Snake Plant Wrinkled Leaves: 14 Likely Reasons With Fixes

If you want to know how to deal with snake plant wrinkled leaves then this is the guide for you.

There are lots of reasons why snake plant leaves can wrinkle, from watering issues to lack of humidity and much more. I’ve rounded up 14 of the most common reasons below from my experience of keeping snake plants for several years at this point.

Let’s get straight into it.

How To Use This Guide

With this guide, simply click the table of contents and browse through the reasons.

A small snake plant on a window ledge
One of my smaller snake plants

If you spot one that you think is applicable to your situation, then head to it to find out more. For example, if you suspect sunlight is the problem, head to the section on sunlight to see the common symptoms and how to solve them.

14 Reasons For Snake Plant Wrinkled Leaves With Solutions

1. Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the main reasons behind wrinkled leaves in snake plants.

When you give your plant too much water, it can lead to root rot, which in turn causes the plant to dehydrate and wrinkle.

Root rot affects the ability of the roots to absorb water and nutrients, which is crucial for the plant’s health.

Before root rot sets in the roots will be suffocated due to the excess water as well, which is why it’s important to address this problem quickly.

Overwatering can also be caused by a soil mix that doesn’t drain well, or due to a lack of drainage holes in the pot.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Overwatering

With overwatering, it’s important not only to stop watering (obviously) but also to inspect the soil and roots to see how bad the problem is.

  1. Hold back on watering: First and foremost, stop watering the plant for a while to let the soil dry out. Snake plants can tolerate some dryness, so it won’t hurt them. It’s better to let the soil dry entirely than to risk adding more water to an already overwatered plant.
  2. Check the soil: If the surface of the soil looks saturated with water, you’ll need to pull your plant out to inspect the roots.
  3. Inspect the roots for rot: Gently remove the plant from its pot and examine the roots for signs of decay or a mushy texture. If you find any rotten roots, trim them away with a clean pair of scissors. This will help the remaining healthy roots recover and absorb water more efficiently.
  4. Fungicide application: If you had to trim rotten roots, consider applying a fungicide to the remaining healthy roots to prevent the spread of any lingering fungi. This will help keep your plant’s roots healthy and promote better water absorption.
  5. Re-pot the plant: After trimming any affected roots and treating them with fungicide, carefully re-pot your snake plant in the well-draining soil mix you prepared earlier. Make sure the pot has drainage holes so excess water can escape.
  6. Monitor and adjust your watering routine: Once the plant is back in good condition, you can gradually reintroduce water. Keep an eye on your snake plant and adjust your watering schedule accordingly to prevent future overwatering issues. Remember, it’s always better to underwater than overwater your snake plant.

By following these steps, you can help your snake plant recover from overwatering and prevent wrinkled leaves in the future.

A great tip that I use is to only water your snake plant when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry.

2. Underwatering

Underwatering is another common cause of wrinkled leaves in snake plants.

When a snake plant does not receive adequate water, its leaves tend to curl and wrinkle due to dehydration. The tips will usually turn brown as well.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Underwatering

Luckily underwatering is less of an issue than overwatering because it doesn’t lead to severe issues like root rot.

If your snake plant is underwatered all you need to do is water it thoroughly until water comes out of the drainage holes.

Afterward, leave it for a few weeks and keep watering when the top inch to two inches of soil become dry.

Prune any damaged leaves as these won’t heal if they have started to turn brown and crispy.

3. Temperature Fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations can cause snake plant leaves to wrinkle.

The optimal temperature for a healthy snake plant is between 60 to 80°F, and fluctuations above or below this can stress the plant and cause the leaves to wrinkle.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Temperature Fluctuations

To fix wrinkled leaves caused by temperature fluctuations, follow these steps:

  1. Move the plant: If your snake plant is near a heat source or drafty window, move it to a more stable location away from temperature extremes.
  2. Monitor the temperature: Keep a thermometer near your snake plant to ensure the temperature remains within the optimal range. Adjust your home’s thermostat if necessary to keep it within the ideal range.

Remember to always monitor the temperature and adjust as needed for the healthiest and most attractive plant.

4. Humidity Issues

When the humidity levels are too high or too low, your snake plant may show signs of stress, such as wrinkled leaves.

High humidity reduces transpiration and promotes disease, especially if there is a lack of air circulation around the plant.

The ideal humidity for a snake plant is around 40 to 50%, which is pretty average for most homes.

Fluctuating humidity levels can also cause wrinkles in the plant’s leaves, just like fluctuations in temperature.

To ensure the long-term health of your snake plant, it’s important to address any humidity issues promptly.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Humidity Issues

  1. Monitor humidity levels: Purchase a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in your home. Snake plants typically thrive in humidity levels between 40% and 50%. By keeping tabs on the humidity, you can take action to correct any issues and prevent further damage to your plant.
  2. Increase/Decrease humidity: Once you know the humidity level, you can adjust accordingly by either increasing or decreasing the humidity. I like to use pebble trays to increase humidity, but it’s more common for the humidity to be too high for a snake plant so consider moving it to a drier location by taking readings in multiple rooms with a hygrometer.

