Why My Snake Plant Has Yellow Leaves? and How to Fix It

Sansevieria plants, also known snake plants, has many varieties within its genus.

The most common variety is the Sansevieria trifasciata (or alternatively Dracaena trifasciata) and is commonly known as the mother-in-law’s tongue plant.

It’s one of the most common houseplants that can be grown indoors and outside.

The snake plant is famous for its upright leaves features leaves and green in the center with pale yellow borders. Some varieties also possess naturally yellow and curling leaves with dark-yellow stripes.

Pale yellow coloring over the entire leaf, however, signifies a problem, a huge one.

It can be disheartening to see the lush green foliage turn yellow. More so when it’s accompanied with slight curling a part of the leaf dries up.

Why Is My Snake Plant Turning Yellow?

Overwatering, underwatering, root rot, pests, exposure to direct sunlight, over-fertilization, and fungal diseases are the main reasons that make snake plant leaves turn yellow.

Providing the plant with a favorable environment will quickly bring it back to life.

Related post: How Fast Do Snake Plants Grow?

Improper Soil Moisture

someone adding rocks into the potted plantPin

Snake plants have leaves that are thick and fleshy and retain water for long periods of time. Hence, they don’t need much watering.

The plant begins to die if you provide it with excess water. You must water your snake plants every 2-3 days and give the soil time to dry out between waterings.

Too little water and snake plants will dry out, while excess water will lead to root rot. Overwatering and root rot are the main reasons for the snake plant’s yellow leaves.

An overwatered plant will not only turn yellow but will also lead to mushy and soggy leaves.

If soil remains wet for a longer time, the yellow patches turn brown, and you will begin to notice a faint odor. You will also feel that the leaves are easier to pull out and are not firm enough.

Soil is Lacking Certain Elements and Nutrition

An inconsistent watering schedule can either cause waterlogged soil or make it dry, and dry soil means the plant is unable to absorb enough moisture. The end result creates stress and healthy foliage turns yellow.

Additionally, soil lacking in certain trace elements also causes yellowing. It’s important to use a nutrient-rich fertilizer, especially during the growing season, to prevent nutrient deficiency.

Soil and pot has Poor Drainage

If the current potting soil remains wet several days after watering, you must replant it in fresh soil with better drainage.

One must also avoid potting soil rich in peat moss and compost regularly to decrease poor air circulation.

Related post: How To Propagate Snake Plant Three Different Ways

Don’t be afraid to use a well-balanced soil mix suitable for cacti and succulents. Also, add perlite to your potting mix for better airflow. This will prevent root rot and, ultimately, yellow leaves.

Lastly, don’t forget to check that your pot or container’s drainage hole is not blocked since compacted soil leads to root rot.

If you are looking for well-draining pots, we highly recommend these pots for your snake plants. There good looking, very lightweight, and most importantly drain away any excess water.

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Too Much Direct Sun

snake plant has yellow leaves because of direct sunPin

If you leave your snake plant under the scorching sun for too long, the leaves will inevitably turn yellow.

Remove the plant immediately and bring it indoors to receive indirect light or transport it to a shaded area.

Snake plants are sun-loving tropical plants, but they hate too much sunlight, especially during peak summers. Even if you keep your plant indoors on the windowpane, it can still get sunburnt.

As a result, the entire plant loses moisture, and the leaves dry out.

If the plant is outdoors, cover it with burlap to prevent direct exposure to the sun. If it’s indoors, move it to a new location.

Once you change the plant’s location, you can examine it for a few weeks and see if the problem is resolved.

Insect Infestation

Spider mites, soft scales, and mealybugs are common pests that attack succulents like the snake plant.

A heavy pest infestation can turn the plant’s leaves yellow by sucking out chlorophyll and other nutrients.

Plants and humans are the primary carriers of pests. Inspect each new plant when you bring it home to prevent pests from attacking your snake plants.

If you see signs of infestation in one plant, remove it from all your other plants to prevent infection.

Next, wash your plant with a strong stream of water. You should use neem oil, insecticidal soaps, or other pesticides once a week to kill pests – especially to disrupt the pest’s life cycle.

You should also spray it on the underside of the leaves because that is where bugs hide.

If you encounter any pests, we usually use this insecticide that contains Neem oil. It’s highly effective for the most common insects that you’ll encounter.

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Weather and Climate is too Cold

Snake plants thrive in warmer temperatures. Cold temperatures damage the cell walls within leaves, leading to the deterioration of the water pathways and affecting the nutrient flow.

The plants will then be unable to take up moisture from the roots and this results in yellow leaves.

In cold weather, your plants can die of frostbite since the plants are topical. Similarly, if an indoor plant touches a cold surface for a long time, that can also kill its leaves.

It is essential to keep your plants warm and above 50°F (10°C). If the temperature drops to freezing point, your snake plant will not be able to survive.

Fungal Diseases

snake plants resting on the groundPin

Snake plants are prone to getting fungal diseases. The long leaves can hold on to moisture for a long time and it causes them.

A yellowish-brown spot will indicate that a fungal disease is attacking your plant.

The breeding ground for this fungus is wet soil. Similarly, contaminated soil and poor air circulation can lead to fungal diseases.

Fungus wraps around the plant’s roots and causes root rot. If you don’t treat it quickly, the whole plant will begin to wilt and collapse.

To prevent the infection from spreading, quarantine it in a place where no other plant is around.

Then replace the soil and transfer and repot the snake plant to a new pot.


What Do I Do When My Snake Plant Turns Yellow?

To keep your snake plant healthy, you must quickly try to rectify the issue that has caused the yellow leaves in the first place.

Water at a consistent schedule, keep it in bright filtered light and check for signs of root decay or fungal growth.

Shift your plant to a bigger pot if you see the roots are wrapped tightly around the root ball.

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves From My Snake Plant?

Yes, it would help if you cut off all yellow leaves from your snake plant to let them grow healthy leaves.

Then, you can repot the plant’s remaining healthy roots to a new pot with better drainage.


Snake plants are one of the most common types of houseplants any gardener can own.

Related post: 16 Different Sansevieria Varieties (Snake Plant) To Identify What Types You Own

Besides being a very sturdy plant, it’s is one of the few plants that act as a natural air purifier and absorbs harmful pollutants.

There are many reasons that could be causing our snake plant to have yellow leaves. Hopefully, with this blog post, you’ll be able to determine the cause and find a solution.

If you have any questions, please let us know below with a comment. Good luck!

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