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Why does my snake plant have brown tips?

Uh oh! Wondering why does my snake plant have brown tips? Let’s diagnose and fix this common problem!

Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) are ultra popular houseplants. One reason that they are so popular is because they are labeled as easy care and, by some brands “iron plants” hard to kill.

Well, I sure have killed one 😀

If your snake plant is turning brown, you might feel kind of lame. Hello, easy plant, meet your killer.

But – have no fear. Brown leaves happen. Let’s talk about the common causes and solutions!

Check out my complete snake plant care guide!

why does my snake plant have brown tips

Why are the tips of my snake plant turning brown?

Brown tips on your snake plant are a warning sign that the plant is in trouble. But, it’s not dead! Take the sign, diagnose the problem, react to it, and your plant will be back to great soon!

The most common causes of snake plant brown leaves are:

  • Under watering
  • Over watering
  • Low humidity
  • Sunburn
  • Temperature swings
  • Insufficient light
  • Root bound
  • Too much fertilizer
  • Pest infestation

Under watering

Signs of an under watered snake plant include dry, crispy leaves, very dry, compacted soil. The soil may shrink and leave a gap between the soil and the rim of the pot.

Snake plants use water to transport nutrients along the leaves. Not enough water means nutrients can’t be distributed and the tips (furthest from the base of the plant) will be the first to go!

Solution

Give your snake plant a good soak and then get on a regular watering schedule. Water when the top few inches of soil feel dry.

Be careful to avoid big fluctuations between bone dry and soaking wet and try to keep the potting mix at a more consistent moisture level.

snake plant in a pot

Overwatering

Overwatering your snake plant will cause root rot and eventually death. If the soil feels very soggy, it is probably over watered.

Solution

Let your plant dry out a bit more between waterings. If it is really bad, pull it out of the pot and repot it with fresh, clean soil.

Here’s what to do if your snake plant is turning yellow!

Low humidity

Snake plants don’t need a ton of humidity to be happy. But, indoors, especially in winter if you are running the heat, it can be too dry for them.

Solution

Move your plant away from any drafts or vents.

You can mist your plant, keep a humidifier nearby, move it into a bathroom with a steamy shower, group it with other plants, or add pebbles + water to a drip tray under the plant to provide evaporation humidity.

Sunburn

Direct sun can burn the leaves of a snake plant, leaving them crispy. This can happen SUPER quickly outdoors.

Solution

Move your plant out of the direct sun. If you want to move it outdoors, move it gradually from shady spots to better acclimate the plant.

Temperature swings

Similarly, your plant will be unhappy with big temperature fluctuations. This can happen overnight if it’s warm in the day and cool at night.

Solution

Keep your plant somewhere with consistent temperatures over 50 degrees.

close up of base of snake plant

Insufficient light

Snake plants are often advertised as a low-light plant, but they do need some like to live. If it is looking sad, faded, or brown, and is in a dark spot, that might be the cause.

Solution

Move your plant to a spot with brighter indirect light.

Root bound

If your plant has been in it’s pot for a long time, it could be getting root bound. You might notice roots growing out of the soil or out of drainage holes in the pot.

Solution

Move the plant into a pot 1-2 inches larger. Replace as much of the soil as possible for fresh nutrients!

Too much fertilizer

Fertilizer can help your plants grow, but too much fertilizer can burn up a plant. Giving your plant too much or too frequent fertilizer can burn it.

Solution

Stop fertilizing your plant. Don’t fertilize it at all again until it is looking healthy again.

Pest infestation

Snake plants don’t get too many pest infestations. The main threats are mealybugs and spider mites.

Solution

Both of these pests can be wiped off with a mixture of water and dish soap or rubbing alcohol. Consider increasing the humidity around your plant to deter spider mites going forward.

cutting brown spot off of fiddle leaf fig plant

Will brown snake plant leaves come back to life?

Once a leaf dies, it will not reincarnate. Sorry! Your best bet is to remove the brown leaf tips so the house plant can focus its energy on healthy new growth.

Here’s my complete guide to cutting dead plant leaves!

Any more questions about snake plant leaves turning brown?

Thanks for reading!

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