The Snake Plant, often referred to as the Mother-in-law’s tongue has become an increasingly popular option for beginners because of its forgiving nature.
They can be recognized by their dark green arrow-shaped leaves which can grow up to eight feet tall.
They’re also thought to bring good fortune according to the Chinese’s feng shui.
Although relatively easy plants to grow and maintain, an underwatered Snake Plant can slowly begin to lose its leaves.
So, if you’re curious how an underwatered snake plant looks like, better keep reading.
What Does An Underwatered Snake Plant Look Like?
If a Snake Plant is underwatered, it turns brown and begins to wither. The soil becomes extremely dry and the roots start to get damaged. Its leaves will start curling, eventually, develop a wrinkly texture before they fall off. If underwatering continues, the Snake plant will stop growing.
Symptoms of Underwatering in Snake Plants
Although overwatering is a more common issue with Snake Plants, underwatering can cause just as much damage.
One of the first signs is the plant’s gradual change in appearance.
The leaves will begin to curl in different directions, fall down, and develop a wrinkly texture.
Over time, the edges will then develop brown spots and may start to crack. With a lack of moisture to deliver necessary nutrients, the entire plant will start to turn brown. At this point, the roots may be damaged.
The soil will start to feel drier than normal, signaling that the Snake Plant is in a drought state.
Finally, the plant will stop growing, with its remaining leaves falling off.
The good news is that an underwatered Snake Plant can be saved by following the appropriate steps.
Contributory Factors to Underwatering
The primary cause of an underwatered Snake Plant is of course incorrect watering practices.
This makes it challenging for the plant to receive proper nutrients.
With that being said, there are a few additional factors that may be making the symptoms worse.
Size of the pot
Using the correct pot size and type is incredibly important for proper growth.
Snake Plants are considered to be slow-growing plants so it is suggested to choose a pot that’s one to two inches bigger than the plant.
For example, if the plant measures 6 inches, the pot should be around 8 inches in diameter. This gives it enough room to grow without constricting the roots.
A terracotta or clay pot is most suitable for Snake Plants as they allow the plant to dry out properly between each watering.
Soil plays another important role making sure that your Snake plants stay healthy.
For this particular plant, the perfect potting mix must offer good water drainage and have a potting media low in peat.
An African violet soil mix or an all-purpose cactus potting soil are both good options.
Another thing you should consider is the amount of light the Snake Plant is receiving.
Although they are resilient in most conditions, they thrive in indirect but steady light.
How to Save an Underwatered Snake Plant
Step 1: Repot the Plant
The first step in reviving an underwatered Snake Plant is repotting it. It is important that the Snake Plant is growing in the right container.
Measure the plant and pick a pot that is roughly 1 to 2 inches larger than it. A pot too big may lead to root rot while a pot that’s too large may constrict the roots.
Thus, terracotta and clay pots are best because of their porous structure. This allows moisture and air to move through them with ease preventing any waterlogging.
Make sure to avoid plastic containers.
Additionally, consider using a pot with holes in the bottom for drainage support.
However, don’t water your Snake Plant right after repotting it. Because new bags of potting soil tend to be moist, this could cause the plant to develop symptoms of overwatering.
Potting soils made for cacti or succulents work well for Snake Plants.
Step 2: Develop & Maintain a Proper Watering Routine
Developing and maintaining a proper watering routine is crucial in reviving your underwatered Snake Plant. It’s important to avoid both over and underwatering incidents.
The best way to tell if your Snake Plant needs water is by touching the soil about two inches deep. If it’s still moist, better skip on the watering routine.
Thus, to avoid overwatering, the soil needs to feel completely dry before its next watering. And, in order to avoid underwatering, it is recommended that you check the soil once a week.
Generally, Snake Plants need to be watered every two to four weeks. This can be dependent on the humidity and temperature it lives in so make sure to continuously check the soil.
You can also tell the moisture of the soil by lifting the pot and inspecting the soil color.
If the plant feels lighter than normal, it is most likely drying out. The soil will also become lighter in color as it becomes drier.
Step 3: Create the Ideal Growing Environment
The final step in saving an underwatered Snake Plant is creating the ideal environment for growth.
The plant must be receiving sufficient light, correct temperature, and humidity.
Leaving them in direct sunlight can cause the plant to burn and dry out faster. This can make the leaves turn brown and become cracked.
It’s best to place your plant in an area with steady and indirect light. Make sure that you observe a rotation schedule throughout the year so the plant can receive even light distribution.
Snake Plants grow best in temperatures between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme temperatures can worsen symptoms of underwatering.
Thus, keeping the temperature within this range will allow the plant to avoid drying or freezing.
If the area you’re living in experiences extreme temperature changes, make sure to keep your Snake Plant away from windows and doors.
Snake Plants also need humidity to flourish.
In dry environments, Snake Plants tend to dry out quickly. To protect the plant from low humidity, consider occasionally misting it, using a humidifier, and surrounding it with other plants.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.