Why is my spider plant leaf turning yellow? (quick fixes and tips)

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TLDR: Yellowing of leaves can be caused by overwatering, poor drainage, lack of humidity, or too much sub. To prevent the yellowing of leaves, water your spider plant once a week so that the soil is completely moist. Be sure to drain the excess water from the pot and place it in a location where the temperature will not fall below 10°C but does not exceed 20°C. Avoid placing spider vine plants in locations where they are exposed to direct sunlight or drafts of cold air.

What do yellow leaves on spider plants mean?

I have learned that spider plants (chlorophytum comosum) can be grown in so many different environments and situations. They’re very hardy and easy to grow but still require some attention. It’s important to water them at least once every two weeks or so, otherwise, the soil will build up salt levels.

If you neglect to water your houseplant for too long, it will start dropping leaves as a symptom of the dying roots. This is also normal after you’ve started watering again-the yellowing leaves will go back to green within a few days if there was no damage done to the root system during this time of neglecting the water.

There are several reasons which might cause spider plant leaves to turn yellow:

  1. One of the most common causes is that the soil has salt levels that are too high, which is often caused by over-watering.
    1. If it’s been raining a lot outside and you’ve been giving your plant extra water because of the damp weather, make sure to give it less during the next few weeks.
  2. Make sure that you’re watering your spider plant once every two weeks or so-if you notice brown spots on your leaves after watering, this means that there is too much water in the soil and not enough air circulating around it.
    1. If you are unsure of how much you should water your spider plant, stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry down there, give it more water. If it’s already wet, don’t water it.
  3. Make sure that you give it as much sunlight as possible (to avoid your spider plant looking pale) and move it to a place where there is less plants around so they don’t get overcrowded.

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Why do spider plant leaves turn yellow?

  1. One of the most common causes of yellow leaves on a spider plant is over-watering. Waterlogged roots often cause the foliage to turn yellow or brown, and hanging plants can have their leaves drop off simply from being too wet. Spider plant root rot can also cause yellowing of the foliage. If you suspect root rot, carefully remove some of the potting media and inspect the roots. If you find mushy, brown roots, it is probably caused by root rot.
    1. Now if your webbed leaves are turning yellow along with curling down at their edges, this could be a sign of moisture or temperature being too hot. You may have to move the plant out of direct sunlight and cut back on watering it so that the soil is dry between waterings.
      1. In winter when your plant will not be actively growing, you can allow it to dry more in between watering.
    2. If your spider plant has root rot, repot it in a container with drainage holes and a potting soil designed for cacti and succulents. This can lead to yellowing leaves and stunted growth because nutrients aren’t being carried from the soil up to the rest of the plant properly.
      1. Treat any kind of root problem by repotting in a loose, fast draining potting mix. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist throughout this process. Let the soil dry out before watering again, as this will help prevent root rot. After the initial watering to re-hydrate the soil, water it every other week or so.
    3. If your spider plant is severely lacking water, its leaves could be turning yellow as a way of letting you know that it needs more moisture in order to survive and grow new leaves and healthy roots.
    4. If the soil has been allowed to dry out completely, many leaves will turn yellow and drop off.
      1. Once you repot your spider plant in a fast draining potting mix and water it consistently and thoroughly, it will return to its old self within a few weeks
  2. A second reason may be related to too much light. If the plant is receiving too much light, the leaves will dry out and turn a shade of yellow or brown. Also, if a spider plant receives too little water, it may stretch to try and catch more sun rays.
    1. A solution could be to simply move the plant to a shadier area. Additionally, make sure it is getting enough water by feeling the soil before watering; if moist, do not water. If dry, feel free to give it some water.
  3. A third reason might be related to temperature. Spider plants prefer warm but not hot conditions while they’re growing in the summer, so it might be beneficial to move the plant away from direct sunlight for some time.
    1. Remember that spider plants are tropical plants and do best when the temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees F. (21-29 C.), with humidity ranging from 50 to 70 percent.
    2. A solution might be to move the plant to a warmer, brighter location, such as next to a window, but not in direct sunlight.
  4. A fourth reason could be related to nutrient-deficiency in the soil. Check your potting soil for proper drainage and aeration before applying fertilizer at half strength every two weeks during the spring and summer months.
    1. Besides having a lack of nutrients, having excess calcium can be another cause. If you have been using tap water for your spider plant, this can increase the calcium levels in the soil.
    2. Other possible sources of calcium is egg shells and crushed oyster shells, which if ​left in or on top of your soil for too long, can cause yellowing as well.
    3. A solution is to flush the soil with distilled or purified water, which can be purchased at your local home improvement store.
  5. A fifth reason may be because of over fertilization. Do not fertilize your spider plant if it is showing signs of yellowing. You should only fertilize once a month during the spring and summer with a liquid fertilizer.
    1. To fix this problem, flush the soil with distilled or purified water by pouring it into the soil until you see water flowing out from the drainage hole at the bottom of your pot. This will wash away any excess fertilizer that may be present. You would have to repeat this process for 2-3 weeks.
    2. If all fails, there is always the option to repot your spider plant in fresh new potting soil with proper drainage and aeration before reapplying fertilizer at half strength every month during the spring and summer months.
  6. A sixth reason could be related to the type of water being used to water the plant. If you are using chlorinated tap water, it may be killing off the microorganisms in the soil that are beneficial to plant root growth. You can buy a filtration system or use bottled drinking water instead.
    1. I love using rainwater when possible. It’s the best thing for your plants since it contains nutrients that are naturally present in rainwater. When pouring water into your plants, make sure the water is lukewarm to prevent the roots from going into shock.
  7. A seventh reason may stem from insects eating your plants. Spider plants are susceptible to mealybugs and aphids, which will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Treating the plant with an insecticidal soap may help remove these insects. GardeningKnowHow also suggests that horticultural soap is just as effective as neem oil when it comes to cleaning the leaves.
    1. A solution would be If there are too many or it is too much work, you can buy an insecticidal soap or neem oil that will get rid of the bugs in one application. You will have to repeat this process until all the bugs are gone.

