Snake Plant Turning Yellow And Soft (Causes and Solutions)


This image showing the yellow part of Snake Plant

Are you worried about your snake plants? If your snake plant leaves are turning yellow, you might desperately be looking for a viable solution.

If that’s the case, you are in the right place! Read on to find out the causes and how to solve them.

Snake plant leaves can turn yellow and of mainly due to overwatering and root disease. Yellowing of leaves can also be caused by underwatering, exposure to excessive sunlight, over fertilizing, fungal diseases  and insect infestation. 

Causes of Snake Plants Leaves Turning Yellow 

Sansevieria is known as a snake plant and mother-in-law’s tongue! Isn’t the name interesting?

It’s possible that you are taking good care of your plant, but the leaves might start turning soft and yellow.

Some of the possible causes for the snake plant leaves to turn yellow are as follows: 

Overwatering 

When you are overwatering your snake plant, you are basically laying the plan for its death. Yes, it can be that dangerous. 

If the plants start turning yellow it means that you are not doing something right! It’s time to focus on your watering habit and rescue the snake plant as soon as possible. 

It’s important that you know the underlying cause of the leaves turning yellow in color. Ideally, the leaves should be healthy. 

If you think something is off with the leaves color, overwatering can be the first thought on your mind. The healthy leaves of the plant would be dark green in color. 

Overwatering can lead to root rot. You just have to provide an adequate amount of water and ensure proper drainage so that the excess water can drain out. 

Not too much and not too little! If there is any stagnant water it will create a favorable environment for the fungal diseases. Surely we do not want that to happen.

You can water the snake plants every 2 weeks to 6 weeks. Or you can see when the soil appears dry. Based on the need for water, you have to care for the plant. 

Sunlight Overexposure

It’s possible that you might be keeping your plant in too much sunlight! Yes, you heard that right. Just like when you are staying out in the sun for too long, it causes sunburn. 

If you are keeping it outside or in a place where the sun shines brightly,  it can happen to your snake plant too!

You may be surprised to know that sunlight through your window can also cause damage to your snake plant leaves. 

Because sometimes the window glass enhances the sun ray and causes your snake plant to lose more water.  Thus, the leaves would turn yellow or brown. 

Snake plants are easy to care for! Usually, people would prefer such plants because of this reason. But it doesn’t mean that you neglect the main factors that are important for the plant. 

You don’t want sunlight overexposure for your plants. It would be wise if you are keeping the plants in indirect sunlight. 

You have to provide adequate exposure to sunlight. To provide indirect sunlight, you have to put in a little effort to find the right spot for your plants!

Inadequate Underwatering 

It’s possible that you might be too busy with life! It’s also possible that you might have heard somewhere that your snake plant can survive a long time if you don’t water it. 

Or maybe you were out for a vacation. In any case, inadequate underwatering will show some similar symptoms like overwatering. 

Because in case of underwatering the root system can not intake enough water and nutrients to conduct the physiological function properly. The nutrients within the soil remain in soluble form. 

So without water your  snake plant can not use the essential nutrients from soil.  As a consequence, underwatering dehydrates your plant  and causing the leaves to turn yellow. 

Just like overwatering, you might not be sure of underwatering! In fact, if you have heard about overwatering damaging the plant maybe that’s stopping you from watering the plant at all. Make sure you are watering less in winters. 

It’s important that you know when and how much water your snake plant needs. Now that you get a plant, it’s your responsibility to show the right care. 

Your plant needs attention when it’s asking for water. The results would be apparent through the color of the leaves. You know what to do next, right? 

When you are underwatering the plant, you can see if the leaves also appear dry.

Plus, you should water the plants by looking at the soil. If it appears dry it means that the snake plant needs water. 

This article goes into more detail into signs of underwatered snake plants. Thus, you can know that you are not overwatering, but rather underwatering if the soil appears too dry. 

Root Rot 

Root rot can damage the overall functionality of the root system. Providing too much water to the snake plants can cause root rot. Then the root system will get damaged and start to decay.

Thus, when the root rot develops the plant won’t be getting enough nutrients that are important for survival and growth. 

