Damaged or broken leaves on your Snake Plant? Ouch!
It’s not a nice feeling to suddenly notice that something appears to be off with your precious Sansevieria indicated by a leaf that has marks, splits, or is simply bent. I feel you.
The good news: it is relatively easy to fix a broken snake plant leaf. In most cases, to correct the aesthetic view of your Snake Plant, you can simply cut away the broken part of the leaf, the whole leaf itself, or in cases where it is merely bent and not broken, can be fixed back. Of course, you can also just let the plant do its thing and heal itself.
If you are wondering what to do about broken or damaged leaves on your Snake plant, then this article is for you.
How to Fix a Damaged Snake Plant Leaf
Snake plants, also known as Mother-of-Law’s-Tongue or Sansevieria, are beginner-friendly succulents. These plants have been a quite popular choice amongst plant enthusiasts due to their aesthetics and ease of care.
So I do feel you if a leaf suddenly appears snapped or split.
Being into gardening and indoor plants is so rewarding, but bummers like broken snake plant leaves are not uncommon events. The good news is that, due to their unique way of growing, sansevieria leaves, even when completely broken in two, can still be saved.
So let’s see what you can do as a treatment for your snake plant that has a damaged leaf.
Step one is to determine the severity of the damage, the cause, and whether it actually bothers you or not.
Option 1: Do Nothing
I.e. let your snake plant be a plant and do its thing
If, after carefully observing your snake plant for signs of pests or rotting issues, you conclude that the damaged leaf is just a one-off occasion and is not indicating that your sansevieria is suffering from any health issues, you don’t have to do anything unless you want to.
Of course, you can remove any damaged, split, or dead leaves from your snake plant but it is not a must.
If your snake plant is otherwise healthy, throws out new growth and the aesthetics of less than perfect leaves aren’t upsetting to you, then you can simply let your plant do its thing and deal with the damaged leaf itself.
In most cases, if the damage is severe, your sansevieria will naturally kill off its unneeded leaf and consume valuable nutrients from it.
In other cases, the plant will just keep on growing and won’t mind the broken/damaged leaf at all.
However, if you notice that your snake plant is feeling overall a bit under the weather, you need to thoroughly inspect your houseplant for pests and any root problems.
Option 2: Bent leaf? Fix it!
In other words, how to fix a bent sansevieria leaf.
Inspect the damage on your snake plant and try to answer this question: Is the leaf on your snake plant completely broken or is it just merely bent?
If you observe that the leaf on your sansevieria is just bent (no visible breakages or cracks are visible), because it was handled roughly or experienced some physiological stress, in most cases you can just fix it back by providing it with some sort of support.
To fix a snake plant leaf that is simply bent (but not broken), you can use a support stick and position it behind the leaf structure. Using medical tape, gently tape the stick to the leaf so that the bent part will be straight again and will hold.
Observe whether the leaf will continue growing and whether it continues looking healthy. In most cases, if the bent leaf on your snake plant continues developing, despite the bent, you might be able to remove the support stick in a good month. Just be careful when doing so.
Can you fix back a broken sansevieria leaf? Unfortunately, if the leaf has completely cracked and is broken, it makes little sense to try to fix it back into the original snake plant as the broken part will eventually die off.
Option 3: Remove the damaged part only
If only part of a leaf on your snake plant is damaged and if it bothers you too much, you can simply trim off any imperfections.
Always make sure to use a sharp cutting tool that has been disinfected before cutting any part of your sansevieria. Whenever you cut into your snake plant, that’s when the chance is the highest for harmful pathogens to be introduced into the plant tissue. You don’t want that so always disinfect first before each cut.
Option 4: Remove the entire leaf
In some cases, the entire snake plant leaf might be damaged or the base of the leaf might be damaged and the whole leaf might be leaning over.
If your sansevieria is dealing with a rot-related issue, you might even notice that the damaged leaf comes off easily when you pull it. In this case, it is always best to further inspect the roots and the whole stem of your snake plant to exclude any ongoing infection.
If the damage on the leaf was purely physical and otherwise your snake plant is thriving and is healthy, then removing the leaf will require some cutting.
Disinfect a sharp knife before proceeding with the removal of the leaf. Holding the knife parallel to the soil level and applying pressure at the base of the leaf, is the easiest way to cut off a firm and healthy snake plant leaf. To ease the process and to avoid wounding the plant more than necessary: let the blade of the knife slide from one edge of the leaf to the other. Don’t just butcher the leaf starting in the middle as you might risk causing deeper damage to the plant.
If you need to remove multiple leaves from your sansevieria due to damage or because you just want to prune down a bit a huge plant, always start removing outer leaves first and then inner ones.
What to do with cut snake plant leaves
Okay, so you chopped portions or removed whole leaves from your sansevieria, now what? Should you just toss them away or can you use them in any way?
