How to Save a Snake Plant with Yellow Leaves

How to Save a Snake Plant with Yellow Leaves

Usually, snake plant leaves turn yellow because they have been burned by excessive amounts of direct sunlight. Snake plants have delicate leaves that turn yellow in full sunlight since they are designed to grow in the shade or in filtered light.

Most frequent causes of yellowing snake plant leaves include:

  1. Yellow leaves are turned yellow by sunburn. (Snake plants like shade since direct sunshine damages their leaves.)
  2. Root rot is caused by overwatering. Before rewatering, snake plants require the soil to be completely dry.
  3. Root rot is caused by soils that drain slowly. Snake plants require coarse, well-draining potting soil since they frequently develop root rot in unaltered potting soil.
  4. Snake plant leaves get yellowed and wrinkly when submerged. In their leaves, snake plants hold moisture. The snake plant is submerged if it has yellow, wrinkled leaves.
  5. The leaves turn yellow at the base when the temperature falls below 50°F. Native to hot areas, snake plants enjoy temperatures between 65 and 80 °F (18 °C and 27 °C).
  6. As the plant ages, the older leaves closer to the root turn yellow.

As the snake plant ages, its oldest leaves frequently turn yellow and wither. Snake plants focus their efforts on developing the newest, largest leaves that receive the most light. Older leaves have a tendency to lose color, turn yellow, and wither.

This is a normal part of the snake plant’s cycle as it ages, therefore it does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong with it.

To learn how to put the suggestions into practice and keep your yellowing snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) alive, keep reading.

Snake Plant Turning Yellow (Sun Burn)

Native to Nigeria, Tanzania, and other African nations, snake plants have evolved to grow in shadow under a forest canopy, shielded from direct sunlight by foliage above. As a result, when exposed to excessive sunlight, its leaves tend to become yellow.

The leaves of a snake plant may feel hard rather than mushy if they are turning yellow from sunburn, albeit they may be thinner than usual because the plant is using its stored moisture to adapt to the increased light and heat. In most cases, snake plants with yellow leaves from root rot are mushy.

In contrast to leaves that are shaded and not directly exposed to the sun, which are less seriously impacted and may still keep their natural color, leaves that receive the most sun exposure become more severely burned yellow.

A robust, adaptable kind of succulent known as a snake plant can withstand full darkness (although doing so may prevent it from growing), bright light with some filtered light, or even some direct sunlight.

The leaves, however, may need some time to acclimate to any rise in light levels. When relocated from an area of relative shade to a much brighter, sunnier location, snake plants frequently become yellow as a result of the contrast in climate, which causes them to scorch a pale yellow.

If the snake plant is placed on a sunny window sill after being purchased from a store or garden center, where it was cultivated in a shaded area, its delicate leaves will often be forced to deal with intense sunlight.

How to Save a Snake Plant with Yellow Leaves due to Sun Burn

Move a snake plant with yellow leaves to a shadier part of the house if you want to save it. The recovering snake plant does best in any area with strong indirect light.

Once they have been scorched, the individual yellow, scorched leaves often do not regain their appearance.

The leaves cannot turn green again, cannot photosynthesise, and cannot supply the snake plant with energy if they are severely burned yellow.

The snake plant can still develop as long as there are enough leaves left, and as long as it is kept out of direct sunlight. However, after such a stressful incident, the snake plant frequently needs some time to recover before focusing its energy on growing more leaves.

Continue to take good care of the snake plant by maintaining a regular watering schedule. When the snake plant begins to show signs of new growth (often in the spring or summer), you can use sharp pruners to trim any burned leaves back to the plant’s base.

The snake plant is considerably more resistant to pruning when it begins to grow again, which is a sign that the environment is better for the snake plant to recuperate.

The snake plant can prioritize the growth of new, healthy green leaves by pruning since it neatens up the appearance of the plant, encourages new growth, and gets rid of the burned leaves.

It’s important to note that snake plants frequently cease growing in regions with a lot of shadow (see my post on why my snake plant isn’t growing).

Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow (and Brown), Mushy and Droopy due to Overwatering

If there is too much moisture around the roots of a snake plant due to overwatering and slow-draining soils, the leaves can turn yellow. Snake plants love the potting soil to dry out between waterings and are drought-tolerant. The snake plant’s leaves turn yellow from root rot if the soil is persistently moist.

In tropical Africa, snake plants thrive in hot, dry conditions with sporadic rainfall and in stony, quickly draining soils that do not store much moisture.

Too much frequent watering or placing a snake plant in regular, unaltered potting soil encourages root rot, which causes the leaves to turn yellow, frequently with a mushy texture and drooping appearance.

For the roots of the snake plant to be able to breathe, the soil must have pores that allow for the passage of oxygen. Insufficient oxygen in the soil restricts root respiration and hinders the roots’ ability to absorb nutrients and moisture, which causes the leaves to turn yellow and droop.

Therefore, it’s crucial to duplicate some of the circumstances of the snake plant’s native environment in order to develop a healthy snake plant and avoid it from becoming yellow. To do this, use a well-draining soil mixture and only water the snake plant when the soil is dry.

How to Save Snake Plants With Yellow, Drooping Leaves

How to Save Snake Plants With Yellow, Drooping Leaves

The snake plant’s roots can work properly and the plant can recover if you’ve changed the watering schedule to let the soil dry out more between each bout of watering and replenished the potting soil.

(See how to water snake plants in my article.)

Cut any leaves back to the base if they start to turn yellow, mushy, or droop, since this will stop the rot from spreading.

The root rot of the snake plant may be too severe for the plant to recover if the roots were left in moist soil for an extended period of time.