So, the leaves would start turning yellow. When you are giving too much water to your precious plant than it actually needs, a fungus can develop on the roots.

Besides excess water root rot can be caused by using contaminated soil and containers, poor drainage system etc. 

Also poor air circulation, compact soil and humid condition is very suitable for fungal growth in the root zone. Maintaining hygiene for your snake plant soil and container is important to avoid fungal diseases like root rot.

Identifying the root rot is important for the health and well being of your snake plant. If you are taking care of your snake plant, you can instantly observe the change in the leaves’ color. 

Once the fungus develops, the roots of the snake plant would start dying. In fact, it’s important that you are keeping a close eye on the root rot as you would like your plant to live. 

When you think the roots of the plant are affected, it’s time to consider repotting. You can use less wet soil that’s fresh. 

You can also use the potting mix for repotting the plant. Make sure you are repotting the plant the right way. Use the right soil mixture and select a suitable location for the plant after repotting.

It is very difficult to trace the root rot in the first place. Sometimes it becomes too late to save your snake plant from this fatal disease. Root rot damages the whole root system, then you have to propagate the plant to save it from dying.

Read this article to know the step by step process of saving snake plant from root rot.

Aging of Snake Plants

Take a look at the world around you! Everything is aging. Basically, the phenomenon of aging and growing old is natural. The same rule applies to the snake plants.

When the leaves are turning yellow, it could simply be because of the natural process of aging of the snake plants. The old yellow leaves would soon be dying! Worry not as the new leaves are emerging around you too. 

When aging is the main cause behind the snake plants’ leaves to turn yellow, it shouldn’t bother you much. In fact, it might indicate that your plant once had a healthy life and is now getting old. 

Insect Infestation 

There are chances that the insect infestation can lead to yellow leaves of the snake plants. If there is such an issue, not only the leaves would be yellow, but the plant would become weak too. 

You don’t want your snake plants to become weak! You should do something about the pests. 

Do not ignore insect infestation! Keep a close eye on the color of the leaves. The bugs might contribute to accelerating the process of turning the leaves yellow. 

There are many kinds of pests that can affect the snake plants causing the leaves to turn yellow. Always watch out for mealybugs, aphids, and more. 

You can see what viable options are available to you when it comes to dealing with the pests. You can try keeping the plant separate from other plants. 

No matter what, just make sure you are taking care of the health and well-being of your snake plants. 

Some of the pests affecting the snake plants include:

⦿ Mealybugs: If you see oval-shaped insects around your snake plants, it would probably be the mealybugs. They are trying to find a spot where they can feed. 

⦿ Aphids: You might spot aphids in clusters feeding on your snake plant and these could be green, brown, yellow, or red in color! They are so tiny that it becomes difficult to trace them.

When the start feed on the leaves it sucks the juices and nutrients from it. So yellowing, brown spots, and curling leaves are the common symptoms. 

Because of such pests and a few more, you can see the leaves curling and turning yellow in color.

A strong splash of water or manual cleaning with an alcohol wet cloth can do the trick.

Besides if the infestation is severe, you can apply neem oil or other insecticides to control these soft-skinned insects easily.

Fungal Diseases 

If you are overwatering the plant, it can cause fungal infections. Even root rot would cause the fungal diseases. If the soil gets contaminated or if the plants are crowded then it can also cause fungal diseases. 

Fungal diseases can affect the overall health of your plant. Thus, there are chances that the leaves of the plant would turn yellow as a result of such fungal infections. 

It’s important that you are keeping an eye on your plant for possible fungal diseases such as

⦿ Fungal leaf spots: If there is a root decay, it would affect your snake plant. The plant might be getting poor air. It’s possible that you can be giving too much water to the plant that’s causing this issue! 

⦿ Anthracnose: You might be overwatering the plant or misting too much. High humidity and if you soak the leaves with water this fungal disease can develop. 

If your snake plant is affected by the fungal disease or infection then it would affect the growth of the plant as the process of photosynthesis would also be interrupted. 

To combat these diseases you have to use effective fungicides and disinfect the soil mix as well as the container. 

Nutrient Deficiencies 

Make sure the snake plant is getting the required nutrients for its growth. Although you need not go through much hassle when dealing with this plant, it’s still important that the soil you are using is rich in the required nutrients.

It’s also possible that your plant already has nutrient deficiencies and now the pests can accelerate the yellowing of the leaves. 

You have to use nutrient-rich fertilizer for the plant. When getting the fertilizer for the plants do quick research on what’s best for the snake plants. 

The possible nutrient deficiencies in snake plants that can affect the leaves color are as follows: 

⦿ Nitrogen: The deficiency of nitrogen in the snake plant can cause pale yellow leaves. 

⦿ Magnesium: It can affect the height of the plant. The leaves can be chlorotic.

To avoid the nutrient deficiencies in your snake plant, you have to provide the soil that is rich in such essential nutrients.

Overfertilizing 

The snake plants don’t require much fertilizer, but for better growth, you can add it. It would be best if you are adding it after a few weeks especially during the summer and the spring. 

However, there are chances that you might be overfertilizing your plant. It would be best to provide fertilizer to the plants when there is a need and you are aiming for better growth. Overfeeding is not the solution! 

Plus, you are not supposed to add fertilizers during winter as the plant would be dormant. You should know what fertilizer is suitable for your snake plant and in what quantity. 

Now that you know that over fertilizing can cause the leaves to turn yellow, it’s important to know what’s the right frequency. 

It would be quite interesting for you to know that the snake plant would not need much fertilizer, but you can fertilize it during the growing season of the plant. Avoid adding the fertilizer during the dormant season of the plant. 

You can use Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium fertilizer for your plants. You can keep the ratio at 7:4:10. It would be suitable to use in the spring season. It’s also possible to use organic matter. You can use compost if you like. 

Overcrowding in Pots 

You might not even realize, but the overcrowded snake plants in the pots can be causing the yellow leaves. So you have to be mindful of overcrowding as it can cause yellowing of the leaves. 

When overcrowding in pots is the reason for the leaves to turn yellow then it means that there are not enough nutrients for the plants in the soil. 

Now you have to arrange for a better place for the plant as it needs a different pot. Plus, you might also need to divide the bigger plant into smaller ones. 

Soil pH

The soil of the snake plants should be suitable for its growth. It’s important that the soil you are using for the snake plants is full of essential nutrients.

Make sure the soil pH for the snake plants is somewhere between 6.1-6.5. You can use the relevant products for testing the soil pH! 

You have to try your best to provide the best surviving conditions to your plants! When you are aiming for the right soil for your plants, chances are it would survive better. 

Transplant Shock 

It’s possible for a plant to face the transplant shock that causes the leaves to turn yellow. So when you are repotting the snake plant, you have to keep an eye on the transplant shock. Because of the transplant shock, the roots can get damaged. 

The root system would need some time to settle down. Thus, on a temporary basis, it’s possible that the plant might not be receiving the essential nutrients. 

In order to avoid transplant shock, the key is to provide adequate conditions to the snake plant that can help it grow better and be healthy.

So when you are repotting the snake plants next time for any reason, make sure you are doing it correctly. Plus, you should always treat the snake plant gently as it would already be fragile for repotting. 

Chlorosis

When certain trace elements are missing from the soil of a plant, it can lead to the yellowing of leaves known as chlorosis. 

The soil of the snake plant has to be healthy. If the plant is healthy the leaves would be healthy too. You should be replacing the soil when needed. Typically, after every few years! 

So, it could be possible for snake plants’ leaves to turn yellow. When you are a beginner, it’s hard to know what’s the main cause. But, you can have an idea with time. 

Extreme Temperature Exposure 

Your snake plant is likely to thrive better in the warmer temperatures. If you are leaving the plants in the cold climate, it would lead to damage to the cell walls. 

And you certainly don’t want that as it causes damage to the water pathways and flow of nutrients for the plant. 

Because of the cold temperature, the leaves would start to turn yellow. You might wonder if it’s because of overwatering, but actually, the cold temperature would be causing such an issue. 

The suitable temperature for your plants would be 60-80 ℉ (15.56-26.67℃) during the day time. 

You should know what’s the most suitable environmental condition for your snake plants. At night, the suitable temperature for the snake plants would be between 55-70 ℉ (12.78-21.1℃). 

