mineral deficiencies, use a succulent or cactus soil mix that contains minerals. This will help prevent chlorosis and promote healthy leaf growth.

6. Ensure Proper Soil Salts Drainage

Avoid overfertilizing your snake plant, especially during winter when the soil salts are more sensitive to excess fertilizer. If you have already overfertilized, lightly water the soil to promote drainage and remove excess salts.

Should You Remove Yellow Leaves from Snake Plants?

You can remove yellow leaves by cutting off the yellow tips. This will allow the remaining healthy leaves to grow longer. However, keep in mind that the pointed tips will not regrow, which may affect the overall appearance. If the yellow edges are aesthetically bothersome, consider pruning them into pointed tips. Alternatively, you can remove affected leaves from the base of the plant.

Final Thoughts

Yellowing snake plant leaves indicate light, nutrient, or water issues. It’s crucial to provide the plant with the right conditions and allow it time to recover. Remember that proper care is essential for maintaining the health and appearance of your snake plant.

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What do I do when my snake plant turns yellow?

To treat a yellowing snake plant, repot it into a fast-draining soil mix, maintain temperatures between 70-90 °F, and water only when the top two inches of soil are dry. Overwatering, poor drainage, mineral imbalance, and low temperatures can cause snake plants to turn yellow.

What does an overwatered snake plant look like?

An overwatered snake plant may exhibit symptoms like drooping leaves, yellowing, and falling over.

Stay tuned for more informative articles about plant care and troubleshooting!

Ames Farm Center