Shriveled Snake Plant: Causes and How to Revive It

The snake plant is a tough plant. It can withstand just about anything—drought, low light, poor soil—and still, look fabulous. But when your snake plant starts to shrivel, it’s a sign that something is wrong. This article will go through all the possible factors that may cause your snake plant to shrivel and how to fix them.

A group of Shriveling Snake Plants

Why Your Snake Plant Is Shriveling?

Snake plants may experience shriveling when you water them the wrong way or when it’s not given the appropriate care under severe climate change. For example, when this plant is moistened using hot water or under-watered, it may experience shriveling. Also, when snake plants are exposed to high temperatures suddenly, they may react by shriveling their leaves.

In the following sections, we will go through each factor that may cause snake plants to shrivel and explain why this happens.

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Wrong Watering Process

Using Hot Water

Watering plants with hot water can cause the leaves to become shriveled because the hot water causes the cell walls of the leaves to break down. This makes the leaves unable to hold onto water, which causes them to become wrinkled.

If you water your plants with hot water, the consequences could be disastrous. The hot water could scald the roots of the plants, causing them to die. Additionally, hot water could cause the leaves to wilt and drop off.


If your snake plant is underwatered, the leaves will start to shrivel and wrinkle automatically. This is because the plant is not getting enough water to support its leaves. The leaves will turn brown and fall off if the plant is not watered soon.

The best way to avoid under-watering snake plants is to let the soil dry out between watering and watering your plant whenever the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch.

Read our article about Why Your Snake Plant May be Lacking Roots and How to Fix It

Climate Change

Plants may become shriveled and wrinkled when the weather becomes hot and dry to conserve water. The process is called transpiration, during which water is lost from the leaves through tiny pores. To prevent too much water loss, plants may close their pores or reduce the surface area of their leaves.

Underwatering can also happen during the hot days of the summer season. In fact, during this season, the heat can cause the water to evaporate more quickly than usual. This means the roots cannot absorb as much water as they need.

Another reason that increases the probability of underwatering during the summer is the plant’s growth rate during this time of the year. In fact, snake plant grows more quickly during the summer months. As a result, it consumes more water than usual.

Inadequate Soil

Inadequate Soil for Snake Plant

When the snake plant leaves begin to wrinkle, it could be a sign that the soil mix is not suitable for the plant. If the soil is too sandy, for example, it won’t retain enough moisture, and the plant will suffer. The same is true if the soil is too dense. The plant won’t be able to get the nutrients it needs and will begin to wilt.

If you suspect your potting soil is causing your snake’s leaf problems, try switching to a lighter mix, such as compost or rotted bark. The good thing about soft soils is that they allow the roots to penetrate deeper and more quickly, which helps the plant to go after nutrients faster and reduces the stress caused by the lack of moisture.

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Hot Temperature

Temperature can cause the leaves of your snake plant to wrinkle because when it is hot, the water evaporates quickly, and the leaves shrink. Water evaporates from the leaves and cools down the leaf’s tissues, and pushes the chlorophyll (the leaf’s green coloring) to the center.

When the chlorophyll is exposed to cooler air, a stomatal opening occurs. Stomata open when water evaporates from the leaves to help control evaporation and maintain air humidity inside the leaf.

Cold Draft

Snake plant experiences a cold draft when the temperature around them drops suddenly. This can happen if we hold a plant in a warm room but keep opening the door often or if a gust of wind blows through an open window.

In this case, the plant’s leaves will begin to droop, and its stem will become limp as the water inside the plant’s cells begins to freeze. The plant will become dormant and may even die if the temperature remains low for an extended period.

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Inadequate Lighting Conditions

When the leaves of a snake plant are exposed to intense light, they will become wrinkled because the water within the leaves evaporates. The water vapor produced will cause the leaves to contract, resulting in them being wrinkled.

