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5+ Care Failures Behind Snake Plant Drooping

Do you know the Snake plant is a resilient succulent plant that holds water inside its leaves to retain the signature erect posture? Though it is hardy, the plant does not take much to droop. 

Generally, Snake plant drooping may indicate a sickly plant suffering from overwatering, severe root rot conditions, and other extremes like pests, low lighting, temperature stress, and pot-bound condition.

So, you must diagnose the plant based on the symptoms to determine the exact cause and appropriate remedy.

Why is my Snake Plant Drooping? (Causes & Solutions)

The Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) is a popular Sansevieria species known for its reptilian leaves with sword-like features that cleanse indoor air pollutants and eradicate allergies.

Snake plant leaves
Snake plant leaves will mainly droop due to lighting, watering, and temperature issues.

A slight floppiness or droopy appearance may indicate it suffers majorly from moisture stress, which can be internally or externally induced.

1. Overwatering Condition 

Overwatering damages houseplants, including Snake plants, more than any other factor.

Snake plant, like any other succulent, boasts parenchyma cells on their leaves that act as water storage tissues, where overwatering will boost its water intake, which leads to Oedema (edema or swelling of tissues from excess water).

Such plants will display fuller leaves that will turn yellow or brownish and turn mushy, dropping under their weight.

However, the overwatered signs will look entirely different from a dry Snake plant that displays wrinkly and curling leaves.

Remember, excess soggy soil is likely to invite root rot problems from soil-borne pathogens that thrive under low oxygen and anaerobic condition.

Immediate Solutions

  • Inspect root rot condition because the droopy appearance is more likely a byproduct of root decay.
  • Gently slide out the plant to check for dark, mushy, and smelly roots which indicates decay.
  • Trim off the infected root and severely droopy leaves using a sterilized pruning shear.
  • Next, apply some fungicide to the roots and transfer them to a fresh potting mix.
  • Spraying fungicide and water solution over the soil may treat preliminary root rot.
  • Otherwise, cut back on watering and move the plant to a warm, bright location to gradually recover.

Preventive Measures

  • Water your Snake plant every two weeks in spring and summer and once a month in fall and winter.
  • Misting the leaves in dry summer is unnecessary, but you can regulate it if needed. 
  • Check whether the top two inches of soil have dried before watering to prevent soggy soil.

2. Lack of Water

Although succulents do not need a ton of water, they will still get thirsty during a dry spell or after a prolonged drought.

Remember, the water reserved inside the leaves will transpire in warm weather, usually summer, leaving the plant dry and deprived of water and nutrients.

In fact, cutting back on watering, assuming the succulent will survive, can have an altering effect.

Underwatering the plant will increase humidity loss and spike the transpiration rate, inviting leaf curling that resembles droopiness.

Moreover, it will lose the usual erect shape and deep glossy color, with inviting browned tips.

Find out the tell-tale signs of an underwatered Snake plant.

Overall, it will turn the roots brittle, preventing the optimal delivery of oxygen, water, and nutrients throughout the plant.

Immediate Solutions

  • Submerge the pot in a container filled with water for 60 minutes to allow the soil to absorb moisture.
  • Alternatively, overhead watering the plant and leaving it to dry in a warm location will also help treat dehydration.
  • Using a sterilized pruning shear, trim off heavily affected curled leaves to redirect energy toward healthy growth.

Preventive Measures

  • Make a routine to water the plant every two weeks or when the top two inches of soil dry out.
  • Mist the leaves a couple of times a week when the temperature rises above 90°F.
  • Place it in a bright location with indirect or dappled sunlight to prevent exposure to the sun.

3. Poor Lighting

It is not at all true that you can grow the hardy Snake plant inside the dark closet.

Although Snake plants are grown indoors, they require ample bright lighting to maintain healthy foliage.

Those growing in low light will witness the following signs:

Slower growth

Decreased leaf size

Skinny leaves leaning toward the light (phototropism)

Yellowed foliage

Droopy or collapsing appearance

Root rot

Snake plant flourishes in low to medium light.

Find out more about your Snake plant’s light requirements.

Similarly, they will falter in direct sunlight as it quickly transpires the leaves and invites sunburn.

Immediate Solutions

  • Using sterilized pruning shear, trim off heavily drooping foliage.
  • Move the plant to an east-facing window with bright indirect sunlight.
  • Otherwise, keep them a few feet away from the south-facing window.
  • For scarce sunlight, consider keeping the plant under the full-spectrum LED grow light for at least 8 hours a day.

