Ask a Question forum: Brown spots on snake plant

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Hong Kong S.A.R.
hiki08
Jul 22, 2017 4:36 AM CST
Hello, I'm unfortunately a complete gardening illiterate who just wanted some greens at home (outdoors). I have a few pots of snake plants which recently starting showing some large brown spots on its leaves after having them for just over a year. Photos are attached below.

I would be grateful for diagnosis and any suggested treatment.

The plant is located outdoors with good sunlight. We've had the plants for over a year now without any particular issue. It's been raining quite a lot the past month (summer, ~30 degrees celsius). The bottom 1/4 of the pot are packing pearls for better drainage and soil had been mixed with sand (forgot the proportion) when first potted. Many thanks!


Thumb of 2017-07-22/hiki08/b465a8


Thumb of 2017-07-22/hiki08/635206

Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Jul 22, 2017 12:27 PM CST
hiki08 said:Hello, I'm unfortunately a complete gardening illiterate who just wanted some greens at home (outdoors). I have a few pots of snake plants which recently starting showing some large brown spots on its leaves after having them for just over a year. Photos are attached below.

I would be grateful for diagnosis and any suggested treatment.

The plant is located outdoors with good sunlight. We've had the plants for over a year now without any particular issue. It's been raining quite a lot the past month (summer, ~30 degrees celsius). The bottom 1/4 of the pot are packing pearls for better drainage and soil had been mixed with sand (forgot the proportion) when first potted. Many thanks!


Thumb of 2017-07-22/hiki08/b465a8


Thumb of 2017-07-22/hiki08/635206



I get those on mine too. I think it from too much watering. I brought mine in from the deck last October and utterly ignored them all Winter and most of Spring. The brown patches went away. Some leaves did as well, but that is natural for them in Winter.

Mostly, you just want to cut away the dying leaves and let the new ones grow. A diluted 6-2-2 fertilizer after a long dormant Winter and Spring should get them growing new leaves.

Another possibility is just root-bound plants. I took one pot a few years and just yanked the plants out. I cut the rootball into 4 pieces with a saw. They hated it, but they all grew back better.

Plants are tough.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jul 22, 2017 12:52 PM CST
Hello hiki08, are the containers with drainage holes? Also it helps to use very well draining soil so if you can mix in pumice or perlite that would be better than using packing pearls. I don't use sand in any of my succulents since it has a tendency to compact overtime. In your location, rains and high humid temps are okay for it. It can actually stand being flooded if planted in -ground lots of area for the roots to go. But since it is in a container proper drainage is necessary. But once your temps starts to cool down like if it goes down to 10C you have to scale back watering and keep it drier.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Jul 22, 2017 1:16 PM CST
tarev said:Hello hiki08, are the containers with drainage holes? Also it helps to use very well draining soil so if you can mix in pumice or perlite that would be better than using packing pearls. I don't use sand in any of my succulents since it has a tendency to compact overtime. In your location, rains and high humid temps are okay for it. It can actually stand being flooded if planted in -ground lots of area for the roots to go. But since it is in a container proper drainage is necessary. But once your temps starts to cool down like if it goes down to 10C you have to scale back watering and keep it drier.


Good catch Tarev! I didn't notice hiki08's location.

Hong Kong S.A.R.
hiki08
Jul 23, 2017 3:02 AM CST
Thank you Yardenman and tarev for the insight!

So it sounds like the browning is from having too much water or poor drainage in the soil. Yes the pots have drainage holes at the bottom.

They're out in the open at the moment, perhaps I'll take it to the balcony with cover, hopefully that would help? It's not a condition which might affect my other plants if I place them in close proximity to each other is it? I've previously seen a few leaves splitting down the middle and losing its rigidity to stand up tall (it would bend downwards) - would this be related to watering as well, or something else? I've seen that in the winter before, and I think one or two leaves are like that now too.

Other than moving the plants to a location with less direct rainfall, would you recommend that I cut short those leaves that are browning, leave them as is, or pull those leaves out entirely from the soil? There's usually less rain in the winter here so that probably good.

Given they've been planted for a year now, I wouldn't think it's appropriate to change the soil to add in pumice/perlite, is it? (I would imagine the roots will have grown all across them, and risk damaging the roots.)

Cheers!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Jul 24, 2017 11:31 AM CST
Hello hiki08, if there is a space where you can separate it a bit from any other plants you have, that would be good, so you can observe if it spreads further. Sure, you can protect it a bit from too much rainfall till you can improve the drainage in your container. But it would really benefit from good air flow around, so it allows the leaves to dry up fast and not harbor fungal issues from staying too wet.

This plant when grown in a container, does not really mind being grown a bit too tight in it, as long as the roots can ably breathe below soil line and water drains well.

You can trim off the top browned up part, but it won't regrow, so it will be a matter of aesthetics. And if you do cut off a bit, just slight dab with cinnamon the cut edge, as fungicide remedy.

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