Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow on the Edges? 6 Causes and Fixes

A lot of people in the United States have snake plants (Dracaena trifasciata, formerly Sansevieria trifasciata). With its long, elegant foliage, this hardy, low-maintenance plant is a go-to for homes, offices, and public spaces. But even the leaves of a tough-as-nails snake plant can turn yellow.

It’s not a problem if a snake plant has one or two yellow leaves every so often. In fact, some types of snake plants are known for having pretty yellow edges around their leaves. But if several of your plant’s leaves turn yellow at once, or if the plant shows other signs of stress or hasn’t had the right care or conditions, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong and fix it. Here are seven reasons your snake plants leaves could turn yellow and how to fix it.

The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or viper’s bowstring hemp is one of the most popular and hardy houseplants. Its sword-shaped architectural leaves add an exotic tropical flair whether grown as floor plants or compact tabletop accents. But while these plants are nearly indestructible, their leaves can sometimes turn yellow around the edges.

What causes yellow edges on snake plant leaves, and how can you treat and prevent this discoloration? Read on to discover the key reasons your snake plant may get yellow leaf margins and what to do about it.

Overview of Yellow Edges on Snake Plants

Snake plants are native to arid regions and have adapted to survive with minimal water. Their thick, succulent leaves efficiently store moisture. While yellow leaf edges can indicate a cultural issue, this hardy plant often continues growing despite less-than-ideal conditions.

If your snake plant has yellow edges, don’t panic The causes are usually easily corrected with a few simple adjustments to care With the right troubleshooting and prevention methods, you can get your snake plant’s leaves back to their typical deep green coloration in no time.

6 Reasons Snake Plant Leaves Get Yellow Edges

Snake plants are so resilient to imperfect growing situations that it often takes prolonged issues to cause visible stress If your plant has gradually developed yellow leaf margins, consider these potential causes

1. Underwatering

Insufficient moisture is the most common reason for yellow leaf edges on snake plants. Their succulent leaves can go weeks between thorough waterings, but consistent underwatering causes the leaf tips to dry out and yellow.

2. Overwatering

While they tolerate drought, snake plants also dislike soggy soil. Excessive moisture prevents their roots from getting air and can lead to root rot. As lower leaves yellow, it’s a sign of overwatering.

3. Low Humidity

Snake plants prefer average room humidity but can struggle in very dry air. Low moisture levels cause leaf tips to yellow and brown. Grouping plants together helps increase local humidity.

4. Excessive Light

Too much direct sun can scorch snake plant leaves, initially causing pale yellow spots that may turn brown. Filter the light or move the plant to prevent sunburn.

5. Cold Damage

If placed near cold windows in winter, snake plant leaves may freeze and get brown dry edges. Keep them above 50°F for healthy growth.

6. Chemical Imbalances

Insufficient nutrients can cause chlorosis or yellowing. But excess fertilizer concentrations also create highly saline soil that dries out leaf margins.

How to Treat and Fix Yellow Edges on Snake Plants

Once you determine the likely cause of yellowing leaf edges, take action to remedy the situation:

  • Underwatering – Give the plant a thorough, deep watering until it drains from the bottom. Water again when the top couple inches of soil become dry.

  • Overwatering – Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. Repot in fresh, well-draining soil if needed.

  • Low humidity – Mist leaves daily or use a humidifier nearby. Group plants together to raise local humidity.

  • Excess light – Move plant to a shadier spot or use a sheer curtain to filter direct sun.

  • Cold damage – Keep above 50°F and away from drafty windows. Damaged parts won’t recover but new growth will be healthy.

  • Fertilizer issues – Flush soil to remove excess salts from overfertilizing. Apply balanced fertilizer at half strength once or twice a year.

Trim off any severely damaged leaves that don’t recover to maintain an attractive appearance. With corrected growing conditions, your snake plant will produce new healthy foliage.

6 Tips to Prevent Future Yellow Edges on Snake Plants

Once you get your snake plant back to its deep green glory, keep it that way by following these care and cultivation tips:

  • Water only when the top several inches of soil are dry. Use a moisture meter to be sure.

  • Provide bright, indirect light from an east or west window. Filter direct sun with a sheer curtain.

  • Keep humidity around 40-50% year-round. Grouping plants together can help boost humidity.

  • Avoid temperature extremes and cold drafts below 50°F which can shock the plant.

  • Repot in fresh soil every 2-3 years as needed to prevent salts from building up.

  • Fertilize at half strength once or twice yearly in spring and summer for healthy growth.

With the right balance of moisture, light, warmth and nutrition, you can enjoy your snake plant’s striking dagger-like foliage for years to come without pesky yellow leaf edges. Be sure to inspect plants regularly for early signs of stress and address issues promptly.

While not fatal, yellow edges detract from the snake plant’s dramatic appearance. But a little troubleshooting and TLC will have your plant looking lush and vibrant again in no time. Just a few simple adjustments is all it takes to fix snake plant leaves turning yellow on the edges.

Causes of Yellow Snake Plant Leaves

Several different plant problems can cause yellow leaves or chlorosis. Chlorosis happens when plants don’t have the micronutrients they need to make chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what makes leaves green and lets plants use sunlight to make food. As you figure out why your snake plants leaves are turning yellow, consider these potential causes.

Inconsistent Temperature

Not having stable temperatures could stress your plant and turn its leaves yellow if it is near a drafty door, window, or air vent, or if the temperature changed quickly.

Snake Plant Brown Tips – Reasons and How to Solve This problem


What snake plant has a yellow border?

Snake plants come in a variety of colours, but most have green banded leaves with a yellow border. A report from NASA proves that Snake plants help keep the air inside your home clean by eliminating contaminants like formaldehyde and benzene.

Should I remove yellow leaves from a snake plant?

However, yellow leaves won’t turn green again even if the problem is remedied, so it’s best to cut them off with sharp, sanitized pruners or scissors at the base of the plant. Water: Check your plant’s soil moisture. If the soil feels soggy and you’ve been watering frequently, overwatering could be blamed.

What does an overwatered snake plant look like?

What to look for: Overwatered snake plants have yellow or brown foliage that’s squishy and rotting. The leaves look wilted and may have black, squishy spots on them. The plant looks mushy and weak, and its leaves fall over. The snake plant may also have root rot if the soil in its container remains too saturated.

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