Snake Plant Brown Spots: What Causes Them & Quick Fixes?

Brown spots on snake plants can be because of multiple reasons. Improper watering, sunburn, fungus attack, too cold temperature, and pests could be the most common causes.

Brown Spots On Snake Plants


If there ever were an award for the sturdiest plant, the snake plant would be the biggest contender. Snake plants can endure low light, insects, and drought. But sadly, at times, even the most disease-resistant plants can also be infected by diseases that wreak havoc on their appearance and growth.


One such concern is the brown spots on snake plants.


Improper watering, pests, and fungal diseases are some reasons for it. Frost, overfertilizing, and extreme sunlight can further aggravate this problem.


What Do These Brown Spots Look Like?

Brown Spots On Snake Plants
Typically, these brown marks might vary in appearance depending on the reason for the spots. But in most cases, you will see them as small to medium-sized black or brown patches or marks on the leaves.  are irregular or circular and have a sunken or slightly raised appearance.


At times, the brown spots might be enveloped with a yellow halo. These tend to make the affected area mushy and softer. The bacterial or fungal infection leads to brown spots, and a musty or foul odor usually follows them.


Snake Plant Suffering From Brown Spots – These Could Be The Causes!

Plants stress when you do not raise them correctly, and you can easily see the impact on the leaves. Please note that the snake plant variety can have brown spots because of multiple causes, such as bacterial or fungal infection, pest infestations, exposure to extreme temperatures, underwatering, overwatering, or excessive sun exposure.


It is crucial to identify the cause to combat these spots. Once you know the reason, you can employ a suitable treatment and overcome this issue.


Below we will elaborate on some common reasons for brown spots and tips to avoid them.


A. Improper watering schedule

Improper Watering Schedule


Underwatering and overwatering are usually the leading causes of snake plant brown spots. When you overwater, the soil becomes waterlogged, resulting in brown spots on the leaves and root rot. In this case, the brown spots are mushy with a foul odor.


On the contrary, underwatering dries the leaves, causing them to turn brown. In this case, the marks look brittle or crispy. So, know how often to water your snake plant.


Expert Tip – To avoid this, water the snake plant when the topsoil dries out. Also, please water thoroughly, ensuring the excess water drains from the pot’s bottom.


B. Fungus attacks


Fungal infections lead to black or brown spots with a brown or yellow hallo enveloping them. These spots have a mushy or soft texture and give out a musty odor. Whenever you notice brown spots on the snake plants, it is vital to act quickly to ensure that the infection does not spread or inflict further damage to the plant.


Expert Tip – To avoid fungal infection, you must not overwater the snake plant and keep the soil well-draining. Further, ensure the plant is not in an area with too much moisture, as it can stimulate fungi growth.


C. Excess fertilizers


When you apply excessive fertilizer on the snake plants, the salts in the fertilizer can accumulate in the soil, causing the plant to become dehydrated. It can show as sansevieria brown spots. The brown spots from over-fertilization will appear dry but crispy, accompanied by a leaf tip burn.


Expert Tip – To avoid brown spots from overfertilization, follow the instructions on the packaging label while fertilizing. In addition, you should strictly avoid fertilizing during the winter months while the plant is in dormancy.


D. Too much sunlight

When you expose the snake plants to direct sunlight for an extended duration, their leaves might become sunburned and develop yellow or brown spots and even start to curl. These brown spots will show as crispy dry patches on the curled leaves and are prevalent on the side of the plant exposed to the sunlight.


Expert Tip –  To avoid brown spots from excessive sunlight, keep the snake plants in a location with indirect and bright light. Alternatively, you can shift your plant to a shady spot or employ a sheer curtain to filter the light.


E. Extreme cold

Extreme cold
Extreme cold might also lead to brown spots on the snake plant leaves. When you expose the snake plants to temperatures below their tolerance level, the leaves are damaged and develop brown spots. These brown spots show as crispy, dry patches on the leaves and appear on the plant’s side exposed to the cold.


Expert Tip – To avoid brown spots from extreme cold, it is vital to keep the snake plants in an area that has a stable temperature. In addition, you must shield the plant from exposure to extreme temperature changes or cold drafts.


People who reside in colder regions should move their plants indoors during the colder months or add an extra layer of protection or insulation for the plant.


F. Unsuitable soil


Snake plants thrive in well-draining soil that is neither too dry nor moist. If the soil is excessively heavy or retains too much moisture, the roots become waterlogged, resulting in root rot. It can lead to brown spots on the leaves.


These brown spots look like water-soaked or mushy patches on the leaves and are noticed on the plant’s lower leaves.


Expert Tip – To avoid the brown spots from unsuitable soil, you must always use a well-draining soil mix when repotting or planting the snake plant. In addition, you can also add coarse sand or perlite to the soil to help with drainage.


G.  Pests and Diseases

Typically, snake plants are hardy and resistant to most pests and diseases. However, at times, they may be affected, resulting in brown spots on mother in law tongue plant. Some pests or diseases that might affect the snake plants are:


  1. Spider mites are tiny insects that feed on the plant’s sap, resulting in brown spots on the leaves. They will show as webbing on the leaves.
  2. Mealybugs are tiny white insects that look like cotton-like masses on the plant. They will damage the leaves and cause brown spots.
  3. Bacterial infection can cause brown spots, and these spread rapidly. They are usually an outcome of significant damage or overwatering.


