snake plant dying- need help!

tinkertoy62August 11, 2013

Hi there- my mom's beloved snake plant that I inherited has been slowly wilting and looking like it is failing over the past many months. Too much water? Root rot? I have no idea. Please someone send help- what to do to save it...it has been in the family for so many years! thanks so much! ps- it sits in a sunny window and I water it about once/week to 10 d....I wait until the top soil is pretty dry...thanks! thanks!

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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

Sorry, no idea. What you are doing sounds good. It does not look very old beyound maybe 4 years. But sounds like it may have been in the dark for many years untill now. It should start to pick up. I hate to tell you to take it out of the pot and check the roots out because in it's weaken state it may not survive it.
Waiting to see what else advise you get here.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:48PM
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norma_2006

I certainly agree, but what kind of soil are you using, does drain fast, is there a hole in the bottom of the pot. It looks like the roots are rotting. Perhaps too much sun for that species, not enough air circulation? Once the rhizomes (roots) are developed it needs very little water about once a month a good deep soaking then go on a month trip and leave it alone it may need a rest. This is common in the winter but this time of the year.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 2:16AM
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eaksqueak(PA 6a)

I keep several tiny snake plants in a windowsill where they get direct afternoon sunlight. They get a shriveled up, wrinkly texture when I've left them dry for too long. Is it very warm with direct sunlight where this plant is sitting? It might be baking. I'm no expert, but I'd probably stick my hands down in that soil and feel around the roots a bit. At least then you would know if it's dry or wet. (I did this once with an ailing lady palm and discovered a maggot under my fingernail afterward... I repotted that plant)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:44AM
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greentoe357

Ugh gross.

Tinkertoy, are any of the leaves darkened and mushy to the touch? If so, cut them off to the healthy tissue or even to the bottom with a sterilized knife, scissors or a shaving blade. My understanding is that the leaves that are bendy will not right themselves.

The plant looks pretty sad - I would carefully unpot and see if there is any root rot. I would say repotting is in order. As much as it is a shock to the plant, it's a much smaller shock than this plant seems to be experiencing right now. Sanses are tough, and you may very well be able to save this one.

The soil does look very fine and peaty. Give it a "cactus and succulents" potting mix if you are going to repot. It'll feel better.

After repotting, you might want to stake the taller leaves to help them stay upright, especially if the roots are not extensive - Sanses often have small root systems.
Let us know how it all turns out.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 3:19AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Tinker, the soil needs to dry more thoroughly than just the surface. Wait until the pot feels much lighter. If it already feels weightless, it may be so dry it's hydrophobic. Which do you think it is? Too dry or too wet? Looks like the same kind I have that likes to bake in the sun outside all day (when it's warm enough,) S. trifasciata, but hard to tell for sure. If it is, the more sun, the more distinct the variegations, light green for the green parts.

Sans roots can be quite extensive, it's how they make pups.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:07AM
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