Watering plants isn’t easy. You either underwater them or overwater them.
Both are equally tough on your snake plant. As a gardener you must learn to crack this trickiest part of growing plants.
When you snake plant undergoes water stress, then it will show some signs or symptoms. Based on which you can act and hydrate your plant.
You might find few signs are similar to overwatering snake plant, you must check the growing soil to ensure the snake plant is underwatered.
Yellow, drooping leaves, wilting of foliage, slow or stunted growth rate and pests are symptoms of underwatered snake plant.
Unfortunately, Underwatered snake plant, as a condition, destroys the status of your growing snake plants.
Is it possible to revive underwatered plant?
Yes, if it’s not too late you can give your snake plant thorough drink of water and allow provide adequate sunlight along with time.
While there are a lot of signs and symptoms that direct the condition of underwatered snake plants, we will look at nine specific signs that are easy to spot and will direct your attention towards an inadequate supply of water.
Do not worry, though! We will also let you know specific effective strategies to revive your snake plants that would have been otherwise dead due to underwatering.
Signs of Underwatered Snake Plant
When plants suffer dehydration, they try to convey their problems to their caretaker by displaying some obvious signs, including wrinkling and dropping of leaves.
If you are able to catch these appearance signs immediately, it gives your plant a new hope of life.
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Let us see what these signs are:
If your plant is thirsty and remains devoid of water throughout, it first becomes visible in the leaves of that plant.
Wrinkling of leaves is the most common symptom of snake plant dehydration. However, it is not difficult to spot signs of wrinkled leaves.
Examine your leaf surface with fine lines that are away from the general veins of leaves. There is no standard length for these wrinkled lines. They are present in both short and long lengths.
The leaves of snake plants are vibrant, erect, and full of life, most of the time. However, the nature of their leaves is severely impacted if they continue to sit in a desert-like situation for long periods of time.
That is, if not watered for long, the leaves of snake plants start to fall off and droop in no time. They start looking lifeless and dull.
If there is no sufficient input of water, it restricts the flow of other nutrients as well, thus forcing the leaves to bend down. It is easy to observe when leaves droop down.
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Leaves with curled ends
Do you often witness the leaves of your plants curled at the edges? Do you wonder what causes this? A significant contributor is the lack of enough water supply to the plant.
Not only does it look unpleasant to see unaccounted folds and twists in the plant leaves, but it also conveys a possible malformation due to structural stiffness.
Next time if you see your leaves curling over in circles, know that this is their way of coping with water stress. Thereafter, follow the right watering technique to help your snake plant cope.
Leaves with brown tips
While some plants discolour themselves entirely, others prefer to start the discoloration process from their tips.
Under Watered plants will take away the essential nutrients from your plant, thus, leaving the tip of your leaves brown.
You will know more about this condition in the upcoming sections.
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Dry leaf edges
Discoloured and brown edges of your snake plant leave is a normal response to the dehydrating conditions suffered by the plant.
Notice the sides of your leaves, both from top and bottom, to investigate brown and dry leaf edges. This happens because the limited range of water is not able to reach out to each and every part of the plant.
Discoloration of leaf edges is the first step towards discoloration of the entire plant, about which we will learn later.
Whenever we say that we are “watering the plant,” what we are really doing is watering the soil directly. Therefore, the most obvious sign of plant dehydration is arid and dry soil/potting mix.
You can check the moisture level of soil by inserting a finger up to 2 inches deep in the soil. If it does not stick by, know that the soil is dry and requires watering immediately.
Yellowing of leaves
As we saw above, yellowing, browning, or discoloration of leaves is an essential sign that your plant does not get the water that it requires to thrive.
The peculiar sights of crunchy and brown leaves demand continuous moisture and water on a regular basis; else, the decay starts to spread to other parts of the plant as well.
Brittle leaves and roots
Brittle roots and leaves are not good for the overall health of your snake plant. They can even support slow deterioration of the plant life and eventually their death.
To know if your leaves and roots are suffering from brittleness, touch the leaves gently and see if they are starting to break even from a light touch. If this is the case, then it is about time that you start reviving your plant following the below steps.
Also Read: Best Potting Mix for Pothos
Stunted plant growth
Before planting your snake plant, inquire about the average time it takes to grow and thrive. Then, after planting it, observe their growth each day. If you feel that they are growing at a slow pace, know that a possible reason for this happening is low water supply.
Stunted snake plant growth either arises from lack of nutrition or lack of moisture. Therefore, check for these crucial requirements before drawing any conclusions.
How to Revive (Dying) Underwatered Snake Plant?
Snake plants are hardy plants, and therefore with only a few quick measures, they can be won back over. They are also forgiving in the sense that it does not take much to revive them back to their initial healthy stages.
