Snake Plant Root Rot (Causes and Fix)

Snake plant root rot is a soil-borne fungal disease that attacks the roots of snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata).

This disease causes wilting, yellowing, and browning of the leaves. The plant will die if not treated. Snake plant root rot is also known as yellow leaf spot or Sansevieria blight.

The fungus which causes snake plant root rot is called Phytophthora sp.

The symptoms first appear on older leaves and move down to new growth as the season progresses.

Snakes are notorious for being finicky about their care, but if you can keep your snake plant happy and healthy, it’s likely to reward you with years of trouble-free growth.

Snake plants grow best in indirect light, so place them away from windows or bright lights.

Water them when the soil feels dry to touch, but don’t overwater them; allow the soil to dry between waterings instead.

Fertilizing them once a month with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer should be enough for normal growth; dilute this fertilizer at half strength before applying it around the base of your plant’s stem.

Causes of Snake Plant Root Rot

The primary problem is root rot, which is caused by overwatering. Root rot can also be the cause of the rotting of a plant’s roots.

They’re not just different names for the same thing: one causes the other.

Most snake plants can be overwatered quite easily, and this is the main culprit behind root rot.

Repotting into a pot that is too big or watering too often are both common reasons why snake plants develop root rot.

The first sign that you have root rot on your hands is when your plant’s leaves begin to turn yellow or brown at the base (this happens when they are deprived of enough oxygen, which they get from their roots).

Why Is My Snake Plant Turning Yellow from Bottom?

Can you save a Snake Plant with Root Rot?

Removing the plant from the pot, carefully cleaning and pruning away any rotting roots, and repotting it into fresh soil is often enough to save a snake plant with root rot and get it back on track.

To begin the process, use a pair of shears or scissors to trim away any mushy, browning spots on the leaves and stems of your Sansevieria (snake plant).

If your houseplant is suffering from severe root rot, you may need to prune all of its leaves so that only healthy green stalks remain.

Before you remove your snake plant from its potting container, thoroughly water its soil until liquid drains through the drainage holes in the bottom of its planter.

This will make it easier for you to shake out any excess dirt when you’re transplanting your plant.

Next, gently slide your snake plant out of its planter and take a minute to inspect it for areas where the soil has attached itself too firmly to the roots.

As long as they’re not too damaged or diseased already, you should be able to remove them by hand.

Try using a combination of gentle pressure from your fingers, twisting motions along with scraping motions if needed.

At this point, if any roots appear brown and soft instead of white or tan and firm these will have rotted away due to overwatering and should be trimmed away using a clean pair of shears or garden scissors.

Why Is My Snake Plant Turning Yellow and Soft?

The Best Fix for Snake Plant Root Rot

If you decide to take the plunge and save your snake plant, here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the plant from its pot. If it is stuck in the soil, pull gently on it until it comes out.
  • Prune off any roots that are brown or mushy. Also, get rid of any new white root growth that looks soft and water-soaked.

This may mean removing the majority of your snake plant’s roots, but don’t worry – as long as the rhizome is intact, your plant can grow back!

  • Replant your snake plant in a container that is large enough to support its current size and future growth.

Use a fresh potting soil mix (don’t recycle old dirt). Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of your pot – these are essential for preventing root rot.

Preventing Snake Plant Root Rot

Let’s move on to preventing root rot. Here are a few things you can do to deter this problem from occurring in the first place:

Maintain proper drainage: 

The most effective way to do this is to use a pot with a drainage hole, and then place that pot inside another larger container or tray where excess water can collect.

A plastic storage bin or baking dish works well for this purpose—if you’ve got one of those lying around, it’s a great way to repurpose something that would otherwise be taking up space in your house!

Water your plant only when the soil is dry, and make sure that there’s no standing water left after watering so that roots don’t get too wet.

I always recommend a cactus mix, but if you’re unable to find one at your local gardening center, you can use equal parts potting soil and perlite.

This will create more air pockets in the soil and allow it to drain better.

What to Use for Drainage in Pots (Improve drainage in potted plants)

Don’t overwater! 

When you water your snake plant, make sure that the soil is evenly moist. Do not let it sit in water because this will cause root rot as well as other problems like leaf spots.

If you’re not sure whether it’s time to water again, wait a day before deciding how much moisture remains in the soil.

A good rule of thumb is to wait until the top half or three-quarters of an inch of the soil dries out before watering again (you don’t want the whole thing fully dried out).

You can let air circulate more freely around roots by removing any mulch covering them before watering again (mulch helps retain moisture but may also contribute to fungal growth).

Check the roots for signs of rot often, especially if they’ve been damaged in another way (for example, by being inside a container that’s too small).

If you notice any discoloration or rotting on them, remove the plant from its pot immediately and replant it into new potting soil with new drainage holes (make sure these holes are small enough for moisture to escape but not so large that it falls through quickly).

You’ll need good tools too; I use my fingers plus sharp pruners whenever necessary when dealing with these types of plants because they’re so succulent and hardy!

Calathea Rufibarba: Plant Care Guide


Although, snake plant is one of the most popular indoor plants because it is easy to grow and adapts well to low light conditions. Root rot is a common problem with this house plant.

Snake plants have become very popular over the past few years because they are easy to grow and very forgiving.

However, like all plants, they do have some problems from time to time. One of these problems is root rot.

Root rot occurs when the roots of your snake plant become infected by one or more types of fungus or bacteria that cause them to decay and die.

If left untreated, it will eventually kill off your plant completely.

Root rot is commonly caused by overwatering or standing water around the base of your snake plant pot due to poor drainage in its soil mix or container.

Use the fix here to prevent the root rot of your snake plant.