An overwatered snake plant may often struggle to thrive and show tell-tale signs of plant root rot or other similar problems. As a sansevieria plant, this species is more drought resistant and excess moisture can easily hamper the health of the foliage, leading to slow and stunted growth.
In this detailed guide, our experts are going to tell you all about identifying signs and symptoms of an overwatered snake plant. You will also find some quick-fix solutions to tackle the condition and save a dying plant, with some easy steps to prevent the occurrence, so read on.
- What Are Signs of Overwatered Snake Plant?
- How to Save Overwatered Snake Plant
What Are Signs of Overwatered Snake Plant?
Signs of an overwatered snake plant are soggy and mushy leaves, in addition, the leaves will be drooping, the plant will start turning yellow, and the soil will be forming molds. You will also observe root rot, and white patches in the soil.
– Soggy and Mushy Leaves
Are your snake plant leaves soggy and mushy to touch? If the leaves squish when you press them gently, it is a clear sign that the snake plant has been overwatered. You will also notice these squishy leaves becoming a duller shade of green with brown tips.
– Leaves Drooping
If the otherwise robust and sturdy leaves of the snake plant begin to wear a droopy look, it is another clear-cut sign of water logging at the roots. The drooping leaves will also turn limp and soft to the touch and the branch to which it is attached will dry and die out.
– Plant Leaves Turning Yellow
Excessive watering also leads to discoloration of plants resulting in the foliage turning yellow or brown. The leaf will also look wilted as the yellow and brown spots spread across the foliage. The yellowing leaf is a clear indication of the lack of nutrients in the plant from the roots due to a high level of moisture.
– Formation of Molds
Overwatering snake plants and poor ventilation around the plant can result in the growth of gray mold in the soil. It attaches itself to the snake plant leaves spreading all over the foliage over time. If not treated, mold can also spread through spores in the air to nearby plants in your garden. The plant begins to produce yellow leaves and will eventually become weak and limp looking.
An overwatered snake plant will show clear-cut signs of dying as they are susceptible to excessive moisture. With too much moisture at the roots, the plant will seldom be able to absorb the required levels of oxygen needed by the plant, thus leading to a stress condition.
– Root Rot
The rotting root is a classic condition caused when a snake plant is overwatered. With excess water around it, the roots become susceptible to developing fungal and bacterial infections.
This damp state of the roots becomes a breeding ground and thus the snake plant bears a wilted look, the foliage gets discolored and also begins to emit a foul and smelly odor from the soil.
Wet soils attract other pests and worms which destroy the roots eventually killing the plant. You can easily detect root rot by looking out for the rotting stench along with droopy leaves.
– White Patches on the Soil
If you notice white spots on the soil, right at the base of the plant, it is yet another symptom of the roots being allowed to stay in water for a long time. The spots could be a result of mold or fungal growth that thrive and spread in a damp environment.
Additionally, they attract algae breeding that can drastically hamper the plant’s health. The look of the foliage makes the plant go weak and limp.
How to Save Overwatered Snake Plant
You can save the overwatered snake plant by scaling back on the watering, tackling the affected foliage, placing it under the sun, and pruning the root rot. In addition, change the soil, and water it consistently, making sure to have proper drainage and ventilation in the pot.
– Scale Back on the Watering
The first thing to do as soon as you suspect overwatering or notice any symptoms is to scale back on the watering immediately. Allow the soil to dry out completely and only then water snake plants. The plant is drought resistant thus letting it dry out will not hamper it anyway.
If no extensive damage is caused, the snake plant may easily recover from the stress of excess moisture on its own. Poke tiny holes in the soil so that air can enter to reach the roots and the water in the soil can evaporate faster as well.
– Tackle the Affected Foliage
Snip away all squishy and damaged parts of the leaves and stem which may put the plant at the risk of getting infested with fungal or bacterial diseases. Leave the plant aside for a few days and you should notice fresh plant growth soon.
– Place the Plant in a Sunny Spot
Save the snake plant by moving it to a well-ventilated sunny and bright spot where it can receive adequate indirect light and warmth. Sunlight will speed up the evaporation of the excess water from the soil and the plant can limp back to good health sooner.
