The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, which is part of the reason why it is so popular amongst beginners and experienced indoor gardeners alike. Not only do these rugged plants require very little maintenance, but they can also add plenty of color and character to any room.
While they are a notoriously forgiving houseplant, their distinct, upright leaves have a tendency to lean and eventually fall over. If you are wondering why your snake plant’s pointy leaves seem to be bending and collapsing, we can help!
So, Why Are Your Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over?
Given that pointy and fully erect leaves are what give the snake plant its iconic appearance, it can be very concerning when you notice they are beginning to bend, or they have already fallen over.
As will be explained in greater detail, falling or drooping leaves can occur when a snake plant has been overwatered, or if it is receiving an improper amount of sunlight.
Falling Leaves as a Result of Overwatering
Snake plants naturally thrive in dry, rocky environments where rainfall is very limited. While this is part of the reason why snake plants are so easy to care for, it does make them highly susceptible to root rot and other overwatering issues.
Overwatering and using soil that does not drain properly can result in the spread of a fungus that kills the roots of the plant. Once the fungus has caused the snake plant’s roots to begin rotting, they will no longer be able to support the leaves properly. When this happens, the leaves begin to droop and, eventually, they will fall over completely.
Not only can overwatering your snake plant result in root rot, which can present itself with droopy, falling leaves, the fact that snake plants are part of the succulent family means that overwatering can also make the leaves so heavy that they cannot support themselves.
This is because succulents store water in their leaves, so when the plant is overwatered, the leaves will hold an overabundance of water, which makes them heavy, squishy, and, you guessed it, limp. Once the leaves have absorbed enough water that they can no longer support their own weight, they will completely fall over.
Falling Leaves as a Result of Lighting Issues
While snake plants can survive in a variety of lighting conditions, they tend to prefer indirect sunlight.
When your snake plant does not receive enough sunlight, the leaves can begin to strain toward any nearby light source. When the leaves are forced to reach toward a light source, rather than stand in their natural, upright position, they can begin to weaken. Once the snake plant’s leaves have weakened to a significant degree, they will begin falling over.
If, on the other hand, your snake plant is exposed to too much direct sunlight, the leaves will become susceptible to leaf burn. With snake plants, leaf burn usually presents itself as a discoloration of the leaves; however, in severe cases, the leaf burn can even cause the leaves to bend and collapse.
Another related issue that can cause snake plant leaves to fall over is exposing the plant to fluctuating temperatures. To avoid this issue, you should position your snake plant away from any sort of heating or air conditioning vent. Ideally, you would find a place in your home that receives plenty of indirect sunlight and where the air temperature remains fairly stable.
How to Keep Your Snake Plant’s Leaves from Falling Over
You can usually avoid falling leaves by positioning your snake plant correctly and by following some routine maintenance tips.
Position Your Snake Plant Correctly
As mentioned above, find an area of your home that receives plenty of indirect sunlight, but make sure you do not position your snake plant near an air conditioning or heating vent. Preferably, your snake plant should be exposed to at least 5 hours of indirect sunlight per day.
Remember, too much sunlight can be a bad thing too. While they are resilient plants, the leaves can burn, which can cause them to droop, as well as turn brown and pale yellow.
Follow a Proper Watering Routine
Since overwatering is one of the most common mistakes snake plant owners make, you will want to be extra cautious each and every time you give your snake plant a drink.
Even if your snake plant is in a location where it receives plenty of bright, indirect sunlight, you will still only need to water it once every 10 days. You can also stretch the watering schedule even further, especially if you live in a fairly humid climate.
One of the best ways to avoid overwatering your snake plant is to simply check the moisture level in the soil before you add any water. You want to make sure that the top layer of soil is dry to the touch before you even consider watering your snake plant again.
It is also important that the soil your snake plant is potted in has good drainage, as you will really want to make sure that the roots do not sit in water. Consider a fast-draining potting soil mix or a regular variety of potting soil that is combined with coarse sand.
It is also important to choose a pot that has at least one drainage hole, as this will help draw excess water away from the roots.
What if Some of the Leaves Have Completely Fallen Over?
Since snake plants are so resilient, correcting your plant’s overwatering or lighting issues is usually enough for the leaves to bounce back; however, if you have addressed the problem and the leaves still look completely bent over, there are some things you can do. The table below summarises the main points from the article about why snake plant leaves may fall over and how to address and prevent the issue.
|Overwatering Issues||– Snake plants are prone to root rot due to their natural environment preference for dry, rocky areas. |
– Overwatering can spread fungus, killing the roots, leading to drooping and falling leaves.
– Overwatering makes the leaves heavy because they store water, causing them to fall over.
|Lighting Issues||– Snake plants prefer indirect sunlight. |
– Lack of sunlight makes leaves strain towards light, weakening them, leading to falling.
– Too much direct sunlight can cause leaf burn, causing leaves to bend and collapse.
– Fluctuating temperatures can also weaken leaves. Avoid placing near heating or air conditioning vents.
|How to Prevent Falling Leaves||– Position the snake plant in indirect sunlight away from vents, ideally getting 5 hours of indirect sunlight daily. |
– Overwatering is a common mistake; water once every 10 days or even less often in humid climates.
– Check soil moisture before watering and ensure good soil drainage. Use fast-draining potting soil or mix regular soil with coarse sand.
– Ensure the pot has drainage holes.
|Addressing Fallen Leaves||– Addressing overwatering or lighting issues can often help leaves recover. |
– Prune extremely droopy leaves to encourage new growth.
– Prop fallen leaves with stakes or lean them against upright leaves to help them recover and grow upright.
Consider pruning the worst of the droopy leaves, as this will encourage new, upright leaves to grow in their place. You can also prop fallen leaves up with a stake, or by leaning them against the more upright leaves. In most cases, keeping the leaves in an upright position while the plant gets over the overwatering or lighting issue will be enough for them to grow in an upright direction once again.