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Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Posted by appledeco (My Page) on
Tue, May 22, 12 at 12:35

I have a 36" tall Snake Plant that I've had since at least November 2010. It's been in the same spot ever since I bought it (pic attached to show the amount of light it gets during the day) and usually watered it once a month IF that. A few months ago I noticed some change to the leaves. Several started to fold up on themselves (while still staying upright with no color change) and eventually died. I thought maybe I wasn't watering it enough so I increased my watering to once every two weeks or so. Then one of the taller leaves started curling over, but hasn't done much beyond that. All the leaves are still their usual dark green color.

I immediately stopped watering, thinking I had now overwatered. When I pull the dead leaves out, the soil attached to the leaf is moist, even though most of the surrounding soil is very dry. I also found what looks like white mold on top of the soil.

I'm thinking there may be some residual damp soil that could possibly be causing root rot, but I really don't know. Should I pull the plant out of its pot, replace the soil and replant?

I'm also considering moving it to a darker spot in the house but worry that could further hurt it. Maybe I should just buy a new plant for that spot?

Thanks for any and all advice!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Snake Plant


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Pls. provide a closer up shot of the actual plant & how it looks right now, sounds likely to be a soil problem.

If it were mine, I'd unpot the whole thing, being prepared to change the mix to something more gritty (having pumice or perlite on hand).

Without a pic of actual the plant, its mix & its current condition, it's near impossible to say.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Well, don't you think you should tip the plant out of the pot to check on the status of the soil/roots? I'm with purple on this.

Snake plants need to dry out in between waterings, but should be thoroughly drenched on watering day. Have you been doing that? If so, that would certainly explain why a small portion of the medium seemed moist but the rest of it dry.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Apple. First, your room is lovely and quite bright.

You should have taken a closeup pic of your Snake Plant. It's hard determining the problem from that distance.

From what you said, if leaves are easily pulled from the soil, your Snake 'probably' has root rot.

Whatever, do not move further away from light. Although Snake's are considered low light, or as some people assume, shade plants, Snake Plants need some light to thrive and grow.

Do you keep blinds closed all day?

I wouldn't toss in the trash and buy another. Try saving the Snake you have.

I agree it's a good idea to remove your Snake from soil, check and clip dead roots, then add fresh, well-draining mix. Water, then place in a little brighter location. Keeping the blinds opened will improve light.

Afterwards, if roots are alive, and you plan on using the same container, clean thoroughly.

Watering plants shouldn't be done by schedule. My Snakes are watered when soil is dry to the touch. All are directly in front of windows. East is perfect.

About the plant on the other side of the room, (Euphorbia) it needs a lot more sun than it's getting. West or South.

Please take a closeup of your Snake Plant and soil. Toni


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

If you repot this pls. DO NOT water it in, increases likelihood of rot.

It'd be really helpful if such bad, incorrect & potentially damaging advice were not offered here.

The best (& really only) way to determine for sure what's wrong here is to unpot it & inspect roots & mix.

It's like trying to see inside something while blindfolded, not going to happen.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

I agree that it's probably overwatered, and suspect the soil is mostly peat. It needs something that will dry out quickly and stay dry. And enough sun to use the water. If the pot still feels heavy, it's not dry enough yet. A pot that big, I don't lift, but tipping it sideways will give you an idea of its' heft.

The white stuff could be salt/lime scale deposits. If the soil is not often watered so much so that water runs out of the drain holes, you can get that, especially around the rim. With a plant that big, it would be happiest outside for the summer where you (and the rain) can do that. I have (I think, faraway pic) the same kind and it gets watered almost every day while outside but only about every 4-6 weeks inside.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Thanks for the feedback. I'll get a close up later today, this was the only picture on hand and was merely to demonstrate the amount of light.

I always water until I see water coming out of the drainage holes. In the past, I watered only when the soil looked dry, although now I know I should actually check the soil with my finger. Regardless, if I were to check the soil now, it would be dry, but after having pulled a leaf, it seems some of the soil is staying wet.

I don't really have blinds, they are sheers, so the room is lit with sunlight whenever the sun is out. (hopefulauthor - I didn't mean to imply that I would toss this plant, just that I would buy a new one to put in my less sunlit location, also, the attached picture is from the winter and the Euphorbia is currently outside basking in the sunlight)

I will return with a close up picture of the questionable areas.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Back with pictures. In this first one you can see the leaf that is curled over on the left side. You can also see many of the leaves that are curling into themselves instead of being fairly flat.

Here is a link that might be useful: SN1


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Here's another not so good lookin' leaf.

Here is a link that might be useful: SN2


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Also, I'm starting to think the white stuff is something other than some form of fungus... when I looked at it today, it looked very sandy.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Sorry, don't really know what to say. I don't think the 1st pic where the leaf gently curves over (arcs?) is any kind of problem, not to me anyway.

I can't see what the cause of the damaged leaf would be from here. You could cut the top off the leaf & it'll stay scarred like that (won't grow back) or, you cut the leaf off entirely, down at the soil level (hopefully that'll contain whatever, the whitish sandy stuff is/was).

I still think you need to unpot to check the roots/drainage issues.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

Appledeco - I agree with pirate_girl. I can't really see anything wrong with your plant from the pictures. Plants are living things and,unlike other ornaments in your home, they will not remain static. Leaves get damaged by all sorts of things (there's one furry possibility in the picture) and they also have a finite life span. Every leaf will eventually die and fall off while new ones will grow. It doesn't necessarily mean there is a problem. If the short damaged stem is unsightly to you just cut it off deep down at the base. You could use it to take cuttings. Also check that when you water there isn't a pool sitting in the bottom of the cache pot.


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RE: Snake Plant - What's Happening?

The one thing I noticed is it is by a door not a window. How offen is that door opened and is the plant exposed to drafts. Sans hate cold more that anything. Below 40 could do a lot of damage. I agree the plant looks fine to me from what I see. and cut off the damage part of the leaf.


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