In this article, we’d be answering some snake plant-related questions such as, why is my snake plant turning yellow from bottom? All the underlying reasons would be discussed including possible remedies and most importantly, preventive measures, so you get to enjoy your snake plant for as long as possible.
The odds are high you decided to cultivate snake plants because they seem like the perfect plants to easily add a tropical, rustic appearance to your indoor or outdoor space. And the best part is, you don’t have to do too much to have them thriving and feeling out area with their foliage of long, tongue-shaped, dark green striped leaves.
But while snake plants are hardy and can take lots of battering in the form of neglect, things can go sideways with leaves turning yellow, plant drooping, plant turning yellow, stunted growth, etc.
Why Is My Snake Plant Turning Yellow from Bottom?
The snake plant (Sanseveria spp), also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is very hardy. The visually appealing plant is also notable for its air-purifying quality.
Requiring minimal care and maintenance, they can hold up and thrive under adverse conditions and neglect. When one it is turning yellow from the bottom, the immediate gut feeling is one of extreme neglect. And since the symptoms are from the bottom, you want to assume that something is wrong with the root system and/or soil.
Generally, several factors can lead to problems with the roots system. Improper watering and root rot are two of the most cited causes. Closely linked to this is poor-draining soil and if the plant is potted, blocked/lack of drainage holes could also be the cause.
Let’s look at how all these issues can transform your previously healthy plant into a worryingly sickly snake plant turning yellow from bottom.
When it comes to snake plants, proper watering entails ensuring the soil is never soggy and watering only when the top one inch is dry in the growing season. In winter, snake plants don’t need that much water. A schedule of once every other month is recommended.
Soggy soil is the result of watering too frequently, perhaps due to anxiety that the plant is not getting enough water. Fact is, the snake plant can survive lack of water for long but would easily suffer the negative effects of too much water.
The most serious downside of over-watered soil is that it creates the perfect conditions for harmful fungus to grow in the soil. The growth and activities of the fungus in the soil are detrimental to the root system leading to the potentially deadly root we’d discuss in a bit
The best soil for snake plants is a loose potting mix with excellent drainage such as cactus soil. Soils that retain too much moisture or water are bad. These include potting soils that contain peat, compost, and dense/heavy soils like those found in gardens.
It won’t amount to much, in terms of the general health of your snake plant, if the watering schedule is perfect but the soil has poor drainage.
That said, your soil could still be soggy even when the soil is the best there is and there is nothing wrong with the watering schedule. In this case, you might want to look at the drainage holes. The critical question to ask is if the drainage holes are serving their intended purpose of allowing excess water to drain out of the pot.
Examine the holes to make sure they are not blocked. If the holes are blocked, unblock them by removing any object. You want to also consider adding more holes if the current drainage holes seem inadequate.
In the unlikely event that you used a pot or planter without holes, the easy solution is to drill holes on the bottom or repot the plant in an appropriate planter with holes.
As mentioned earlier, too much moisture or soggy soil creates the optimal condition for the proliferation of harmful fungi, such as pythium and fusarium, in the soil. These fungi produce toxins that prevent the roots from absorbing water and nutrients dissolved in water. This affects all parts of the plant including the bottom of the snake plant.
The yellowing of your snake plant from the bottom is a clear sign that root rot has already set in. The situation is not beyond salvageable depending on how widespread the rot is.
At this point, any preventive measure is all about saving your snake plant or ensuring it doesn’t spread to other plants if only one or a few plants are affected.
The first step is to determine how far gone the roots are. This involves gentle uprooting the plant to expose the roots. Then examine the root system.
If the problem is extensive, the roots would clearly look dark-colored and unhealthy. The soggy roots would also give off a bad smell. The solution is to discard the plant if all parts of the root system are affected.
However, if only some of the roots are affected, you can still save your snake plant. Carefully cut off or remove the affected sections of the roots and discard them.
The next step is to re-pot the plant using new potting soil because the current soil is bad. Ensure that you get high-quality potting soil that drains very well.
After discarding the previous soil, disinfect the pot by washing it very well with soap solution or any good disinfectant. Next, rinse and allow it to dry before adding the new soil. Finally, replant the snake plant and water it until excess water starts draining off at the bottom.
The snake plant should start thriving, and as long as you stick to the correct watering schedule, you won’t have to deal with yellowing at the bottom again.
Frequently Asked Questions: Snake Plant Turning Yellow from Bottom.
How to Save Yellowing Snake Plant
Saving a yellowing snake plant is primarily about restoring the right growing conditions. The first step, though, is to pinpoint the causative factor. Saving it becomes simply tackling the specific problem. Any of the following can be the cause of yellowing snake plant
- Improper watering
- Poor soil and drainage
- Root rot
- Excessive exposure to light
- Temperature extremes
- Snake plant diseases caused by pests
After identifying the cause, implement any of the following fixes where applicable:
- Stick to the correct watering schedule. This also has the collateral effect for preventing root rot. Water the plant only if the soil is dry but less in winter.
- Use a horticultural spray to eliminate pests and insects attack
- If the soil is too compact and doesn’t drain well, repot your snake using premium potting soil.
- Avoid keeping the plants in freezing conditions. Snake plants are tropical and don’t do well in winter conditions. Take them indoors in winter; if they are already indoors, place them somewhere warm.
- Move them to a shady area of they are exposed to bright, direct sunshine
How Do I Fix Yellow Leaves On My Snake Plant?
Yellowing leaves in snake plants are mostly the result of overwatering and exposure to direct sunlight.
The best route to fixing the problem is to cease watering immediately until the soil is completely dry. You might want to re-pot the plant in better-draining soil. Or you could add perlite to your current potting soil to improve drainage.
Next, relocate the snake plant to a room or area that gets only indirect light from the sun. The area should be bright, though, because leaves need that light to process energy.
If the plant is outdoors and you can’t relocate it, place a screen in front of the plant. This should act as a sun shade that allows filtered light to get through.
If the problem persists after carrying out the above corrective measures, cut out the yellow parts of the leaf. And if any yellow leaf turns brown, simply cut the offending leaf at the soil level.
Why is My Snake Plant Rotting at the Bottom?
This is typically a case of root rot and it cuts across all snake plant cultivars. The leading causes of root rot are overwatering and poor-draining soil
How Can You Tell if a Snake Plant is Dying?
The best way to tell if your snake plant is dying is to look out for some tell-tale symptoms. These include the presence of leaf spots, limp leaves, wilting, and yellowing leaves. Brown, dry leaves, and rotting roots are also signs of a dying snake plant.