You don’t have to throw your cut snake plant leaves away (unless you want to!). Let me show you how you can save those broken and removed leaves from your sansevieria.
You probably know already that many plants can be propagated with ease from cuttings. What you might have also heard is that you need a cutting with a node which for most plants like the Golden Pothos, Monstera, Philodendron, etc, means cutting away part of the main stem of the plant plus the leaf.
Well, the exciting news is that sansevieria can be propagated from even only a portion of a leaf. How cool is that!
This makes snake plants one of the easiest houseplants for propagation. Truly, even if the leaf-cutting looks a bit sad and wrinkled when separated from the parent plant, it is still able to root and a new sansevieria can grow from there.
And the best news: you don’t have to be sad that you had to cut a part of your beloved snake plant, because this part doesn’t need to go to waste and can simply be propagated.
Propagating a sansevieria is as easy as 1-2-3. So let’s go!
How to Propagate Snake Plants
Continue reading to learn how to propagate your sansevieria easily step-by-step. In our case: from a leaf cutting.
Before you start, make sure that the leaf section, that you are about to use for propagation is healthy. I.e. no pests, fungal or bacterial spots. Wrinkled leaves are ok, as long as they don’t carry disease.
Step 1: Chopping Time
Grab your garden shears and disinfect them.
Try to cut a portion of a leaf of your snake plant diagonally. This way of cutting (compared to a straight line) gives a better surface area for roots to form.
Step 2: Air dry the wound
Allow the cutting to callus by letting it air dry. Depending on the weather, this might take an hour or 12 hours. After the cut end has been calloused, apply rooting hormone if desired.
Step 3: Propagation Method
Whether you opt to propagate your snake plant in water, soil, or in an inorganic substrate, all methods are fairly easy.
To propagate your snake plant in water, place the cutting in a tall dark container and ensure that at least 1-2 inches (2 -4cm) of the bottom are submerged in water. Change the water every couple of days with a fresh one.
To propagate your sansevieria in soil, simply plant the cutting (cut place downwards) in sterile soil. Keep the media moist but not drenched.
The same technique goes for propagating your sansevieria in an inorganic substrate: plant the cutting bottoms down and keep it moist.
Alternatively, you can use sphagnum moss as well to propagate your snake plant. Make sure to keep the moss moist but not drenched to avoid rotting issues.
How to care for snake plant cuttings
Place the cutting in a warm location that receives bright indirect light. A heating mat can speed up the rooting but make sure that it is never in direct contact with the container where the plant cutting is.
Using a humidity dome or a propagator can also cut down the rooting time in half. If you are using a humidity dome, propagator, or humidifier, however, always make sure that there is also sufficient airflow around the cutting to avoid rot-related issues due to stagnant air. A small fan is all that you need to introduce some air movement.
How long do snake plants take to root? Sansevieria are quite fast rooters and you can expect to see roots forming on your snake plant cutting within 2 to 6 weeks.
Broken leaves on a snake plant? The recovery
Are you wondering what will happen to your sansevieria and the plant’s growth after a leaf appears to be damaged? Will a snake plant recover and grow new leaves after a leaf breaks?
Unless the reason behind your sansevieria losing a leaf has been incorrect plant care routine, pests or diseases, your plant should be able to bounce back relatively fast.
Usually, during the growing season (remember: your snake plant goes into semi-dormancy during the colder months), you could expect your plant to show you new growth in a good month after a leaf snaps.
Will a leaf split heal on a snake plant?
Unfortunately, leaves that have been broken, cracked, or split will not be able to recover and the physical damage will always be present.
And even though you cannot remove the damage that has been done to your snake plant, you can prevent more damage from happening in the future.
How to prevent sansevieria leaves from breaking:
To prevent your snake plant’s leaves from breaking in the future, you first have to find out what caused the initial damage to the leaves of your plant.
Here is a list of things you can do to avoid broken leaves in the future:
- Place your sansevieria in a hard-to-reach location
- Provide the plant with bright indirect light
- Choose potting mix with good drainage or opt for a substrate for cacti and succulents
- Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a fertilizer that has macro and micronutrients
- Avoid overwatering your snake plant by always checking the soil’s moisture level before watering
- Regularly inspect your plants for pests & if found: get rid of them immediately
How to Fix Damaged Leaves on Snake Plants: Final Thoughts
Even if you notice that a leaf on your snake plant is damaged, it doesn’t mean that you need to interfere.
In most cases, your sansevieria can continue growing even with less-than-perfect leaves.
However, if the aesthetics of your broken snake leaves bother you, you can simply trim them partially or fully. You can use the leaf cuttings to propagate your snake plant and create new baby sansevieria plants.
In the other cases where the cause of damage on the leaves of your snake plant is caused by improper care, pests or diseases, you need to identify the cause and fix it in a timely matter to avoid more leaves getting damaged.
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