Snake plant (sansevieria) leaves curling is a common problem you may encounter if you are growing this plant. Now, you are wondering what you should do first.
No worries! This article will walk you through the step by step process of fixing the problem. Before that, you need to identify the causes of this problem.
Snake plant leaves curling or curling inward due to lack of moisture, low temperature, lack of light, or overwatering. Underwatering is the most common cause of snake plant leaves curling. Insect infestation and diseases are also responsible for this problem.
In this article, I’ll explain all the possible causes and solutions so that you revive your favorite snake plant.
Causes of Snake Plant Leaves Curling And Solutions
It is super important to identify the exact reason and then take the necessary steps to fix the problem.
Otherwise, we may not get the desired result. So, here are the possible causes and how you can fix the problem.
It is the most possible cause of your snake plant leaves curling. If you have underwatered your snake plant it will not be able to carry out normal physiological functions.
Without water, the roots of your snake plant can not intake the essential nutrients from the soil. Because the nutrients remain in the soluble form within the water.
Also without water, it can not transfer the essentials to the leaves. As a result, your snake plant leaves show curling and in severe cases wrinkling. Snake plant brown tips are another common symptom of underwatering.
Solution: Snake plants do not need much water to revive within your lovely home. Watering it once in 2-4 weeks is sufficient to fulfill the moisture needs.
Watering frequency and amount will depend on the season, potting mix quality, and pot size.
If the soil is hard then you need to loosen it before watering, then start watering regularly.
Within a few days, your snake plant leaves will be unfurled. Make sure you do not overwater it will make the situation worse.
Overwatering can be fatal to your snake plant and sometimes it becomes impossible to save the plant. Besides yellowing, curling leaves is also a sign of an overwatered snake plant.
If you overwater your snake plant, it will be infected by root rot disease. Due to root rot, the root system will be dysfunctional eventually. This fungal disease causes roots to rot.
As a result, it can not uptake water and nutrients for its normal physiological functions. Consequently, it may cause the curling of your snake plant leaves.
Solution: If you suspect overwatering issues then you need to check the plant root system immediately. Take out the whole plant from the pot and then wash the root system to get rid of the soil.
Now inspect the roots carefully, If it has got root rot you will get a foul smell from it. Trim off the infected parts of the root and disinfect it with charcoal powder.
Repot the plant with fresh new soil and use a new container to avoid further contamination. If the root rot is severe then you need to propagate the plant to save it from dying.
Lack of Light
Indoor light conditions are enough for your snake plant to thrive. But if it doesn’t get the minimum light then it may show symptoms like curling leaves.
Like other plants, snake plants need some light to continue the photosynthesis process. We know that this is an essential process to prepare food for plants. Without food, snake plant leaves can not thrive and show curling symptoms.
Solution: Place your snake near the window or somewhere else where it can get access to enough light to perform the photosynthesis process.
If your apartment doesn’t get natural light then you can use an artificial light source to meet the light requirements. Snake plants can use artificial light sources for photosynthesis without any issues.
Improper Fertilizer Application
Snake plants do not need frequent fertilizer applications. During the summer or growth period applying fertilizer once in 1-2 months is enough to meet the nutrient requirements.
Excess use of fertilizer damages the root system and leaves. Snake plant leaves can not handle the additional nutrients and show symptoms like burnt leaves or curling inward.
Solution – Use nitrogen-rich balanced fertilizer to ensure a continuous supply of fertilizer. If possible you can consider using organic fertilizer, because it is slow releasing.
So you do not have the risk of over-fertilizing. Always stick to the recommended dose. You find the recommended dose on the package of fertilizer.
Extreme temperature can cause your snake plant leaves to curl. When the temperature is high, it accelerates the transpiration process.
So, the plant loses more water than normal. As a result, loss of water causes the curling of snake leaves.
On the other hand, the low temperatures can also have the same consequence on snake plants. Due to low temperature, the water within the leaves freeze and forms a crystal. This leads to permanent damage to the snake plant leaves.
Solution: If you live in an area where the temperature goes extreme then you need to make sure that your snake plant remains in shade within your home. Or place the plant where the temperature is lower.
