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I’ve noticed my snake plant seems to have quickly (within a few days) changed from appearing ‘normal’ for the past 18 months to looking like this.

I don’t know much about these plants and only followed the care instructions given to me (it was a gift, so I’d like to try to save it if possible) - water it sparingly, every few months or so; I would spray a bit of filtered water around the base of the plant. I think the last time I sprayed with any nutrients is maybe a couple of months ago (I’ve only ‘fed’ it a couple of times). The plastic pot it's in has some holes in the bottom, although I don't think the amount of watering means it would ever reach the bottom. The potting mix appears to be compost and sand. It hasn’t been repotted or had any soil changed. Until now it seemed to do okay, so I thought I was looking after it just fine.

A few days ago I noticed it appeared yellow and dry. After some initial reading, I carefully removed the top layer of soil to reveal the roots - it seemed quite shallow and the root system seemed dry (the soil was also dry). There are some green bits towards at the ‘core’ (although diminishing), but everything else looked dried-out and withered. I thought it was dehydrated, so I replaced it and gave it filtered water - more than the light spraying I would give it.

It’s normally kept on a table in my bedroom, out of direct sunlight. The temperature is usually 18-25℃, although we had a recent cold snap in the UK when the house was a little bit colder - that might just be coincidence, though.

Is there anything I can do to revive it or is it beyond saving?

Snake plant with dry and withered leaves

Withered and dry snake plant looking down

Dry root system of a withered and dry snake plant

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  • Watering every few months would starve a cactus. Water lightly each week in Winter, 2-3 times a week when growing. Filtered water means nothing to these troupers. Commented Feb 2 at 15:15
  • @YosefBaskin Two-three waterings per week for sanseveria will kill the plant. Water when the pot feels light, not on a set schedule.
    – Jurp
    Commented Feb 2 at 20:43
  • @Jurp Yes, err on dry, not wet, but I water mine 2-3 times a week all year, and they bloom fragrant like honeysuckle. Commented Feb 2 at 21:47
  • I've had mine bloom, too, usually in late winter. Your climate is, perhaps, drier than mine.
    – Jurp
    Commented Feb 2 at 23:22

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I rarely see this: this plant has been underwatered. However it needs more light to use that water to build new roots. The pale leaves indicate not enough light.

Sanseveria is a tough species. It grows outdoors where it is hot and dry in Africa. It can tolerate low light and dryness but a recovery for this plant involves:

  • more light, right next to a south or west window
  • water once thoroughly till water comes out of the bottom of the pot and let it dry even if that takes a week or more
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    Noted - thanks for the advice. I've 'soaked' the pot and moved it to a west-facing window for now. It looks to have deteriorated further, so I can only hope that might help to revive it.
    – James
    Commented Feb 4 at 21:25
  • @James your last resort is to take cuttings and root them
    – kevinskio
    Commented Feb 4 at 22:12

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