Why Is My Snake Plant Not Growing  – Possible Reasons And Solutions!

There is no one reason for it. But first and foremost you must check for your plants watering schedule and sunlight needs

Snake Plant Not Growing

Bilal photos8/Carolin Voelker/Dorling Kindersley: Rob Streeter/istockphoto


Snake Plant or the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue is not one of the fast-growing plants, but they stretch and show new leaves over time. They are attractive, hardy, and considered one of the best houseplants. But, when you notice that your snake plant is not growing as well as it should, you wonder – why is my snake plant not growing?


Assess and carefully inspect your plant to understand the reasons and signs of stress. Some reasons why snake plants do not grow are inadequate water and light. Further, damage from pests, overwatering, or any disease might also be the reason for your snake plant’s stunted growth.


Consider increasing lighting, and please monitor the plant’s water needs and see if that is the reason for stunted growth. Hence, if your plant is not growing, some problems may be causing it. Below we will address some reasons for lesser than typical growth and ways to tackle the problem.


Why Is My Snake Plant Not Growing Tall and How To Resolve It?

My Snake Plant Not Growing



There are many benefits of having a snake plant in your home. But if it is not growing well, these could be the possible reasons.


1. Soil not suitable

The snake plants love a well-draining soil mix. So, if the soil is not well-draining, it will collect water for a long time, resulting in root rotting and waterlogging. In addition, the compact soils accumulate at the bottom and get stuck into the drainage holes, stopping water from traveling out from the pots. It can also cause root rotting and prevent plant growth.


What is the solution?
Use soil coaxed with coarse sand or cactus mix to grow the snake plants.


2. Insufficient sunlight

Insufficient Sunlight



Typically, a healthy and green snake plant grows between one to three inches per month. It is the ideal amount, but it primarily depends on the conditions you expose the plant to. So, if you see that your snake plant stopped growing, one of the main reasons could be that it is not receiving adequate sun.


You must know snake plants are low-light species, but that does not mean they do not need sunlight. The plant thrives in indirect sunlight. So, you must ensure that your houseplant receives at least some sunlight daily. The plant will not have the energy to grow if it does not get light. So, it will stop growing and eventually die.


What is the solution?
If lack of proper sunlight is the reason for the snake plant’s inadequate growth, expose it to the sun, where it receives at least one to two hours of direct sunlight in the morning, and then move it where it receives indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. The plant starts showing new growth in only two to three weeks with these changes.


3. Plant is rootbound

Plant is Rootbound



Sadly, if the snake plant does not have healthy roots to support the plant, it will not yield new growth. So, if the plant has enveloped the pot with roots, it may curtail it from producing new growth. Of course, the snake plant likes to keep the foliage tightly packed. A rootbound snake plant might reach a point where there is no room to accommodate new foliage.


What is the solution?
You do not have to repot a rootbound snake plant necessarily. Several people like to keep their plants rootbound to curtail their growth and size. But, if you wish to promote new growth, repot in a pot about one to two inches bigger than the current pot.


Of course, you may want to use an even bigger container, but that can amplify the risk of overwatering. The increase in the soil quantity will also mean more time for the plant to dry out and a higher time for the roots to grow in the new soil.


4. Seasonal Dormancy

Sometimes snake plants do not grow because they enter seasonal dormancy during winter. It is probably because your plant’s growth depends on factors such as temperature, hours of sunlight per day, humidity, and light intensity. So, if your snake plant pup not growing, it may be because of these factors.


Hence, if you reside in colder regions or live in Northerly latitudes that are shorter days in the winter, then your plants will not show any noticeable growth for several months during winter. But fret not, as it is normal. Your snake plant is responding to the prevalent environmental conditions.


What is the solution?
There is nothing you can do about it. As spring arrives, when the temperature is consistently higher, the plant receives more hours of sunlight daily, and the snake plant can photosynthesize as usual and grow.


But, if you are in a warmer environment, and the snake plant still does not show growth, you should move it to a room with a brighter light and a consistently warmer room temperature.


Fortunately, snake plants are flexible and adapt to different temperature ranges. Hence, they can conveniently tolerate temperature fluctuations. However, for its consistent and optimal growth, a warmer room helps.


Thus, we recommend keeping the snake plant away from cold draughts in a bright room. The plant will grow from early spring to late summer if the conditions are apt. As the plant reaches maturity, it will be about four feet tall.


5. Pests and diseases

Pests and diseases



If your snake plant isn’t growing, it could be infected. Diseases and pests can stimulate stress on the plant and pause its growth completely. Most diseases experienced by snake plants are an outcome of overwatering. So, you can prevent maximum problems by monitoring the watering schedule. Scale and mealybugs love the snake plants, and the damage inflicted by them is massive.


What is the solution?
You should regularly assess your snake plants and treat them anytime you see signs of pests and diseases.