Expert Tip – To avoid brown spots from pests and diseases, keep the plants in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation. Further, use a good insecticide in case of infestation.


H. Rust

It is a fungal disease that can cause brown spots on the leaves. Rust-infected leaves have reddish-brown, tiny dots. Once the disease progresses, you will see powdery residue on the leaves. It is the fungus spores. Over time, the leaves might become yellow and die.


Expert Tip – You can prevent rust by not overwatering the plant and watering only at the base to ensure the water does not go up to the leaves. Further, rust thrives in humid conditions. So, increasing air circulation can help prevent the disease from spreading.


I. Using tap water

Tap water has chemicals and minerals like fluorine and chlorine that accumulates in the soil and burns the foliage and the roots, resulting in brown spots on the leaves.


Expert Tip – To avoid this, use filtered water to water the snake plant and remove harmful chemicals and minerals from the soil. In addition, bottom watering the snake plant by placing the plant on the water tray can also help avoid brown spots from tap water.


J. Insufficient humidity levels

Inadequate humidity is also a leading cause of brown spots on the plant leaves. It can further slow down the growth rate of snake plants.


Expert Tip – To maintain humidity levels, you must install a humidifier, group the plant together to establish a microclimate, regularly mist the plants, or place the plant on the saucer filled with water.


K. Plant stress

Plant Stress
Stress can also be a leading contributor to brown spots on the leaves. Stress might stem from several environmental factors, such as improper care, diseases, pests, and environmental conditions.


Expert Tip –  To prevent brown spots on the leaves and plant stress, you must take proper care of the plant by exposing it to bright, indirect sunlight, not overwatering or underwatering the plant, keeping the soil evenly moist, fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer, and regularly inspecting the plant for pests and diseases.


Do Brown Spots On Sansevieria Go Away By Themselves?

No. The brown spots on snake plants do not go away on their own as they have an underlying cause behind them.


They will not go away on their own if they are caused by exposure to extreme sunlight or temperature, underwatering, and overwatering. Consequently, the affected leaves will eventually die off.


On the contrary, if the bacterial or fungal infection is the cause of the brown spots, the spots will continue spreading if you do not take measures to treat them. Over time, it will kill the affected leaves.


Further, if overfertilization is the cause of the brown spots, the spots may disappear or fade on their own as the salts are gradually flushed in the soil by watering.


Broadly speaking, you must identify the reason for brown spots and take apt measures to address this underlying problem. It might demand adjusting the fertilization or watering practices, adjusting the plant’s lighting conditions or location, or treating it with an insecticide or fungicide.


By addressing the underlying problem why your snake plant isn’t thriving, you can prevent further damage and encourage healthy growth.


Related: Snake Plant Benefits | Snake Plant Disadvantages | How To Make Your Snake Plant Grow Faster | Do Snake Plants Flower

Should I Cut Brown Spots Off The Snake Plant?

 Cut Brown Spots Off The Snake Plant
Yes, generally speaking, you can chop off the leaves with brown spots. Brown spots signal a disease or damage, and removing them can help with healthy growth and prevent the spread of the problem to the other parts of the plant.


While cutting the leaves, use sharp, clean pruning shears to get a clean cut. In addition, you must cut as close to the leaf’s base, without damaging the plant’s healthy tissue.


Further, dispose of the affected leaves and clean the pruning shears with a disinfectant or rubbing alcohol to avoid the disease’s spread.

What Could Be The Other Possible Snake Plant Brown Spots Treatment?


  1. If overwatering is the cause of the brown spots on your plant, consider repotting the plant into fresh soil. In addition, you must trim the affected roots.
  2. If the brown spots in the snake plants are because of underwatering, consider increasing the watering frequency. Alternatively, moving the plant to a location with higher humidity can help.
  3. To overcome the brown spots from a fungal disease, you must first remove the affected parts or leaves of the plant. It will ensure that the infection does not outspread. In addition, apply a fungicide to the plant to ensure the fungus does not spread to the other parts.
  4. If you suspect the brown spots are caused by excess fertilizer, you must leach the soil by flushing it with water. It will help remove all the excess salts. Alternatively, repot the plant into the fresh soil to avoid salt build-up in the old one.
  5. If excessive sunlight is the cause of the brown spots on the snake plants, you have no option but to prune the affected leaves. It will encourage new growth. You must also change the plant’s lighting or location to prevent the problem from recurring in the future.
  6. When the snake plant has brown spots from extreme cold, you must prune the affected leaves to stimulate new growth. Further, adjust the plant’s location and take proactive measures to guard the plant against further exposure to cold.
  7. If the snake plant has developed brown spots from unsuitable soil, you must repot the plant in well-draining, fresh soil to avoid the problem from recurring. Further, remove the affected roots and let the plant dry out well before repotting it into the new soil.
  8. If the pests and diseases have caused sansevieria brown spots, you must instantly treat them with an apt fungicide or insecticide.
  9. Using a humidifier can help improve the humidity levels around the plant by adding moisture to the air and preventing brown spots. Further, adding a pebble tray underneath the plant also promotes water evaporation by creating a humid environment around the plant. It will help treat the brown spots from low humidity levels.
  10. Rainwater does not have any chemicals or minerals. So, using it for the snake plants can help avoid brown spots on the leaves.