Snake Plant Leaves Curling (11 Causes and Solutions)


Indoor Snake plant in container.

why do snake plant leaves curl? You need to understand the causes and symptoms. Sometimes there may be no disease and pest, just some kind of physiological disorders. 

Without knowing the exact reason behind leaves curling you can not treat your plant properly. Here I’ll explain to you how to identify the causes and save your snake plant. 

Why are my snake plant leaves curling? If the temperature is too low (below 12°C/53.6°F), light is not enough and the soil is excessively moist, such symptoms may appear. Because excessive moisture leads to root rot disease. If you do not take timely remedial measures, the condition will get worse. It is necessary to increase the air temperature in the room, reduce watering to a minimum, and move to a better lighting position. 

Causes of Snake Plant Leaves Curling and Solutions

You are taking proper care of your snake plant. But suddenly you find that the leaves of your snake plant are curling up or curling inward. There can be a lot of reasons behind curling the leaves. 

So, you have to know where to look for the problems. Let’s know the reasons behind the curling leaves of your snake plant. I’ll also explain the possible solutions so that you can act quickly.

Lack of moisture

The cause of this symptom is most likely due to the lack of moisture in the soil. The snake plant does not like frequent watering. But, nevertheless, you need to water the plant regularly. 

Solution: Regular watering is enough to restore the optimum moisture for the substrate of the plant. After a few days, the leaves will regain a healthy appearance.

Excess water

Signs of excess water include Withered, curled and yellowing leaves. So lack of water and excess water both can cause leaves curling. 

Solution – Increase the temperature and airflow to evaporate excess water. You can also add H2O2(hydrogen peroxide) to help the roots receive oxygenation. 

This video will help you understand how to apply H2O2(hydrogen peroxide) to your snake plants. 

Just don’t overwater. Water only when the soil/medium is dry. If your soil remains very wet, transplant your plant into a new pot with dry, fresh soil.

Lack of light

If you leave the snake plant in the dark for a long time without watering it, the leaves become curled. If this happens to the plant, you should first gently correct the light mode. 

Solution: Move the pot gradually from the low light to the southern windowsill and adjust the watering mode.

Excess Fertilizer

Signs of excess fertilizer include Burnt / dead leaves at the tips/sides and curled inward.

Solution – Check and adjust to the desired pH. The snake plant prefers the pH range of 5.5-7.5 

Temperature

If a plant’s leaves curl, it is most likely for the cold. Too low temperatures can cause fatal damage to your snake plant.

Solution: If you find this kind of symptom and the room temperature is below 10 °C/50°F then you should move the plant to a warmer room.

Magnesium Deficiency

Indoor snake plant leaves curling up.

It may be a sign of magnesium (Mg) deficiency caused by a low pH level. Lack of magnesium causes snake plant leaves to curl up.

The lack of magnesium can also cause yellowing. Snake plant leaves start yellowing at the tips of the oldest leaves and progressing to the center.

Solution – You should check the pH and adjust it to the ideal level (5.5-7.5). Since outside the ideal level, the snake plant loses its ability to absorb the essential elements required for healthy growth.

If you are growing in soil, Magnesium will not be in an available form at a pH of 6.5 or less.


If the pH is correct, then add ¼ teaspoon of Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salt) per liter of water.

This video will help you understand how to apply  H2O2(hydrogen peroxide) to your snake plants. 

Magnesium can be trapped by excess Ca, Chlorine (Cl) or Nitrogen Ammonia (NH4 +) present in water. If that’s your problem, use mineral water.

Poor growth of the plant

The snake plant may also stop growing and leaves curl because of too frequent watering. If a snake plant does not grow at a normal rate, then this type of leaf curling may occur. 

The way out is to transplant into a smaller pot and water no more than once every two or three weeks.

The snake plant doesn’t start growing until it fills the whole pot with roots. It is therefore not recommended to plant the young plant in a spacious container.

Root rot

Sometimes your snake plant pot does not drain the excess water. Well, this can cause a risk of root rot to your snake plant.

Root rot is another cause for leaves curling of the snake plants. Any uncomfortable conditions or root diseases are reflected in the leaves.

