Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over? How To Prune & Propagate.
Do you have an occasional Snake Plant leaf falling over? No worries. Here's a guide that tells you why it happens & shows how to prune & propagate your Mother-in-Law / Sansevieria plant.
Snake Plant mania – I definitely have it. How about you? You may also know them as Sansevierias or Mother In Law Tongues. Whatever you call them, they’re 1 of the toughest and easiest houseplants that you’ll ever get your hands on. From time to time you may find your snake plant leaves falling over. It’s happened to my plants and now I’m going to share with you what I do about it.
I’m not talking about a lot of leaves here; just 1 or 2 every now and then. If a lot of your Snake Plant leaves are falling over, it’s a good bet the cause is overwatering. The leaves, roots and rhizomes (the underground horizontal stem by which they spread) all store water. The leaves will “mush out” at the base, crease and fall over. This could be another blog post and video so let’s move on.
Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over: How To Prune & Propagate Them:
I’ve gotten questions as to why a random leaf will fall over and what to do about it. Because it was happening to 2 of mine, I thought it was time to strike while the iron’s hot and fess up just in case you were wondering. It doesn’t happen to my Snake Plants too often, maybe once or twice a year.
In my experience, this happens with the taller growing varieties like my darker Sansevieria trifasciata “Zeylanica” and the yellow-edged Sansevieria trifasciata “Laurentii” which you see here. The leaves grow tall (some will reach 5′) so if the base cinches in, the weight of the middle and top of the leaf pulls it down. Random leaves falling or leaning over is just the nature of this wonderful plant.
The leaf has completely fallen over.
And what can you do about a falling leaves? I’ll take you through the steps to what I do with my Snake Plants and give you a couple of options for propagation. You could always toss the leaf, but why? It’s simple – just prune and propagate. You can cut up the leaf into smaller sections if you’d like but I always take the route below.
Getting ready to propagate.
Steps To Pruning & Propagating Whole Snake Plant Leaves:
Cut the leaf all the way down to the soil line. Make sure your pruners are clean & sharp to avoid a jagged cut &/or infection.
I cut the bottom 5 – 10″ off of the leaves. How much depends on how thin the bases of the leaves are. You’ll want to take off those weak lower portions. Be sure to make clean cuts straight across. You can always propagate the lower leaf sections if you’d like. Just make sure to put the ends that were growing out of the soil into the propagation mix; not the other end that you cut the top portions off of.
The Zeylanica (L) & Laurentii leaves after a portion of the bottoms have been cut off.
Because those leaves contain a lot of water, I let the bottoms heal over for 2 days before planting. Anywhere from 3-7 days is fine. You want the stems to heal off so the cut ends callus over & protect them from rotting out while propagating. It’s hot in Tucson now so I only needed to heal mine over for a day or 2. By the way, I’ve let leaves heal over for a month or so & they’ve propagated just fine.
Now it’s time to propagate.
The way I do it is to put the leaf back in the pot with the mother plant; the one it came out of. You can also put it in a separate pot filled with succulents & cactus or propagation mix if you’d like. Either way, you’ll probably need to stake the leaf so it stays standing while the roots form & it’s able to stay upright on its own.
Either way, I let the mix stay dry & for 3-5 days after which time I water it.
The Zeylanica leaf planted, staked & tied back in with the mother plant.
Good To Know When You Find Your Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over:
Spring & summer are the best times for propagation.
I’ve found that the outer leaves are the ones that fall over. The middle leaves, if growing densely, are able to prop each other up.
As your Snake Plant grows, this can happen 1 or 2 times a year.
You might have to tie your leaf to the stake to keep it anchored; depending on how tall & heavy it is. I like to use jute string because it’s tough, inexpensive & non-obtrusive.
The leaf propagating in a separate pot. A great method if you want to give it away!
I used to grow Snake Plants in my garden when I lived in Santa Barbara. I would use this same method of pruning, healing over, & sticking back in with the mother plant outdoors too.
You can find this plant, more houseplants and lots of info in our simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive.
Snake Plants are the ultimate “set it and forget it” houseplant making them appealing to both novice and experienced gardeners. Just go easy on the liquid love – you don’t want to over water a Snake Plant. Don’t be discouraged if your Snake Plant leaves occasionally fall over, lean, or droop over the side of the pot. My Snake Plants have experienced this a few times. Lucky for us, they propagate easily!
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