How Do You Fix an Overwatered Snake Plant?

Yellowing Snake Plant
Overwatered Snake Plant (Source: Mimrah/ Reddit)

My friend gifted me a potted Snake Plant the other day. Without knowing much about it, I watered the plant daily, thinking it would soon grow into a beautiful plant.

Little did I know that I was killing my plant. Now I know better than to overwater a Succulent. 

To fix an overwatered Snake Plant, we need to check the plants’ leaves and roots, dry them as soon as possible, treat them with fertilizers, and propagate them if necessary.

Snake Plant
Snake Plant (Source: Pexels)

Overwatering is a significant and very common problem in Snake Plants.

Read on for the full details on how I fixed it, and you can too.

Care of Snake Plants

These plants grow in just any environment without much care or so. They can be left sometimes for days and look just as fresh.

These are considered one of the most tolerable plants for indoor conditions. These can do good despite poor lighting conditions.

However, some people treat these plants like other typical plants and water them more than required.

Further, overwatering these can result in severe damage to these plants, and sometimes plants die too.

Overwatering Causes

Sometimes, people tend to overwater this drought-resistant plant. As a result, we do more harm, even with the best intentions.

The tiny gaps in the pot’s soil are a place for the oxygen to flow and reach the roots of the plants.

But, with excess water, the oxygen is pushed to the soil’s surface towards the stem and does not reach the plant’s roots. The driving of oxygen towards the surface deprives the plant of oxygen.

Overwatered Snake Plant (Source: Reddit)

Signs of an Overwatered Snake Plant

Your Snake Plants give you plenty of hints that they are being overwatered. Let us check them out below.

1. Falling Leaves

In some worse cases, the leaves start to fall over. This symptom is because the plant gets unhealthier with time and starts to fall.

2. Leaves Turning Yellow

 The plants become mushy with soggy leaves, and tips turn brown.  The green color slowly fades with more yellowish colors.

3. Root Rot

When the Snake Plant is overwatered, the roots are soaked and become prone to infection from fungi and other pathogens, which further causes rot of the root tissue and in time turns brown.

Root rot directly results in the yellowing of the leaves, as the nutrients do not reach the leaves through the soil.

You should take the roots out to check if the roots show the above signs. As soon as you look at the roots, you will identify the root rot through smell and color.

4. Leaves Drooping

The leaves start to wrinkle and droop.

5. Brown Tips and Spots on Leaves

The tip of the leaves becomes light brown. However, we should look for other symptoms, too, as brown tips are common also in the case of under-watered plants.

6. Soggy and Mushy Leaves

The plant becomes soggy and mushy as the infection slowly gets into the leaves through the roots. This is a symptom of leaves starting to decay.

Is it Possible to Recover an Overwatered Snake Plant?

We can recover the plant if the root does not rot entirely.

There are four ways to recover an overwatered snake plant, based on the stage of the plant.

1. Drying the Plant and Soil

If you find that your plant is overwatered, first drain out the excess water.

We must drain any water above the soil, check if the drainage hole is blocked, and clear the path to remove excess water from the bottom.

Follow up by checking if the plant recovers. You can do it by checking if the yellowish color disappears and the welting stops.

You can resume your normal watering schedule afterward.

2. Treating the Root Rot of your Snake Plant

If the plant dries and still does not recover from welting, you must check if microorganisms have rotten the root.

Follow these steps to check how.

Step 1: Take the plant out slowly from the soil.

Step 2: Rinse the root part.

Note: If most of the root seems brown and mushy, it would be better to discard the plant, as it is tough to recover.

Step 3: Take a pair of clean scissors and cut them just above the brown part of the root. It would be best not to cut any section of the healthy root.

Step 4: After that, we transfer the snake plant into another pot with shredded peat moss, tree barks, along with changed soil.

Step 5: Then, water the plant thoroughly and only water it after the drainage hole is clear, and the top of the ground soil looks dry.

Tip: Use a fungicide to prevent the healthy roots from rotting.

3. Propagating the Plant Leaves 

When you feel that the root rot has reached the stem and leaves, cut the leaves from the point where they are squishy and brown and gently place the leaf into another pot.

We should propagate the plant in this way to prevent the disease. This propagation, in turn, can save the leaves, which then grow into many plants.