Preventive Measures 

  • Keep your Snake plant in a place with a light intensity of around 2,500-10,000 lux for 8-10 hours a day.
  • Avoid keeping the plant close to the south-facing window, as the light can be too intense.
  • A sunny west or east-facing window is an appropriate location nearly any time of year.

4. Poor Drainage

Snake plants growing on the same substrate for years may witness poor drainage.

Similarly, using heavy potting soil will also cause drainage issues, where the soil remains wet and soggy most of the time.

The symptoms displayed by the Snake plant growing in poorly draining soil are similar to an overwatered plant: droopy leaves, Oedema, browning, and root rot.

When it comes to poor drainage, you should mainly look into two factors: soil mix and container.

Remember, Snake plants prefer a well-draining and well-aerated soil mix that retains only slight moisture.

Similarly, the container should have multiple drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

snake plant in pot
Allow the Snake plant pot to have some drainage holes.

Immediate Solutions

  • Amend the existing soil with perlite and peat-based potting mix to improve drainage.
  • Otherwise, consider repotting the plant in a fresh potting mix that is well-draining and well-aerated.
  • Ensure to prune off decayed roots before transplanting in a fresh potting mix.
  • Also, check for the pot-bound condition with thick roots in a single dense mass. Move it to a larger pot.
  • Prepare a homemade succulent mix by combining 3/4 part potting soil, 1/4 part cacti mix, and a handful of worm compost.
  • Alternatively, you can use the finest fertilized succulent mix.

Preventive Measures

  • Always use certified, free-draining soil mix that allows adequate drainage.
  • Use plastic or ceramic pots with numerous drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Change soil once every two years. 

5. Too Low Temperature

The cold damage is more prominent with Snake plants tucked away in a low-light area or near the drafty window.

Snake plants can survive temperatures around 50ºF or below but will falter in freezing temperatures and cold drafts.

Beware of keeping your plant in the problem spots, including near air conditioning units and open windows.

You can tell your Snake plant is cold when it starts exhibiting mushy spots around the leaves.

As the temperature shock increases, the plant will begin losing its structure, appearing droopy.

Similarly, extreme heat can have a similar effect, but it is more prominent in plants exposed to direct sunlight.

Immediate Solutions & Preventive Measures 

  • Immediately move your plant away from drafty windows or air conditioning units.
  • Ensure to provide an indoor temperature of around 65-85ºF.
  • Insulating the plant using an insulation sheet or adding a heat mat underneath the pot during fall and winter will help avoid cold damage.
  • Strictly cut back on watering and fertilizing to avoid further stress.
  • Compensating the lack of sunlight with full-spectrum grow light will help restore the plant’s vigor.
Snake plants can be grown outdoors in Zone 8-11 but should be kept indoors in zone 12 and above.

6. Common Pests

Although rare, Snake plants become susceptible to garden pests when the growing conditions are below par.

Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips will infest Snake plants to suck on the juicy sap.

As a result, the plant leaves will exhibit distinctive signs, including tiny white speckles, brown bumps, a white fluffy substance, patches of sticky fluid, and cobwebs.

Similarly, the severe pest infestation will suck the sap out of the plant, leaving it wilted and drooping under its weight.

Beware of exposing them to outdoor growing plants as it will likely transfer pests and allergens to the indoor plants.

Immediate Solutions

  • Quarantine the plant and prune off heavily infected leaves (mushy, limp, and discolored).
  • Using a finger, pick visible pests and drop them in a soapy water solution.
  • Mist or wash the entire plant leaves with neem oil or horticultural oil to kill the pests immediately.
  • Alternatively, you can wipe the plant leaves with an insecticidal soap that effectively kills all kinds of pests and eggs.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid overwatering the plant and maintain an ideal humid condition, around 30-50%, to avoid an overly moist situation.
  • Avoid bringing outdoor plants, fresh cuttings, twigs, and garden soil inside.
  • Always use certified pest-free potting mix for the houseplants.
  • Wipe the plant leaves monthly in the growing season with clean water or a mild/diluted soapy water solution.

From Editorial Team

Snake plants may also get yellow, brown and curled leaves when drooping!

These unhealthy symptoms of Snake plants are natural when they are aged enough. 

Other than that, you have nothing to blame on, except the lack of proper plant care. 

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