Snake Plant Turning White: 10 Causes and 7 Solutions

The snake plant turning white can be a distressing sight for plant lovers. 

snake plant turning white

However, there’s no need to panic as there are several reasons why this might be happening, ranging from basic care requirements to external attacks by diseases and pests. 

Let’s delve into these causes in detail and find the one that’s affecting your plant.

Snake Plant Turning White: 10 Potential Culprits

Your beloved snake plant may turn white in various forms due to a lack of basic care requirements, such as excessive sunlight or water. 

Additionally, it could be under attack by diseases or parasitic pests. Other overlooked reasons include ozone damage, potassium deficiency, and hard water. 

Let’s explore each of these factors further.

snake plant turning white
  1. Too Much Sunlight

Exposing the snake plant to direct sunlight can lead to bleaching of its leaves. The once vibrant green color fades, leaving a washed-out appearance. 

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can even cause sunburn, resulting in dry and wrinkly leaves. In severe cases, leaves might begin to drop. 

To prevent this, move your plant to a shaded area, especially during the hottest hours of the day.

  1.  Overwatering

Overwatering is another common culprit behind the snake plant turning white. Poor drainage, coupled with excessive watering, can be disastrous for the plant’s roots and leaves. 

If your plant is overwatered, it may develop white spots and yellowness all over. Prolonged overwatering can lead to fungal root rot, which is extremely difficult to save the plant from.

snake plant turning white
  1. Powdery Mildew Infection

Powdery mildew is a fungal infection that often affects snake plants, causing them to turn white. While not lethal on its own, a prolonged infection weakens and damages the plant. 

Symptoms of powdery mildew include small white dots on the leaves and stems that gradually merge into large white patches. 

In some cases, the plant may have a superficial layer of mold or even mushroom-shaped growths. 

The white layer impairs the plant’s food-making abilities, leading to its gradual decline.

  1.  Potassium Deficiency

A deficiency of certain nutrients, especially potassium, can cause snake plant leaves to turn white or yellowish-white. 

Diagnosing a potassium deficiency can be challenging, so it’s advisable to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed by a laboratory for accurate results. 

If potassium deficiency is confirmed, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer with a suitable NPK ratio to remedy the situation.

snake plant turning white
  1. Ozone Damage

Ozone damage is an often overlooked reason for snake plant leaves turning white. 

Ozone, a common air pollutant, can cause chemical burns when it enters through the breathing pores of the leaves. 

Snake plants are particularly sensitive to ozone, resulting in the appearance of white and yellow spots or a complete whitening of the upper leaf surface. 

To protect your plant, keep it away from areas with high ozone levels.

  1. Temperature Fluctuations

Sudden temperature changes can shock snake plants, leading to white discolorations on the leaves. 

Whether it’s extreme heat or freezing cold, these fluctuations can cause the plant to lose its overall color and vibrancy. 

To avoid this, keep your plant indoors and away from open windows or vents, which can exacerbate temperature fluctuations.

snake plant turning white
  1. Mealybugs

If you notice your healthy snake plant turning white, examine the undersides of its leaves for small, cotton-like bugs. 

These are most likely mealybugs, sap-sucking parasites that steal nutrients from the plant, causing leaves to curl and drop. 

To combat mealybug infestations, physically remove them by washing the plant with soapy water or apply neem oil, a natural insecticide.

  1. Spider Mites

Brownish-red tiny bugs in large numbers under the leaves indicate a spider mite infestation.

These mites create white spots on the leaves and spin fine webs that hinder proper photosynthesis. 

Combined with nutrient loss, the leaves lose chlorophyll and begin to turn white.

To address this issue, wash the plant thoroughly, and consider using neem oil or mild alcohol solutions to control the infestation.

snake plant turning white
  1. Too Much Salt in Water

Using tap water rich in calcium and magnesium salts can lead to white crystal-like spots on snake plant leaves. 

The salts accumulate in the soil over time, making it difficult for the roots to absorb important nutrients, resulting in a lack of chlorophyll production. 

This whitish appearance is further amplified by the precipitation of salt crystals on the leaf surface. 

To mitigate this, use filtered water or let tap water sit for 24 hours before watering your plant.

  1. Southern Blight

Southern blight is a fungal infection that occurs due to overwatering, waterlogged soil conditions, and warm, humid environments. 

It manifests as white patches and spots on the leaves, followed by swollen and mushy leaves that eventually fall off. 

If your plant is affected by southern blight, remove it from its old potting mix and pot, cutting off any rot-infested roots.

Repot it in fresh soil and treat with a liquid copper fungicide.

snake plant turning white

7 Tips To Fix The Problem

If your snake plant is turning yellow or white, follow these tips to identify and solve the underlying cause:

Provide Shade or Partial Light

Snake plants thrive in indoor environments with bright, indirect light. 

If excessive sunlight is causing your plant to turn white, move it to a shaded position, ideally near northern or eastern-facing windows. 

Avoid placing it near harsh, direct sunlight, as the whitened leaves won’t regain their original color.

Water Only When the Soil Thoroughly Dries Out

Ensure your watering habits and soil drainage are appropriate for the snake plant. 

Water the plant only when the soil has completely dried out, which is typically around once every two weeks in summer and less frequently in winter. 

If you suspect root rot, repot the plant immediately in fresh soil and follow an antifungal regime for a few months.

snake plant turning white

Fertilize in Case of Potassium Deficiency

If a potassium deficiency is causing your snake plant to turn white, use a balanced liquid fertilizer with an appropriate NPK ratio. 

Dilute the fertilizer to the recommended strength and water the plant’s roots. Avoid over-fertilization, as snake plants generally don’t require frequent fertilization.

Maintain a Constant Range of Temperature

Snake plants prefer temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and are sensitive to rapid temperature changes. 

If temperature fluctuations are causing your plant to turn white, move it indoors and away from open windows or vents.

Get Rid of Powdery Mildew as Soon as Possible

Treat powdery mildew with natural remedies like a baking soda solution or a milk solution. You can also use neem oil, a natural anti-fungal and anti-insecticide, directly on the affected areas. 

If necessary, opt for commercial fungicides, following the instructions carefully.

snake plant turning white

Treat Pest Infestations the Smart Way

Start by isolating the infested plant to prevent the bugs from spreading to other plants. 

Physically remove as many bugs as possible by washing the plant with soapy water. Apply neem oil or mild alcohol solutions to control the infestation. 

If all else fails, resort to insecticide sprays as a last resort.

Treat Fungal Blight

For fungal blight, remove the plant from its old potting mix, cut off any rotten roots, and repot it in fresh soil. 

Use a liquid copper fungicide to treat the plant, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Take precautions to protect your eyes and skin while using fungicides.

snake plant turning white


By identifying the cause behind your snake plant turning white and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can restore your plant’s health and vibrancy. 

Remember to provide partial light, water appropriately, and address any fungal diseases or pest infestations using natural remedies or suitable chemicals. 

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to grow thriving snake plants.