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Snake Plant Wrinkled Leaves(Causes And Solutions)

My snake plants are my favorite because they go with almost any décor and add stunning architectural appeal to any space. Sansevieria is a tough houseplant that thrives indoors.

However, their leaves can sometimes become wrinkled, curled, or shriveled. You may be curious as to why the leaves became wrinkled.

No longer need to wonder – I’m here to assist you in determining the source of the issue.

Various environmental and physiological factors can cause the wrinkling of snake plant leaves.

Snake plant leaves wrinkle mainly due to dehydration, excessive heat, or excessive sunlight. Transfer the plant to a bright indirect light location and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering to repair the wrinkled leaves. Maintain a temperature range of 60-65°F to keep sansevieria healthy.

Before reviving your prized houseplants, you’d better determine the true cause. Continue reading to learn more about these common causes of wrinkled snake plant leaves and how to rejuvenate them.

Indoor potted snake plant leaves wrinkling

Causes of Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled


As with most plants, snake plant leaves are usually the first victims of extreme dehydration.

When you don’t water your houseplants as needed, the leaves will develop deep wrinkles as a sign of thirst. These lines may vary in length and depth.

In addition to wrinkling, you may notice that taller leaves become floppy, droopy, and leggy.

They may also look lifeless and develop brown tips or edges. This is generally not much of a problem and can be rectified by immediate watering.

The last thing you want is for your snake plant leaves to fold & twist in unsightly circles and curves. But that can also result from underwatering.

Other signs of underwatered snake plant include dry potting soil, stunted growth, and dry edges.

Dehydrated leaves may also become brittle, curl up, turn brown, or wilt. The lower leaves usually show these telltale signs of dehydration before progressing upwards.

If underwatering is the culprit, root rot will be absent due to the lack of moisture.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Under Watering

Snake plants are generally hardy houseplants. They don’t require too much water to resurge from a case of dehydration. Making sure to water your plants at least once in 14-28 days will do the trick.

The amount and frequency of watering will vary from plant to plant. You must also want to factor in pot size, potting soil mix quality, and season.

For instance, your plants need frequent watering during hot summer.

If the potting mix has compacted, you’ll have to loosen the soil before watering the plant.

Water your plant frequently at first, then reduce the frequency gradually until you hit the sweet spot.

The leaves of your snake plants will unfurl within a few days of proper watering.

The foliage will also become vibrant, blemish-free, and upright. Just make sure not to overwater them as it’ll do more harm than good.


Overwatered Snake Plant

Overwatering can be detrimental to your snake plants. As with most succulents, their leaves store water, so they’re typically fleshy, lush, and thick. However, there can be too much of a good thing.

If you overwater your snake plant, it’ll become waterlogged, making it hard for them to get adequate oxygen and nutrients.

This is normally a common problem in winter when succulents are supposed to be watered sparsely.

If snake plants are watered too frequently, they become prone to edema, a condition in which the leaf cells get too engorged and eventually rupture.

Leaves usually become corky brown, get wrinkled, and eventually turn yellow.

Even more concerning is that waterlogged snake plants can easily develop root rot.

A fungal disease, root rot diminishes the plant’s ability to uptake nutrients, water and function properly.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Overwatering

Check the potting mix and roots. If the soil is waterlogged (feels soggy to the touch), stop watering until the top inch of the soil has dried out a bit. You can pop out any large plants to inspect the roots for rot.

If the roots are rotten, they’ll be soft, blackish, and often give off a foul smell. Trim off any damaged roots and disinfect the rest with an antifungal agent.

If all the roots are soft and look completely black, your snake plant may be a goner.

You may temporarily repot your plant in a fast-draining cactus mix. Again, don’t resume watering until the top layer of soil (about an inch) has dried out.

Root Rot Damages the Nutrient and Water Supply System

Signs of Snake Plant Root Rot
Signs of Snake Plant Root Rot

Waterlogging or excessive watering can cause or exacerbate root rot in snake plants. The common signs of root rot include yellowing and wrinkling in the leaves.

That often means the potting mix is waterlogged, so the roots can’t absorb enough nutrients, water (funny, right?), and oxygen.

You may have to pop out the plant to inspect the roots for fungal disease.

If the entire root system looks black and feels almost jelly soft, the snake plant will likely not make it.

But if you still notice some sturdy, white roots, you can still nurse your precious snake plant back to health.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Root Rot

Root rot may go unnoticed for a long, especially if the plant was initially large and healthy. Early signs of root rot are either absent or negligible.

If you suspect that it’s the cause of leaf wrinkling, stop watering the plant immediately.

