Underwatered Snake Plants: Signs, Causes, and Solutions

Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
Sansevieria (Snake Plant) Source: Freepik

Snake plants, dubbed “mother-in-law’s tongue” because of their pointed spike, would be front runners if there was an award for the most tolerant house plant.

They tend to adapt to almost any situation, so if your plant isn’t doing well, it could be due to either too much or too little watering.

It’s discouraging to see your favorite plants sulking and drooping, but don’t give up just yet! With a little gentle care, we can fix this.

Generally, the underwatered Snake Plant is characterized by the appearance of brown tips along with Wrinkling and wilted leaves and brittle roots. However, maintaining a proper watering regimen and location can revive your plant in no time.

Snake Plants
Snake Plants  (Source: Amazon)

Underwatering doesn’t always imply you were giving the plant too little water at a time; it usually means there was a long period between watering.

Wondering if your snake plant is underwatered? Then, continue reading to learn about the signs and symptoms of dehydration, how to determine the cause, and how to save your Snake plant.

Can Snake Plant Die from Underwatering?

Snake Plant will lose their usual form and color if they are not given adequate water.

In addition, because water helps plants stay upright, underwatering interrupts the delivery of nutrients throughout the plant.

The foliage and roots of a snake plant can be harmed by underwatering.

Lack of moisture causes the leaves to wrinkle, and if not addressed quickly enough, underwatering can lead to Snake Plant’s death.

Snake plants are tough plants that will not succumb to neglect if left in dry Soil for 30 days.

Drought-resistant, these plants have evolved to thrive in arid areas with little humidity and infrequent rainfall.

Snake Plant
Snake Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Underwatered Snake Plant: Signs, Causes, and Solutions

For a better diagnosis of the underwatered snake plant, here is a list of the signs and symptoms:

Signs of Underwatered Snake Plant

Sadly the indications of over and under watering snake plants can look comparable.

Particularly for new plant cultivators, it very well may be hard to differentiate.

But, here are some slight differences that might be useful for the right analysis of the underwatering issue.

1. Leaves Curling

Twisting leaves is one of the signs of underwatered Snake Plant.

It is undesirable to see the edges of the Snake Plant overlap and turn in bends and circles.

Leaves are collapsing and twisting in circles, for the most part, structure a terrible view.

So even though curling of leaves might show different issues, one of which definitely could be underwatering.

Snake Plant's Leaves Curling
Snake Plant’s Leaves Curling

For detailed knowledge about Leaves Curling and its Solutions, you might like: Snake Plant Leaves Curling: Solutions

2. Leaves Wrinkling

The indications of most extreme thirst appear in the leaves of the plants.

Wrinkles for plants are like people. These are lines that show up on the surfaces of the leaves.

Shriveling and Wrinkling can deteriorate when the plant doesn’t get sufficient water, particularly in indoor temperatures.

They can be long or little in size and regularly structure various depths.

The little dampness in their leaves is immediately lost, causing them to shrink, droop and curl.

3. Leaves Yellowing/ Browning

If you notice your snake plant’s leaves being brown or yellow, it very well may be a sign; you’ve left them underwatered for quite a while.

Chances are the plants are not be getting the fundamental supplements and dampness, given their foliage are becoming brown or practically brown.

In addition, Underwatering can harm the leaves as well as the roots. If the roots become intensely and essentially harmed, they can lose typical functionality.

4. Brown Leaf Tips

Brown-colored leaf tips and spots can be brought about for various reasons, and the absence of soil moisture is one of them.

To give adequate supplements to a plant, enough moisture is an absolute necessity.

With the absence of water, the supplements from the dirt will not be disseminated equally, bringing about certain spaces like the leaf’s tips changing their color.

Tragically, you can’t invert the snake plant’s brown-colored tips to green as the impact is permanent.

However, if you save them before all leaves dries, there’s a good chance to revive the underwatered plant.

5. Dry Leaf Edges

When water can’t supply each part with significant substances, the shade of the edges will bit by bit become yellow to brown.

From simple edges, browning can gradually spread all through the whole leaf.

The distinctive fundamental variable is the leaf surface rather than the shade of the leaf.

If the harmed leaf part is soft or thick, then, at that point, you’re overwatering the plant.

Underwatered plants have dry and delicate leaf tips or edges.

6. Dry Soil

Although Snake Plant can tolerate dryness, you should water it now and then.

Too dry Soil is a potential indication of underwatering. However, it is a clear nay since it interferes with the supply of supplements from coming up to the plant.

Dry and Cracked Soil
Dry and Cracked Soil

7. Brittle Roots and Leaves

The brown-colored tips on leaves and soil dryness are the most well-known indications of an underwatered snake plant.

They will more often appear before any root harm begins.

