Snake plants (Dracaena trifasciata) are known for their rigid leaves that shoot up into the air and their easy-care nature. However, sometimes these plants may become limp or floppy. Numerous issues can cause a snake plant’s leaves to droop, including overwatering, underwatering, and an improper environment. We’ll cover all the reasons your snake plant may be drooping, as well as solutions to help you revive your plant.
Reasons Your Snake Plant is Drooping – The Essentials
All types of snake plants may droop for numerous reasons, but most of these relate to water and drainage. Both underwatering and overwatering can lead a snake plant’s leaves to become floppy. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the proper soil and water only when the soil is dry.
Common Reasons Your Snake Plant is Drooping
1) Lack of Water
While snake plants don’t need a ton of water, they can still get thirsty! This is especially true when they’re in brighter areas and growing well.
If you don’t provide enough water and the soil stays dry for more than a few weeks, your snake plant may begin to droop or even start to fall over.
Fortunately, remedying this problem is easy: increase the frequency in which you water! Aim to water your snake plant when the top three to four inches of soil is dry.
The perfect watering schedule will depend on factors including temperature, time of year, and sun exposure. However, you can plan to water your snake plant once every two to four weeks.
While your plant won’t perk back up immediately after watering, you should notice a difference within a week of watering. If you don’t, another issue is probably causing the drooping.
As we’ve mentioned above, snake plants don’t need much water. They prefer their soil on the dryer side, and they will suffer if they’re constantly sitting in wet soil.
If you overwater your plant, the soil will stay moist. While you may think this will prevent drooping, it can actually cause this unsightly problem. In fact, overwatering is one of the most common causes of floppy and yellowing leaves!
To solve this problem, increase the amount of time between waterings. Remember, you should allow the top three to four inches of soil to dry before watering again.
You should also ensure your pot has drainage holes that allow excess water to escape.
3) Poor Drainage
Even if you water your snake plant on a proper schedule, improper drainage can lead to wet soils.
When you look at drainage, you want to consider two factors: the soil mix and the container. These two elements work together to allow excess water to escape.
Snake plants prefer a well-draining and well-aerated potting mix. Soil mixes designed for houseplants often hold more water than snake plants prefer.
You can add additional perlite to a peat-based potting mix to improve drainage. Alternatively, you can opt to use a well-draining soil mix designed for succulents.
If you think your snake plant is growing in a poorly-draining mix, repot it in a well-draining mix. But before you repot, check your plant’s container!
The pot should have drainage holes that allow excess water to escape. If it doesn’t, repot your snake plant into a new container with holes.
4) Root Rot
Root rot is most likely to occur in wet soils. Therefore, poorly-draining potting soil and overwatering often lead to root rot.
If you suspect your plant has root rot, you’ll need to inspect the roots. Remove your plant from the container and dust of excess potting soil. If you see any brown, red, or soft roots, your plant is infected.
The good news is that you can save a snake plant that’s infected with root rot. The first step is to trim off all portions of infected roots. Next, repot your plant in a well-draining soil mix and water only when the top few inches of soil is dry.
5) Cold Damage
While snake plants can survive temperatures around 50ºF and even below, they can’t handle freezing temperatures or sudden cold snaps. If exposed to cold temperatures, snake plants can become damaged.
While cold damage might not show up right away, low temperatures can lead leaves to become soft and droopy. In extreme cases, leaves may die, which you’ll want to prune and cut back.
Avoid exposing your plant to sudden changes in temperature and cold drafts. Also, aim to keep the air temperature above 60ºF.
If you’re planning on growing snake plants outdoors, see our in-depth guide on the ideal hardiness zones for these plants to thrive.
How to Fix a Drooping Snake Plant
Now that you know the possible causes of a drooping snake plant, it’s time to figure out which one applies to your plant! That’s the first step in fixing the problem.
Once you’ve identified the problem, follow the specific advice outlined above. For example, if your plant is overwatered, water less. And if your plant is dealing with poor drainage, switch potting soils.
If you can’t figure out the exact reason why your snake plant is drooping, you can still do your best to improve its health. Providing your plant with the proper environment and care will help it recover and thrive.
Temperature and Humidity
Since snake plants are native to tropical regions in Africa, they prefer warm temperatures to thrive and grow. Keep the air temperature between 60-90ºF. You should also keep your plant away from any hot or cold drafts.
Snake plants prefer moderate humidity, such as that found in the average home. Unless your home is extremely dry, you won’t need to use a humidifier or mist your plant. Under ideal growing conditions, you may even notice your snake plant producing flowers.
While snake plants can survive a wide range of lighting conditions, they prefer bright, indirect light. This light will provide them with the energy they need to grow.
If you do place your snake plant in an area with low light, recognize this will impact its water needs. The darker the location of your snake plant, the less often you’ll need to water your plant. Under ideal growing conditions, you may even notice your snake plant producing flowers.
As mentioned above, snake plants grow best in well-draining potting soil. Regular peat-based potting mixes tend to lack the drainage snake plants love. To fix this problem, mix in a few handfuls of perlite.
You can also purchase a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents.
Snake plants prefer their soil on the drier side. Therefore, you should only water your snake plant when the top three to four inches of soil is dry!
While environmental conditions impact how often you’ll need to water, plan on watering your snake plant once every two to four weeks.
While snake plants don’t need a ton of fertilizer, they will benefit from regular feedings. Apply a balanced houseplant fertilizer (and or even diluted coffee grounds) once in early spring and again in early summer.
If your snake plant’s leaves are drooping, the first step is to investigate the cause. Once you’ve figured out why your plant’s leaves aren’t looking so hot, take steps to remedy the problem. Under optimal growing conditions, snake plants can live for 20 years or more, and they may even help to purify the air.
If you’re still unsure why your plant’s leaves are drooping, provide the optimal care and environment. In time, your snake plant should recover.
For more, see our in-depth guide on whether snake plants are pet friendly.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.