What To Do With A Broken Snake Plant Leaf + How to Prevent It
Although heartbreaking, a broken snake plant leaf is not the end of the world. The following steps involve the removal of the damaged leaf to ensure the health of the mother plant. We explore how and what your options are after the fact.
- broken leaves should be removed to allow your snake plant to heal and to optimize energy use
- depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to propagate the cuttings to form new plants
- prevention is the best approach to stop future broken snake plant leaves
Discovering a broken leaf on a plant is never a pleasant experience.
But discovering a broken snake plant leaf can be devastating! This is primarily because snake plants are comprised of leaves and are not the fastest-growing indoor plants! So losing any leaves can drastically change its aesthetic.
The good news is that your snake plant will likely recover from the trauma and grow strong if you properly treat the damage to prevent anything sinister from developing. We’ll go through the steps involved in the next section.
We’ll also explore your options after treating your snake plant and hopefully create some silver-lining opportunities.
Finally, we’ll round out this article on how to prevent your snake plant from getting damaged.
So put on your Fix It Hat because we have some work!
Broken Snake Plant Leaf – Next Steps
We know we said the best course of action is to remove the broken snake plant leaf from the mother plant.
However, to be honest, you have a few options. Which option you choose ultimately depends on the gardening approach you prefer.
We’ll explore these options and detail our preferred choice and the reasons why. But remember, many paths can be taken to reach the same destination.
Ultimately, the decision is yours.
1. Remove Entire Broken Snake Plant Leaf
Whenever we find a damaged leaf, we believe the best action is to remove the leaf from the plant.
Our Garben Bench Top philosophy is removing the leaf is the best path forward to a healthy snake plant.
The primary reason we choose this option is energy conservation.
If a plant deems a leaf irreparable, it will eventually sacrifice the leaf, which will slowly dwindle and die off. However, when it takes the snake plant to make this decision, it continues to supply the leaf with nutrients and water. Ultimately, these essential minerals and vitamins become wasted and could have been used for more productive purposes, like new growth.
Therefore, to prevent this from occurring, we shortcut the process and remove the broken snake plant leaf for the plant.
Another reason we like to remove damaged leaves is because it allows us to control the growth and aesthetics of our snake plants.
Let’s face it. Most indoor plant enthusiasts like to grow plants because they like the look and feel of their homes. And most would be lying if they said a broken leaf didn’t bother them or ruin the aesthetic look they were striving for.
Trimming snake plants will not only mold them into a desirable shape. But it also keeps them looking healthy with those stunning vibrant colorations and patterns we love.
The final reason we prefer to remove broken snake plant leaves is to prevent diseases or pests. Damaged leaves make your snake plant vulnerable to contracting a disease. While the wounds are fresh and open, bacteria and fungus can enter the plants’ system, causing them to weaken and potentially die.
It also opens the door to many pests that are generally unable to penetrate the snake plant’s thick skin—allowing the insects to feed on the nutrient-rich sap and contents of the fleshy snake plant leaves.
2. Remove Damaged Portions of Snake Plant Leaf
An alternative option is to remove the damaged parts of the leaf simply.
This option works if, for example, your snake plant leaf is damaged at the tip of the leaf.
For example, you can see in the image above that our Sansevieria Black Gold sustained some damage while in transit.
Because it was only superficial damage to the tip of the leaf, we decided to remove the ragged edges and leave most of the leaf intact.
You can also see that we cut the leaf at an angle to (try to) imitate the natural shape of the other leaves.
We’ll let you judge whether we are successful (or not😂).
3. Leave the Leaf Attached
The reality is snake plants in the wild sustain damage all the time. And they not only survive, but they also thrive.
So it is reasonable to argue that leaving a damaged leaf attached will not harm it. This approach is more of a hands-off ideology that many gardeners embrace, an al natural approach in their gardening philosophy.
There is nothing wrong with this approach, and we encourage our community to find their preferred gardening method.
We prefer to give nature a helping hand.
FYI – a broken or damaged snake plant will not heal back to its original form. Instead, the open wounds will callous and remain as scars on the leaf.
Propagating Snake Plant Cuttings – A Silver Lining
Okay – we’ve talked about damaged snake plants long enough. Now for some good news.
Snake plants are one of the easiest plants to propagate via cuttings.
This means if you decide to remove parts of your snake plants, rather than discard the cut-offs, try propagating the cuttings into entirely new snake plants!
The process is simple, and no special equipment or growth hormones are required.
All you need is some water or soil in a container and patience.
You can find a detailed step-by-step guide to propagating snake plants from cuttings HERE.
In the end, what have you got to lose?
Broken Snake Plant Leaves – Why Does it Happen?
Now that you know how to repair your broken snake plant leaves let’s now turn our attention to how it may have occurred in the first place.
Broken in Transit
We mentioned this in the previous section. A common reason for damaged snake plant leaves is caused by improper packing of the plants during transit.
Some snake plants can be tall, with foliage reaching up to 4-6 feet. And just because they are thick and fleshy, some stores or couriers incorrectly assume they will withstand some knocks.
Unfortunately, this results in broken snake plant leaves when they reach their final destination.
How to Prevent Broken Leaves Due to Transit
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent snake plant leaves broken during transit. You often only discover the damaged leaves after opening your package.
Fortunately, as we said at the beginning of the article, snake plants are hardy and will generally remain healthy and grow strong. Plus, we’ve provided a few options for treating broken leaves to remedy your damaged plant.
Like above, broken leaves often result when snake plants are placed in busy thoroughfares in households, such as corridors, or active rooms, like kitchens.
How to Prevent Broken Leaves Due to Roughhousing
The solution is relatively simple, move your snake plant to hard-to-reach places or less busy positions in the house.
Places like on top of cabinets or in areas of the house that are ‘out-of-bounds’ will limit your pets and children’s interaction with snake plants and reduce the likelihood of accidents from occurring.
Although the damage a snake plant experiences from diseases and pests aren’t usually described as ‘broken.’
Damage resulting from diseases and pests is generally depicted by changes in the texture and color of the snake plant leaves. Such as:
- mushy leaves
- leaves falling over
- snake plant leaves yellowing
- leaves wrinkled or curling
- snake plant leaves browning
Fortunately, we’ve got detailed troubleshooting guides for each scenario, linked above to the corresponding directions. We encourage you to explore these guides, as we often provide easy-to-implement solutions for saving your snake plants.