Wrinkled Snake Plant Leaves: Causes and Treatment

If you see that your plant leaves are wrinkled, your plant is trying to tell you that it needs your help. Wrinkling or shriveling leaves are serious indicators that one of the key factors a plant needs to grow is not being adequately provided.

The first thing that comes to our mind whenever we see dry or wrinkling leaves is insufficient water available for the plant. The truth is, there are several other factors besides watering the plant that can affect the appearance of its leaves.

When your snake plant leaves are wrinkled, there is something seriously wrong with how you care for them. Snake plants are the easiest to care for and require little attention. They can thrive indoors without requiring a lot of water and can forgive beginner plant lovers for their many shortcomings.

This article will discuss why your snake plant looks wrinkled and how you revive a shriveled snake plant.

1. Underwatering

Wrinkling is the first and most prominent sign of dehydration in snake plants. Underwatering needs to be fixed efficiently and quickly, so it may not result in plant death.

An underwatered snake plant shows its signs by drooping, yellow, and wrinkled leaves. The beauty of a snake plant is in its leaves, which means you must resolve this issue as soon as you observe it.

Snake plant leaves that are wrinkled will look curled and have brown tips. The plant leaves will eventually start to dry up and fall out, leading to the eventual death of the whole plant.

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Signs That Your Snake Plant Is Underwatered

The most obvious signs that a snake plant is underwatered are losing the usual shape and color of the leaves.

Wrinkles start developing on the surface of plant leaves. They can be short or long wrinkles with varying depths, indicating that the plant lacks water and is suffering from extreme dehydration.

The wrinkles can get deeper and worse if the surrounding temperature is high and the plant continuous facing lack of water.

The snake plant looks wrinkled when dehydrated because the leaf moisture continuously gets lost to generate more oxygen for the environment.

The snake plant is one of the only plants that generate maximum oxygen even at night, which means a snake plant provides a better and healthy indoor environment by removing carbon dioxide even at night.

Other signs that a plant shows as a result of underwatering are brown tips of leaves and brown spots. The brown spots cannot be reversed, as they are caused by an uneven distribution of soil’s nutrients due to lack of water.

To prevent other plant leaves from turning brown, you must revive the soil and water it immediately.

Apart from wrinkling and the appearance of brown spots, a snake plant sports folded leaves or curled leaves. These may be due to some other underlying problem besides underwatering, but you should not rule out the chances of dehydration.

How Can You Rehydrate a Snake Plant?

Snake plants do not require a lot of watering, but you should check the soil every week. If the first inch of the snake plant soil is dry, you need to water it soon.

If your snake plant leaves wrinkle, immediately water the plant from top to bottom. Take the snake plant to a sink and place it underwater. Let the root ball soak until the water starts flowing from the pot’s drainage holes.

Move your snake plant to a location where it would not receive scorching direct sunlight, and watering it immediately provides a great chance to revive a shriveled snake plant.

2. Overwatering

If the leaves of a snake plant are wrinkling, but the soil is wet and soggy, you have overwatered your plant.

Snake plants are succulent and have thick and spongy leaves. They do not need much water to survive, which means that if you water them too much or too frequently, it results in waterlogging, which means that the water is highly saturated in the root zone, resulting in oxygen deficiency.

Snake plants are prone to overwatering frequently, and they show these symptoms by drooping yellow leaves, which fall over easily.

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Signs That Your Snake Plant Is Overwatered

Snake plants do not need a lot of water, so excessive watering can damage their leaves, which become soft and squishy and bend over. These leaves can drop off the plant and burst due to excessive water intake.

Snake plants are known for their beautiful sword-like leaves that stay upright and have a rigid structure. The reason for their rigidity is that the leaves store water absorbed from the soil.

When the leaves cannot take up more water and the roots remain damp and soggy for a long time, it can lead to root rot.

Root rot is a fatal condition for plants caused by the infestation of fungi, bacteria, and worms on your plant soil. These organisms cause wilting and destruction of roots, and a clear indication of this disease is smelly soil when you place it near your nostrils.

The usually white roots of snake plants can turn brownish or blackish if suffering from root rot. If your plant indicates signs of root rot at an initial stage, remove the affected roots from the healthy roots, wash the plant and then transplant it to a new and dry potting medium.

The leaves can start falling one after another until the whole plant droops. The leaves may also turn yellowish or develop brown spots on their surface or brown corners and tips.

How Can You Revive an Overwatered Snake Plant?

The best approach is to treat the root rot plant as soon as possible, as this disease can easily kill a snake plant.

As soon as you notice your snake plant has been overwatered, move it to a bright sunny spot. This approach will help the leaves readily lose moisture and regain their original rigidity.

Now remove the plant from its pot. When the roots are exposed, gently check for root rot by inspecting the color and smell of the roots and soil.

Remove excess wet soil and allow the roots to dry out partially. Prepare a new pot with fresh potting mix, and then replant your snake plant.

Snake plants are very sensitive to overwatering, but if you catch and treat the signs and symptoms early on, there are high chances that your plant will survive.

3. Root Bound

A root-bound snake plant has a dense mass of bound roots. The roots are tightly bound in a root ball, which affects the growth and health of the whole plant.

While snake plants prefer to be root bound to a small extent, if the roots are too tightly packed in their container, you should immediately repot your plant.

Bound roots can lead to excessive dehydration of the snake plant, which causes the leaves to wrinkle, curl and twist on themselves.

The wrinkled or distorted leaves may also have brown tips and edges, and the foliage curls inward due to lack of moisture.

If the leaves of your snake plant do not stand tall and rigid after watering it or checking whether its soil is soggy and wet, then you can guess that the problem is a root-bound snake plant.

Signs That Your Snake Plant Is Root-bound

As usual, the large and prominent leaves indicate something is wrong with the snake plant.

If you see that the leaves are wrinkled, curled inwards, or yellowing, despite not overwatering or underwatering your snake plant, then it means it has become root bound.

A snake plant becomes root bound when the roots grow to such an extent that they do not leave any space for the potting mix. This unkempt and tangled root ball will deprive the plant of its essential growth nutrients like oxygen, water, etc.

A common indication that your snake plant is root bound is that the roots start coiling or spiraling around the container and form a compact and hard root ball when you take it out of the pot.

If your plant shows no new leaves or pup growth, it means it is suffocated and needs room to grow and divide.

The yellowing of snake plant leaves indicates it is thirsty, which can be due to underwatering or if the plant is root bound. The only way to check is to see if the soil is dry or the roots are densely packed, leaving no soil or potting mixture between them.

How Can You Revive a Root Bound Snake Plant?

You can either divide the stems and roots of your snake plant or repot them in different containers.

Another way to revive your root-bound snake plant is to plant it in a larger container and feed it with a high-quality potting mix.

You can also prune your snake plant by loosening the entangled roots and trimming the root ball using a sharp, sterilized knife. After that, the snake plant can be repotted and sufficiently watered.

Snake plants tell their owners if they need extra care and protection from certain conditions. The most eminent telltale sign of underwatering, overwatering, and root-bound snake plants is wrinkled leaves, which need to be promptly and efficiently address.

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