You are here:

Plant Diseases/Snake plant


Snake plant
Snake plant  
I have a miniature version of a snake plant and have had it for about 25yrs. It has been trial and error for the entire time! I keep it at least 4 to 6 ft away from the window and water it sparingly. I have never been able to master the growing of snake plants. I had observed today that some of the bottom leaves were yellow and went to pull them off and the whole plant came out of the soil and there were, what I thought, no roots! What are the rules for growing snake plants? and What is it about the root system that is so critical? Picture attached.
Thank you for your attention

Dear Jamie, This is a beautiful snake plant.  Sansievera are actually pretty tolerant plants and will survive many conditions, but the best way to care for them is to start by watering deeply and thoroughly when watering.  Any water that is left standing in the saucer underneath the plant must be discarded afterwards.  Water in the tray will lead to root rot.  Then after the plant is watered, let the plant dry almost completely out.  The top inch or so of the pot will be dry.  These plants have shallow root systems, but they are necessary to anchor the plant.  Even the tall snake plants don't have very large roots.  Fertilize the plant about twice a year, and water less frequently in the winter months.  They will adjust to almost any light amount, but slightly brighter light might bring out deeper colors (although the color is gorgeous).  Occasionally they will shed the outer leaves, but check for overwatering, water left in the saucer, and also watch the inside of the pot for a white crusty buildup.  If you see this buildup, you should scrub out the inside of the pot and flush with clear water.  You will probably have to remove the plant for this.  This buildup is salt and that will also lead to yellow leaves.  This condition can usually be avoided by watering as I suggested, because running extra water in the plant and discarding excess will help flush out excess salts.  I hope this information helps, but write back if you have further questions.  I apologize for the lateness of this response; I have just gotten back in town.  Good luck, Melissa

Plant Diseases

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

©2017 All rights reserved.