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3 Effective Ways to Fix Snake Plant Mushy Leaves

Mushy leaves ruin the architectural glamor of a Snake Plant. So what’s happening when they stop being elegant spears and instead develop soft, squishy patches instead of their striking leaves?

Snake plant leaves that are soft and mushy have a fungal disease. Over-watering is the most common cause of this problem. Wet and soggy soil encourages the growth of fungal spores that cause rot and softened snake plant leaves. Use an appropriate fungicide to treat the affected soils, remove dead leaves, and replace the soil.

Why is My Snake Plant Mushy?

The mushy leaves of the snake plant are rotting while still attached to the plant, which is unusual.

Snake plants are susceptible to overwatering damage. It may surprise you, but a Snake Plant is succulent.

They use the dramatic leaves to store water to keep going in the face of a drought.

If you overwater a Snake Plant, the luscious tissue cannot absorb more water.

So instead, the water sits in the ground, slowly suffocating the roots.

In addition, some fungi live in the soil and attack that dead tissue, eating their way up into the leaf’s soft interior and destroying it.

It’s bleak stuff. But your Snake Plant is resilient, and you have a few options for saving it.

How to Fix Mushy Snake Plant

[1] Remove the Mushy Leaves

Those mushy leaves are dead and will never recover. The squishy tissue is infested with disease and must be removed and discarded.

It is rotting on the plant, and if the squashy leaves stay in place, the whole Snake Plant will die.

Cut the diseased leaves to the ground with sterile, clean shears.

There’s no reason to hold back since even the hard parts of a leaf with a fungal infection are likely to carry the pathogen that caused it.

You can lop it all off at the soil’s surface level. You can’t compost these leaves because they might bring those dangerous fungi into the compost.

So instead, double bag them and throw them away in your trash can.

Finally, sterilize your shears to prevent the spread of disease from one part of your collection to another.

[2] Fungal Disease Treatment

Afterward, you’ll need to deal with the disease itself. But, again, your options depend on the infection’s severity and your comfort with strong chemicals.

Cinnamon

Powdered cinnamon is one of the gentlest fungicides you can use in this situation.

Dusting cinnamon on infected roots and spreading it through the soil can stop the infection from spreading because it contains natural anti-fungal properties.

As a root stimulator, it’s an excellent all-natural option if you’ve lost both leaves and roots.

Potassium Permanganate

Potassium permanganate, also known as Condy’s Crystals, is a low-impact treatment option. (Check out the prices on Amazon here)

It’s gentle enough to be prescribed for skin conditions, so it’s one of the safest options for your houseplants.

A good dilution ratio is one teaspoon of crystals to one gallon of water, resulting in a bright pink liquid that is simple to use.

Pour it around the base of the plant and into the soil to kill the fungi and give your Snake Plant a fighting chance.

Copper Fungicides

A copper-based fungicide is your best hope of saving a badly infected Snake Plant when all else fails.

However, these fungicides are potent, so always read the label and use proper safety precautions when applying them to the skin or plants. 

For the treatment of fungal diseases. Here are the fungicides I recommend:

Name of The FungicideAmountAmount of Water
Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide1-4 tablespoons (.05-2.0 fl oz)1 gallon of water
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide32 tablespoons (1 fl oz) 1 gallon of water
Southern Ag – Liquid Copper Fungicide3-4 tablespoons1 gallon of water

[3] Soil and Drainage

Check the soil and make any necessary corrections to get your mushy Snake Plant back to health!

They require a loose, sandy growing medium that drains well.

Examine your medium closely. How soaked and waterlogged is it? Is the odor unpleasant?

Is it too rich or loamy, with a lot of organic matter mixed in?

You must repot the Snake Plant if you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions.

Snake plants are native to the desert, so their soil needs to reflect that.

I like to use two parts standard potting soil, one part sand, one part perlite, and a few generous handfuls of gravel in my mixtures.

This provides them with the drainage they require to thrive.

