Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Leaves Falling Over: Causes and Solutions

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Leaves Falling Over

The mother-in-law’s tongue, scientifically known as Sansevieria, is a popular houseplant cherished for its striking, upright leaves. However, if you notice your mother-in-law’s tongue leaves drooping or falling over, it’s essential to understand the underlying reasons and take corrective measures. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore the causes of drooping leaves and provide practical solutions to revive your beloved snake plant.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Leaves Falling Over
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Leaves Falling Over

1. Improper Watering

Mother-in-law’s tongue is a succulent plant with thick, moisture-retaining leaves. In its native West African tropics, it thrives in dry, rocky regions. Overwatering can lead to root rot, resulting in droopy leaves. Follow these watering guidelines:

  • Water only when the top 2-3 inches (5–7.5 cm) of soil are completely dry.
  • Water deeply, allowing excess water to drain through the pot’s drainage hole.
  • Avoid watering the leaves; focus on the soil around the inside edge of the pot.
  • During the winter, water sparingly—only when the leaves appear slightly wilted.

2. Lighting Conditions

Snake plants tolerate various light levels, but excessive darkness can cause drooping leaves. Consider the following:

  • Bright, indirect light is ideal. A sunny west- or east-facing window works well.
  • Avoid intense direct sunlight from south-facing windows.
  • During the winter, southern exposure is beneficial.

3. Repotting

Check if your snake plant is root-bound. Repotting is necessary every 3–5 years. Use a fast-draining potting mix formulated for cacti and succulents. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole.

4. Pests and Diseases

Regular inspections are crucial to prevent issues. Common culprits include:

  • Spider mites: These tiny pests can cause leaves to fall over. Inspect the plant regularly and treat it promptly.
  • Mealybugs are another common pest that affects snake plants. Keep an eye out for them.
  • Fungal infections: Maintain overall plant health to prevent fungal problems.

How do I propagate a snake plant?

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Leaves Falling Over
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Leaves Falling Over

Propagating a snake plant (also known as Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue) is a rewarding process that allows you to multiply your beloved houseplant. There are several methods to propagate snake plants, and I’ll guide you through each one:

1. Division Method

  • Best for: large, mature plants with multiple stems.
  1. Remove the plant from its pot.
    • Lay your snake plant on its side and gently remove it from the pot.
    • If the plant is root-bound, squeeze the pot on all sides to loosen the root bulb.
  2. Separate Clumps:
    • Identify a clump of stems you’d like to separate from the main plant.
    • Clear the soil from the roots using your hands.
    • If possible, gently pull the clump away from the mother plant, untangling the roots.
    • If tightly packed soil prevents separation, use clean pruning shears or a knife to cut the roots from the main root clump.

2. Water Method

  • Best for: plants of all sizes.
  1. Prepare a small glass jar or dish:
    • Fill it with water.
  2. Take stem cuttings:
    • Cut a healthy leaf or stem from your snake plant.
    • Place the cutting in the water, ensuring the cut end is submerged.
  3. Wait for roots to develop.
    • Change the water every few days.
    • Roots will start growing from the cut end.
  4. Plant the rooted cutting:
    • Transfer the rooted cutting to a small pot with well-draining soil.

3. Soil Method

  • Best for: plants of all sizes.
  1. Prepare a small plastic or terracotta pot.
    • Fill it with sandy, well-draining potting mix.
  2. Take stem cuttings:
    • Cut a healthy leaf or stem from your snake plant.
    • Plant the cutting directly into the soil.
  3. Water Sparingly:
    • Water the soil lightly after planting.
    • Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Tips and considerations:

  • Timing: Propagate snake plants during spring and summer when they’re actively growing.
  • Patience: Snake plant propagation takes time; be prepared to wait a couple of months for new pups to appear.
  • Avoid Rot: While water propagation is possible, using soil helps prevent rot.
  • Enjoy your new snake plants!

Common Problems with Snake Plants

Snake plants (Sansevieria), also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, are generally hardy and low-maintenance houseplants. However, like any living organism, they can encounter issues. Here are some common problems associated with snake plants and their solutions:

