Snake Plants are very resistant plants. They can handle a fair amount of neglect without a problem. Plus, they are very interesting houseplants. They grow straight up with an interesting mix of yellow, light green, and dark green among their vertical leaves.
Despite their bold statements and high tolerance, they can still be affected by their conditions at some point. One of the most common problems with Snake Plants is that their leaves will develop brown tips or brown spots.
To treat brown spots on Snake Plant leaves, determine if the problem is fungi, pests, or overwatering and then allow your plant to dry out between waterings and use a fungicide, neem oil, or diatomaceous earth.
Making sure your plant is getting the proper care, fungicide and insecticide are your best methods for reducing brown spots on your plant. However, make sure you identify the problem first. If your plant is already weak, treating them for the wrong problem could make the situation worse.
Why Do I Have Brown Spots on My Snake Plant?
There are three main reasons why a Snake Plant may start to grow brown spots on the leaves. These are watering problems, pests, and fungi. It is also important to note that while brown spots are one problem, brown leaf tips are a different problem altogether.
Three kinds of fungal diseases are most likely to harm your Snake Plant. The first is red leaf spot. This is a fungus that likes warm and wet conditions. It usually causes reddish brown spots on the leaves that are often compared to cigars in color and shape. The fungus is a complex one known as the Helminthosporium pathogen.
Then there is rust. Rust is a disease that impacts a wide variety of plants. Including Snake Plants, rust is also particularly dangerous for tomatoes, a wide variety of beans, snapdragons, and grass. Most of the time, it targets adult Snake Plants. Usually, the spots start under the leaves or on the stems. They start white but change to orange, brown, and black as the disease progresses.
The final common disease is southern blight. Southern blight is caused by a fungus known as Sclerotium rolfsii. It prefers a warm and wetter environment. This disease starts with brown spots but can grow worse with drooping leaves that will start turning yellow and then brown before dying off. This fungus affects the roots, so the plant can die quickly if not treated.
Overwatering and chlorine in your water are two other possible causes of brown spots on your leaves. Snake Plants don’t need a lot of water. Usually, once every two weeks is more than enough. Sometimes, you can go a whole month before your Snake Plant will need water again.
If you aren’t letting your Snake Plant’s soil dry out between waterings, you may give it too much water. Water can lead to root rot, brown spots, and stress on the plant. Ensure that the top 2 inches (5 cm) are completely dry in your plant’s soil before watering again.
Additionally, chlorine can cause harm to your Snake Plant. They can start to turn brown due to the salt content in the chlorine that will burn the roots and reduce nutrient and oxygen absorption of the plant.
Chlorine is in a lot of tap water, as it is used to kill any bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that could make us sick. While the amount in the water is low enough not to cause us injury, they can damage plants.
One trick if you don’t want to go and buy a filter or bottled water for your plant is to fill up a pitcher and let it sit out for 24 hours before you use it to water your plant. This allows the chlorine to turn to gas and leave the water.
Snake Plants are highly desirable plants for pests. Even when other plants are around, such as in a garden or indoors, a Snake Plant is often chosen first. Their two most common pests are mealybugs and spider mites. Both are relatively small pests and are hard to spot with the naked eye.
Both of these pests eat the sap of the Snake Plant. Places where the pests suck on the leaf to get to the sap turn into brown spots. Eventually, when the problem grows bad enough, the Snake Plant will start to have its leaves curl and lose shape.
If your plant doesn’t have brown spots but brown tips, your Snake Plant is likely getting too much sunlight or fertilizer, or the humidity may be low around your plant.
A Snake Plant does better with minimal nutrients in the soil and doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. They usually only need to be fertilized once each spring, with a 1-1-1 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).
As for sunlight, Snake Plants need indirect sunlight. Usually, they need at least five hours of indirect but bright sunlight per day. They can handle low-light conditions, but they will grow very slowly. However, too much sun can cause your Snake Plant to start burning.
Snake Plants don’t need much humidity, but they still might need more than you have in your home. Snake Plants prefer around 30-50% humidity to grow at their best.
How Do I Make My Snake Plant Healthy?
The first step to making your Snake Plant healthy is determining the problem. If you are overwatering your plant, that is the easiest to tell. You simply check the soil for water. If it is still very wet, especially when it is close to when you would water again normally, then you are likely overwatering.
If this is early on, you just have to let the Snake Plant dry out, and it will start to recover. However, if you have been chronically overwatering, you may have caused root rot.
The best option for root rot and other fungal diseases is to re-pot your Snake Plant and spray fungicide around your plant, new soil, and new pot. Every fungicide works a little differently, so it is important to make sure you follow the instructions. Make sure you sterilize any tools you use to cut off roots and damaged leaves to prevent bacteria or fungus from spreading.
Finally, for pests, you want to start by checking that it is pests. You want to look inside the tiny cracks and crevices around your plants. Though the pests are small, there are usually a lot of them, so you should be able to see flakes that look similar to pepper in those areas.
If the damage is severe, you can use insecticide, but neem oil and diatomaceous earth work well for a more natural method and a future preventative.
Can a Brown Leaf Turn Green Again?
Brown colors on a leaf are usually a sign that the plant is dead or in the process of dying. If your leaf is wholly brown or primarily brown, it is a good sign that you need to cut and accept that the leaf is done for.
Should I Cut Brown Spots off My Snake Plant?
The general rule of thumb is that if a leaf is more than fifty percent damaged, such as brown, cut, eaten, or even yellowed, it is best to cut it off. That is because, at that point, it costs your plant more energy to keep it alive than it is producing for the plant.
A lot of it is personal preference as well. While a leaf with a few small brown spots still functions fine, it may not be visually appealing. As long as there are plenty still undamaged leaves on your Snake Plant, there is no harm in cutting off that leaf.
How Do You Take Care of a Damaged Snake Plant?
To take care of a damaged Snake Plant, you want first to cut back all the damaged or infected parts of your plant to make sure it can focus on getting better and new growth. Then you want to make sure you eliminate the problem by repotting or moving it into a new location.
Finally, you just want to ensure that you are patient and give your Snake Plant the best care possible to reduce its stress and allow it to focus on growth and healing.
Do Snake Plants Heal Themselves?
Snake Plants cannot control their environment. That means that when it comes to fungus, overwatering, cold temperatures, low humidity, and too much sunlight, your plant will not be able to fix the problem.
However, after you help your plant by fixing these problems, it should be able to heal itself as long as the damage isn’t too intensive. It may take months, but it should grow back as long as your Snake Plant isn’t completely damaged.
Snake Plants are hardy and strong, able to handle a lot of neglect. However, if you tend to over-care for your plants, your Snake Plant may struggle. Too much water, fertilizer, and sunlight can all cause brown spots and edges on your plant as a sign they aren’t handling the situation.
To treat brown spots on Snake Plant leaves, determine if the problem is caused by fungi, pests, or overwatering, and then fix the problem. To help your Snake Plant recover from brown spots, try a fungicide, neem oil or diatomaceous earth, and let your Snake Plant dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.
Not every problem is due to improper care. Pests and fungal diseases can attack even the most well-cared-for plants. When a Snake Plant is infected, attacked, or in the wrong conditions, it may develop brown spots to let you know something is wrong.