Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow: 5 Causes and Solutions

snake plant leaves turning yellow

Do you have a snake plant that is starting to lose its vibrant green color? Don’t worry – whether it’s just the tips, the whole leaf or only one side of your plant turning yellow, it can usually be saved. Having your snake plant leaves turning yellow can be caused by a few different issues, but with some simple changes and regular care, you’ll soon have a happy and green Mother In law’s Tongue plant again! In this article we’ll explore five common causes of yellowing leaves on snake plants (also known as Sansevieria) and how to stop any more yellowing from occurring. Let’s look more into why your snake plant is turning yellow.

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(Keep in mind – some snake plants varieties are meant to have yellow leaves, so we’re focusing on unnatural yellow leaves).

5 Main Causes of a Snake Plant Turning Yellow

Snake plant leaves turning yellow can be caused by a variety of different issues, with the most common being inadequate light (or too much), water, temperature, fertilizer and pests. It’s up to you to do some investigation and figure out which one is the reason causing your snake plant leaves turning yellow!

Snake Plant Yellow Leaves From Light Issues

Snake plants may not seem too picky when it comes to lighting, but too much or too little sun can turn the leaves yellow. Especially if you’ve recently moved your snake plant from a sunny spot to dark spot or vice versa. It’s used to the amount of light it’s getting and could either be getting sunburnt or starving from the lack of synthesis.

Snake Plant Turning Yellow From Watering Problems

While a snake plant may be known as an easy to care for plant, sometimes it’s the extra care that can cause the problems! One of the most common causes of a snake plant turning yellow is because of overwatering. While it’s great that you want to make sure your plant doesn’t stay dry, a snake plant is a succulent! It doesn’t need that much water.

Overwatering will lead to yellowing, soft leaves.

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Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow Because of Temperature Fluctuations

Snake plants like moderate temperatures all year round. They don’t like extreme swings in temperatures, and you may find your snake plant leaves turning yellow if it’s placed in a particularly drafty spot or near an air conditioner.

Snake Plant Turning Yellow From Excess Fertilizer

It’s great that you want to keep your snake plant happy and fed with nutrients, but too much can be detrimental. A build-up of fertilizer salts will cause your snake plant leaves turning yellow.

It might also mean your snake plant isn’t absorbing enough water or the roots aren’t getting enough oxygen which is why it’s important to not over fertilize and burn the plant’s roots.

You may need to flush the fertilizer out of the soil.

Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow From Pests

Pests can also be an issue when it comes to a snake plant turning yellow. It’s not very common, but if you see any pests on your snake plant such as mealybugs, spider mites, aphids or whiteflies, then that could be causing the leaves turning yellow.

Saving Your Snake Plant From Yellowing Any More And Future Prevention

yellow snake plant variety
Snake plant variety that’s meant to have yellow on leaves

Once you figure out which of these is causing your issues, you can heal your plant! In situations of overwatering or too much fertilizer, you may need to change the soil out if you don’t see improvement after a few weeks. For temperature and lighting problems, try moving your plant to an area that’s comfortable for you to be in (room temperature), and somewhere that gets bright indirect or filtered light.

Here are a few quick tips on how to keep your snake plant from yellowing in the future.

  • Don’t change the lighting too quickly – give it time to adjust between going from a dark area to bright spot or vice versa
  • Check soil moisture before watering, and err on the side of it being dry rather than moist
  • Keep the snake plant in a more temperature controlled area, rather than being right next to a heater or air conditioner or in a drafty window sill
  • Only lightly fertilize once a year
  • Check the leaves for pests regularly (have a quick look while you’re watering the plant)

Will The Yellow Leaves Turn Back To Green?

If you’re wondering if the leaves will turn back to green from being yellow, it depends on what happened to the leaves and the extent of the yellowing. If it was from a minor overwatering, or a different issue that you caught fairly quickly, they may turn back to green and normal in a few weeks.

If the snake plant’s yellow leaves are dry and fragile, these are not going to come back to life. They are a dead part of the leaf.

Can I remove the yellow leaves?

Yes, you can remove the yellow leaves, so long as there are still some healthy leaves on the plant. If you don’t mind the look, you can just cut off the part that’s yellow. If you do mind, you may want to cut the leaf back to the base.

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Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow: In Summary

If your snake plant is starting to turn yellow, it could be caused by a number of issues. It’s important to figure out why this is happening – from overwatering, fertilizer build up, temperature fluctuations or pests. Depending on the cause, you can take steps to save the plant and prevent this in future. If the situation is minor, some of the leaves may turn back to green. If they don’t, you can remove them and just leave the healthy ones on your plant.

Good luck saving your snake plant!

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