  1. Drooping or Bending Leaves:
    • Cause: Overwatering is a frequent culprit. Snake plant leaves store water, and excessive moisture can lead to root rot, resulting in drooping leaves.
    • Solution:
      • Adjust your watering schedule. Water only when the top 2–3 inches of soil are dry.
      • If roots are damaged, carefully trim them and repot the plant in fresh soil.
      • Heat stress can also cause drooping; move the plant to a spot with indirect, bright light.
  2. Narrow and Stretched Leaves:
    • Cause: Too much or too little sunlight.
    • Solution:
      • Provide bright, indirect light. Avoid intense direct sunlight.
      • Ensure proper photosynthesis by finding the right balance of light.
  3. Sagging Leaves:
    • Cause: overwatering or underwatering.
    • Solution:
      • Water moderately, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
      • Adjust the watering frequency based on soil moisture.
  4. Leaf spots or discoloration:
    • Cause: fungal infections, pests, or poor air circulation.
    • Solution:
      • Inspect leaves regularly for signs of pests or disease.
      • Improve air circulation and avoid overcrowding.
  5. Mushy Roots:
    • Cause: overwatering leading to root rot.
    • Solution:
      • Repot in well-draining soil.
      • Trim damaged roots and allow the plant to recover.
  6. Slowed or stopped growth:
    • Cause: insufficient light or infrequent fertilization.
    • Solution:
      • Provide adequate indirect light.
      • Fertilize during the growing season with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.

How to Care For a Snake Plant

Here’s a comprehensive guide to caring for your snake plant:

  1. Light:
    • Snake plants thrive in indirect sunlight. They can tolerate low light but prefer bright, indirect light.
    • Avoid intense direct sunlight, as it can burn the leaves.
  2. Watering:
    • Moderate watering is key. Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry out before watering.
    • During winter, reduce watering frequency.
  3. Soil:
    • Use a well-draining potting mix. Cactus or succulent soil works well.
    • Ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  4. Temperature and humidity:
    • Snake plants can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.
    • They thrive in average room humidity.
  5. Fertilization:
    • Fertilize during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
    • Dilute the fertilizer to half its strength.
  6. Repotting:
    • Repot every 2-3 years or when the plant becomes root-bound.
    • Choose a slightly larger pot with fresh soil.
  7. Pruning:
  8. Pests and diseases:
    • Inspect regularly for pests like spider mites or mealybugs.
    • Maintain good air circulation to prevent fungal issues.
  9. Propagation:
    • Propagate snake plants through division or leaf cuttings.
    • Water or soil propagation methods work well.
  10. Benefits:


By understanding the needs of your mother-in-law’s tongue and addressing any issues promptly, you can keep its leaves healthy and upright. Remember, a little care goes a long way in maintaining this resilient and beautiful houseplant.

Remember to observe your snake plant closely, adjust its care routine accordingly, and enjoy the lush greenery it brings to your home! 🌿🪴


  1. The Spruce
  2. Better Homes & Gardens
  3. Smart Garden Guide

20 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Caring for Snake Plants (Sansevieria):

  1. How often should I water my snake plant?
    • Water your snake plant every two to six weeks when the soil dries out. Avoid wetting the leaves.
  2. What light conditions are best for snake plants?
    • Snake plants thrive in bright, indirect light. They tolerate low light but avoid intense direct sunlight.
  3. What type of soil should I use for snake plants?
    • Use well-draining potting mix or African violet soil with added sand.
  4. What temperature range is ideal for snake plants?
    • Maintain temperatures between 60 and 80°F during the day and 55 and 70°F at night.
  5. How do I prevent overwatering during the winter?
    • Water sparingly in winter; let the soil dry out between waterings.
  6. Can I wipe the leaves of my snake plant?
    • Yes, occasionally wipe the leaves with a clean, damp cloth to remove dust.
  7. When should I repot my snake plant?
    • Repot every 2-3 years or when the plant becomes root-bound.
  8. What’s the best fertilizer for snake plants?
    • Use liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer.
  9. How do I propagate snake plants?
    • Propagate through division or leaf cuttings.
  10. What’s the benefit of having snake plants indoors?
    • Snake plants purify indoor air by removing toxins.
  11. Can snake plants tolerate low humidity?
    • Yes, they tolerate average room humidity.
  12. Why are my snake plant leaves drooping?
    • Overwatering or insufficient light may cause drooping leaves.
  13. How do I prevent root rot in snake plants?
    • Use well-draining soil and avoid overwatering.
  14. What pests affect snake plants?
    • Keep an eye out for spider mites and mealybugs.
  15. How tall can snake plants grow?
    • They can reach up to 12 feet in their native habitat.
  16. Can I place snake plants in low-light areas?
    • Yes, but they’ll grow better with indirect sunlight.
  17. How do I care for snake plants during the winter?
    • Water sparingly and avoid cold drafts.
  18. What’s the significance of the yellow border on snake plant leaves?
    • It adds to the plant’s visual appeal.
  19. Can I grow snake plants outdoors?
    • Yes, in warm climates with well-draining soil.
  20. Are snake plants toxic to pets?
    • Yes, they’re mildly toxic if ingested. Keep them out of the reach of pets.