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Old 12-19-2011, 09:39 AM
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Question Brown Spots on Mother In Law's Tongue

I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening or plants. Over the years, I've been able to kill the "hearty, low care" snake/mother in law plants that I've owned...although I probably kill them with kindness, I know some were probably overwatered.



Anyhoo, I have one that developed round brown spots on it, which got larger with time and spread to other leaves. The areas looked like knotholes in a tree, and were sticky. I didn't see any bugs. As the brown spots get larger, the leaf curls and weakens. The plants are in a medium light location, which is why I buy them for low light conditions,

A month or so ago, I cut off all the affected leaves, and last night I had to cut more. Needless to say, another snake plant is deteriorating and I'm not sure why. I've sprayed it with a soapy spray for bugs, lightly fertilized on occasion and water only when bone dry, because they usually tip over with root rot symptoms if I water they way they recommend.

Anyone have this same problem? Thanks.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:57 AM
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Over watering can cause brown spots on some plants and snake plants don't like a lot of water...

if not that perhaps a fungus? which might also come about from over watering? I suspect the real disease is in the roots and you are seeing the results in the leaves.

all just my guess though
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:05 PM
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I thought your human M-I-L had brown spots on her tongue!!

The number one cause of killing houseplants is overwatering. A good rule of thumb is to feel the soil. If it's at all moist, don't water, unless it's a hard to grow fern or some other plant that needs a lot of water but that's not common in most houseplants. Snake plants don't need much water. They can be very dry and be fine.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:07 PM
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I thought your human M-I-L had brown spots on her tongue!!
I know, made me smile as I was typing it. Thank you both for your replies, don't think it's overwatering this time.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:17 AM
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Are you growing the plants in an area of indirect light? Sansevieria doesn't need, or like, much sunlight. It depends upon the potting medium as to how frequently the plant should be watered. In winter, watering may not be necessary at all. Yes, seriously, snake plant can go for months without water during winter. Sansevieria is a member of the Agave family. As the plants grow, they do need repotting so that they can keep their roots anchored in the soil. If they become too top-heavy they will uproot themselves.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:22 AM
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Are you growing the plants in an area of indirect light? Sansevieria doesn't need, or like, much sunlight. It depends upon the potting medium as to how frequently the plant should be watered. In winter, watering may not be necessary at all. Yes, seriously, snake plant can go for months without water during winter. Sansevieria is a member of the Agave family. As the plants grow, they do need repotting so that they can keep their roots anchored in the soil. If they become too top-heavy they will uproot themselves.
Thanks dogwoman, the plant is in indirect light and I haven't watered often at all since purchase. I have such bad luck with plants, that lately I just keep the large ones in the original container, usually buy from a big box store, this one was $8.88. I don't know what kind of soil is in there. That was one that I did repot.

I've bought a similar plant for over $30 from a nursery in the past, but it didn't last any longer than the cheap ones, and I can't afford to go that route any more.

Good advice about the roots and repotting! That could be the reason some of my past plants leaned over, not overwatering.
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