Why Are My Spider Plant Babies Dying? (4 crucial signs to look out for)

Sharing is caring!

Spider plant babies or the chlorophytum comosum as it’s scientifically known, are those cute little curly plants that hang down from the mother, or “mother plant”. They often grow in clusters with their roots dangling off of the “mother” and each other.

Spider plants are some of the most popular houseplants, and they’re very easy to grow. They can be found in offices, homes, restaurants – almost anywhere! But what happens when your spider plant babies start to die? Most people would just give up on their plant and buy a new one but it’s possible that you can revive them with some simple steps.

So why are my spider plant babies dying?

There are a handful of reasons why your spider plant babies are dying. But the two most common reasons for your spider dying are either being overwatered or underwatered and the amount of sunlight it’s receiving.

Spider plant babies are easy to grow as long as you provide them with enough indirect sunlight, water, fertilizer, and room for their roots to spread out. It’s important not to overwater your spiderettes because they will begin to rot if kept in constantly wet soil over an extended period of time or during warm weather periods (humid climates) and will eventually become a dead spider plant.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How do I know if my spider plant is dying?

Spider plants are a low-maintenance houseplant that provides air purification benefits to your home. The adult plants can be trimmed and re-potted at any time, or propagated from the “babies” that are hanging down.

With the proper spider plant care, Those spiderettes can grow into mature spider plants with time.

So, protect them at all cost.

a close up of multiple spider plants in a garden

Mature spider plants have long, two-tone green leaves. When your spider plant isn’t healthy and possibly dying, there are some easy ways to tell. Here are some telltale signs that your indoor plant is dying:

  • The leaves on your spider plant are turning yellow or brown: Any discoloration in a spider plant’s leaves is actually not a good sign and usually indicates your spider plant is dying.
  • Your spider plants smell bad: Spider plants aren’t supposed to have a scent other than the usual smell of soil, and that’s not the plant itself. If there’s a sickening odor coming from your spider plant, it’s a good indicator of root rot or even moldy soil. 
  • Your spider plant roots are black or brown: Healthy roots have an off-white, slightly beige color. If you suspect your spider plant is dying, give the roots a check. If they’re black or brown and seemingly soggy, your spider plant isn’t going to make it. 
  • There are lots of bugs swarming your spider plant. A few bugs here and there isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but a lot of bugs swarming your spider plant isn’t a good sign. Some insects are like vultures; when plants are dying, they just circle and wait. 

Related: Do House Plants Attract Bugs?

Why is my baby spider plant dying?

If you spot a little baby spider plant sprouting, congratulations! You’re about to be a spider plant grandma or grandpa… hopefully. But you have to act fast. That baby needs special attention right away. Without proper care, the baby spider plant won’t survive.

But why? What causes baby spider plants to die? As we briefly mentioned earlier, over or under-watering can lead to spider plant baby death. If your adult spider plant isn’t getting enough water, or even worse, too much water, it will kill the baby growing at the end of its leaves. 

  • Spider plants need to be watered on a regular basis. They don’t like sitting in water, so make sure you give them plenty of time to dry out before watering again!
  • Spider plants are sensitive to fluoride and chlorine that comes from tap water. GardeningKnowHow suggests using distilled or filtered bottled water instead for your spider plant’s health!

Another reason your baby spider plant is dying might be because it’s getting too much sun. It helps to be mindful of their lighting conditions. As much as the airplane plant loves bright light, the ends of the mature spider plant are very sun-sensitive, but the babies are even more so, especially, if they are receiving direct sunlight.

  • Low light can also cause spider plants’ leaves to turn yellowish-brown and have a slower growth rate.
    • Make an effort to keep their indoor space as bright as possible by adding more natural sunlight (bring the pot close enough that it is directly next to a window), lighting artificial lamps or grow lights near it during daytime hours, or turning off any nearby vents that are blowing hot air!
  • Too much humidity in the air can make them droop over time which weakens their stem structure.
    • Avoid dripping water on your spider plant’s leaves or put a pot of gravel at the bottom of your planter to absorb any excess moisture that evaporates from the soil below!

