Why Is My Snake Plant Turning Yellow

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By Oluwaseun Bamisile


Are you a snake plant owner baffled as to why your beloved plant is turning yellow? This article will provide insights and solutions.

I will start this article by discussing several reasons your snake plant may begin to develop yellow leaves. Then, we will explore various tips to prevent such a situation.

Finally, our FAQ section will address some of the most common questions people often ask related to this article’s topic.

Reasons Your Snake Plant Is Changing Color To Yellow

Reasons Your Snake Plant Is Changing Color To Yellow

A snake plant (Sansevieria) turning yellow can cause concern. This may indicate that the plant is experiencing stress or an underlying issue.

Moreover, snake plants are generally low-maintenance and resilient. However, they can still exhibit signs of distress if their care requirements are not met or if they face certain environmental challenges.

Let’s explore some common reasons your snake plant may be turning yellow.

1. Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common causes of yellowing in snake plants, according to several sources. To give more detail, overwatering can harm snake plants due to their vulnerability to root rot.

When you water the plant too much, the soil becomes waterlogged, reducing the oxygen available to the roots. This lack of oxygen hinders root function, causing them to decay and lose their ability to absorb nutrients and water effectively.

As a result, the leaves turn yellow as the plant struggles to maintain its vitality.

2. Underwatering

Even though snake plants are drought-tolerant, you need to water them adequately. Underwatering, or insufficient watering, causes yellowing leaves as the plant experiences moisture stress.

When the plant doesn’t receive adequate water, it limits the rate of photosynthesis and growth to survive, as hinted by petalrepublic.com. Due to this, the plant can begin to turn yellow and eventually turn brown.

The plant prioritizes survival over growth when it perceives water scarcity.

3. Poor Drainage

Inadequate drainage is problematic for snake plants because it worsens the issues associated with overwatering. When water cannot escape from the pot through drainage holes, it accumulates in the soil, as suggested by homesandgardens.com.

This can eventually saturate the soil. This excess moisture can suffocate the roots, leading to root rot and yellowing leaves.

Therefore, good drainage is crucial for maintaining a healthy root system.

4. Pests or Diseases

Diseases and pests can damage the plant’s leaves, causing them to yellow. Pests like mealybugs and spider mites feed on the plant’s sap, as established by thespruce.com.

As a result, the structure of the plant begins to weaken, disrupting its ability to function properly. In response to this stress and damage, the plant may show signs of yellowing leaves.

5. Old Age

Yellowing leaves due to old age are a natural part of a snake plant’s life cycle, as stated by gardenerbasics.com. As the leaves age, they become less efficient at photosynthesis and nutrient absorption.

Ultimately, they will turn yellow and die off. However, this process is normal, and the plant sheds older leaves to allocate resources to newer growth.

Pruning these aging leaves is a natural part of maintaining the plant’s health and appearance.

How To Prevent Sansevieria Plant From Turning Yellow

Preventing snake plants from turning yellow involves ensuring you provide the proper care and maintain optimal growing conditions. Here are detailed guidelines on preventing your snake plant from developing yellow leaves.

1. Proper Watering

Before watering your snake plant, always check the moisture level of the soil, according to thehealthyhouseplant.com. Put your finger about an inch or two into the plant’s soil – if it feels dry at this depth, it’s time to water.

Furthermore, only water when necessary and adequately. Snake plants are drought-tolerant and prefer to dry out between waterings.

Overwatering can lead to root rot and yellowing leaves.

2. Adequate Pot and Drainage

Ensure the plant is potted in a well-draining potting mix. Gardenerreport.com suggests using a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for succulents or cacti.

This type of potting mix helps prevent water from accumulating around the roots. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of root rot, a common cause of yellowing leaves.

Besides, select a pot with drainage holes to ensure excess water can escape. Additionally, pot size should be appropriate, not too large, as snake plants prefer slightly crowded conditions.