A high-quality commercial cactus and succulent mix will do the trick if you’d rather not deal with the hassle. (You can see the Amazon prices here)

Choosing the right pot is an important consideration as well.

Snake plants require pots with plenty of drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom of the pot.

The pot’s material is also essential. Using terracotta or unsealed ceramics to help wick moisture from the medium is a lifesaver if you tend to overwater your plants.

Here are detailed instructions for repotting a Snake Plant with rotting roots.

For the most part, repot with fresh medium in a clean pot with many drainage holes, preferably one made of porous material.

Is Your Snake Plant Over-watered?

Mushy and Soggy Leaves

Sodden and mushy leaves are an obvious sign that your Snake Plant has root rot.

A desert plant, such as a Snake Plant, requires a lot of air pockets in the soil around its roots.

This is because they need oxygen, provided by small air pockets in loose dry soil.

The Snake Plant’s roots begin to suffocate when they are over-watered. They will die and decompose if the problem is not addressed quickly.

Malignant fungi and bacteria infiltrate the soil and quickly make their way into the plant’s tissues and tissue cells, causing extensive damage.

The same fungi that devour the roots infect the tissue as well. What is the result? Soft, rotting leaves and a dead Snake Plant if not treated.

Leaves Turning Yellow and Soft

The Snake Plant’s leaves will begin to turn yellow and soft before they can be salvaged.

This is because the tissue absorbs more liquid than it can hold, causing the leaf to soften.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for yellow leaves, as they are often the first sign of rot.

If you act quickly, you can prevent the spread of the disease and save some of the plants.

Brown Spots and Wilting Leaves

Brown spots and wilting leaves are less severe signs of overwatering.

The Snake Plant is ironically suffering from dehydration as its roots drown and no longer keep their leaves well stocked with water.

As the root system deteriorates, it can no longer draw moisture from the medium and deliver it to the leaves.

So even though it has more water than it could use, the Snake Plant dies of thirst.

Drooping Leaves Will Fall

Depending on the variety, a mature Snake Plant is a sight to behold, with long elegant spears over a foot long and striking in their sharpness.

Unfortunately, if the soil is too wet, the plants will begin to wilt and eventually die off entirely.

Poorly functioning roots are to blame for their dehydration.

They may also droop at the base if their medium is too wet.

Over time, the long leaves become top-heavy, and the sloppy, moist soil makes it difficult to walk on.

The Snake Plant wilts quickly because it cannot keep its spears upright.

Root Rot

A potted Snake Plant that is consistently overwatered will eventually develop root rot.

The roots cannot survive without breathing air and will eventually die and rot away.

Fungi and bacteria in the soil infiltrate the system, breaking down the dead roots and destroying the tissue as it moves through the plant.

Without prompt treatment, a Snake Plant with root roots will develop soft, mushy leaves.

How to Water a Snake Plant

A Snake Plant requires less water than you might think.

This is because they are genuinely remarkable survivors, having evolved to take advantage of every drop of moisture they can get.

As a result, they don’t require much and will actively suffer if you overdo it with the watering can.

  • Check the soil condition before adding water to a Snake Plant’s pot. It should be scorched to at least two inches below the soil’s surface. 
  • It’s easiest to check with a finger poked into the soil to the second knuckle, but a chopstick or popsicle stick will also suffice. It is time to water only after two or three inches, and the tip comes out clean.
  • Soak your Snake Plant thoroughly in fresh, clean water when it’s time to water. Rainwater is ideal, but filtered tap or distilled water will suffice. 
  • At this point, I like to flush my pot, which removes any stagnant water at the bottom and any fertilizer residue or salts from the soil.
  • Finally, allow the pot to drain completely before returning it to its original location. You don’t want leftovers sitting in saucers or drip trays.

The amount of water you need to give your Snake Plant depends on its growing conditions.

For example, you may need to water your plants once a week or more during the hot, dry summers.

However, expect the growing medium to stay moist for longer after the growing season is over, and you may only need to give your Snake a drink every other month!

Snake plants are hardy. It won’t be long before they recover after treating the infection and adjusting your watering schedule.