If my snake plant has root rot, can it be saved?


The are numerous cultural conditions that lead to root rot but overwatering, failing to reduce water in winter, planting in too large a container and blocked drain holes in a snake plant's container are the most common. It is sometimes possible to save a plant with root rot, but it depends upon the extent of the damage that has occurred to the plant. If the crown of the plant above ground has become soft or smelly, the infection has already spread too far, and you should dispose of the plant.

Remove the plant from its pot and gently brush or spray away the soil with tepid water so that the roots are visible. Examine them closely looking for slimy, mushy or smelly roots. If you see some of these rotted roots but not too many, use a sterilized knife to cut the affected roots off up above the rotted segment so that only healthy root remains. Re-pot the plant in a thoroughly sanitized container just large enough to contain the roots (it likes a tight pot) using fresh, fast draining succulent soil. If all or most of the root mass has been affected, the plant is highly unlikely to recover and you should dispose of it. 

Sometimes a snake plant creates small plantlets around it in the same pot. If any of these are present and have their own roots that have not been affected by rot, you can dispose of the parent plant and begin a new generation by potting up one of the plantlets on its own.

For additional information on caring for your snake plant, please see our Guide to Snake Plants.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service



  • Last Updated Sep 22, 2023
  • Views 17
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

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