Root rot disease can be very dangerous for your snake plant. This disease progresses without showing visible symptoms on top of the plant. When the first signs are visible, it is usually too late.

Solution: The snake plants are almost indestructible. But from excessive watering, the roots can rot. Then the leaves do not get moisture. As a result, the leaves start curling.

If so, then remove all the affected portions of the root. Sprinkle the roots with crushed charcoal and plant in a light, sandy and well-drained soil. This way you can save your snake plant.

Soil Crusting

When the potting soil is not properly prepared, soil hardening will occur over time. After hardening, it will make it difficult for the roots to absorb nutrients, and water will not circulate through the plant parts.

Eventually your snake plant leaves will curl up or inward. But here is an easy solution to this.

Solution: Just replace the potting soil. It is best to use humus soil and river sand 1: 1. Putting a few gravel sand and other substances at the bottom can loosen the soil and prevent the soil from clinging.

Repotting and Nutrient Problem

Repotting the snake plant into a fresh nutrient substrate

You can also understand why snake plant leaves are massively curled, based on the last transplant. If this happened recently, then most likely the plant has not yet adapted or vice versa.

Another reason may be the soil is too old, it does not have the nutrients needed for a growing plant. 

Solution: In the first case, it is enough to create partial shade and warmth for the plant. After 1-2 weeks it will get used to it.

In the second case, you just need to transplant it into a fresh nutrient substrate. You can check the latest price on amazon of nutrient-enriched soil mix here.

Snake Plant Leaves Curling due to Insect Infestation

The main insects of snake plants are spider mites, thrips, and mealybugs. If any of these insects attack your plant, leaves show curling symptoms. Because they suck the juice of leaves.

Spider mite 

The insect reveals itself by the appearance of whitish spots on the leaves. The pest feeds on the plant’s juices, so it gradually curls and dies.

Solution: If the infestation is in the initial stage, you can wipe its leaves with a cloth soaked in the extract of citrus juice. 

Thrips 

Colonies of thrips larvae are localized mainly on the underside of the leaves. So you can find them under the leaves. At the same time, you can find light spots on the upper side of the leaf. 

Thrips feed on leaves and cause it to curl. Also, the plant becomes vulnerable to viral infectious diseases. 

Solution: Thrips are very easy to control. You can spray neem oil or any other insecticidal soap.

I prefer spraying neem oil because it is organic and environment-friendly. Check the latest price on amazon of neem oil clicking here

Mealybug

Mealybug is very harmful to the snake plant. The leave gets curled and dried up. Mealybug sucks leaf juice like a mosquito.

It is not difficult to recognize the infestation. The leaves curl and turn yellow, then die off. 

Solution: To save the plant from death, you can destroy the pests with your hands, wipe with a dry cloth. If it does not help, we treat the plant with neem oil.

In order to save your snake plant, remove the mealybugs manually and wash the leaves with a sponge soaked in soapy water.

General Best Practices for Snake Plant

If you want to prevent pests from reaching the plant, you need to properly care for it. Here are some practical tips for caring for sansevieria:

  • provide sufficient lighting, but shade from direct sunlight.
  • water moderately, preferably from spring to fall, and limit the amount of water in winter.
  • when watering, do not get water in the center where the leaves unite (possibility of rotting);
  • keep in a room where the temperature varies from 18 °C/64.4 °F to 25 °C/77 °F
  • (spring-summer), from 14 °C/57.2°F  to 16 °C/60.8°F (fall-winter);
  • occasionally spray the leaves of the plant with water at room temperature or wipe with a damp clean cloth;
  • in spring-summer fertilize the plant once a month (you can use fertilizers for cacti and succulents);
  • You need to trim damaged ends of the leaves
  • replant the plant if the pot becomes cramped;
  • use the pot wide and not very deep (fill a third of the pot with small gravel, coal, or expanded clay).

Source: Colorado State University

Conclusion

I have described the possible solutions for the problem of snake plant leaves curling. Following the recommended solutions you can revive the curled leaves of your plant. 

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any suggestions or queries please let me know by dropping a comment below.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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