Related: Do Humidity Trays Really Work?

So be cautious with placing your ribbon plant in direct sunlight. I like to place my airplane plant near a window with sheer curtains. This helps to prevent overlighting, if that’s even a thing. But if you want to add it to your outdoor garden, consider placing them in a shaded spot.

Should I cut the babies off my spider plant?

The choice is yours on what you want to do with the spider plant pups. If you want to multiply your indoor spider plant, you’ll have to learn how to propagate spider plants and how to transplant a spider plant.

Read below for steps on how to propagate and transplant your ribbon plant.

a healthy spiderette by following the steps in why are my spider plant babies dying.

Spider plants are so easy to root in water that they’re the perfect way for beginners to get into plant propagation.

  • All you need is a cutting from an adult
  • A glass jar or this super cute glass propagation station
  • Filtered or rainwater

Cut off any foliage at the base of your cuttings with a sanitized pruning shear before putting them into their new home; this will allow more light through which can help with rooting success.

You’ll have to watch out for the leaves that are submerged underwater, as they can rot and make your water look slightly dirty.

When you successfully root a spider plant, it’s important to use the right amount of water. If there isn’t enough, the baby will rot and if too much is used they can turn brown in no time at all.

The best way to keep your plant healthy and happy is by using deep vases that are only filled with just enough water so that when placed into them their roots stay submerged without any excess dripping down onto leaves.

About 1-2 weeks after I put the above plantlets in water, they had new roots shooting out. A few days later and these babies are ready to be transplanted into the potting mix!

After planting the rooted baby into its very own pot, water it well and allow any excess moisture to drain out of the bottom. Keep your soil moist with a light sprinkling every day or keep in an environment that is humid (like a bathroom or kitchen). Once you see new growth, your spider plant isn’t considered a baby anymore.

Depending on the age and health of your airplane plant, it should produce quite a few babies. In addition to cutting off the babies (but don’t throw them out!), you should also give a “haircut” or prune it every so often when your spider plant gets too big.

Keeping your spider plant trimmed will help it produce healthier leaves, and yes, babies. It will also help with making your spider plant bushier if you like that look.

What do you do when your spider plant has babies?

Spider plants often bloom in the summer, and new offshoots (called plantlets) grow out of those flowers. It’s not uncommon for these babies to flower on their own after a few weeks or months- old enough to produce roots and leaves themselves!

If you have some spider baby but it doesn’t seem ready yet with starter root formations then give them time before rooting them yourself; they’re just getting started so don’t rush your little ones!

If you do have an overgrowth of babies there are two options available to you. You can either remove the babies from the plant by using a pruning shear or you can leave them dangling on the mother plant.

If you want to remove the babies, you can always propagate them and keep them coming.

Related: Can I Leave the Babies on my Spider Plant?

When to cut off spider plant babies?

Baby plantlets will form toward the ends of your spider plant leaves. They’re easy to spot, and sometimes they even have itty bitty white flowers attached. They look like little clusters of tiny spider plant leaves, almost like a spider plant in bush form. When they’re grown to about an inch long, they’ll start to form a little bulb on the bottom. 

multiple spiderettes on one mother plant

Once you see the bulb, it’s time to cut it loose. The bulbs will eventually turn into roots in a couple of weeks, so you want to cut them before this happens. But you can leave them attached to the adult plant until the bulb has gotten a little more developed. 

Spider plants are easily propagated, but you may want to wait until the plant is quite large before separating it from its mother. If you notice that your spider plant has too many babies and will not take off as a separate entity, then cut them all off at once instead of letting them die slowly.

When they get older have more roots than leaves on their own stems, it’s time for separation! Older air plants can also be divided into two or three clumps by cutting each one in half with sharp garden shears or scissors.

Again, when this happens use pruning shears to remove any dead leaves first and discard those away so that new healthy growth doesn’t become infected with fungus spores.