6. Underwatering

Snake plants varieties are marketed as drought tolerant, but their growth suffers if they do not get ample water. Ideally, there must be a sufficient gap between two watering frequencies, and only water it once the topsoil dries. However, fortunately, or unfortunately, snake plants will rarely show any signs of distress until months or weeks after the soil has dried out. So, inspect the plant and assess it for brown leaf tips, curling leaves, and dry soil. So, if the snake plants stopped growing, underwatering could be a reason for it.


What is the solution?
Ideally, you must inspect the soil every few days by digging a finger into it. It will give you an idea of the dampness. If the soil feels dry, water it. If not, leave it till the topsoil becomes completely dry.


Alternatively, you can also lift the pot to examine its weight. Naturally, the dry soil is lighter than the wet soil. It takes only a while to get an idea of how light the pot should be before it needs rewatering.


7. Not meeting the humidity and temperature levels

Maintaining the plant’s temperature and humidity levels is also crucial for its growth. During the day, if the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night, it is easier to keep up with the necessary humidity too.


What is the solution?
Maintain the humidity, and your snake plants will grow healthy and green. If the humidity traverses eighty percent, use a dehumidifier to maintain the levels. In cold weather, when the humidity is low, frequent misting can help.


8. Overwatering




Overwatering the snake plant is one of the most common mistakes plant enthusiasts and novice gardeners make which can reduce the snake plant’s lifespan. It can be a significant problem because the snake plant does not need a lot of water.


What is the solution?
Botanists suggest you must water the snake plants only once in three weeks or every 14 days, depending on the plant’s size. But, we are not in favor. Every plant has a different requirement.


So, the best way to determine when it is time for rewatering is by performing a soil moisture test. Stick a finger into the pot until about two to three inches deep.
If it feels dry, you must water it. The susceptibility to overwatering is higher in winter. Check out how often to water snake plants in winter to avoid harming your plant.


So, if it is cold outside, water it once every month or for 45 days. Overwatering might be one of the reasons for snake plants not growing tall. It also results in root rot that may cause premature plant death or prevent new growth.


9. Pot is too big

Pot Is Too Big

KIHWAN KIM/istockphoto


If there is too much room in the planter, that might also result in stunted growth. In a large pot, the snake plant redirects the energy and nutrients away from the new leaf growth and concentrates its resources on developing the root system. Practicality may be a reason behind this decision.


Since we know snake plants have dense and long foliage. So, to support its sword-shaped leaves, the plant seeks a robust root system. Without it, the leaves may fall and become damaged. So, even if it seems that the plant is not growing, it will still be active and healthy. You do not notice the growth happening.


What is the solution?
You can solve this problem by repotting the snake plant in a more accurately sized pot. Here are some more tips on how to make snake plants grow faster.


10. Improper feeding

Snake plants are not heavy feeders. However, if snake plants not growing new leaves, fertilizer can stimulate new growth. Often, when your snake plant is in the same pot for many years together, it can exhaust the nutrients in the soil that can intervene with the growth. Hence, you may not see any new leaves.


What is the solution?
Snake plants are succulents. Hence, you must feed them specialized fertilizer because the ordinary house plant fertilizer might have concentrated nutrients too high for the plant to tolerate, resulting in leaf drop. Thus, opt for a cactus feed.


Alternatively, a dedicated succulent fertilizer can also help. Regardless, read through the label instructions and accordingly feed the plant.


Ideally, you should feed the plant during the growing season – summer and spring, and not during the winters when the plant is in its dormancy stage.


11. Frequent Repotting

Frequent Repotting

Михаил Руденко/istockphoto


You can propagate healthy snake plants by repotting them. But, some impatient growers repot the snake plant anytime they notice even a slight sign of distress. This is another ignored reason for snake plants not growing at all. It is only rare for a stressed plant to seek to repot. So, if the plant stops producing new growth after repotting, it is a prevalent sign of distress.


What is the solution?
Be patient and give the plant adequate care to revive it to life without repotting it. Repotting tends to stress the plant and disturb its growth. It causes fungal growth and may weaken the plant. Even after repotting, give the plant adequate time to adapt to the new location. Once that happens, the plant will resume its healthy growth.


12. Physical damage

Physical Damage



An injured snake plant at the tips might also be the reason for the stunted leaf development. Such plants will develop normally, but their damaged leaf blade will not grow.


What is the solution?
It is often ok to leave it as it is till the leaf becomes dry and drops from the plant. But, if there is any fungal growth on the damaged leaf blade, you must prune it to prevent its spread.

Summing Up…

In a healthy snake plant, the foliage grows upright. So, if the plant is growing haphazardly or not growing at all, it may be because of a fundamental issue with conditions wherein you grow the plant or a sign of a starving plant.


We hope the problems and their fixes above can help you take good care of the snake plant. Snake plants are very low-maintenance and tend to go on to grow for two months sans any water during the winter months. So, if the snake plant isn’t growing at all, it hints at an underlying problem.