3. Proper Lighting

Place your snake plant in a location where it receives bright, indirect sunlight, as hinted by almanac.com. Although snake plants can tolerate low light conditions, they thrive in brighter light.

While they can also tolerate direct sunlight, it is advisable to avoid putting them in direct sunlight. Hence, protect your plant from direct sunlight, especially during the hot afternoon hours.

Blossomplant.com says too much direct sun can burn the leaves and cause them to turn yellow or brown.

4. Temperature And Humidity

Gardenerbasics.com suggests keeping your snake plant within its preferred temperature range of 50-80°F. Furthermore, avoid exposing it to cold drafts or temperatures below 50°F.

Moreover, snake plants are adaptable to a wide range of humidity levels. They can thrive in slightly higher or low humidity.

To give more detail, they flourish best in humidity levels around 40 – 50%, as stated by natureofhome.com. Moreover, they may benefit from an occasional misting, especially during the dry months.

5. Prevent Pests And Diseases

Routinely inspect your snake plant for signs of pests like mealybugs or spider mites. Catching infestations early can prevent significant damage.

If you discover pests or diseases on your snake plant, isolate it from other houseplants to prevent the problem from spreading. Also, if you notice any yellow or damaged leaves, prune them with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Removing these leaves can redirect the plant’s energy to healthier growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will A Yellow Snake Plant Leaf Turn Green Again?

Sadly, even if the issue is addressed, yellow leaves won’t turn green again. To give more detail, chlorophyll makes a leaf green.

However, when the leaf loses its chlorophyll and turns yellow, the plant abandons it. Hence, it begins to absorb leftover nutrients from the leaf for other leaves. 

2. How Often Do You Water A Snake Plant?

According to leafenvy.co.uk, snake plants must only be watered every two weeks. This allows the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent overwatering and root rot.

However, during the winter months, you can only water the plant once a month.

3. How Do I Know If My Snake Plant Needs Water?

Knowing when to water your snake plant is crucial for its health, as overwatering or underwatering can lead to issues like root rot. The most reliable way to check if your snake plant needs water is by assessing the moisture level of the soil.

Specifically, insert your finger into the soil’s surface, about 1 to 2 inches deep. If the soil feels dry at this depth, it’s time to water.

Besides, if the leaves are visibly wilted, wrinkled, or appear to be drying out, it’s a sign that the plant needs water.

4. What Are The Disadvantages Of Snake Plants?

According to floweraura.com, some of the disadvantages of this plant are its slow growth and temperature requirements.

5. What Is The Color Of A Healthy Snake Plant?

The color of a healthy snake plant should be thick and deep green.


The yellowing of a snake plant’s leaves is a visible sign of distress that can be attributed to various factors. Many of these factors are linked to its care and environmental conditions.

However, understanding the underlying causes of this issue is crucial for effective remediation and the long-term health of the plant. Gladly, this article discussed several reasons your snake plant is developing yellow leaves.

I also provided tips to prevent such a situation and ensure optimal health for your precious plant.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you did, kindly consider sharing it with your friends on social media.

For more articles on similar topics, you can visit our Gardening page.

References And Further Reading

  1. gardenerreport.com – How to Save a Snake Plant with Yellow Leaves
  2. gardenerbasics.com – Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow? The Reasons and How to Fix It
  3. thespruce.com – Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow? 7 Causes and How to Fix It
  4. petalrepublic.com – Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow (9 Common Reasons)
  5. harpersnurseries.com – Reasons Why My Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow And How To Fix It
  6. homesandgardens.com – Why is my snake plant turning yellow? The main causes – and how to treat them

About the Author

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Oluwaseun Bamisile

Oluwaseun is the Lead Content Editor at Ilifeguides.com. He holds a National Diploma in Computer Science (currently studying part-time for his Higher National Diploma). An internet geek with a love for automobiles, he writes relationship articles, travel guides, and general life hacks on the site.

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