By addressing humidity issues in your snake plant’s environment and taking the appropriate measures, you can prevent wrinkled leaves and ensure the long-term health of your plant.

5. Pest Infestations

Pest infestations can cause wrinkled leaves in your snake plants.

Common pests that attack snake plants include mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids.

These pests feed on the plant’s sap, which leads to dehydration and eventually wrinkled leaves.

To identify a pest infestation, closely examine your snake plant for tiny insects, or look for signs like sticky honeydew residue or small, dry patches on the leaves.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Pest Infestations

Pest infestations can be very serious if they are not dealt with, and can eventually even kill a snake plant.

Here’s a step-by-step removal guide.

1. Manual removal

You can start by checking for pests and manually removing them.

Use a soft cloth or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe down the affected leaves and remove visible pests.

Alternatively, spray down the leaves with water.

2. Insecticide

For large infestations, treat your snake plant with an insecticidal solution.

You’ll also need to isolate your snake plant from other plants during this time to prevent spreading the pests to other plants.

3. Neem oil

Another option is to use neem oil, a natural pesticide.

Dilute the neem oil according to the package instructions, then spray it on the affected leaves, being sure to coat them entirely.

Remember to regularly inspect your snake plant for any signs of pest infestations, and take action as soon as you notice an issue.

By addressing the problem early, you can prevent extensive damage to your plant and keep its leaves healthy and free from wrinkles.

6. Diseases

Diseases can also cause wrinkled leaves in snake plants.

A small snake plant next to a set of blinds

Common culprits include root rot, blight, and leaf spot, and these are favored in damp and humid conditions.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Disease

Here’s a quick guide for dealing with snake plant diseases:

  1. Isolate the plant: Separate the affected snake plant from other plants to prevent the disease from spreading.
  2. Trim and treat: Remove any affected leaves or roots with clean, sharp pruning shears. Apply a suitable fungicide to the plant.
  3. Improve environmental conditions: Ensure your snake plant has adequate airflow, humidity, and temperature to discourage diseases. Keep the plant in a well-ventilated area and avoid overwatering, which can create a breeding ground for pests and diseases.
  4. Monitor and maintain: Regularly check your snake plant for signs of disease, and continue treating as necessary. It’s important to remember that prevention is key, so maintain a clean and healthy environment for your plant.

By following these steps, you can effectively treat and prevent diseases that cause wrinkled leaves in your snake plant.

7. Lack Of Fertilizer

One possible reason for snake plant wrinkled leaves is the lack of fertilizer.

Snake plants require essential nutrients to grow healthy and maintain their vibrant foliage. Nitrogen specifically is responsible for new leaf growth, for example.

A deficiency in these nutrients can lead to yellowing or wrinkling of the leaves.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Lack Of Fertilizer

The simple solution is to use a balanced (complete) fertilizer once per month during the growing season.

I like to use a diluted fertilizer solution once per month in the summer, and once every two months over winter.

Avoid using natural fertilizers like coffee grounds as these can cause more problems than they solve.

8. Lack Of Nutrients From Soil

Lack of nutrients from the soil is one of the common causes for snake plant wrinkled leaves, just as it is from external sources like fertilizer.

Snake plants are relatively low maintenance, but they still need essential nutrients to thrive.

Remember that essential nutrients like nitrogen are responsible for new leaf growth and foliage development.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Lack Of Nutrients From Soil

It’s a good idea to refresh the soil mix for your snake plant once every two to three years during repotting.

To repot a snake plant, follow the steps below:

  • Gently remove the plant from its pot by pulling from the base while wearing gloves.
  • Inspect the roots for signs of root rot or a root-bound state, and gently remove soil from around the roots using your hands.
  • Loosen the root ball with your hands and repot into a container 1 to 2 inches wider than the previous one with fresh soil mix.

If you suspect that your soil lacks nutrients, refresh it with a mix of compost, peat moss, and perlite.

Compost is packed full of nutrients, peat moss provides the right type of pH and boosts moisture content, and perlite improves drainage.

9. Poor Draining Soil

Poor draining soil can cause wrinkled leaves for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, it leads to overwatering which can suffocate the roots and lead to root rot over time.

This affects the ability of the plant to absorb moisture and nutrients, which can cause the leaves to droop, wrinkle, and become discolored.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Poor Draining Soil

The same steps as before apply – you’ll need to repot your snake plant with fresh soil that has good drainage.

The soil mix should contain compost for nutrients, peat moss for moisture and pH, and perlite for structure and drainage.

You should also make sure that your pot has drainage holes.

10. Transplant Shock

Transplant shock affects lots of plants, and snake plants are no exception.

Transplant shock occurs when you move your snake plant from one pot to another.

When the plant first moves it will struggle to develop roots to support its growth.

In the short term, this can cause the leaves to droop and wrinkle, and the growth rate may slow down significantly.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Transplant Shock

Transplant shock is completely normal and isn’t something that you can really prevent completely.

There are things you can do to help the process go smoothly, however.

You should water thoroughly after transplanting to help promote new root growth, and always loosen the roots before repotting for the same effect.

