9 Sign of Underwatered Snake Plant [Causes and Identification]

You know; the Snake plant is succulent and it doesn’t need too much water to grow. That means underwatering isn’t a common problem for snake plants. But sometimes underwatered Snake Plant is a matter of concern

Because of underwatering, the snake plants show some symptoms such as leaves yellowing, browning wrinkling, falling over, drooping, curling, brown tips, dry edges, brittle roots, and slow growth. Also, Dry soil indicates the lack of available water for the plant.

And in this article, I will explain the symptoms, signs, and causes of the under watering problems of snake plants that will help you to revive and prevent the problem.

So, without further ado, let’s get started-

How To Tell If Plant Is Underwatered

When the snake plant doesn’t get the required moisture for a longer period of time, mostly, the plant changes the appearance of the leaves at first. In severe conditions, the plant will dehydrate and dry out completely.

1. Wrinkled Leaves Of Snake Plant

Wrinkled Leaves Of Snake Plant

The long and small size line forms on the leaves’ surface with varying depth. And it is the most common sign underwater and it suffers the snake plant most.

And this situation becomes worse if the plant suffers long due to lack of water. And the snake leaves of the snake plant start drooping, curling, and shrinking.

2. Browning of Leaves

Snake plants will start to change the appearance of leaves at the first site of underwatering. The leaves will develop brown tips first and then gradually the brown area will increase until the whole leaf becomes brown, crispy, and dry.

3. Yellowing of leaves

Sometimes the oldest leaves of a snake plant will turn yellow when they are under-watered for a long time. But the problem is, both overwatering and underwatering make the leaves yellow.

So, to be sure you need to feel the texture of the yellow leaf. If it feels dry and curled then the snake plants are under-watered.

4. Leaves Falling Over/ Down/Roll Over

When your snake plants are not watered for a long time they will become very weak. You see, the plant uptake nutrients along with water. So, when there’s a lack of water there is a lack of nutrient availability too.

As a result, the leaves fall down from the snake plant. Even the whole plant can start falling over if they are deprived of water for a long time.

5. Brown and Dry Leaf Edges/Tips

To know if the snake plant is underwater, you always need to check the leaf tips. Because underwatered plants quickly turn the edges of their leaves brown and discolored. The tips become so dry and crispy that they will crumble down between your fingers.

6. Brittle leaves and roots

Brown and brittle leaves are pretty early symptoms of underwatering. Yet the roots still take some time to show the signs. But in the worst case, when the snake plant doesn’t get water for a very long time the roots become very dry and brittle.

If you uproot the underwatered snake plant from the soil the roots will look dead and crumble off in your hand.

7. Leaves Curling

Many things can curl the snake plant leaves. And underwatering is one of them. You see when the snake plant is underwatered the roots cannot circulate enough water to the whole plant. As a result, the leaves curl themselves to preserve their moisture.

8. Potting Soil is Dry

One easy way to identify underwatering is dry potting soil. It is very normal for the soil surface to be dry when they need water. But when the soil is extremely dry up to a certain depth, it means most of the water in the soil has evaporated and your snake plant has been underwatered.

9. Slow Growth

Sometimes at the earlier stages of underwatering, there are not many signs like brown leaves or curled leaves. But still, in this case, you will notice that the snake plants are growing very slowly.

Since water is one of the most important aspects of a plant’s life, lack of water limits nutrient uptake. As a result, the snake plant’s growth and development becomes very slow or not at all.

How To Revive An Underwatered Snake Plant?

If underwatering has not done much damage then a snake plant can be saved in most cases. The damaged leaves will not heal completely but once the water balance is restored in the plant, the new growth will be healthy and green.

Let’s check out how to save the snake plants in easy steps-

 1. Choose The Right Pot

It’s very important to pick the right pot for your snake plant. Choose a pot that’s neither too big nor too small. Because the small pots will constrict the root and the larger pots will cause root rot.

Always try to prefer clay pots rather than plastic ones. Because the thick walls of clay pots conserve moisture for a long time. Thus they prevent underwatering issues.

Make sure the pots have enough drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Also, the snake plants usually grow up to 5 feet. So pick a pot that is good enough to support the plants’ height.

2. Water Properly

Snake plants do not need much watering. That’s where we make the mistake. We end up watering so little that they become underwatered. So you need to water them moderately by checking the soil moisture by dipping your fingers in the soil or with a moisture meter (our pick: Atree Soil 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kits.)

Give them good quality water that is free from harmful chemical substances. Too hot or too cold water will shock the snake plants. So try to keep the temperature of the water between 62°F to 72°F (17°C to 22°C).

3. Provide a Good Environment

The right environment is very important to fix the underwatered snake plant. If you are planning to have it as an outdoor plant make sure they get plenty of shade as well. 4 hours of moderate sunlight is enough for them. Don’t keep them under direct sunlight for too long.

Snake Plants prefer temperatures ranging from 55°F to 85°F (13°C to 30°C). High temperatures will burn the leaves making them brown. And low temperatures will damage the plant tissues. During the winter season make sure you keep them within their preferred temperature.

Sometimes houseplants face dry environments when they are indoors especially if there is AC running. You can get a humidifier (our pick: Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier) to regulate the moisture level in the air. Also misting your snake plant will be very helpful in this case. Always make sure you keep your plants away from the heater and AC.

 4. Use a Good Potting soil

Having the proper soil is very crucial to saving a snake plant. Because if the soil drains too quickly it will not recover from under watering conditions. Again if the soil holds moisture for too long then there will be fungal issues like root rot.

So you need to make the soil mix with compost, sand, peat moss, and vermiculite in the right proportion. To save yourself from this trouble, you can buy potting mixtures especially made for houseplants (our pick: All Natural Succulent and Cactus Soil Mix by Perfect Plants). The good thing is the potting soil package will also have instructions about the watering schedule.

5. Ensure Nutrient Supply

Underwatered snake plants lack nutrients in most cases. So, to revive it you need to fertilize them in the right amount. This will help them to get a speedy recovery.

Feed your snake plant lightly with a good fertilizer having balanced nutrients once every month(our pick: Aquatic Arts All-purpose HousePlant Fertilizer). Always follow the label instructions so that you don’t end up overfertilizing them.

6. Remove The Severely Affected Parts

Sadly, the leaves which are already damaged will not get their appearance back. Moreover, the damaged parts will stress the snake plant by taking up the nutrients. So it’s best to remove the damaged and brown parts from the plants with a clean, sharp tool.


Underwatered snake plants make the corner of your beautiful house look dull with their brown and ugly appearance. It’s a challenge for the grower to get them back to life. So it’s really important to identify the under-watering signs.

After that, you need to get down to work in order to revive them from this under-watered condition. But this part is a bit tricky if you don’t follow the right approach.II have done my best to put all the information about how to identify the under-watered snake plants along with the ways to fix this problem. I hope you found this helpful while reviving your snake plants back to their beauty.

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