Get rid of diseased roots and treat healthy ones with charcoal powder or antifungal formula.

You can also transplant your plant into a fast-draining pot mix. Don’t resume watering until the top inch of the soil has dried out.

Fertilizer Application Mistake

Improper fertilizer application can also cause the leaves of your snake plant to curl and gradually dry up.

Like most succulents, snake plants are a self-reliant species that doesn’t require regular fertilizer application.

Applying fertilizer once every one to two months should be OK during the fast-growth period or summer months. Watch out for the yellowing of leaves, though.

If that happens, you can apply a houseplant fertilizer to supplement zinc, magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Excessive application of fertilizer, however, can cause leave and root damage.

This usually manifests as wrinkled leaves, brown tips, or yellowing. Leaves can also appear burnt and curl inwards.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due to Fertilizer Application Mistake

If your snake plant leaves are wrinkled because of applying too much fertilizer, you can eliminate the excess by flushing the potting mix with lots of water. Repot the plant once the soil is no longer mushy or waterlogged.

Use proper organic, all-purpose fertilizer designed for houseplants. You should get a quality bag from most home improvement stores or gardening shops.

Apply fertilizer during growth boom seasons (aka spring and summer). You should apply once in early spring and one more time during summer.

If feasible, you should always use all-natural alternatives (well-drained compost will suffice).

It’s environmentally friendly and slow-releasing, so it protects the root system.

Temperature Stress

Plants respond to too much heat, just like you and I. Like you tend to sweat a lot in sweltering weather, snake plants rev up transpiration. This helps the plant “cool off” and prevents the denaturation of cells.

So, if your snake plant leaves start wrinkling, falling over, or wilting, that could mean they’re under temperature stress.

In many cases of high temperature, the leaves curl inwards to reduce exposure. As such, your snake plant becomes dehydrated.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Temperature Stress

If you reside in a blistering hot area, make sure your snake plant is shaded indoors. You can park it where a soft breeze from your air conditioner reaches it.

Whatever you do, see that your plant isn’t exposed to direct heat or extremely high temperatures.

Similarly, if the temperatures fall below 60°F (15.6°C), your plant should be taken indoors for warmth.

You ensure that it’s parked in a warm area inside your house where the temp ranges between 60°F (15.°C) and 80°F (26°C) during the day. At night, maintain temperatures of between 55°F (12°C) and 70°F (21°C).

This way, your snake plant will comfortably and efficiently resurrect from any temperature stress. The leaves should unfurl when it reaches optimum temperatures.

Low Humidity

The leaves of snake plants (pretty much any succulent) absorb a significant amount of water from the atmosphere through leaves.

Low humidity slows down this process and can cause your snake plant to lose moisture. It’s no different from high temperatures.

When your snake plant leaves lose moisture, they become flaccid and wrinkle.

Brown/black tips may accompany this. In some cases, the leaves may look lifeless and fall over.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Low Humidity

Low humidity is a big deal during the winter months. Because of this, you should mist your houseplants regularly during the colder weather.

Placing your snake plant in a moisture-rich room, like the bathroom, can also provide additional humidity.

Alternatively, you can use a humidity tray or a humidifier to boost humidity around the plant.

Even though snake plants don’t require too much humidity, they can benefit from misting from time to time.

Grouping several houseplants closer together will also boost the humidity level.

A snake plant will thrive best if you maintain relative humidity at around 40%. The leaves will look vibrant and become lush.

Cold Drafts

The snake plant is a plant species built for survival in drought-prone areas. It’s more likely to survive desert-like conditions than extreme cold.

Although it is a predictably tough plant, the snake plant may struggle in temperatures below 60°F (15.6°C).

If you notice that your snake plant leaves curling or wrinkling, it could be the effects of a cold draft.

This is commonly seen during winter when the cold craft can cause frostbite.

In extreme cases, the water stored in the succulent leaves may start to freeze. This may be detrimental to your plant.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Cold Drafts

It’s thought that snake plants start to self-destruct when they are confronted by extreme cold in a bid to conserve energy.

You can think of it as a way of hibernating. Some experts also think cold weather compromises the plant’s immunity and therefore invites fungal infections.

Either way, you should keep your snake plants away from cold drafts. The best option is to move it to a warmer area.

Again, snake plants are happiest when temperatures are kept within 60°F(15.6°C)-80°F (26.7°C) range during the day and 55°F (12.8°C)-70°F (21°C) range at night.

Poor Water Quality

Tap water can sometimes contain too much chlorine. This usually destroys the root system, may cause root rot, or ruin the quality of potting soil.

