Live to Plant

How to Save a Dying Devils Backbone Plant

Updated: April 29, 2022

Devil’s backbone plant, also known as the zigzag plant, is a popular houseplant native to Mexico and other Central American countries. It is easy to grow and care for, making it a favorite among indoor gardeners. However, like any other plant, the devil’s backbone can suffer from various problems that can cause it to die. In this article, we will discuss some of the common issues that can affect your devil’s backbone plant and how to save it.

Common Problems


Overwatering is one of the most common problems that devil’s backbone plants face. When you water your plant too frequently or give it too much water at once, the roots can become waterlogged, leading to root rot. Signs of overwatering include yellowing leaves, mushy stems, and a foul odor.

To save an overwatered devil’s backbone plant, you need to stop watering it immediately. Let the soil dry out completely before watering again. You may also need to repot the plant if the root damage is severe.


Underwatering is another common issue that can cause your devil’s backbone plant to die. When you don’t water your plant enough, its leaves will start to wilt and turn brown or yellow. The soil will also become dry and crumbly.

To save an underwatered devil’s backbone plant, you need to water it immediately. Give it enough water so that the soil is moist but not soaking wet. You may also need to move the plant to a more humid location or mist its leaves regularly.


Devil’s backbone plants are susceptible to various pests, including spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can infest your plant and cause damage to its leaves, stems, and roots. Signs of pest infestation include yellowing leaves, sticky residue on the leaves or stems, and webbing.

To save a devil’s backbone plant infested with pests, you need to identify the type of pest and treat it accordingly. You can use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or a mixture of water and dish soap to get rid of most pests. For severe infestations, you may need to prune the affected parts of the plant or repot it using fresh soil.

Tips for Preventing Problems

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to caring for your devil’s backbone plant. Here are some tips to help you avoid common problems:

  • Water your plant only when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes to prevent overwatering.
  • Keep your plant away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level.
  • Clean your plant’s leaves regularly to prevent dust buildup and pest infestation.


How often should I water my devil’s backbone plant?

You should water your devil’s backbone plant only when the soil is dry to the touch. Depending on the humidity level in your home and the size of your pot, this could be anywhere from once a week to once every two weeks.

Can I propagate my devil’s backbone plant?

Yes, you can propagate your devil’s backbone plant by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in water or soil. Make sure that each cutting has at least one node (a small bump on the stem where leaves grow) and remove any lower leaves that will be submerged in water or buried in soil.

Why are my devil’s backbone leaves turning yellow?

Yellowing leaves can be caused by various factors, including overwatering, underwatering, pests, or disease. Check the soil moisture level, inspect the leaves for pests or disease symptoms, and adjust your care routine accordingly.

In conclusion, devil’s backbone plants are easy to care for as long as you avoid common problems such as overwatering, underwatering, and pest infestation. By following the tips outlined in this article and addressing issues promptly, you can keep your devil’s backbone plant healthy and thriving for years to come.

Related Posts:

Devils Backbone Plant