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Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over?

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.

A large pot with tall & short Snake Plants sits on a walk way there are plants in the background

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.

I’ve received 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.

A large pot with Snake Plants sits on a patio. there are plants & a path in the background

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.

looking down on a large pot with snake plants, a snake plant leaf, & planting tools

Getting ready to propagate

How to Prune and Propagate 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.

Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over

The Zeylanica (L) & Laurentii leaves after a portion of the bottoms has 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.

Time to Propagate

Spring & summer are the best times for propagation.

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.

looking down on a large pot with tall & short snake plants

The Zeylanica leaf planted, staked & tied back in with the mother plant. 

Good To Know When You Find Your Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over

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.

1 tall snake plant leaf in an orange grow pot

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.

Snake Plants Are Easy to Care For

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.

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!

Happy gardening,

Nell-Foster-Joy-Us-Garden

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4 comments:

  1. Last year (2018) I inherited a snake plant from my Mom that she was given when my Dad died – almost 46 years ago. I know she only re-potted it once, maybe 30 years ago and I have since re-potted it about 8 months ago. I honestly am amazed that this plant is still alive! I do have some drooping leaves – quite a lot, actually, but since re-potting, I’m starting to also see some very healthy new growth. Do you think it’s ok for me to go ahead and just prune all the drooping leaves and focus on the new / health growth?

  2. Hi Blake – Yes, Snake Plants are tough & long lived! That happens when you transplant a larger Snake Plant – many of the leaves droop. Those droopy leaves won’t stand up again straight so you can cut them off all at once or gradually. I’d wait until Spring if you’re going to do a lot of pruning. New growth will appear, that’s for sure. Nell

  3. Any thought s to why the leaves on my snake plant are rubbery?
    Noticed they were this way so re-potted, cleaning off the roots well first. Been in new pot a few months, but still rubbery? Does have 2 babies sprouting up though.

  4. Hi Toni – “Rubbery” to me indicates soft. That’s an indication of too much water. Nell

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