Why is my Snake Plant Leaf Falling Over? [ANSWERED]
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if plants could talk? We could ask them how they felt, if they were hungry or thirsty, or even when it’s time to upgrade their pot to the next size. Unfortunately plants cannot talk. But they still do communicate with us – through their leaves. We just need to learn their language – which is exactly what this article is about!
When a snake plant’s leaf begins to droop or fall over, it is trying to tell you something. Understanding their message is the challenge! Never fear – the Garden Bench Top interpreters are here to save the day!
Drooping snake plant leaves generally mean a few things:
- your plant is suffering from water stress (too little or too much),
- there are issues with the soil and root system,
- your plant is not receiving enough light, or
- it is experiencing transplant shock.
Whatever the reason, your snake plant is telling you it is not happy, and some quick action is required. So let’s get into troubleshooting mode.
Why You Need To Fix Your Drooping Leaves Now
One of the distinctive features of snake plants are their elongated sword-shaped leaves that can grow to a staggering eight feet tall. As we established, snake plant’s leaves naturally grow vertically, so when they begin to droop it is a strong indication that your snake plant is in trouble.
Usually falling leaves are a sign there is a larger, more sinister underlying problem present – and our job is to identify what the problem is.
Below are potential reasons for your falling leaves. We’ll help you pinpoint which one is causing your snake plant to droop by matching it up with other symptoms that may be present.
Below each cause, we’ll provide you with a solution you can implement or direct you to a more thorough article on our site that resolves your problem in more detail.
Causes + How to Fix Drooping Snake Plant
Falling Leaves as a Result of Overwatering
A large portion of cases related to drooping snake plant leaves can be attributed to being overwatered and improper watering.
Snake plants are succulents, which means they have the ability to store water in their leaves. This means they don’t require as much water as other indoor plants (such as tropical plants). And can easily lead to well-intentioned, but unnecessary, frequent watering from inexperienced indoor plant parents on their weekly watering schedule.
Unfortunately, excess water creates wet soil and a soggy environment in the container, which can attract unwanted attention from pests, mold and diseases, like root rot.
Root rot is a debilitating problem that can have fatal consequences for your snake plant if not treated immediately. It is a fungal disease that usually begins in the roots of snake plants, and infects the entire plant.
You can identify root rot by inspecting the root ball and/or leaves. Infected parts of the plant will appear black or brown, mushy and smell rotten.
How to Fix Overwatered Snake Plants
The quickest way to resolve an overwatered snake plant is to repot your snake plant. It replaces the soggy soil with fresh regular potting soil that isn’t over-saturated and injects some much-needed nutrients that your snake plant can use for a quick recovery.
How to Fix Snake Plant with Root Rot
Fixing root rot is a straight-forward process of repotting, pruning rotten roots and infected parts of the plant, applying a fungicide to your plant (and roots) and repotting into a sterilized container.
We have a full step-by-step guide in our article Treating Snake Plants with Root Rot. We do recommend immediate action to prevent and further spread of the disease.
Snake Plant Leaves Drooping Due to Underwatering
At the other end of the water spectrum, a snake plant that doesn’t receive enough water can also result in falling leaves.
If a snake plant is neglected or exposed to prolonged periods of high temperatures (like being next to a heater), they can become dehydrated. Without enough water, the plant becomes weak, and the leaves begin to droop as it uses up the last of the water reserves.
You can confirm your snake plant is dehydrated when the leaves also appear wrinkly, and brown at the leaf tips and edges. In severe cases, the soil in the containers will also appear dry and cracked from the lack of moisture.
How to Fix an Underwatered Snake Plant
A dehydrated snake plant needs water immediately to stop any further damage from occurring to the cells and health of the plant.
However, simply dumping water into your snake plant container isn’t going to revive your houseplant – especially if your soil is hard and cracked. Any water will likely run through the cracks and exit the drainage holes, leaving your snake plant in the same predicament.
Rehydrating your plant properly requires a staged approach, which will cover in our article – IDENTIFY AND SAVE UNDERWATERED SNAKE PLANTS.
Falling Leaves Due to Poor Lighting
Even though snake plants are recorded as being hardy indoor plants, able to tolerate a range of lighting conditions. If they are exposed to poor lighting conditions for an extended period of time, they may begin to show signs of weakness, such as drooping leaves.
Poor lighting can go both ways. Too little light will mean your snake plant is likely to begin reaching for the brightest light source available (rather than growing vertically). As it stretches, the leaves weaken and begin to fall over.
On the other hand, too much light (such as direct sunlight) can cause a snake plant’s leaves to burn and lose moisture quickly. Again, this results in leaves that fall down.