In the worst-case scenario, roots begin to get impacted when the plant doesn’t get water for quite a while.

Usually, the Snake plant’s root stores moisture like the entirety of its parts (leaves, rhizomes).

Because of dryness, they will quite often become dry and weak. So, assuming you observe that the roots are dead and disintegrate off in your fingers, it’s probably past the time to save the plant.

8. Leaves Falling Over or Drooping

When you leave your plant underwatered for quite a while, leaves and, surprisingly, entire plants begin falling once again.

The beautiful leaves will begin hanging and even show up dead.

The plant falling over implies that a ton of dampness is lost, leaving the cells and tissues flabby (having lost their bloat and incapable of helping the plant’s upstanding posture).

9. Stunted or Slow Growth

If your Snake Plant is developing too slowly, you should speculate an issue.

The shallow development of plants is a consequence of either lack of moisture or supplements.

Such insufficiency will frustrate plant development.

Causes of Snake Plant Being Underwatered

You can affirm that your snake plant is underwatered when you notice any of the above indications of lack of hydration.

Next, you need to settle the root issue of underwatering by identifying the causes.

Here are some of the reasons behind the underwatering issues:

1. Improper Pot

It is vital to pick the right holder that will suit your Snake Plant. After picking one, consistently consider pot necessities like size, type, and construction.

Go for the capacity that is one size bigger than your Snake Plant. Get a pot that is around two inches greater in distance across than the root ball.

Continuously ditch the smaller or bigger ones. Too small pots will contract the roots from growing. While too enormous compartments may cause waterlogging, prompting root decay.

Pots for Snake Plant
Pots for Snake Plant (Source: Pixabay)

Clay pots are normally better to use for Snake Plant than plastic ones as they are vulnerable to root decay.

Also, ensure that there are a lot of openings in the base of the pot for great drainage.

Could not decide which pot to choose? Here Comes, 8 Ways To Choose Snake Plant Pot for the RESCUE!

2. Improper Lighting Conditions

Snake plants approve of a wide scope of lighting conditions, and they aren’t picky about it while growing.

However, they tend to grow quicker in brighter indirect light but direct strong sunlight could cause leaf burn.

Strong direct Sunlight for the plant, especially when planted outdoors could be the reason for fast water evaporation causing the plant to suffer from dryness.

They don’t incline toward being set under direct daylight.

It can cause the plant to wither its leaves, brown spots, and even wind up killing the if it’s put under direct daylight for a broad period.

For a Clearer Picture of the Light Requirement of a Snake Plant, Here is; How Much Light does a Snake Plant Require?

3. Irregular Watering

Giving less water or watering it less regularly is one evident cause of plant dryness.

Water Snake plants thoroughly, allowing all extra water to drain, and then wait until the top 1-1.5 inches of soil layer is dry before watering again.

Go down into the dirt with your finger to see how damp it is. Simple wooden objects such as chopsticks or Popsicle sticks can also be used.

A moisture meter will provide a more precise picture of what’s happening at the roots.

Moisture Meter for Testing Soil
Moisture Meter for Testing Soil (Source: Amazon)

4. Fast Water Evaporation

Even if you water the snake plant regularly, it may run out of water due to rapid evaporation.

A heater, for example, can quickly dry the Soil in small pots. If you’ve maintained a snake plant in a warm room with a heater nearby, keep an eye on it.

Pot soil will dry out faster if you use air vents, box fans, or a ceiling fan. Keep your snake plants away from the air-circulation devices as much as possible.

Such plants will require more frequent watering. They’ll need water more frequently than once a month in the winter.

To remove extra water from the Soil, avoid using any equipment such as a hair drier. Heat damage to the foliage is also a possibility.

5. Too Loose Potting Mix

The majority of snake plants die from overwatering rather than underwatering.

As a result, a loose soil mix that minimizes overwatering and root rot is always preferable.

However, if the mixture is too loose, it will drain quickly and retain very little water. Gravel, coarse sand, and pebbles will allow all of the water to pass through.

In addition, pumice, perlite, vermiculite, and coco coir help to retain moisture in the soil while maintaining optimum airflow.

Garden soil and organic compost contribute nutrients to the soil mix and are denser.

It’s important to balance good drainage and adequate moisture storage capacity.

Investing in a soil mix specifically for snake plants is a wonderful option.

Soil Mixture for Snake Plants, Specialized Soil Mix for Green Sansevieria Trifascatia Zeylanica Plants
Soil Mixture for Snake Plants (Source: Amazon)

Want to ensure the best Soil for your Snake Plant? This is what you might be interested in; What Kind Of Soil Is Good For Snake Plants? (+Best Soil Mix)

Rescuing an Underwatered Snake Plant

An underwatered snake plant can presumably be saved when there is minimal damage.