For further propagation, you can still take cuttings from any healthy leaves that are left. Like all succulents, snake plants are especially simple to propagate, and you can grow a brand-new, disease-free plant for nothing.

Check out this instructive YouTube video to learn how to grow snake plants.

Should I cut Back Yellow Snake Plant Leaves?

In order to stop the rot from spreading, prune any snake plant leaves that are turning yellow and feeling mushy as a result of overwatering or poorly draining soils down to the plant’s base. Yellow snake plant leaves can be removed to encourage new growth.

Cut back any yellow, sun-burned leaves as well since they won’t regenerate into greenery.

Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow, Wrinkled and Crispy

Due to submersion, snake plant leaves become yellow and wrinkled. Snake plant leaves retain moisture, keeping them full. When a snake plant is submerged in water, it draws on the moisture reserves there, causing the leaves to wilt and turn yellow.

Like all succulents, snake plants have evolved to survive in hot, dry areas by storing water in their thick, fleshy leaves during times of rainfall and using these moisture reserves to endure protracted droughts.

The leaves of the snake plant get wrinkled and yellowed if it has been submerged for an extended period of time, depleting all of its moisture reserves in the process.

As a severe response to the drought stress, this may eventually cause the leaf to turn crispy.

It is erroneously believed that the recommendation “succulents such as snake plants do not need much watering” means that snake plants only require a tiny amount of water and only sometimes need to be watered.

While snake plants only sometimes require watering, they have evolved to thrive in a cycle of moisture that includes heavy rains followed by dry spells.

So when you do water snake plants, give them a good soak. The soil can then dry out in between waterings when the water is pulled up from the soil and stored in the leaves, giving them a thick, plump appearance.

How to Save a Snake Plant with Yellow, Wrinkled Leaves

  • For ten minutes, submerge the root ball of the snake plant in a container of water. Long-term dryness can cause the soil to bake hard and become water-repellent. When the snake plant is submerged in water, the soil has a better opportunity of absorbing the water and allowing it to reach the roots where it is needed.
  • Water snake plants well every time, making sure that any extra water drips out the bottom of the pot. This guarantees that the water has permeated the soil and reached the roots where it is necessary by simulating the soak and dry cycle of watering in their natural environment.
  • Never water again until the earth has dried out. To gauge how quickly the potting soil dries up, feel the soil at the top and bottom of the pot via the drainage holes. Give the snake plant a good soak when the soil begins to feel dry.

The snake plants’ wrinkled, yellow leaves should look better once the potting soil has been adequately moistened, allowing the roots to get the water they require.

In order to prevent sunburn and crispy foliage, place the snake plant in the shade.

Snake Plant Turning Yellow at The Bottom

Snake Plant Turning Yellow at The Bottom

Snake plants prefer temperatures between 65 and 80 °F and thrive in hot, dry tropical settings.

The snake plant’s base leaves may become yellow and mushy due to the stress of cold weather, but more often than not, cooler conditions cause the potting soil to dry out too slowly after watering, which can lead to root rot.

So it’s crucial to choose a place in your home that maintains between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 27 degrees Celsius), and to wait until the soil has totally dried up before watering it once more.

I advise taking cuttings from any healthy surviving leaves for propagation in order to save the plant if the leaves continue to turn yellow at the base or even turn black and begin to droop.

However, if the plant is focusing its energies on producing the younger, larger leaves that are in stronger light, this is typically why the older leaves closer to the base are withering.

(Read my essay on how to save a snake plant from extinction.)

Key Takeaways:

  • Yellow snake plant leaves may be a sign of root rot brought on by over watering. If the roots rot, the snake plant is unable to absorb water or nutrients, which causes the leaves to become yellow and mushy and to droop.
  • Due to sunburn, snake plant leaves can turn yellow. Since the leaves of the snake plant are evolved to living in shade, they are delicate and cannot tolerate direct sunlight. The leaves will turn yellow and white if they are exposed to too much sunlight.
  • If snake plant leaves are submerged deeply, they will wrinkle and turn yellow. After giving snake plants a good soak, let them dry up completely before giving them another watering. When the snake plant is watered too lightly, the moisture stores in the leaves are depleted, which causes the leaves to wilt and turn yellow.
  • Cold weather, excessive watering, and poorly draining soils cause snake plant leaves to turn yellow at the base. Overwatering and temperatures below 50°F (10°C) encourage root rot, which causes the leaves to become yellow at the base.
  • As the snake plant ages, the base of the leaves can also turn yellow. The leaves at the base of the plant can become shaded as it grows, which causes them to turn yellow. As the plant expands, it directs its energy to growing the younger leaves that receive more light.
  • Repot a snake plant with yellow leaves in well-draining, grittier potting soil, wait for the potting soil to dry out before watering, keep the snake plant out of direct sunlight, and keep the room’s temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Any yellow, mushy leaves should be cut back to the trunk.


How do you revive a yellow snake plant?

 When placed in a room that is constantly warmer than 50°F (10°C), a snake plant that has been exposed to temps just a little below that mark will recover from its curled appearance.

Why is my snake plant turning yellow and dying?

Snake plant leaves becoming yellow are typically a sign of an inadequate watering schedule, which is typically brought on by overwatering but can also be a result of poor watering habits in general.

Why do snake plant leaves turn yellow?

Overwatering is the main reason Sansevieria plants develop yellowish leaves. Sansevieria don’t really require much water to flourish; they basically thrive on neglect. When the top 50% of the soil is dry, only water. Fill the pot with water until it pours easily out of the drainage hole at the bottom.

What do I do if my snake plant is turning yellow?

Repot the plant in order to treat the yellowing, maintain temperatures between 70 and 90 °F, and water only when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry.