Also known as the mother-in-law plant, viper’s bowstring hemp and Saint George’s sword, the snake plant or Dracaena trifasciata (earlier known as Sansevieria trifasciata) has slender, tall and upright leaves.
The snake plant is among the most resilient and low-maintenance indoor plants that tolerate low light, less water and feeding.
But if you find that the upright leaves of your snake plant are drooping or falling over, it may be an indication that something’s not right. But thankfully, it is quite easy to fix the problem.
In our article, we’ve discussed the possible causes and solutions of how to fix drooping snake plants.
- 1 Why Is My Snake Plant Droopy?
- 2 Will A Droopy Snake Plant Recover?
- 3 How To Fix Drooping Snake Plant?
- 4 Snake Plant Drooping After Repotting
- 5 FAQ’s
- 6 Wrapping Up
Why Is My Snake Plant Droopy?
There are many reasons why your snake plant may be drooping including:
1. Lack of Water
Snake plants do not need a lot of water, but they do need adequate water, especially if they are placed in a brighter area. And, if your snake plant does not get adequate water and the soil remains dry for a few weeks, then the plant may start drooping.
The remedy to this problem is very simple. All you need to do is increase the frequency of watering. Water the snake plant when the top 3-4 inches of the soil is dry.
The ideal schedule for watering your snake plant depends on various factors, including the time of the year, temperature and exposure to the sun.
But in general, the snake plant needs to be watered once every 2-4 weeks, and if the plant gets more heat and light, then it may need more frequent watering. The plant will need less watering during the winter months when the leaves look a little wilted.
The snake plant is a succulent that is native to the West African tropics, which means that it thrives well in hot and dry areas. The plant has thick, rubbery leaves that retain moisture very well and so it doesn’t need a lot of water.
In general, the snake plant needs less watering compared to other houseplants and overwatering can cause root rot, which is one of the common causes of drooping and yellowing leaves.
To rectify the problem of overwatering, first, allow the soil of the plant to dry out fully.
To ensure that the soil is not dry just at the top, poke your finger deep into the soil to determine that it is completely dry.
As a general rule, let the plant dry fully between the waterings, with the top 3 inches of the soil being completely dry.
Use 3% hydrogen peroxide to water the plant for around 3 months to eliminate any root fungus. In case there is severe root rot, then you must remove any rotten or dead roots and repot the snake plant.
3. Poor Drainage
If you’re watering your snake plant as per the recommended schedule but if the leaves are still drooping, then it may be because of poor drainage, and the soil may be holding too much water, leading to overwatering.
And because the roots keep sitting in the water, it can lead to root rot. Snake plants need well-aerated and well-draining soil.
You can use a soil mix that is specifically meant for succulents or you can improve the drainage of the soil by adding perlite to regular potting soil.
If you feel that the soil in which the snake plant is growing is not draining properly, then it may be a good idea to repot the plant in a well-draining potting mix.
But before repotting, check if the container or pot has proper drainage holes that allow the excess water to drain out.
4. Bound Roots
Another reason why your snake plant may be drooping is because the roots of the plant are bound. This is typically caused due to improper potting and the roots of the plant do not have sufficient space to grow.
This causes the roots to become tangled and restricts them from growing properly. Generally, if the roots of the snake plant become a little bound, it does not impact the plant.
But if the roots become extensively bound, then it can harm the plant and cause it to droop.
If the roots of the plant become too tightly bound, it causes girdling and the roots start getting strangled, which prevents the plant from breathing properly, causing many diseases in addition to root rot.
So, it’s a good idea to repot your snake plant once every 3-5 years. Ensure that the roots of the plant occupy only 3/4th of the space in the pot. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow without becoming tangled.
A good way to determine if your snake plant needs repotting or if the roots require trimming is by loosening some soil on the sides of the pot and checking if the roots are thick right up to the edges of the pot.
If you see that there is more root than soil, then look for a larger pot and repot your snake plant. Sometimes, the root ball of the snake plant may become solid. Separate the roots until the roots are not clumping together before repotting.
If you decide to trim the roots of the snake plant, take the plant out of the pot and place it on its side. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut each root individually.
Avoid cutting the root ball to make it smaller. Pull the roots apart gently and trim the roots only where it is required without damaging them.
5. Poor Light
Another reason why your snake plant may be drooping is that it is not getting sufficient light. Snake plants grow quite well in the shade, but they grow better when they have partial exposure to natural sunlight.
Exposure to partial sunlight not only keeps your snake plant healthy but it makes the plant’s leaves much brighter, making the signature pattern on the leaves more visible.
Also, too much direct sunlight is not good for your snake plant. Just around 8 hours of direct light a day is sufficient. Too much light can also cause the leaves of your snake plant to droop.
So, avoid placing it in direct sunlight. It is best to place your snake plant around 10 feet from a south- or west-facing window.