If you have ruled out these possibilities, the last reason why spider plants turn yellow is that they are old.

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It may just be related to plant age and size. Spider plants generally take longer to adjust to new conditions than other types of houseplants because it takes them longer to grow their roots, which are needed to absorb water and nutrients.

It is common for spider plants, especially larger ones, to yellow temporarily while adjusting to new conditions. A solution would be simply to give the plant more time to adjust before watering again.

Can yellow leaves turn green again?

If your spider plant has been overwatered, the yellow leaves will likely not turn green again unless you allow them to dry out for a while. If it is only one or two leaves on a small stem that have turned yellow but more of the leaves are still green on a healthy stem, this damage is unlikely to spread and may be able to be saved.

Allow the soil to dry out completely for a few days, then water your spider plant just enough so that it doesn’t wilt but the potting mix only dries out slightly between waterings.

Should I cut yellow leaves off spider plant? 

No, you should not cut any leaves off the spider plant. The spider plant will continually grow from the crown that is there. In fact, when the older leaves on the bottom of your plant start turning brown, then I would recommend removing dead leaves with a pair of scissors, starting with the oldest leaves first and working your way up. But until then, leave the yellow leaves alone and allow your plant to continue growing.

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How often should I water my spider plant?

The frequency with which you should water your spider plant depends on several factors. During the growing season (spring to summer), you should ensure that the potting mix for your spider plant only dries out slightly between waterings (similar to the watering schedule for under-watered plants).

During late fall and winter, when light levels are low, your spider plant needs less water, so it doesn’t receive any less than 6 hours of bright direct sunlight per day. In between these times, you should allow your spider plant to dry out a bit more between watering (similar to the watering schedule for overwatered plants).

What does root rot look like?

Root rot looks like a browning of the roots with some yellowing. It will have a soft and mushy feel to it. It usually starts at the base of the plant and works its way up towards the crown.

The main sign is wilting, yellowing leaves, and dying plants. Root rot is most likely caused by watering too much and allowing the water to pool and sit around the roots. It is also caused by too much salt in your soil.

Make sure you are using the appropriate soil for your type of plant and that it drains properly. You can help prevent root rot by making sure that you water your potted plants on a regular basis but only when they need to be watered.

Root rot is not difficult to cure if caught early, but difficult to get rid of if allowed to progress.

If you find that you have root rot, remove the plant from the pot and inspect the roots. If it does have root rot, try repotting it with new soil and see if it comes back. If you think your potting mix may be contaminated, make sure to clean all pots/supplies thoroughly before using them again. If the root rot is dealt with quickly (before over-watering can compound the problem), this should clear up within a few weeks.

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To keep your spider plant healthy, follow these simple care tips:

  • Place the plant near a bright window but not in direct sunlight. (Bright lighting will also help your spider plant produce babies)
  • Make sure it is getting enough water without over watering it. If the soil feels moist then it doesn’t need to be watered.
    • If the soil feels dry, then it is time to water.
  • You can fertilize the plant every month using a 20% strength fertilizer.
  • If you want to propagate your spider plant, simply take some of its offshoots and place them in their own pot with moist soil.
    • They should start growing quickly after that!
  • If the stem has black on it, cut it off at the base. It can be caused by spider mites which are tiny insects that are not visible to the human eye.
  • On the other hand, if you see black spots on your leaves, it means that the plant is affected by mealybugs. Use insecticidal soap once a month to get rid of them!
  • If there are brown patches on your stem or on your leaves, then that’s a sign that the humidity level in the air is too low or that the plant is dry.
    • Try to increase the humidity around your spider plant and make sure it isn’t too far away from a source of water.

By following these tips, you should be able to get your indoor spider plant back on track. And maybe even produce some baby spiderettes of your own!

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