The result is not pretty: your plant will start to wilt, falter, and the leaves will be wrinkled because of a lack of proper nutrients.

If you use tap water, you may see that your snake plant will experience slow growth.

They are not as strong as they should be, too. Softened tap water also contains salts that can accumulate in potted soil over time and ultimately cause issues for your snake plant.

Tap water in cities, in particular, differs in quality from one city to the next. Tap water in some cities can be significantly high in additive chlorine and low quality.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Poor Water Quality

If you must use tap water, let it sit still for at least 24 hours before watering your houseplants.

This allows chlorine and other softening salts to dissipate. Make sure to decant your water before using it.

Ideally, you should use filtered water. Charcoal-filtered water is highly recommended, but you can also try fridge filters, filter pitchers, and faucet filters. Rainwater is also much better for your snake plant than tap water.

Regardless of the water source, ensure it’s room temperature when watering. Either cold or warm water isn’t suitable for your snake plant.

Insufficient Light

A snake plant can naturally thrive in most indoor lighting conditions. However, if the light is insufficient, the leaves will show signs of wrinkling, yellowing, and brown tips.

As with any plant, the snake plant requires some light for photosynthesis. It’s the primary source of nutrition.

Without a conducive environment for photosynthesis, the plant can’t thrive and show wrinkling symptoms.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Insufficient Light

Port your snake plant adjacent or close to the window, where it can receive enough light.

You can use artificial lighting if you live in an apartment without windows. It should induce photosynthesis without much hassle.

Insect Infestation

Bugs on Snake Plant
Bugs on Snake Plant

While it isn’t common, wrinkled leaves all over your snake plant can also point to an insect infestation.

Bacteria diseases and pests like mealy bugs, spider mites, and other insects can be to blame.

These pestering insects suck the succulent juices out of the thick, fleshy leaves. This can cause the leaves to turn yellow and become wrinkled.

How to Fix Snake Plant Leaves Wrinkled Due To Insect Infestation

If insects have invaded your snake plant, place it in the tub or shower and use water to spray the bugs off of the leaves.

You can treat the plant with insecticidal soap, horticultural oils, or other treatments you can get from your local garden shop.

If the bugs are persistent, continue the spraying routine once every week until the insects are eliminated.

Don’t forget to wipe the leaves initially with alcohol-soaked cotton balls. Neem oil is another effective way to curb insect infestation. It’s organic and eco-friendly, too.

Read this article to know how to get rid of bugs on snake plant in detail.

How Do You Revive a Wrinkled Snake Plant Leaves?

Inspect Your Snake Plant for Disease and Infestation

The first course of action is to eliminate any disease or insect infestation that may be causing the wrinkling symptoms.

If there are bugs, spray off the insects in your shower and use horticultural oils/insecticidal soaps.

If there’s a sign of root rot, eliminate diseased roots promptly to prevent further spread.

All white and firm roots should remain. Treat them with charcoal powder and other horticultural antifungals.

Water Carefully

If the cause was overwatering, you should stop until the top inch of the soil has dried out a bit. Only water your snake plant once every 2-4 weeks.

Swap out extremely waterlogged soil for a new batch. Loosen the soil before watering if the potting mix is too compact.

Use Proper Soil Mix

As noted earlier, snake plants don’t fancy too much water, so the potting mix is a huge factor in reviving them.  Make sure the soil is well-drained with large participles.

Also, use proper nitrogen-rich fertilizer, but don’t apply too much or too frequently.

Choose the Right Spot

Park your snake plant in a spot that receives ample light (artificial lighting can also do).

Steer clear of high temperatures, cold drafts, and other areas of low humidity. A shaded area is important during the hot summer weather.

Care for Your Plant

If low humidity has something to do with wrinkling, consider misting your plant regularly.

Key Takeaways

If your snake plant leaves have become wrinkled, you should stay calm and try to diagnose the cause.

It can be overwatering, underwatering, insect infestation, insufficient light, cold drafts, temperature stress, low humidity, or root rot.

Improper fertilizer application and lack of nutrition can cause the leaves to curl.

You may notice that the leaves droop, turn yellowish, or look sulky. Start by inspecting your plant for root rot, insect infestation, or waterlogging. 

If too much watering is the cause, stop until the topsoil has dried out, then ease back into it, making sure to water once every 2-4 weeks. 

Areas affected by root rot should be trimmed immediately, and any infestation should be eliminated & treated. Ensure your plant is not exposed to too much heat, cold drafts, or low humidity.

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