Snake plants are one of the best and most versatile houseplants. They are easy to care for and don’t take much tending to. Also known as Sansevieria trifasciata, these plants are almost impossible to kill.
They thrive in various climatic conditions. However, sometimes, their leaves start curling and bending. These wilting leaves are an unpleasant sight – a way for your plant to cry for help!
When the leaves of a snake plant begin to bend or curl, it indicates that something is seriously wrong and needs immediate attention. However, it’s nothing to worry about because you can readily fix them if you know the optimal course of action.
Causes of Snake Leaves Bending
The following are the primary causes of snake leaves bending:
1. Small Container
Even if your snake plant is otherwise thriving, you may notice that some of its leaves are bending. It might be because your plant is trapped in a small container.
Overcrowding of snake plant roots is a common problem in small containers. This disrupts numerous root processes. Under-stressed roots can’t absorb sufficient water and nutrients from the soil.
You need to measure the diameter of the current container before exchanging it. The new pot shouldn’t be more than two inches broader than the old one.
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2. Transplantation Shock
Some of snake plants’ biggest challenges are transplanting and reproduction. The plant may take some time to flourish in its new pot and soil after being repotted. Roots and leaves feel the effects of a shock most acutely.
There is a risk that the snake plant won’t be able to take in enough water at this time, stunting its growth and development. If you recently repotted your snake plant and its leaves have begun to bend, it may be suffering from transplant shock.
3. Fungal Infection
Snake plants are susceptible to root and leaf damage from various fungi. The development of web-like growth or discolored areas on your plant indicates that it has been infected with a fungal illness. The leaves start bending, hinting at the damage.
4. Poor Drainage and Improper Soil
It takes specific soil conditions to cultivate a plant successfully. Soil is essential because plants take nutrients through their roots and can’t thrive without it.
Although some plants require heavy soil, others thrive in light and well-drained soil, like the snake plant. Moreover, it requires less water due to its succulent nature. Therefore, you should select soil that does not retain water for long periods of time.
Roots can be injured by using the wrong soil or planting in containers without drainage holes. The result is flexible, bent leaves on the snake plant.
5. Pests and Insects
Pests and insects can also cause your plant leaves to bend.
Thrip infestations are the most common problem for snake plants. They attack every part of the plant, from leaves and buds to stems and stalks. They cause damage to plants by feeding inside their cells. As a result, the leaves of your snake plant may bend or curl.
Thrips are easily identifiable based on their feeding behavior. They cause a snake plant to appear to have tiny black specks on its leaves and buds. Consider these dark areas a clue if you suspect thrips infestation.
You can also detect the thrips by shaking plant leaves over white paper. You may have a thrip infestation if you notice little black bugs. Remove dead leaves and save those slightly curled but otherwise appear healthy.
· Mites and Mealybugs
Mealybugs and spider mites are also pests that can infest a snake plant. These insects bore into the snake plant’s stem to drink the sap.
The plant will grow weak and unable to hold enough water in its leaves due to the little wounds caused by these pests. The leaves will begin to bend and fall when the infection has progressed.
Snake plants are also susceptible to the stress caused by mealybugs. The bodies of these pests are flat and waxy.
Typical of grubs, they are segmented and have an oval body shape. You can recognize the mealy bugs by their white, cottony eggs.
6. Watering Problems
Curling leaves are a common symptom of overwatering in snake plants.
Snake plants are susceptible to rotting roots from being overwatered. The plant may perish if its roots become waterlogged and decayed.
More frequent watering than once every few days will likely lead to water-logged roots and bent or curled leaves on your snake plant. Watering your snake plant at odd intervals can add to the stress already being experienced by the plant.
7. High Temperature
The ideal climate for a snake plant is a room with a temperature of 70 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, where the leaves can flourish and shine.
Snake plant leaves have a lot of trouble at temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. They tend to dry out, causing the leaves to drop their moisture content. It also quickly dries the ground.
Plants lose more water through respiration, transpiration, and evaporation at high temperatures during photosynthesis. As a result, the leaves become limp, saggy, and curly.
Furthermore, snake plants are not frost resistant. Therefore, temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can be problematic. They can’t stand being outside in the bitter weather for very long.
8. Improper pH
An appropriate plant pH is crucial because it affects the availability of certain soil nutrients. The ideal pH for a snake plant is between 5.5 and 7.5.
Magnesium deficiency occurs in soils with low pH values. Leaves couldn’t make the chlorophyll required for photosynthesis if magnesium weren’t present.
Therefore, yellowing or curling of the older, lower leaves is common. The leaves might also turn brown when the pH level is off.
· Repot the Plant
Repot the plant with soil formulated explicitly for snake plants. You can either use a clean pot or throw away the contaminated one to stop the spread of bacteria. If the plant’s roots have been severely injured, you can save them by making new ones.
Keep your snake plant in partial shade and only water it when necessary after you’ve transplanted it. Allow it some time to settle into its new home.
Don’t use stale potting soil because it may not have enough nutrients to sustain your plant. Instead, use nutrient-dense, well-drained soil to help your snake plant thrive.
· Treat Your Plant with a Solution
Remove the diseased portions of the roots and treat them with charcoal powder or diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.
· Get Rid of Pests
A snake plant can be pest-free in no time. But before doing that, ensure the infected plant is isolated from others.
Discard the infected leaves next. Use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to disinfect the plant’s leaves.
You can also use neem oil once a week to ensure that the pests are permanently exterminated. It’s not necessary to fret over the curly leaves of snake plants. You can restore your plant to health with the right care.
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· Water the Plant Moderately
Sansevieria should be watered every two to four weeks.
A small amount of water is all that’s needed to revitalize plants that have been submerged. This plant has to be watered once every two to four weeks.
How often you need to water your plants will change based on the size and type of pot they are in, the time of year, and the quality of the potting mix.
Before beginning regular watering, loosen compacted soil. The leaves will unfurl after only a few days of proper watering.
Curling plant leaves could be a sign of overwatering, therefore, examine the plant’s roots if you have any doubts. Dig up the plant whole, and then scrub the roots clean.
If you notice a foul odor coming from your plant, it may have root rot, and you should check its roots.
· Regulate the Temperature
Keep the temperature between 55 and 85 degrees.
The plant should be kept in the shade or at a cooler location in severely hot climates. Do not abandon the plant outside if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Adjust the pH
The ideal pH range for a snake plant’s roots is between 5.5 and 7.5. When leaves begin to curl, it may be a warning that the pH needs to be adjusted so the plant can absorb nutrients.
Use a soil pH tester that does its job and digs down to the muck to ensure the soil is too acidic or too alkaline for your plant.
If the soil’s pH is low, you can raise it by adding hydrated lime. When the soil’s pH level is high, adding some lemon juice to the water before watering can help bring it down.
And there you have it – snake plant maintenance keeps the curling leaves at bay. Although these plants are the most adaptable houseplants, you must ensure all their requirements are met. Otherwise, the leaves might bend, crying for help!
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.