Exposing your snake plant to intense direct light may have other harmful effects. For example, the leaves will begin to scorch and turn brown under intense natural light. As a result, the plant may eventually die if it does not receive proper care.

The process of the leaves becoming burned is referred to as “heat burn,” and the loss of chlorophyll within the plant is called “chlorosis.”

Light levels should never exceed 3 000 lumens per square foot for snake plants or any other houseplant.


When a snake plant is shocked, its leaves will often fade to conserve water. In some cases, the plant may also drop its leaves entirely. While this may seem alarming, it’s a plant’s way of protecting itself from further stress.

Snake plants experience shock and stress when exposed to sudden environmental changes, such as temperature, light, or water shifts. These changes can cause the plant to go into survival mode, which can lead to the plant’s death.

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Inadequate Pot

Inadequate Pot for Snake Plant

A small pot can cause a snake plant to shrivel. In fact, if the pot is too small, the roots won’t have enough room to grow. This will cause the leaves to shrivel and wrinkle.

Another negative consequence of small pots on snake plants is that they can dry out quickly. This is because the small pot doesn’t hold as much moisture as a larger pot. As a result, your plant may not get the hydration it needs and could eventually die.

Additionally, small pots can also limit the growth of your plant. The roots will eventually become root-bound, which means they will be constricted and unable to grow further. This can stunt the growth of your plant and make it weak.

Wrong Fertilization Process

Using an inadequate fertilizer can cause your snake plant to have wilted leaves. This is because a fertilizer not designed for snake plants may deprive them of getting the nutrients it needs from the soil. This can lead to the plant’s death if the fertilizer is used heavily.

Also, using too much fertilizer may cause the plant to grow too quickly, but it will make it spindly and weak. The extra fertilizer may also run off into nearby waterways, causing pollution.

How to Fix a Shriveled Snake Plant?

To fix a shriveled snake plant, you should start watering it regularly and reduce the amount of light that you provide for your plant. You should also check the temperature of the water you use for watering. Finally, you should acclimate your plant when you transfer it from one area to another.

The following paragraphs will tell you precisely what you should do to fix your shriveled snake plant depending on the source of the problem.

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Check the Soil Regularly Before Watering

A gardener Checks out the Soil Before Watering

The best way to check the soil before watering is to use a moisture meter. You can find these at most garden stores. To use one, insert the probes into the soil and read the moisture level. When the needle indicates that the soil is dry, you should immediately water your snake plant.

You can use your finger to check the soil if you don’t have access to a moisture meter. You can water your plant when the soil feels dry to the touch.

It’s also important to know how much water your snake plant needs. You’ll learn how much water it needs by its size. If it’s big, then it needs more water than a small snake plant.

Increase Watering Frequency During Summer

During the summer, plants need to be watered more often because the heat causes the water to evaporate more quickly. The soil also tends to be drier during the summer, so plants need more water to stay healthy.

During summer, I will not recommend watering the plant more often. Instead, I highly advise you to check the soil more often using your finger or a moister meter. Generally, you will realize that the soil will dry quickly.

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Make Sure that You Use Room Temperature Water for Watering

Watering with room temperature water is the best for snake plants, mainly when grown as houseplants because it won’t shock their system.

Cold water can damage the plant’s roots, while hot water can scald them. But room temperature water is just right.

The best way to get the water temperature to reach room temperature before watering plants is to set the water out in an open container for about an hour before using it. This will allow the water to slowly come to room temperature, making it safe to use on your snake plant.

Reduce the Amount of Light that Your Plant Gets Daily and Put It in A Shade Area

To keep your snake plant away from direct light, you can move it to a spot with indirect sunlight or filtered light. You can also put up a sheer curtain or blind to diffuse the light.

Avoid Shocking the Plant

To avoid shocking your snake plant, you should gradually acclimate them to changes in temperature and light. When moving them from a shady spot to a sunny one or indoors to outdoors, do it slowly over a week or more. This will give them time to adjust to the new conditions and prevent them from going into shock.

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