Now, if the temperature is below 10°C/50°F then you should not keep the plant outside, Make sure it remains warm within your room.
This way your plant will revive from the temperature stress and you can revive the curling leaves.
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Correct soil pH is very important for any houseplant soil. Because soil pH determines the availability of the nutrients present in the soil. The optimum range of pH is between 5.5 to 7.5 for snake plant soil.
There will be unavailability of magnesium (Mg) in low pH or acidic soil. So the leaves can not produce chlorophyll which is essential for photosynthesis. Therefore, lower or old leaves will show symptoms like yellowing and curling.
Solution- You need to check the pH of your soil to be sure about the problem. You can use soil pH testers available in the market.
If it is too low or acidic then you need to increase the pH. It is very easy to do by adding hydrated lime to the soil.
On the flip side, if the pH level is higher than the recommended then add some lemon juice to the water before watering. Eventually, it will help decrease the pH level.
Rootbound Snake Plant
It is mandatory to change the pot size according to the age of your snake plant. With age, the root system expands and becomes root bound if the pot size remains the same. The roots create a circling web within the container.
If your snake plant is being rootbound then it can be the possible cause of your snake plant leaves curling. Because the root system can not have access to enough space which limits the function and nutrient intake.
Solution: You need to access the size and age of your snake plant then decide if it needs repotting. It will help you plant to expand the root system and thrive again.
Excess watering or stagnant water in the container can accelerate this fungal infection.
Wet and soggy conditions inhibit the root’s ability to use oxygen and create a suffocating environment. This condition is ideal for fungal disease growth.
Due to root rot, the root system becomes damaged and dysfunctional. It can be fatal for your snake plant.
As the roots are not able to supply the essentials for the plants. You will see the symptoms like curling leaves above the ground.
Solution: Root rot is not easy to trace at the early stage as it doesn’t show any kind of visible symptoms.
You will see the visible symptoms like curling and yellowing of leaves when it’s too late to save the plant. So you need to check out the roots as well when you see symptoms like curling leaves.
This article goes into more detail about saving snake plant from root rot.
Transplanting to new pots is a general care practice for houseplants. If you have transplanted your snake plant recently then it is normal that it will take some time to adjust the root system to the new environment.
During this transitional period, your snake plant may not be able to absorb enough water to continue the normal physiological functions. Curling leaves is one of the visible symptoms of transplant shock.
Solution: After transplanting keep your snake plant in partial shade and water moderately. After a few days, it will get used to the changing environment.
Avoid using old soil because it may be exhausted supplying nutrients to the plan. It is better to use nutrient-rich and well drainage capacity soil for transplanting your snake plant.
Snake Plant Leaves Curling Due to Insect Infestation
It is the least possible reason that your snake plant leaves are curling due to mealybugs or spider mites. These insects suck the juices of the leaves. And it can be the cause of your snake plant leaves to curl.
Solution: These pests are easy to eliminate from your snake plant. At the initial stage wipe, the snake plant leaves with an alcohol-soaked cloth. Neem oil is a very effective organic way to combat these insects.
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General Best Practices for Snake Plant
If you want your snake plant to thrive within your lovely home then here are some care practices you should follow:
- Ensure enough light but avoid direct sunlight. The artificial light source is also an effective way of natural light is not available.
- Always water moderately from summer to spring. Reduce watering frequency during winter.
- Make sure there is no stagnant water and soil drains out the excess water through drainage holes. Check the latest price of drainage capacity nutrient-enriched soil mix on Amazon.
- Keep your snake plant at room temperature.
- You can mist the plant leaves occasionally and wipe them with a wet cloth. It will keep the insects away.
- Fertilizing once every 4-6 weeks is sufficient to ensure the required nutrients. (you can use fertilizers for cacti and succulents);
- If you suspect your snake plant is becoming root bound then you should consider repotting to a bigger pot ASAP.
I tried to cover all the possible causes and solutions to the problem. If you find any other information just let me know by dropping a comment below I’ll be happy to add that information.
(Source: Colorado State University)