How to Revive a Dying Snake Plant: Steps to Bring It Back to Life

Snake plants are popular indoor plants known for their hardiness and striking appearance.

Yet, even the toughest plants can experience setbacks and start to show signs of distress.

If you've noticed your snake plant's leaves turning yellow, brown, or drooping, don't worry! You can still revive your plant and bring it back to life.

A poor dying snake plant

Identifying the root of the problem—be it overwatering, underwatering, or extreme temperature exposure—is your first step.

In this guide, we'll provide you with the essential steps to help your snake plant bounce back to health.

What Does a Dying Snake Plant Look Like?

When your snake plant is distressed, its leaves may turn yellow, brown, or drooping. You might also notice the leaves curling or spot some brown marks.

An unusual musty smell from the soil or roots can indicate a fungal or bacterial disease.

A dying snake plant planted on a dark blue pot

And let's not forget about the roots. If they've turned mushy and rusty brown instead of white, it's a sign of distress.

Although they can be easy to overlook, they're important clues about your plant's health.

Identifying these symptoms is the initial step toward addressing your snake plant's needs and helping it return to good health.

Yellowing or Browning and Drooping Snake Plants

Yellowing, browning, and drooping leaves are common signs of an unhealthy snake plant. The leaves might lose their firmness, develop a mushy texture, and eventually fall off.


Several factors can cause yellowing or browning and drooping snake plants. Overwatering, underwatering, and exposure to extreme temperatures are often the primary culprits.

Inconsistent temperatures, especially near drafty doors, windows, or air vents, can stress the plant and turn its leaves yellow.

Poor drainage, slow-draining soils, and pots without proper drainage can also lead to these problems.

If you're facing issues with brown tips on your snake plant, here's a helpful article: Snake Plant Has Brown Tips – What To Do?

How to Revive Yellowing or Browning and Drooping Snake Plants

Reviving a snake plant with yellowing, browning, or drooping leaves requires a thoughtful approach.

Follow these step-by-step guidelines to address common issues and create a more nurturing environment for your plant:

1. Assess the Watering Schedule

Ensure you're providing the right amount of water for your snake plant. Over- or underwatering can lead to yellowing or browning leaves.

Change your watering schedule as necessary to prevent added damage.

2. Check for Proper Drainage

Make sure your snake plant's soil mix and container allow for adequate drainage. Repot your plant in well-draining soil and a container with drainage holes if necessary.

For more information on the importance of drainage for snake plants, read: Does A Snake Plant Need Drainage?

3. Move to an Appropriate Location

Place your snake plant in a spot with bright, indirect light away from drafty windows, doors, or direct sunlight to create a more stable environment for your plant.

4. Monitor for Pests

Examine your snake plant for any signs of pest infestations. Common houseplant pests, such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids, can cause leaves to turn yellow or brown.

You can find out more about common snake plant diseases and pests in this post.

If you find pests, treat your plant with an appropriate pesticide to eliminate the problem.

The Fertilome Triple Action is a highly-rated option known for its effectiveness in tackling a range of common houseplant pests.

Get your hands on this fungicide and give your snake plant the relief it needs.

Triple Action

Learn more on Amazon.

Snake Plants with Fungal or Bacterial Disease

You may notice some alarming symptoms if your snake plant suffers from a fungal or bacterial disease.

Watch out for signs like wilting, yellowing of leaves, and dark spots on the foliage. And in some cases, a slimy or foul smell could emanate from the soil or roots.


These diseases often occur due to improper watering practices, damp conditions, or poor air circulation around the plant.

Overwatering your snake plant can lead to root rot caused by a fungal infection.

Additionally, unclean or contaminated gardening tools may introduce harmful bacteria into the plant's environment.

How to Revive Snake Plants with Fungal or Bacterial Disease

Encountering fungal or bacterial diseases in your snake plant can be a bit troubling, yet it's something that can be managed.

Follow these steps to guide your plant back to good health:

1. Diagnose the Problem

Examine your plant closely to determine if it's suffering from a fungal or bacterial disease. Look for the symptoms mentioned earlier, such as wilting, yellow leaves, and dark spots.

2. Remove Affected parts

Trim off any affected leaves, stems, or roots with clean, sterilized garden scissors or pruning shears to prevent the spread of infection.

3. Avoid Overwatering

Ensure that your snake plant receives adequate, but not excessive amounts of water. The soil should be completely dry before giving it a thorough soaking

4. Improve Air Circulation

Place your snake plant in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation to prevent the growth and spread of harmful pathogens.

5. Use a Fungicide or Bactericide

Depending on the type of disease your snake plant is experiencing, you may need to use a fungicide or bactericide.

A trusted product in combating plant diseases is the Southern Ag Liquid Copper Fungicide. It's user-friendly and effective against a variety of fungal diseases.

Consider giving it a try to help safeguard your snake plant and restore its vigor.

Liquid Copper Fungicide

See this product on Amazon.

6. Repot the plant

If the infection is severe, you may need to repot your snake plant in fresh, well-draining soil. Be sure to clean the container thoroughly before replanting.

Curling Or Wrinkled Leaves on Snake Plants

When the leaves curl, it's often a reaction to environmental stress. They might appear less firm, lose their flat appearance, and start to exhibit a curled or wrinkled texture.