Following the tips mentioned below will give you your healthy snake plant leaves back in no time.
Must Read: Why My Snake Plant is Dying?
Making the right container choice
Start with where you keep your snake plant for the most part of the day. Making the right container choice is seen as an underrated tip, but it works every time. Let us look at what we have to do in order to switch towards a good container:
Observe and measure your snake plant. Now, whenever you are to decide the pot size of your snake plant, always go for a size that is larger than your plant (about 2 inches or so). This will give space for your root ball to breathe and grow considerably.
The material and type of your pot should be such that it allows both air and moisture to move through it easily and freely. Clay pots are considered ideal for this purpose since they maintain an appropriate temperature for the plant throughout, allowing them to thrive either indoors or outdoors.
Plastic pots usually induce root rot in the plant, making it a bad choice.
On average, a snake plant grows up to 4 to 5 feet high. Therefore, it is important to choose a container that supports this upright growth of the plant under each environmental condition. Next, it is also important to ensure that the base of the container has enough holes to support the drainage requirements on the plant.
Correct water techniques
Many people believe that if underwatering the plant causes damage to the leaves, let us start watering it abundantly. But, unfortunately, this is not how it works. Too much water to the plant is also a serious threat (root rotting being the most common) to its health.
In order to make sure that your plant receives adequate water, use the mechanism of watering the plant moderately. You can do so by following these tips:
- Use a moisture meter to check the soil moisture level and water it before the soil dries out up to 2 inches.
- Tap the container and listen to the sound that it releases if the sound seems hollow, water the plant.
Since dry soil is lighter than moist soil, lift the container up to feel the pot weight.
If your soil or potting mixture is starting to become lighter in colour, it means that it is essentially devoid of water.
Another tip to insert your finger into the potting soil and check the moisture. If you find the soil dry, water snake plant generously. If left unnoticed, you might underwater snake plant.
Snake plants seek moderate to bright light in order to thrive. Bright and direct sunlight is not a threat to them until it starts to cause sunburn on their leaves and plants. If your leaves are dying of dehydration, placing them in sunlight will get them rid of bacteria and other plant damage that has happened due to underwatering.
You can also keep rotating the pot so that each plant side gets sunlight evenly.
The appropriate temperature ranges for snake plants to thrive range from 13 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. Although they are not very stringent about the temperature ranges, if they are already going through the problem of dehydration, then exposing them to extreme temperatures can add to the problem.
You can make use of thermostats and fans to regulate the temperature surrounding your snake plants.
To achieve the accurate humidity channels for a snake plant, provide them with ample moisture if they are sitting in conditions of low humidity, and install a dehumidifier if the environment is excessively humid.
Mist the plant on a regular basis, and place your plant along with other plants to mimic the environment.
Water and sunlight can only meet so many of the food requirements of the snake plants. Therefore, for a proper food supply, nutrition from additional sources is also important. For example, instead of overfertilizing, you can use a standard fertilizer and spray them on plants once every few weeks.
Soon the pH levels will return to normal, and the condition of the plant will be back to normal.
Potting mixture and soil
An ideal soil for snake plants is one that offers good drainage qualities while also retaining the necessary moisture and nutrients for the plant to grow. If you step outside in the commercial market, you can easily get a potting mixture that dispenses these qualities.
Otherwise, you can make use of vermiculite, composts, and peat moss (builder sand as an alternative) to create your own ideal soil for snake plants.
Why does my snake plant have brown tips?
Snake plants with brown tips indicate that everything is not well with your plants. However, some experts believe that snake plants with brown tips are not an immediate cause of worry, and it might be valid to a large extent.
Some common reasons contributing to the leaf tips of snake plants turning brown include underwatering (most of which we discussed above), fertilizer over dosage, an insufficient amount of light, lack of proper nutrition, and arid soil.
Nevertheless, following specifically swift measures will help the plant bounce back from the face of plant stress and effectively help restore the quality of your snake plant.
Underwatering or overwatering are conditions do provide challenges to the successful growth of snake plants. Still, with the correct ammunition and knowledge of techniques used to revive snake plants, one can quickly restore the conditions of their plants.
As mentioned, yellow and drooping leaves are among the common signs of underwatered snake plants. If left unnoticed, this gardening mistaken can kill your snake plant.
If your snake plant is showing signs of underwatering, you must act immediately and water your plant. Else, it might be difficult to revive the snake plant.
All you have to do is follow the steps as mentioned earlier carefully, and your plant will be revived in no time.
Khaja Moinuddin, a computer science graduate, finds joy in gardening and homesteading. Join him on this blog as he shares his experiences in homesteading, gardening, and composting