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I've had a snake plant for about a year and its leaves started to curl and droop a couple of months ago (photos attached, the one with the window is where it normally sits). I typically water it every ~3 weeks (haven't changed that habit during the year). We recently repotted it after seeing some drooping in the leaves. We have an AC unit that is about a meter away from the plant that is on most of the day at ~60 Fahrenheit and our window gets fairly direct sunlight (4-5 hours a day).

When I've looked online I've found some sources which say that it's due to over watering, and others that say it's due to under watering. I've found another source which says that it's likely to due to:

  • cold
  • fungus
  • overwatering

How do I save my snake plant?

3 Answers 3

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It looks as if you've potted your plant directly into a container which does not have drainage holes; if that's the case, it needs to be moved into a pot which does have drainage holes. If you want to stand that inside an outer pot, that's fine, but always empty that out 30 minutes after watering, to make sure the bottom of the plant pot is not sitting in water.

It doesn't sound like you're watering enough, especially if the plant has been getting 4 or 5 hours direct sunlight a day - water when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch, water thoroughly, allowing excess to drain away freely. As for the sunlight, these plants like bright daylight rather than direct sun, so find somewhere else to keep it where it gets good daylight - a little sun early morning or late evening will be fine. Also better to move it farther away away from the AC unit - one metre is too close.

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  • I've moved the plant farther away from the AC and farther away from the window. It was repotted into a pot that does not have drainage holes but we did add rocks to the bottom as per the instructions from the sill. Today I gave it an in-depth watering (from the top) where I poked holes into the soil, watered around the plant, allowing the water to drain from the surface.
    – guest
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 0:17
  • I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that the pot its growing in should have drainage holes, particularly as Snake plants are succulents, but actually for any plant, regardless of what it says in the link you provided. Rocks or shingle in the bottom just means the water collects there, near or in contact with plant roots, which is never a good idea. Drainage is critical for all plants, other than those suited to growing in ponds/lakes. But its your choice - all I can do is give the advice.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 0:47
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Looks pretty root bound, could be too much or too little water or very possibly salt build up/ salt burning... i need more detail...when you water how do you water? From top or bottom? Do you water till it comes out the bottom of the pot if from top? Is the runoff very dark colored? Also when plants get root bound they need more water to penetrate all the way to the deepest roots..this takes multiple waterings at once...water from the top until water comes out the bottom of the pot, if the water coming out looks any darker than a shade of green tea then continue i water it several times till water comes out...keep flushing until the runoff looks like green tea..this process must be done during a normal watering, not over several days or you may rot the roots... sansaveria can live in direct sun here in AZ.. so i doubt its getting too warm...if it was too much water i would expect to see unnatural yellowing of ALL "leaves" but something i don't see often is how they react to being too cold seeing as we're lucky to see inside temps that low and when we do its for very short periods..see picture for example of not enough water and i had removed totally crispy leaves a few days ago sorry i can't show that part if yours is doing this it needs more water!

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Normally, if the leaves stay curled no matter how well they are watered, this may hint to a root problem. This is not limited to overwatering. It might be, but it can also be a root infection of some type (Bacterial, fungal, viral). Another reason may be old potting soil crumbling into fine dust with little to no aeration. This plant should tolerate the three weeks of no irrigation.

If few days have elapsed from your last watering and the leaves do not uncurl and remain shriveled, it would be a wise step to inspect the roots. Take the plant out of its pot and remove the old potting soil. You may find some rotten rhizomes, and sometimes some intact rhizomes with little to no roots. If rhizome rot reaches a leaf, the leaf breaks off and falls. Cut dead and rotten parts. Let the cuttings callus for a week and replant them into a new potting soil. The damaged plant may take longer than normal to recover, but it may work.

Regarding the drainage holes: I understand you are using a pot without drainage holes because you don't want the water to drip inside the house (?) It is better to use a cache-pot: Place a layer of pebbles inside a pot with no holes. Now place the potted plant inside it (with the pot). Let the water drain into the larger pot, but don't let eat reach the bottom of the container. Within few minutes after watering you can empty the excess water into the sink. I find that more practical than using a saucer inside the house. Nevertheless, saucers are a better option when plant is placed outside.

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