For the snake plants, 40% relative humidity at average room temperature would be suitable. Make sure you are not misting the indoor snake plants as it could be dangerous. 

You have to provide the right temperature for the better health of your plant. Make sure you are taking all the necessary measures for the well being of your snake plants.

When you are keeping the plant indoors, you have to provide it appropriate care and maintenance. You should know all the relevant requirements before you get the plant for your home! 

You May Also Enjoy: Moonshine Snake Plant Care (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Getting Soft 

If your snake plant leaves are getting soft, you might be wondering what’s causing it! 

Let’s dig in some of the possible causes: 

Overwatering 

Yes, overwatering is not only causing the leaves to turn yellow, but it can cause the leaves to turn soft too. 

The color of the leaves is the main sign to look for when you are not watering the right way! Overwatering can cause root rot so the leaves could be mushy too. 

In fact, overwatering is the main cause that can actually damage the snake plant to great extent. 

You don’t want the leaves of your plant to turn mushy or soft. Just water the plants when the soil appears dry. 

I have also written a step by step article to save your overwatered snake plant. This will help you solve most of the problems of your snake plant.

Root Rot 

Overwatering leads to root rot. Now that you have been overwatering your plant, you might notice the root rot. In fact, the soft leaves might be an indication of root rot. 

So what you have to do is inspect your plant and look for the signs of root rot before it’s too late. 

If you think the snake plant is having a root rot, it’s time you take action for the better! 

Cold Temperature 

If your plants have to face cold temperatures, then the cell walls within the leaves of the plant would be damaged. 

The damage would be to such an extent that the plant won’t be getting enough nutrients and water. Low temperature slows down the physiological processes ultimately showing symptoms like yellowing of leaves.

Thus, you can see that the leaves would start to turn yellow and mushy. When you see your plant getting affected, it’s best to do something about it as soon as possible. 

One thing that you can do at this point is to prune the leaves that are damaged. 

Make sure to keep your snake plant in a warm room or if it is outside bring it back indoors.

How to Care for Your Snake Plants to Avoid Yellow and Soft Leaves 

Taking care of your plants it’s important for survival and growth. The yellow leaves of the plants are a symptom that you need to watch out for!

Other than that, you should be thankful if the leaves of your plant are healthy. Consider the following: 

⦿ Right Location: Try to keep the plants in the right location. The better the location, the better the lighting would be! You are aiming for indirect sunlight that would be great for the plants. 

⦿ Treat Fungal Diseases: Keep an eye on the fungal diseases and treat them accordingly. 

⦿ Adequate Water Supply: Make sure the water you are giving to the plants is just right! In fact, keep an eye on the soil so that you can decide accordingly. 

⦿ Fertilize Properly: Fertilize the plants in such a way that you are providing the right nutrients and there is an even distribution in the soil. 

⦿ Treat Root Rot: You have to treat your plant if there is root rot. You can decide what to do with the plant depending on the extent of the root rot such as pruning the damaged leaves or repotting the plant. 

⦿ Right Temperature: Make sure you are providing the environment with the right temperature for your snake plant.

Tips To Keep When Caring For Your Snake Plants 

Keep the following tips in mind: 

⦿ Give extra attention to the snake plants during cold weather. The plant would need more light during the winter. 

⦿ Keep your plant clean. Watch out for overcrowding in the pot. You certainly want the best for your plants. 

⦿ If the leaves are dark and healthy, it means they have enough nourishment. 

⦿ When you are selecting the pot for your snake plant, make sure it has enough drainage. Doing so can help prevent root rot. And you certainly don’t want that!

⦿ If you are keeping the snake plant outside and the weather is freezing cold then you should keep it indoors. The freezing temperature won’t be suitable for the plants. 

Final Words 

There are several reasons for the leaves for the snake plants to turn yellow and soft.

Knowing the possible causes such as overwatering the plants, placing them in too much sunlight, providing the wrong temperature, over fertilizing, and a lot more can help!

When you know what’s causing the issue, it can help you rectify the issue to some extent. Based on the relevant cause, you can come up with a viable solution.

It’s important that you are taking good care of your snake plants! 

Good luck! 

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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