Be sure to keep the top part of the leaf beyond the soil and plant the base part.

Tip: During leaf cutting, we should sterilize the knife with alcohol or any disinfectant.

4. Repot the Plant

If the soil that we use gets damp and makes the plant cold and wet most of the time, it is better to change the potting soil, keeping the plant dry.

Snake plants flourish in the free-draining soil mix to avoid rotting again.

We should verify that the new soil mix is free from any unwanted pathogens.

Tips to Prevent Overwatering Snake Plants 

You should plant the Snake Plant in a pot with a drainage hole.

This drainage hole allows the pot to overflow the excess water, salt, and other harmful minerals retained in the pot over a long period. 

The snake plants require less water compared to other plants in our garden.

However, when we feel that we have missed our watering schedules for some days, we overcompensate those missed sessions by overwatering them as we feel guilty.

1. Watering Habits

Using tap water could create some problems. Sometimes the water in our taps is treated with fluoride. Based on where you live, it may also contain iron.

Watering the plants with tap water may cause the minerals to do more harm than good to the plant.

Instead, try using filtered water so that unwanted minerals do not get over-saturated in the pot.

Watering Snake Plant (Source: HomeDepot)

You should water Snake Plant once or twice a week during warmer seasons and once a month during winter seasons.

Also, we should water the plants in the morning so that any excess water also evaporates from the pot. 

2. Best Drainage

The planter should have one or more drainage holes that help the plants remove excess water.

We should make sure that no plastic materials get deposited to the pot’s bottom, as it blocks the drainage holes.

Tip: It is better to keep the soil loose during the plantation.

Placing pebbles at the bottom and loose soil at the top is best to ensure that the required water is absorbed and the excess quickly passes through the pot.

Most of the potting plants come with one or more drainage holes. You can get one here on Amazon.

The pot that we use should clear out the excess moisture from our plant and soil.

Also, using ceramic pots instead of plastic pots enables the pot to remove excess water through the moisture.

Plastic pots are known to absorb moisture, which is not a requirement for a plant known to live in fewer water conditions.

3. Transplanting 

We need to gather all the supplies before transferring the plant into a new pot. We require a bigger pot, a fresh mix of soil and peat moss, and gloves.

Since we are just transferring the plant, we would not need other things. Let me show you the steps to transplant a plant.

Step 1: Gently hold the base of the leaves, just above the surface of the soil.

Step 2: Pull out the plant softly, with the slightest disturbance possible. We need the roots to be intact.

Step 3:  After the plant is out, we gently remove the soil from the roots. The soil contains pathogens that lead to root rot, clear the infected soil from the roots.

Step 4: Keep the fresh mix of soil in a new pot. Place Sansevieria with the rhizome just below the surface of the plant. As our plant is recovering, we should not water the plant for few days until the soil is parched.

Step 5: Check the soil within few days. If it feels dry, continue with the watering process.

If you want to repot your Snake Plant, check this article that explains the steps thoroughly: How to Repot a Snake Plant? [Steps Explained]

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Watering the Snake Plant

Below are a few of the common mistakes most make while watering Snake Plants. Be sure to keep an eye out for them.

  1. Watering Snake Plants daily like other plants should be avoided as they are drought adaptable plants. We should water these plants once a week at maximum.
  2. Keeping the plants in the darkroom should be avoided. The light lets the plant grow and utilize the resources available. 
  3. Using different watering jars should be avoided. This makes it difficult to track the quantity of water and days when the soil turns dry. 
  4. Do not water the Snake Plants when you have missed some days. Just check the soil and water only if it feels dry.
  5. Never water when you feel like watering plants. Make a schedule and be sure to stick to it. 

Conclusion

Snake Plant does not require constant care. Instead, Snake Plants take more care of your health than you need to care for this plant.

They can grow indoors with less lighting conditions, take less space, looks aesthetic, purify the room, and provide more oxygen to other plants. Hence, making Snake Plants an ideal indoor plant.

This plant is also commonly known as ‘Mother In Law’s tongue’ in some localities. However, I highly suggest you not call it with its local name when your in-laws are visiting. Things might get heated!

I hope I shared some meaningful insight on recovering an overwater Snake Plant.

Use the steps I have mentioned to recover your precious plant from drowning.

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