How to Fix Insufficient Light
If you suspect your snake plant is suffering from a lighting issue, the solution is simple. Move it to a brighter position where your plant can enjoy an abundance of indirect light.
However, before you throw it onto a window sill, we recommend making the move gradually over a week. Every few days move your snake plant closer to its final position. This will give it an opportunity to adapt to the change in environment, and decrease the chances of your plant experiencing shock.
How to Reduce Overexposure to Sunlight
The answer may sound obvious – move your snake plant to a position that is not exposed to direct sunlight.
But some plant parents may be limited with their options, especially those living in small apartments. In cases like these, we recommend installing sheer curtains over the window to shield from the sunlight.
Even though it is only a thin piece of see-through material, it is sometimes enough to filter the direct sunlight, and decrease the intensity of the light and heat.
Falling Leaves Due to Hunger
A lack of nutrients and fertilizer may also be causing your beautiful snake plant’s leaves to fall.
Even though snake plants are not overly big feeders, they still require the minimum essential nutrients and minerals to grow and function properly. Using an all-round fertilizer should provide everything your snake plant requires, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
How to Correct Low Nutrient Levels
We recommend feeding your houseplant just before the growing season kicks off, so early spring.
This should provide your snake plant with plenty of food at the time that it needs it the most. It also helps to prevent a build up of fertilizer, and avoids the fertilizer burn that we discussed previously.
Leaves Falling Due to Root Bound Snake Plants
Overcrowded pots or root bound snake plants can also display falling leaves.
This problem is similar somewhat related to the previous cause – lack of nutrients. When a snake plant’s root system becomes overcrowded or root-bound, it restricts the ability of your plant to absorb nutrients, minerals and water from the surrounding soil. This leads to a cascading list of problems, such as nutrient deficiency, and under-watering – all of which we discussed earlier in this article.
How to Fix Overcrowding of Roots
This is a simple fix – your snake plant needs to be repotted.
The important aspects you need to consider when repotting your snake plant are:
- choosing a pot with good drainage and is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous pot,
- a good quality potting mix that has sufficient drainage, yet retains enough moisture to supply the root system with enough water, and
- repotting your snake plant in late winter or early spring, before the growing season really kicks off.
Snake Plant Falling Over After Repotting (Transplant Shock)
While we are on the topic of repotting snake plants, if you are experiencing falling leaves AFTER a recent repotting, this may be due to transplant shock.
Similar to when you change the lighting conditions too quickly, a snake plant may experience curled leaves as it adjusts to its new home.
This is primarily due to the root system slowly adjusting to the new environment, before it settles down.
How to Prevent Transplant Shock to Snake Plants
After a repotting, be gentle with your snake plant and don’t expose it to any dramatic changes that may contribute to the shock of the change. Keep a close eye on your snake plant, and ensure it has enough water and not in direct sunlight.
With enough care, your snake plant should recover and bounce back.
Common Questions about Falling Snake Plant Leaves
Will Snake Plant Leaves Stand Back Up?
Unfortunately, once a snake plant leaf begins to droop, it will not stand back up by itself. Even if you resolve the problem that caused it to droop in the first place, without external support (like string, or being tied to a stint), the leaf will continue to droop.
Assuming you have fixed the cause, any new growth will continue to grow vertically.
Should I Cut Off Drooping Snake Plant Leaves
Yes – we recommend pruning any fallen leaf and propagating the cuttings that appear healthy and strong. We do not recommend trying to propagate any parts of the leaf that have evidence of rot.
Fallen snake plant leaves will not recover to grow vertically again.
How do I Make my Snake Plant Stand Straight?
If you are struggling to get your snake plant to stand straight, there may be underlying issues with your plant. We recommend reading through this guide (from the beginning) to help you identify the problem. Once you have rectified the issues, prune off any fallen or droopy leaves, and any new growth will continue to grow vertically.
For some tips on care for growing tall, vibrant snake plants check out our article HOW TO MAKE SNAKE PLANTS GROW TALL.
Why is my Snake Plant Turning Yellow?
Your snake plant may be turning yellow for a variety of reasons. It may be due to water stress, fertilization issues, poor soil quality, or changes in the ambient environment. We recommend reading our complete troubleshooting guide for snake plants turning yellow to help you get to the root of your problem.
Final Thoughts on Snake Plant Leaf Falling Over
Falling snake plant leaves are never a positive sign. It generally signals that a larger, fundamental problem exists.
The challenge is identifying what the existing problem is that is causing your plant to droop. We help you identify the likely causes through an analysis of the existing symptoms. Once you have confidently identified these issues, you can implement a quick solution to get your snake plant back on the road to recovery to a healthy plant.