Why Is My Mother in Law Plant Turning Yellow

Why Is My Mother-in-Law Plant Turning Yellow?

The mother-in-law plant, also known as snake plant or Sansevieria, is a popular choice for indoor plants due to its attractive appearance and low maintenance requirements. However, if you notice your mother-in-law plant turning yellow, it may be an indication of an underlying issue that needs attention. Here are some possible reasons and solutions for a yellowing mother-in-law plant.

1. Lack of sunlight: Sansevieria thrives in bright, indirect light. If your plant is not receiving sufficient sunlight, it may develop yellow leaves. Move it to a spot where it can receive more light, but avoid direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves.

2. Overwatering: Excess water can lead to root rot, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Ensure you are allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. It’s best to water the mother-in-law plant when the top inch of soil feels dry.

3. Underwatering: On the other hand, if you’re not watering your plant enough, the leaves may also turn yellow. Check the soil regularly and water when needed. Remember, snake plants are drought-tolerant but still require regular hydration.

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4. Improper drainage: Inadequate drainage can cause water to accumulate in the pot, leading to root rot and yellowing leaves. Make sure your pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

5. Nutrient deficiencies: A lack of essential nutrients, particularly nitrogen, can cause yellowing leaves. Fertilize the plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer every two to three months during the growing season to ensure it receives the necessary nutrients.

6. Cold temperatures: Mother-in-law plants prefer temperatures between 70-90°F (21-32°C). Exposure to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can cause yellowing leaves. Keep the plant away from drafty windows or doors during colder months.

7. Pests: Infestation by pests such as spider mites or mealybugs can weaken the plant and cause yellowing leaves. Inspect your plant regularly and treat any infestations promptly with an appropriate insecticide or by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth.

8. Transplant shock: If you recently repotted your mother-in-law plant, it may experience transplant shock, leading to yellowing leaves. Ensure you provide the plant with adequate care and time to adjust to its new container.

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9. Natural aging: Lastly, it’s important to note that yellowing leaves can be a natural part of the aging process for mother-in-law plants. As the plant matures, older leaves may turn yellow and die off. This is normal, and as long as new growth appears healthy, there is no cause for concern.


1. Can I save yellow leaves?
If the yellowing is due to natural aging or lack of sunlight, you can trim off the yellow leaves. However, if it’s caused by other factors, addressing the underlying issue is crucial.

2. Can I revive a severely yellowed plant?
It depends on the severity and the underlying cause. In some cases, with proper care and attention, the plant can recover. However, if the root system is severely damaged, it may be difficult to revive the plant.

3. How often should I water my mother-in-law plant?
Water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering or letting the plant sit in waterlogged soil.

4. Can I place my mother-in-law plant outdoors?
Mother-in-law plants can be placed outdoors during warmer months but ensure they are protected from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

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5. Does the mother-in-law plant need fertilization?
Yes, fertilize the plant every two to three months during the growing season with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.

6. How do I prevent root rot?
Ensure your plant pot has drainage holes and avoid overwatering. Use well-draining soil and allow it to dry out between waterings.

7. Can I propagate my mother-in-law plant?
Yes, snake plants are easy to propagate. You can divide the plant or propagate from leaf cuttings.

8. Does the mother-in-law plant need pruning?
Pruning is not necessary for mother-in-law plants unless you want to remove dead or yellow leaves for aesthetic purposes.

9. Can I use a humidifier for my mother-in-law plant?
While mother-in-law plants can tolerate average humidity levels, they can benefit from a slightly more humid environment. Using a humidifier can be beneficial, especially during dry winter months.

In conclusion, a yellowing mother-in-law plant can be a sign of various issues ranging from improper care to pests or diseases. By understanding the potential causes and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can help your plant regain its vibrancy and health.