Introduce your plant to the light gradually by starting around 1-2 hours on the first day and adding 1 or 2 hours every day until it gets the sun exposure it needs.
You can use curtains, sticks, etc. to block the sunlight and limit the sunlight that your snake plant gets without the need to move your plant around frequently.
6. Insufficient Heat
The leaves of your snake plant can droop if it is not getting adequate heat. Your snake plant needs temperatures above 50°F to remain healthy.
It is important to remember that if the weather is cold outside, even if the temperature indoors is warm, it may be cooler near the window, causing your snake plant to droop.
So, it is a good idea to keep your plant away from the window or close to a heat source during the colder months.
Pests can weaken the overall health of your snake plant and cause it to droop. Snake plants are susceptible to fungus gnats, especially if the plant is overwatered or has drainage problems.
The larvae of the fungus gnats can emerge from the soil and attack your plant. So, if this occurs, you must remove the plant from the old soil, cut off any rotten roots and repot the snake plant in new soil.
Check that the new pot in which you’re repotting your snake plant has proper drainage. And when you finish repotting, water the plant with 3% hydrogen peroxide and also add a pesticide to prevent the pests from coming back.
You can also eliminate pests by using a solution containing one tablespoon of mild dish-washing liquid, one tablespoon of sunflower or olive oil and around 15 drops of neem oil in a cup of water.
If the pest infestation is severe, then you can use a pyrethrin-based insecticide. Snake plants may be susceptible to other pests like spider mites and mealybugs, although these are rare.
Will A Droopy Snake Plant Recover?
You may be able to revive your snake plant, depending on how badly its leaves are drooping by following the tips and techniques discussed in the section above.
Providing an optimal environment for your snake plant and caring for it will help your plant recover in time.
But, if the leaves are in very bad shape, then it may not be possible for you to fix the existing leaves that are drooping.
One option is to let the leaves be as is until your plant grows new, upright leaves and then cut off the old drooping leaves. Or, you can allow the old drooping leaves to die as the newer leaves take over.
If the leaves are dead or rotten, cut them off below the rotten or dead portion. But remember that if you cut off the tips of the leaves, they will not regrow.
How To Fix Drooping Snake Plant?
Once you are able to figure out the possible reason why your snake plant is drooping, you can fix the issue by following the advice that we discussed earlier in our article.
For instance, if your plant is drooping because of overwatering, then you must cut back on the watering.
And, if the cause for the drooping plant is poor drainage, then repot your plant with well-draining soil and also check if the pot has sufficient holes for proper drainage.
But if you’re unable to determine the exact reason that is causing your snake plant to droop, then by providing the right environment and care, you can improve your snake plant’s health and ensure that it recovers and thrives.
Some of the things that can help to fix your drooping snake plant or prevent it from drooping include:
As we discussed earlier, snake plants grow well in well-draining soil. Regular potting mixes may not be as well-draining as needed by snake plants and so, to fix this problem, you can add some perlite to the mix.
Or, you can use a potting mix specially designed for succulents and cacti.
Snake plants prefer dry soil and so you should water the plant only when the top 3-4 inches of the soil is completely dry.
In general, the snake plant needs watering once every 2-4 weeks, but this will also depend on the temperature and other environmental conditions of the place where you live.
Snake plants grow best in bright, indirect sunlight. If you place your snake plant in a low-light area, then this will affect its watering requirements i.e., the darker the location, the less frequently you must water the plant.
Temperature and Humidity
Snake plants are native to Africa, and so, they grow well in warm temperatures ranging between 50°F and 90°F.
Keep the plant away from cold or hot drafts. Snake plants thrive in moderately humid conditions. If your home is very dry, then you can mist your plant or use a humidifier.
How Do You Straighten a Snake Plant?
Snake Plant Drooping After Repotting
If your snake plant is drooping or its leaves are turning yellow, it can mean shock or stress caused because of repotting.
After repotting, place the pot in bright and indirect sunlight for 2-3 weeks. This will help the plant to recover from repotting stress.
Make sure that your snake plant is not overwatered or underwatered, has proper drainage and is getting sufficient light.
Also, let the roots of the snake plant re-establish for one month at least before applying any fertilizer; otherwise, it can burn the roots.
Should I Cut Drooping Snake Plant Leaves?
You can cut the drooping leaves of the snake plant but avoid cutting off too much of the leaf mass, as this will cause your snake plant to die.
It is best to wait until the plant grows new and healthy leaves before cutting off the old ones completely. This will ensure that your snake plant will regain healthy growth quickly.
In conclusion, if you find that your snake plant is drooping, first, you must investigate and determine the cause of this.
The most common reasons that can cause your snake plant to droop include overwatering, poor draining, disease or pests, lack of heat, poor lighting conditions and roots being bound.
Once you’ve identified the underlying problem, you can take the necessary steps to resolve the issue, which will help your plant to recover, become healthy and thrive for a very long time to come.