This change in leaf texture can make your snake plant look less vibrant and healthy.


There are many causes for curling leaves in snake plants. Some common reasons include underwatering, overwatering, diseases, and pests like thrips and southern blight.

Temperature fluctuations or inadequate sunlight exposure may also contribute to this issue.

Lastly, if your plant isn't getting proper nutrients or if there's too much fertilizer, this can also lead to wrinkled leaves, as the plant finds it hard to keep growing as it should.

How to Revive Snake Plants with Curling Leaves

To help your snake plant recover, follow these steps:

1. Assess the Situation

Start by checking your plant for signs of trouble. Look at the soil—is it too wet or too dry? Are the leaves turning yellow?

Are there bugs on or around your plant? Understanding the problem is the first step to fixing it.

2. Watering Balance

Watering your snake plant properly is crucial. Aim to water it once every 2-4 weeks, but always check the soil before you do. If the soil is still wet, hold off on watering until it's dry.

3. Temperature Control

Snake plants like it warm but not too hot. Keeping the temperature between 55-85°F is just right for them to grow well.

4. Light Exposure

Placing your snake plant in the right spot is important. They prefer indirect sunlight over direct sunlight, which can be too harsh and cause the leaves to turn brown.

5. Pest Control

If you notice bugs, a good cleaning can help. Wiping the leaves with neem oil or other organic solutions can eliminate pests.

And if you find any leaves that look sick, it's best to remove them to keep the disease from spreading.

6. Repotting (Optional)

If things don't improve, or if you find that the roots are rotting, it might be time to repot your snake plant.

Fresh soil and a new pot with good drainage can give your plant a fresh start.

Mushy and Rusty Roots in Snake Plants

Mushy roots in snake plants appear soft and spongy, often extending this mushiness to the leaves, making them limp.

There could also be a noticeable rotten smell, hinting at an issue below the soil. On the other hand, rusty roots take on a brown or reddish color and may feel mushy, too.

This condition can also appear as brown and rotting spots on the lower leaves. Over time, you might see the plant starting to yellow and wilt, indicating the roots need some attention.


Over-watering is a common cause of mushy roots in snake plants. It makes the soil too wet, which in turn encourages fungal growth, leading to root rot and mushy leaves.

Fungal infections like Southern blight also lead to mushy and rusty roots, affecting the plant's health.

The temperature and moisture can also play a part—sudden changes from hot to cold or drafty spots can cause root issues.

How to Revive Mushy and Rusty Roots in Snake Plants

Reviving a snake plant with mushy and rusty roots requires a gentle touch and some patience.

Below are the steps you can follow to help your snake plant recover and thrive again:

1. Remove the Rotted Roots

Start by gently removing the snake plant from its pot to check for signs of rot, like mushy or discolored roots. Use clean, sterilized shears to trim away all the affected roots.

2. Clean the Roots

After trimming, gently wash the roots under a stream of tap water to remove any remaining soil. Be careful not to damage the sensitive roots while doing so.

3. Repot the Plant

Repot the snake plant in fresh, well-draining soil. It's essential to choose a soil mix that provides good drainage to prevent future occurrences of root rot

If you're reusing the old pot, clean it thoroughly with hot, soapy water to get rid of any remaining pathogens.

Or, you could choose a new pot with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

If a fungal infection was the cause of the root rot, treating the soil and the plant with a fungicide is also necessary.

4. Adjust your Watering Practice

Adjust your watering routine to avoid over-watering, a common cause of mushy and rusty roots.

Water the plant only when the top few inches of soil are dry, and ensure the soil has dried out completely before watering again.

5. Monitor the Plant

After repotting, watch your snake plant closely for any signs of recurring issues. Continue with good watering and lighting practices to encourage healthy growth.

Lastly, keep your snake plant in a stable temperature environment and provide indirect sunlight. This will help create better growth conditions for your plant moving forward.

End Notes: Nursing Snake Plants Back to Health

As we've explored the common problems and ways to help snake plants bounce back, there are some handy points to remember.

Before you go, let's highlight some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Identifying the problem is half the battle; whether it's watering issues, pests, or diseases, knowing the issue helps in addressing it effectively.
  • Correct watering practices can prevent a multitude of problems, including yellowing or drooping leaves and mushy roots.
  • A well-draining soil and pot with adequate drainage holes are crucial to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  • Proper light exposure and a stable temperature environment contribute to the overall health of your snake plant.
  • Regular monitoring for pests and diseases allows for early intervention, preventing minor issues from becoming major problems.

With these actionable takeaways, you're better equipped to ensure your snake plant thrives. Enjoy nurturing your green companion!

How to Revive a Dying Snake Plant FAQs

Can You Revive a Wilted Snake Plant?

Yes, reviving a wilted snake plant is doable. The key is to adjust the watering schedule and ensure it's placed in a well-lit area with a stable temperature.

Should You Be Cutting Dead Snake Plant Leaves?

It's advisable to trim dead or dying leaves from your snake plant. It tidies up your plant and redirects energy towards the healthier leaves, aiding overall growth.

Can My Snake Plant Come Back After Overwatering?

Absolutely! Snake plants can bounce back from overwatering. Letting the soil dry out, trimming away rotten roots, and repotting in fresh, well-draining soil can help its recovery.

How to Revive a Dying Snake Plant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *