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I have a snake plant that was my grandmother's, my mom's, and now mine. It's at least 40 years old and I've had it for 6 years now but in the past few months have noticed most of the leaves are bent in half or completely wilted. I know very little about house plants but would desperately like to save this plant! Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much! Terry

Answer

I have a snake plant that was my grandmother's, my mom's, and now mine. It's at least 40 years old and I've had it for 6 years now but in the past few months have noticed most of the leaves are bent in half or completely wilted. I know very little about house plants but would desperately like to save this plant! Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much! Terry Thank you for your question on a popular houseplant, snake plant or Sansevieria. "Snake Plant" (also called "Mother-In-Law's Tongue") is a succulent, meaning that this plant stores water in its leaves and rhizomes (a type of thick root). Wilted leaves on snake plants can come from two things: too much water or not enough. You need to check how dry the soil is to help diagnose the problem. Stick your finger down through the soil in the pot. Properly watered snake plants will have dry soil about 2/3 of the way down the pot, but not all the way to the bottom. If the soil is dry all the way to the bottom of the pot, the plant needs more water, but be careful not to overdo it.

If your snake plant is in located full sun, it only needs to be watered about every 3-4 weeks. During the winter months it only needs to be watered every 2 months. When you water it, do not wet the crown of the plant (the base of the plant near the soil where the leaves emerge). Watering this area causes rot which, in turn could cause the leaves to wilt and flop over. It is best to underwater and not overwater this plant and to keep it in a high light window.

Snake plant grows best if its roots are densely matted within the pot with just a little space for further growth. Once its roots look like they are going to crack the pot, then it is time to divide and repot, but use pots that just fit the root system.

Snake plant really does not need to be fertilized, but if you do, fertilize only one time in spring. Good luck!

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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