Related: Why is My Spider Plant Pale and Limp? (7 timely steps you need to do today)

How to cut off baby spider plants

The baby plant is connected to the leaves by a little stem-like shoot. Use a pair of clean, sanitized trimmers or sharp scissors to snip the stem. Now you have a baby spider plant that’s ready to propagate and grow into a real live adult spider plant!

  1. Cut a leaf off of your plant. Hold it by the stem and cut it with a sharp object. Put it into a pot of soil or moist paper towel to make a new plant.
  2. Gently pull clumps of dirt out from around your plant’s roots.
  3. Cut off runners that have grown from the crown on top of your spider plant’s pot, and replant them about one foot apart to make more plants for your garden!
    1. The best way to prevent this is just be careful when moving your baby! It can get bruised easily at such a fragile age and any little injury can lead to death for these sensitive babies. Be sure not to move it while there are leaves still wet with rainwater because they will tear away other delicate foliage if you’re not careful.
  4. Transplant your spider plant into a pot only one or two inches larger than its current container
  5. Keep it in the same location with bright, indirect light and plenty of air circulation around it to prevent mold from growing on top of the soil.

If you’re wondering how often to water spider plants indoors, the rule of thumb is to allow the soil to dry out before watering again

For a healthy spider plant, I like to water sparingly, which is about once every two to three weeks (or just enough so that moisture has penetrated through the entire surface) 

It is important to keep these plants alive because they are an excellent indicator of good atmospheric conditions! When exposed to unsafe levels of pollutants, their leaves will turn brown and curl up as if wilting – but don’t fret! Just move your baby outside where there’s more fresh air.

What to do with the baby spider plant?

Now that your baby plant is free, you can help it grow into an adult plant one of two ways. You can either put the plant in a nutrient-rich potting medium, with the bulb or root side down. If you choose this route, make sure the potting medium is meant for growing plantlets or seedlings. These have nutrients that baby plants need.

curly spider plant babies propagating in a glass container

Spider plant babies are pretty easy to root in a light rooting mix or potting soil. The key to getting them to root directly in the soil is to keep the air around the plantlet very humid, which can be difficult in an average home. 

An even easier way to go is to propagate in a jar with water. Just plop that baby plant right into some water (avoid tap water if possible, filtered water is best) and watch it grow.

A jar or clear bud vase is a great option for propagating baby spider plants: they let in enough sunshine, but you can also see the roots as they develop. Once your plant has developed roots at least an inch long, you can transfer it to a pot with drainage holes and well draining soil mix.

Related: How to Get My Spider Plant to Have Babies (7 mind-blowing steps to try)

How do you save a dying baby spider plant?

If you have a baby spider plant that’s not in good shape, you can still save it. The majority of the time, baby spider plants aren’t getting what they need if they’re still attached to the adult plant, or they’re burning from too much sun. Either way, removing the baby from the adult plant is the best way to save it. 

Carefully remove the baby plant following the tips we mentioned above, and get the baby plant into some water or soil. Make sure it’s not getting too much sun so the sensitive leaves don’t burn. If you choose to put the baby plant in soil, be sure that it’s a pot that drains well.

A simple terra cotta pot works well with baby spider plants. You can always move it to something more decorative later, but in the beginning, simplicity works best. 

Related: Schultz Plant Food Plus Review (my secret to a thriving plant)

Final thoughts on why are my spider plant babies dying?

There are many reasons that your spider plant babies may be dying. When you’ve tried everything and it still doesn’t seem to work, there is a good chance that the potting soil has become too dry or saturated with water.

Spider plants prefer moist but not wet soil so make sure they have plenty of drainage space in their pot and don’t over-water them. If that hasn’t worked after about 3 days then try repotting spider plant babies into fresh potting mix–this should help resolve any issues like overwatering or lack of nutrients due to old soil.

Hope this helps!

Related: How to Clean Water Spots off Plant Leaves {my secret weapon}