However, healing the leaves is nearly impossible. In addition, the scars are super permanent once they get infected.

Luckily, you can prevent further harm. The healthy roots can still grow new pups.

The main step for saving an underwatered plant is deciding the issue and fixing it. Here are a few ways to revive your snake plant:

1. Place the Plant in Shaded Area

Before beginning the process, place the plant in a shaded area to get drier.

You might want to keep the plant at a distance from air vents and radiators.

Plants arranged in more splendid and hotter locations will require more water than those in shaded and cool regions.

More light is better for plant development, particularly new plants until they are completely established.

A time of no less than 3-6 months should guarantee this. After that, you can lower the light intensity and water.

A place receiving indirect sunlight is the ideal spot for your snake plant i.e, a West/South facing window, with a minimal distance of 10 feet can do wonders.

Potted Snake Plant In Indirect Sunlight
Snake Plant In Indirect Sunlight (Source: Unsplash)

2. 60 Minutes Soaking Trick

Because snake plants store water in their leaves to endure droughts, they need a good bath to keep them from wilting or curling.

Make sure the leaves are moist, and the cells have been rejuvenated.

Soaking the leaves will also keep them from losing moisture during this time.

You can soak the plants in the following ways:

  • First, remove the plant from its pot.
  •  Next, soak it in a basin of clean water.
  • Allow the roots to absorb as much water as needed to correct severe underwatering.
  • Leave the plant for about 60 minutes.

3. Cutting off Severely Affected Parts

The snake plant leaves won’t recover and hold that appearance once damaged.

But, with appropriate consideration, we can save them from getting worse.

Leaves that have some firm and sound parts can be managed back.

Nonetheless, it’s smarter to cut them off at the base and bid farewell to those entire damaged leaves.

Make sure to use clean pruning shears, a blade, or scissors.

4. Fixing the Soil Mix

Your Soil will not hold water by any means if it is excessively loose and draining.

However, it can make the water that is poured quickly go through the openings at the bottom without drenching the dirt.

If so, add some peat greenery, perlite, coir, or standard soil mix.

Be careful not to add more than 33% of the total mix. Pour in water, pass on the plant to sit in it for 60 minutes, and let the water flow outside the pot.

Check the moisture level consistently for the following 2-3 days.

On the other hand, change the growing medium with a somewhat less draining mix.

5. Do not Fertilize Right Away

A dried-up snake plant should not be fertilized.

Fertilizer burn can worsen the signs of underwatering and potentially kill the plant, making it irreparable.

Only fertilize your snake plant once it has recovered from the problem of being underwater.

Natural fertilizers are usually the best since they help the Soil hold nutrients and water.

Tip: Fluid-based fertilizers are best for snake plants.

Don’t overfertilize because it will affect the pH of the Soil and thus the availability of the nutrients.

When you want to feed the plant, use a 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer.

Snake plant fertilizer. (Source: Unsplash)

As the Title itself suggest, Here is; Snake Plant Fertilizer – Everything You Need to Know.

6. Mist the Snake Plant

Simply sprinkle them with water from a spray bottle to keep the leaves moist.

Misting the leaves is a fantastic approach to help your snake plant recover fast after being underwater. Misting snake plants can also help them recover fast from Withering, Shrinkage, and Wrinkling.

It should not, however, be used as a treatment option.

Instead, the underlying issue should be addressed — for example, by watering the plants to keep the root zone moist.

7. Maintaining a Good Watering Regimen.

It’s necessary to follow an appropriate water routine relying upon your plant conditions.

You can water snake plants with warm water (up to 80°F). Water them in the first part of the day as it’s hotter during the day.

Snake plant roots shouldn’t be wet and cold for a long time.

Water profoundly until it goes through the drainage opening. First, however, keep the top layer dry.

Watering Snake Plant
Watering Snake Plant (Source: HomeDepot)

8. Creating the Right Environment

Snake Plants thrive in areas with moderate to bright indirect light. In a brighter region, their leaves will just produce light cross-bands.

Even if they can endure direct sunlight, they can still get sunburned.

In low light, it turns a solid dark green color.

You can maintain optimum lightning through the following ways:

  • In the event that you intend to place the Snake Plant outside, please give it a shade. For instance, you can add fabric or a taller plant as a blockage to the sun.
  • Occasionally turn the pot of the Snake Plant for even light circulation. This methodology helps the plant continue to develop upward.

Similarly, too high or too low temperatures can both undermine their wellbeing.

The temperature of the climate where the Snake Plant develops is additionally vital. Snake Plant flourishes well in conditions that are going from 55°F to 85°F (13°C to 30°C).

Snake plant generally prefers a room temperature humidity i.e, 40%.

