Why Are My Snake Plant Leaves Falling Over?

Are your Snake Plant leaves falling over? Here, we explain the cause. Also sharing some tips on how to prune and propagate snake plants using leaf cuttings.

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 one of the toughest and easiest houseplants that you’ll ever get your hands on.

I’m not talking about a lot of leaves here; just one or two every now and then. If you’re noticing a lot of the snake plant leaves falling over, it’s probably due to overwatering.

The leaves, roots, and rhizomes (the underground horizontal stem by which they spread) all store water.

The leaves will start to “mush out” at the base, crease, and then fall over.

This guide was first published on August 21, 2018…We updated this guide on February 11, 2021 with more info & to answer some of your frequently asked questions which you’ll find at the end!

What causes the leaves to fall over?

I’ve received questions as to why a random leaf will fall over and what to do about it.

Because this was happening to two of my plants, I thought it was time to strike while the iron’s hot, and just in case you’re wondering too.

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 part of the leaf pulls it down.

Random leaves falling or leaning over is just the nature of this wonderful plant.

Related: Snake Plant Care Guide

A large pot with different Snake Plants growing in it sits on a patio
The leaf at the back has completely fallen over.

Some Of Our General Houseplant Guides For Your Reference:

What can you do about falling leaves?

It’s pretty 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 Fix the Snake Plant Leaves

Cut the leaf all the way down to the soil line. Make sure your pruners are clean and sharp to avoid a jagged cut and/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.

2 large snake plant sansevieria leaves lie on a patio
The Zeylanica (L) & Laurentii leaves after a portion of the bottoms has been cut off. Here you can the lower portion of the leaves is thin & curled in. I make the cut above that part of the leaf.

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 and 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 and they’ve propagated just fine.

You won’t see roots appearing. They’ll form after them been planted.

Time to Propagate

Spring and 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 succulent and cactus mix or propagation mix if you’d like.

Here’s the recipe I follow for DIY succulent and cactus mix.

Either way, you’ll probably need to stake the leaf so it stays standing while the roots form and it’s able to stay upright on its own.

I let the mix stay dry for 3-5 days after which time I water.

looking down on a large pot with tall & short snake plants
The Zeylanica leaf planted, staked & tied back in with the mother plant.

How to Fix the Snake Plant Leaves

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, the falling over can happen a few times a year.

You might have to tie your leaf to the stake to keep it anchored; depending on how tall and heavy it is.

I like to use jute string because it’s tough, inexpensive and 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 use this same method of pruning, healing over, and sticking back in with the mother plant outdoors too.

three snake plant leaves next to a pair of floral snippers

I take Snake Plant leaf cuttings of different sizes. All root fine.

Just know that the leaves with variegation will loose most or all of it with this method of propagation.

If you want the plant to stay variegated, divide it. I love the Fiskar Floral Nips for cutting off leaves & thin stems. They’re sharp & precise!

Snake Plant Leaves FAQs

Why are my Snake Plant laves falling over?

There are a few reasons that I know of. As Snake Plants grow tall, a leaf can cinch or fold at the base & the weight pulls it over. This is what caused the leaves of my Snake Plants to fall.

Keeping the soil mix too wet is another common reason because the roots & leaves will eventually rot out.

Or, the plant could be reaching for light (these plants do best in moderate light, not no light) causing it to weaken & the leaves to fall.

How do I stop my Snake Plant leaves from falling over?

It depends on what’s causing the Snake Plant leaves to fall over.

How can I save my Snake Plant leaves?

It may be as simple as staking them up. It depends on how far gone they are, but you may be able to propagate them.

Can you root a Snake Plant leaf?

Yes, you can. They root in mix or in water. If you want to try rooting one in water, be sure to keep the bottom of the leaf barely covered with water. About 1″ will do it.

Why are my Snake Plant leaves turning brown and soft?

The cause is too much water. Snake Plants are succulents & store water in their roots, rhizomes & leaves. I let mine dry out between waterings.

Can I cut the leaves of my Snake Plant?

A partially cut Snake Plant leaf is a look I’m not fond of. If I’m going to cut a leaf, I cut it off all the way down to the base.

a collage of 3 photos with large pots of snake plants sansevierias

In Conclusion

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 overwater a Snake Plant. Here’s how to care for a Snake Plant houseplant.

Don’t be discouraged if your Snake Plant leaves occasionally fall over, lean, or droop over the side of the pot.

It’s just the nature of the taller species and varieties. My Snake Plants have experienced this a few times. Lucky for us, they propagate easily!

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

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  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. My MIL Tongue actually had a whole leaf just come out of the soil. Root and all. It looks healthy enough, but I am not sure what to do to propagate it now. Any suggestions?

  5. Hi Nell, I just re-potted my snake plant a month ago and only watered it that one time since but now a bunch of the leaves are started to fall over. I’m just worried if i start to propagate a bunch of the leaves now in November that the plant won’t survive as opposed to waiting until the spring. Any advice you can give would be great. Thanks!

  6. Annie – Oh those Snake Plants! My Laurentii recently had a few leaves fall (very late Nov) over so I cut them off, healed them over for 2 days & planted them back in the pot. Sometimes it’s necessary to propagate in late fall & although spring & summer are the best times, just know that SPs are very tough. Nell

  7. Hello Nell,
    Thank you for your info on why my snake plant leaves occasionally fall over. I’d always wonder why and what I had done “wrong”. Now I know it’s just part of their life cycle.

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