top of page

Yellow Leaves on Your Snake Plant? Here's What You Need to Do!

Yallooooo plant lovers! Get it?

The Snake plant, also known as mother-in-law's tongue, is one of the most uncomplicated plants to care for. You can grow it outside and inside, and the most challenging part of caring for this plant? Trying not to overwater your Snake plant.

That doesn't mean it's without other problems, though. For example, your Snake plant leaves could be turning yellow and causing you to panic. Well, fear not, my friend!

This is a common problem that many plant enthusiasts face, and luckily, it's usually an easy fix.

In this blog post, I'll go over the reasons why your Snake plant leaves are turning yellow and what you can do to fix it.

Snake Plant yellow leaves

Disclaimer: LiveByLists accepts forms of compensation and is a participant in affiliate networks, including Amazon Associates. This means that when I provide a link to a product you can purchase from affiliate websites, I receive a small percentage at no extra cost. Read more.


How To Fix Yellow Leaves on Your Snake Plant


1. Identify the Cause of Yellow Leaves

There are several reasons why your Snake plant could be turning yellow, and if you don't know the cause of the problem, how can you fix it? You'll need to do some detective work and find the cause by process of elimination.

Examine your Snake plants':

  • Soil

  • Water intake

  • Light exposure

  • Nutrient uptake

  • Environment


2. Check if Your Snake Plant is Over- or Underwatered

One reason for yellow leaves could be overwatering. Yep, you heard me right. Your plant could be drowning in H2O. It may seem counterintuitive, but plants can suffer from too much love and attention.

Overwatering is a common cause of yellow leaves, as the roots may end up sitting in water and start to rot, preventing the plant from absorbing nutrients.

Underwatering can also cause yellowing as the plant struggles to absorb enough water through its roots.

  • Yellow leaves caused by underwatering are usually dry and crispy.

To diagnose if your plant is under or overwatered, stick your finger about one inch deep into the soil - if it's dry at this depth, it's time to give it some water.

However, if the soil feels moist two inches down, wait to water until it dries out a bit more.


3. Ensure Proper Drainage and Pot Size for Your Snake Plant

It is crucial to provide your Snake plant with proper drainage and the right-sized pot for its roots.

Poor drainage can lead to water accumulating at the bottom of the container and causing root rot.

  • Choose a pot that is just slightly bigger than the root ball of your plant.

If the pot is too big, there's too much space for water and soil that could hold onto moisture. On the other hand, if the pot is too small, your Snake plant will stop growing and remain the same size until you plant it in a bigger pot.

  • Use a well-draining soil mix designed for indoor plants.

A good quality soil mix provides nutrients for your plants and allows air pockets to form in the soil. Air pockets allow water to make its way through the soil without becoming trapped, giving your roots enough time to absorb moisture but not drown in water.


4. Ensure Proper Lighting

Another possibility is that your plant is experiencing some low-key drama in the form of light deprivation. For example, Snake plants don't mind low-light settings, but nonetheless, they need sunshine to thrive.

  • If your plant lives in a shady spot that hardly gets any sunlight, it could feel neglected and turn yellow to get your attention.

  • If your leaves turn yellow and become crispy with dry brown edges, they are likely getting too much direct sunlight.

Very few houseplants perform well when put in direct sunlight for most hours of the day. Move your Snake plant to an area that gets bright, indirect light.


5. Check for Pests

A few common pests can attack your Snake plant, causing discoloration and leaf damage.

  • Spider mites

These tiny pests are barely visible to the naked eye, but they can cause significant damage to a plant. Spider mites feed on the sap of the leaves, which can cause yellowing, wilting, and even death of the plant.

  • Mealybugs

Mealybugs are small, white, fuzzy insects that feed on the plant's sap. They can cause yellowing, wilting, and stunted growth.

  • Scale insects

Scale insects are small, flat, and oval-shaped. They can be difficult to spot but can cause yellowing and wilting.

Check the underside of the leaves for any signs of these pests, such as tiny black dots or white fluff.

Treat pests with:

  • Insecticidal soap

  • Neem oil spray

  • Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth

Repeating the treatment after a week is essential. Some pest eggs may not have hatched when you applied the first treatment, and re-infestation could occur if left untreated.


6. Provide Proper Maintenance and Care

Prevention is always better than cure. To keep your Snake plant healthy, it's necessary to provide proper care and maintenance.

  • Snake plants thrive in bright indirect light but can adapt to low-light conditions.

If your plant lacks vitamin D, consider moving it to a brighter location or investing in some grow lights to keep it happy and healthy.

  • Fertilize your Snake plant monthly during the growing season with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.

Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. It's easy to give too much or too little fertilizer, both of which have no positive effect on your plant, and what's the point of that?

  • Regularly wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to help keep dust and debris off, which improves overall health and appearance.

Be careful and gentle when you wipe but don't be scared to get deep in the nooks and crannies.

  • It's better to underwater than overwater when it comes to Snake plants. Ease up on the watering schedule and let the soil dry out completely before watering again.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, so only water your plants when the top inch of the soil feels dry.

  • Make sure your snake plant is potted in well-draining soil.


The Bottom Line

Yellowing Snake plant leaves are a common problem, but with some detective work, you can quickly identify and fix the cause. It's important to regularly monitor the health of your plants and take necessary steps to maintain their well-being, such as providing proper watering, light, and fertilization and promptly addressing any issues that arise. So don't fret; your plant isn't undergoing a midlife crisis; it just needs a little TLC.

bottom of page