You might consider giving them adequate moisture if placed in a warm climate with low humidity.

The Humidity Requirement of your Snake Plant is clearly explained in How Much Humidity Does Snake Plant Need?

While Snake Plants are intense plants, they are likewise helpless against extreme events.

An intensive breeze can seriously damage the Snake Plant and tear each leaf away from the roots.

On the other hand, extreme hot seasons can get dried out quickly. In addition, garbage and filthy environmental factors make them prone to pest infestations.

Try not to place your Snake Plant in this kind of climate.

These will make the plant inclined to dangers and stress. Moreover, such cases will lessen the shot at the plant’s fruitful recovery.

Healthy Snake Plants
Healthy Snake Plants (Source: Amazon)

Underwatered Snake Plant vs Overwatered Snake Plant

Overwatered and underwatered snake plants can give some similar indications.

In any case, if the plant has both overwatered and underwatering side effects, waterlogging is bound to be the issue.

An excessive amount of moisture is one of the issues of snake plants.

Delayed wet conditions ordinarily cause serious harm, and the impacts might stay even after the soil medium becomes dry.

A portion of the common indications is brown-colored leaf tips, wilting, dropping leaves, and wrinkling.

The differences between overwatered and underwatered snake plants are :

Underwatered Snake PlantOverwatered Snake Plant   
Creased and dry leavesMushy and soft leaves
The first leaves to wilt are usually lower leaves.Dropping of all leaves
Roots can rot due to lack of water.Rotting of leaves due to excess of water.
No mold formation.Visible mold formation.
Extremely dry top soil.Extremely wet top soil.
Inward curling of leaves.Leaf edema is observed.

Tips to Prevent Underwatering in Snake Plant

We can prevent underwatering in Snake plants through the following steps:

1. Keeping Away from  Heat or Warm Drafts

Hot conditions or warm drafts can cause rapid evaporation from your plant, which causes Soil to dry quickly.

Inspect your plants regularly to know when your plant should be watered.

Here are a couple of things you can do:

  • First, check if your Snake Plant is in regions where temperature can radically change.
  • Spots close to doorways and windows are suitable for hot weather but are not for the cold season. Therefore, avoid placing your plant in those areas.
  • You can also maintain the ideal temperature by using gadgets like thermostats and cooling fans.

2. Avoid Dry Conditions

Low moisture caused due to arid conditions also contributes to rapid evaporation and water loss.

Tips For Moisture Maintenance:
  • Check the moisture level in the plant 2-3 days after watering it.
  • If the needle reaches the dry end, you should water the snake plants more frequently, perhaps twice a week.
  • Plants may not be able to handle the moist Soil in the winter. Therefore it’s best to use this strategy in the summer.
  • Please wait until you think the plant needs watering, then thoroughly water it. Then, drain the water from the plant in a sink or collect it in a saucer.
  • Pick up the pot every few days to check the weight. Then, after a few weeks, you’ll learn how the Soil feels with and without water.
  • The weight of the Soil can also be used to determine whether it is dry. Again, you can measure the weight on a scale and write it down to make things easier.

Consider increasing humidity for your plant to prevent water loss by using a humidifier.

Humidifier (Source:Amazon)

You can also use these ways of aiding your Snake Plant to adapt to low humidity:

  • Mist the plant. Its immediate effectiveness suits the Snake Plant as it would rather avoid overpowering moistness.
  • Place the Snake Plant along with different plants. This system will copy a climate with an increase in humidity.
  • A humidifier is an extraordinary method for expanding humidity around plants.

3. Using Proper Soil Mix

Different types of plants require different soils for good drainage and moisture retention.

Soil with minimal organic material might be too draining and dry out rapidly causing your plant to be underwatered.

The best soil mix for Snake plants is with a good amount of perlite or pumice. So, accordingly, use a proper soil mix for your Snake plant to thrive properly.

4. Inspect the Soil Regularly

You might consider inspecting the soil regularly to know if your plants need water or not.

Underwatered plants are usually characterized by extreme dry soil conditions so checking the moisture time and again can remind you to water your plants.

5. Maintaining Proper Watering Habits

It might be difficult to remember to water your houseplants at times.

I believe we all come across a wilting plant that we have forgotten about from time to time.

Develop a habit of checking your plants every few days and watering those that require it.

A Man Watering Houseplants
Watering Houseplants (Source: Pexels)

Are you searching for an overwatered Snake Plant fix? Here is, How do you Fix an Overwatered Snake Plant?


Knowing underwatered snake plant signs and how to restore them is what allows your plant a second chance to live.

A small amount of caring makes a huge difference.

Your beloved plants don’t have to pay the price for your innocent mistakes.

So provide your plants with enough water to make them as vibrant and fresh as they deserve to be!

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