Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, or the Snake plant, as it’s more commonly referred to, is one of the best indoor houseplants to grow.
It’s got tall, stiff leaves banded with yellow and it sometimes has a yellow border, too.
They’re the ideal houseplant and one of the hardiest, too.
In fact, snake plants are infamous for being able to go almost two months without being watered during the winter months.
Snake plants will thrive in a potted container and even have NASA-certified air-cleaning properties that make it a great addition to any bedroom.
If your snake plant isn’t growing, a few problems could’ve caused it.
While these plants are known for being slow-growing, not seeing any growth at all is a bad sign that indicates there’s a problem with your plant.
Why Isn’t My Snake Plant Growing
If your snake plant isn’t growing at all, the cause is most likely due to a lack of light or improper watering. Snake plants will also stop growing due to stress, which can be caused by the plant becoming rootbound or suffering from root rot, pests, or disease.
Common Causes of Dwarfed Growth in a Snake Plant
We already told you that a snake plant can take a bit of neglect, and their low-maintenance lifestyle is a huge bonus for people who don’t have much time for plant care.
But, if you’ve noticed that your snake plant has suddenly stopped growing, you’ve got a problem.
The most common cause is a lack of light, but there are other reasons that can cause your plant to stop growing.
We’re going to talk about all the different problems that could have affected the growth of your snake plant.
Lack of Light
A normal, healthy snake plant should be growing one to three inches every month, which is the ideal amount.
However, this depends on the growing conditions you provide. One of the main reasons snake plants don’t grow is that they’re not receiving enough light.
Now, let us clarify: snake plants are “low light” plants. However, they do much better when they have indirect sunlight than just sitting in a window, for example.
But, some people assume that low light actually means “no light.” A snake plant needs sunlight every day, or it won’t have enough energy to grow and thrive.
If your snake plant isn’t getting enough light, it can stop it from growing and flourishing.
To remedy this, give your snake plant one or two hours of direct sunlight in the early morning and then move it to indirect sunlight for the rest of the day.
With more light, you should notice new growth in about two or three weeks.
Overwatering your snake plant is a common mistake made by many novice gardeners and plant enthusiasts. This can be a particular problem for snake plants, as they don’t require much watering.
In fact, you should only be watering your snake plant every three weeks, the least every two.
Another method is the soil moisture test. You can determine this by sticking a finger in the pot about two or three inches deep. If it’s dry, it’s time to water.
Snake plants are particularly prone to overwatering in the winter.
When it’s cold outside, try to water once monthly or one and a half months. So, be sparing with the watering can during the winter months.
Overwatering will cause your plant to stop growing because it will eventually cause root rot. Root rot is another problem that we’ll discuss that will stop new growth and even cause premature plant death.
We’ll only touch on this quickly since we already told you how much water your snake plant needs. However, underwatering will undoubtedly stop your plant’s growth.
So, even though snake plants can take a fair amount of neglect, underwatering them will stop their growth as surely as overwatering.
Remember, water every two to three weeks when it’s warm and once a month during the winter.
Root rot is a big problem that will cause Snake plant death if it’s not addressed quickly. Root rot is commonly caused by the soil being too moist, which is usually a result of overwatering.
If your snake plant has root rot, the roots will look brown and decayed. Healthy roots should be white or cream-colored and feel firm to the touch.
However, you may still save your snake plant if it has root rot. If the entire root system is smelly mush, then it’s too late.
You can take some healthy leaves and propagate them to start growing your plant from the beginning again.
However, if there are still healthy roots left, you can save the plant by gently cutting away any brown, rotted roots.
Then, put the plant in a brand-new container with potting soil or a soilless mixture, whatever you prefer. Just remember not to overwater!
Snake plants will also stop growing if they become rootbound. When this happens, the plant roots will slowly grow and grow until they essentially displace most of the soil in the pot.
They can even break the container it’s growing in! When this happens, the plant will have one giant, tangled ball of roots.
When this happens, it will severely slow or even stop the growth of your snake plant.
If you’ve discovered that your plant is rootbound, it will need to be repotted in a bigger pot or divided and placed in two pots.
If you’re going to divide your plant, be very careful when separating the leaves and roots.
Pests and Disease
These two pests essentially will treat your snake plant like one giant Slurpee, sucking the nutritious sap right out of the leaves and causing the plant to stop growing.
To rid your snake plants of spider mites, spray the leaves with water or washing them off into a soapy water bucket. Neem oil is also effective for mealybugs too.
Or, you can try handpicking mealybugs, as they’re big enough to do so.
Snake plants can also be vulnerable to fungal problems, like red leaf spot or southern blight.
While diseases like these will slow or stop growth, they will cause other symptoms too. This includes white, webby fungus growth or brown spots on the leaves.
To avoid fungal problems, ensure that you don’t overwater and that the soil stays well-drained.
The snake plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow and is an excellent addition to any home with its tall, spiky leaves with yellow stripes and bands.
While they don’t grow very much, they should show visible signs of growth if they’re in a healthy condition.
If your snake plant has stopped growing, it’s most likely due to a lack of proper sunlight, improper watering, root rot, pests, or diseases.
It could also be caused by the roots becoming rootbound, which means the plant needs a bigger container.
So, take a close look at your snake plant and ensure that you’re giving it proper growing conditions: that includes watering every two to three weeks and giving it bright but indirect sunlight every day.
If the growth problem is caused by pests, you can control them with handpicking, frequent spraying with water, or using neem oil.
So, hopefully, you’ve discovered some of the possible reasons why your snake plant has stopped growing, and you can remedy the problem.
Once your plant is healthy again, the leaves will be standing tall, proud, and healthy.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.