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Why Is My Snake Plant Dying? How to Catch & Fix the Problem

Is your snake plant not thriving at its peak level? Is it gradually turning yellow or brown and giving a droopy look? Are you wondering, “Why is my snake plant dying?

If yes, then you are at the right place. After reading this decisive guide, I assure you that you can not only find the issue with your snake plant but will also be able to save it.

So, why does your snake plant actually look as if it is about to die?

A dying snake plant Why Is My Snake Plant Dying
“A dying snake plant” via Imgur.

To answer your humble question, I would like to highlight the most common issue people usually face with snake plants — Root Rot.

Root rot, being one of the leading causes of snake plant death, is closely related to overwatering. In fact, most of the time, overwatering is the only cause.

But a dying snake plant can also result because of some other potential reasons.

Why Is My Snake Plant Dying? – Potential Causes

Let’s start the talk with root rot.

Cause and fix #1 — Root Rot

Root rot is a plant disease that occurs as a result of overwatering. The snake plant is a succulent type of plant that can store water in stems and leaves. Therefore, it is pretty drought resilient.

Drought resilient: Most snake plants can tolerate dry conditions for a very long period. If you have your plant potted in well-aerated and well-draining soil, that dries out pretty quickly, it will only need watering once in two to three weeks.

Sometimes, if you have well-draining soil in the pot, the water seeps down at the bottom, and the topsoil dries out pretty quickly. It can confuse most beginners, and they water the plant again.

This water — that seeps down — stays there for a very long time and causes fungus infestation, which in turn causes roots to rot.

If you overwater your snake plant, you’ll see the whole plant giving a droopy look, and the leaves turn yellow or brown due to root rot.

But the most certain way to diagnose root rot is to look at the roots themselves. As the roots are not visible from the outside, you’ll have to take your plant out of the pot. If the roots are black and mushy and effortlessly break off by a slight touch, leaving behind a thin thread-like structure, it’s the rot.

how can i save my dying snake plant Why Is My Fiddle Leaf Fig Dropping Leaves
“Snake plant leaf turning yellow and brown” via Reddit.

How to Fix Root Rot

Root rot can be fixed if you find it soon enough. If you can see a good number of healthy rootlets, you can remove the infected part, re-pot the plant, and wait for the results. To do so, you have to follow the following steps:

  • If you already have your plant out of the pot, remove all the infected soil from the roots. Make sure you remove the entire media. Because if you re-pot your plant, even with a tiny leftover infested soil, the rot can spread.
  • After cleaning your plant, cut out all the damaged or spoiled rootlets. Use really sharp and sterilized tools to cut out the plant parts. You can also cut out all the damaged/yellow parts of the leaves to save the plant energy after re-potting.
  • After trimming and cleaning your plant, use any fungal powder on the roots. You can make a powder paste and apply it to the root ends.
  • You can also dip the roots in 1% Hydrogen peroxide solution to kill any fungus or bacteria.
  • Now, re-pot it in a new, clean, and fresh soil/potting mix you use. Make sure it is a well-draining potting mix that’s made for succulents.

This fix is only applicable if the rot is new and the plant still has a considerable number of healthy rootlets to absorb nutrients.

If the rot is too old or too bad, you should take the healthy leaf cuttings and propagate new snake plants.

Cause and fix #2 — A Pot Without Drainage Holes

Yes, rooting your snake plant in a pot with no drainage holes is the last thing you need. Please make sure that you are using plant pots having a good amount of drainage holes.

Why Are They Important?

Pots with drainage holes prevent waterlogging. As I mentioned earlier, even if you have a good potting mix that’s well-draining, and you have your plant in a pot without draining holes, the water will escape down and stand in the bottom.

This standing water provides the medium for bacteria and fungus to grow and cause root rot.

Therefore, it is essential to use a pot with many drainage holes at the bottom.

Why Is My Snake Plant Dying
“Why Is My Snake Plant Dying” via Reddit

Cause and fix #3 — Overwatering

I know I already talked about overwatering in the root rot section. But I want to give you a clearer picture.

Snake plants are those kinds of plants that can thrive for weeks without watering. That’s actually the main reason why most people overwater them most of the time without noticing.

How to Properly Water Snake Plants

Overwatering doesn’t necessarily mean hydrating your plant with a large amount of water. It actually means that the plant is staying wet and soggy for too long.

You should not water your snake plant when the soil gets slightly dry or even the topsoil gets completely dry. You should water it when the whole potting mix is entirely dry.

You’ll need a moisture meter or a moisture probe to check the moisture levels at the base of the plant. The meter should say “dry” and the probe should also feel dry to touch. Then you can give your plant another shot of hydration.

>> Related Post: Why Is My Snake Plant Curling – 7 Causes And Solutions


Coming from tropical west Africa, snake plants cannot survive outdoor during winters. They will freeze out and die if the temperature goes below 50°F. So, keep them around normal room temperatures.

Snake plants are pretty hardy and can tolerate low lights, although they would appreciate it if you place them in bright indirect light.

The snake plant is scientifically known as Dracaena trifasciata, it also has many fancy names including Saint George’s sword and mother-in-law’s tongue.

It is an exotic houseplant species that will look amazing anywhere you place it. It can effortlessly become the center of attention, all because of its breathtaking foliage.

With all that said, I hope that today’s article was able to help you with your problem. If you liked the post, please share it with your friends and family.

Regards, Mahad H.