If you are growing it indoors, plants move it near an east-facing window where it can benefit from the warmth of the morning sun. Avoid dark, dingy and damp corners which tend to aggravate the problem.
– Save the Root Rot
Tackle root rot by gently removing the plant from the pot or container. Look out for blackened sections and with the help of a sterile garden pruner snip away all dead, decayed and diseased sections. Loosen up the plant soil and wash the roots with clean water.
Transplant it into fresh potting soil that is light and well-draining and monitor the watering schedule. You can easily revive an overwatered snake plant, if you identify the problem at the earliest and before any serious damage has been caused to the roots.
Consider the same action when there is mold or white spots as fresh soil will give the plant a good boost for healthy growth. Additionally, rub fungicide on the roots before transplanting to prevent any recurrence of fungal infections.
– Change the Soil
Dig out the plant from the overly moist soil and place it in a well-draining potting mix. The ideal composition will be a mix inclusive of peat, perlite and orchid bark with an extra addition of worm castings.
This will not only improve drainage but will also ensure the soil is aerated, permitting easy absorption of oxygen by the roots. Much as the plant is hardy, it is best suited to tolerate drought situations in comparison to excessive moisture in the soil.
– Consistent Watering
There are several ways by which you can prevent such a situation from occurring by using simple and easy mechanisms and providing the right plant care, and the key on is to water the plant consistently with a proper schedule in place.
Avoid infrequent watering as this will disturb the water balance in the soil. The right frequency to maintain is once every one or two weeks, depending upon the zone you are growing the plant in and the weather conditions. Let the plant go completely dry between schedules.
The best way to know if your snake plant requires water or not is to do a simple finger test to gauge the level of moisture in the soil. Dig your finger in by an inch and add in more water only if it comes out feeling dry.
– Monitor Watering Habits as per Season
You will have to alter the schedule as per the changes in the season. Water the plant less during colder months of winter when the plant enters a state of dormancy and thus does not require much of it. Increase during hot sultry days to twice a week, or as per how fast the soil is becoming dry.
– Proper Drainage
Ensure the soil is light and well-draining. The ideal soil will be a mix of peat and perlite and you can additionally throw in some worm castings to improve drainage and increase aeration. Avoid clayey or loamy soils which tend to retain a lot of moisture and drain out very slowly. Also do not pack your soil tightly in the container.
Additionally, the pot or container needs to have a proper drainage hole to permit free flow out of water. Check to see if the drainage holes are not blocked with tiny gravel, debris or pebbles
– Choose an Appropriate Pot
Choose the pot size by the plant size. Do not have too much room in the container which tends to hold more moisture than the plant’s requirement. At the same time avoid overcrowding in a small pot, in which case there may be entangled snake plant roots leading to poor drainage.
– Provide Ventilation
Place your snake plant in a bright, warm, and well-ventilated spot. Cold and damp spots tend to keep the soil moist which in turn becomes a breeding ground for fungal and bacterial diseases.
Ensure there is air movement around the plant and there is ample sunlight that it can receive during the day. This should be able to prevent symptoms relating to over watering to some extent.
You have now read how overwatered snake plants may not be able to maintain healthy foliage and tackling it at the earliest is important.
Let us summarize all that we have learned in this one-stop guide in the section below.
- Snake plants seldom tolerate overwatering and are known to be more drought resistant.
- Some of the clear-cut symptoms of an overwatered plant are mushy and soggy leaves and discoloration of foliage. Other symptoms are root rot, foul odor, mold and white patches on the soil due to the growth of fungal and bacterial infection.
- It is important to tackle an overwatered condition as otherwise, it could be disastrous to the overall health of the plant.
- You can revive an overwatered snake plant by cutting off root rot, transplanting it, maintaining a proper schedule and pruning all discolored foliage.
- It is advisable to prevent future occurrences by maintaining a consistent schedule as per the season and zone you are growing the plant in, having well-draining soil and a container with proper drainage, choosing the right pot size for the plant and ensuring there is adequate ventilation.
Growing the snake plant is easy and hassle-free and with just basic care you can keep its foliage healthy and intact. If you are worried about your plant being overwatered, follow these tips and surely it will limp back to good health with its vibrant foliage soon.
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