Aside from that, just make sure that your snake plant is in a suitable new location to promote growth.

11. Excess Sunlight

While snake plants are known for their hardiness and adaptability to various light conditions, too much sunlight can sometimes cause wrinkled leaves.

Prolonged exposure to intense sunlight can cause excessive water evaporation from the leaves, resulting in dehydration and wrinkling.

A variety of different snake plants and houseplants on two shelves

The leaves may also appear bleached or scorched due to the high intensity of sunlight.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Excess Sunlight

To address the problem of wrinkled leaves caused by excess sunlight, follow these steps:

  1. Relocate your snake plant: Move your plant to an area with bright but indirect sunlight. East- or north-facing windows are ideal spots, as they receive gentler light throughout the day.
  2. Prune damaged leaves: After resolving the sunlight issue, prune any severely wrinkled or damaged leaves with a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears. This will encourage new growth and help your snake plant regain its healthy appearance.

Remember, it is crucial to strike a balance between providing enough light for your snake plant to thrive without causing damage due to excess sunlight.

12. Lack Of Sunlight

If your snake plant has wrinkled leaves, it might be due to a lack of sunlight.

Snake plants are known to adapt well to different lighting conditions, but they still require some sunlight for photosynthesis.

Without adequate sunlight, your plant’s leaves may become wrinkled and unhealthy.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Lack Of Sunlight

To help your snake plant recover from wrinkled leaves caused by insufficient sunlight, follow these steps:

  1. Move your plant: If your snake plant is not receiving enough sunlight, consider relocating it to a brighter spot. Make sure that the new location exposes your plant to filtered or indirect light.
  2. Prune damaged leaves: In some cases, it may be necessary to prune your snake plant, removing any severely wrinkled leaves. This will allow the plant to focus its energy on healthier leaves and overall recovery.
  3. Monitor your plant: Keep an eye on your snake plant after making adjustments to its environment. Over time, new healthy leaves should grow to replace the wrinkled leaves, indicating that your plant is recovering.

13. Freezing

When your snake plant is exposed to freezing temperatures, it can cause the leaves to wrinkle due to cellular damage from the cold.

Low temperatures can damage the plant, leading to water loss, leaf discoloration, and eventual wilting.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Freezing

To fix wrinkled leaves caused by freezing, follow these steps:

  1. Move the plant to a warmer location: Promptly move your snake plant to a warmer area in your home, preferably one that maintains a minimum consistent temperature above 50°F (10°C).
  2. Don’t Prune: It can be tempting to prune a frozen snake plant, but avoid it at first. Leaves all of the leaves for a few weeks to let them recover, pruning will only cause more stress.
  3. Adjust watering: After the plant has been relocated, leave it for a week or so before watering.
  4. Monitor the plant’s progress: Keep an eye on your snake plant as it recovers. If all of the leaves are mushy, there’s a very small chance of revival.

You can find more detail on frozen snake plants in this guide.

14. Root Bound

When a plant becomes root bound, its roots grow so densely and tightly that they’re unable to take up water and nutrients effectively. Snake plants can actually thrive in this condition, but only to a small degree.

If the root-bound condition is severe, it can cause all sorts of problems, including wrinkled leaves, as your snake plant struggles to stay hydrated and healthy.

To determine if root bound is the issue, carefully remove your snake plant from its pot and examine the root system.

If you see a tangled mass of roots with little to no soil, it’s likely that your plant is indeed root bound.

How To Fix Wrinkled Leaves Due To Root Bound Condition

It’s hard to tell if your snake plant is rootbound without taking it out of the pot, but a tell-tale sign is if the roots are growing out of the soil.

Other than that, take it out of its pot using your hand and gently remove any soil around the roots (there might not be any in severe cases).

If the roots are densely intertwined and there is a lack of any soil at all, then it is root bound.

Loosen surrounding roots as much as possible and don’t be afraid to cut into the bottom to loosen up stubborn roots.

A close up of a snake plant

Repot in fresh soil using the mix mentioned previously and water generously to promote new root growth.

Should You Prune Wrinkled Leaves?

Pruning wrinkled leaves can be beneficial for your snake plant, but it isn’t always necessary.

If the wrinkled leaves have turned yellow or brown, then feel free to prune them right away as they will not recover.

To prune the wrinkled leaves, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your tools: Use clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors to avoid transmitting diseases to your plant.
  2. Inspect the plant: Look for leaves that are severely wrinkled, damaged, or discolored.
  3. Make a clean cut: Trim the affected leaves at the base, being careful not to damage healthy tissues.
  4. Dispose of the trimmed leaves: Safely discard the cut leaves to prevent the spread of any diseases or pests.

If the leaves haven’t changed color, there’s a good chance that they will recover when you deal with the issue that is causing them to wrinkle.

In Summary

Snake plants are incredibly hardy, so if you notice that some of the leaves are wrinkled there is a very high chance that you can nurse it back to full health.

Use this guide as a checklist to quickly identify the cause of your snake plant wrinkled leaves and what to do about them.

Photo of author

About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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