You can get a spider plant in every plant store, and they are said to be extremely easy to care for. But yours isn’t doing all that well, so you ask yourself why is your spider plant dying, and is there anything you can do to fix it?
Lucky for you, your spider plant, even if it is looking poorly and is on the brink of death, can probably still be saved.
Once you figure out why your spider plant is dying and fix the issue, your plant will be on the road to recovery.
Trial and error is the way of every plant owner, every one of us struggled with a plant or a few at one time.
We’ll guide you through the most common causes for your spider plant dying, help you identify the cause for your plant struggling – the signs to look for on the plant itself and in the environment.
Once you know the cause for your plant’s struggle, you will be able to adjust the care or improve the conditions for your plant.
Why is My Spider Plant Dying?
You have been told spider plants are easy to care for, even impossible to kill, but you are now finding out this isn’t really the case. As with all plants, if your home’s conditions aren’t ideal for a specific plant, it will need more and better care than it would with someone who has more favorable conditions.
Then there is also proper care for your plant. When you purchased it, it probably came with a tag that included care instructions and those don’t necessarily apply to your home, so even with your best care efforts you might be hurting your plant. We’ll talk about this more later. on. Improper care is one of the top causes of your spider plant dying.
Most Common Causes for a Spider Plant Dying
Keep in mind. There could be more than one cause for your plant to struggle. You must think of them all. For example, you might have pests and a light issue, and they are both causing your spider plant to die. Fixing one issue might not be enough to get your plant to thrive.
The way your plant looks can indicate what is wrong. However, different causes can similarly damage the foliage, so you will need to consider other issues as well. Almost every issue will start with the tips on spider plant leaves turning brown and leaves wilting.
Spider plants are pretty hardy and won’t just die overnight, so there is time to save them if you act fast.
1. Overwatering & Stagnant Water
The killer of plants. Overwatering is the most common cause of any plant dying. It’s an easy mistake to make, and the price can be high.
Most plants hate being waterlogged (having soil constantly wet), and the spider plant is one of those as well. Let your plant sit in water too long and too often, and it will develop rot root, and that can kill your plant fast.
How do you know if your Spider Plant is dying due to overwatering?
This is an easy mistake to make, especially if you are new to plants. The tag that came with the plant probably stated you need to water your plant once a week but provided no information beyond that. The number of times you need to water your plants will vary, depending on your plant as well as the conditions in your home. Dry home? You might need to water 2 times per week.
Overwatering also hasn’t got much to do with the quantity of water. It’s about getting too much water caught in soil or the pot. Stagnant water is what will cause all kinds of bacteria to grow, and root rot will develop. Whenever you water, let the excess water drip out from drainage holes.
Symptoms to keep an eye on:
- the soil feels wet to the touch, even days after watering (not damp)
- plant looks poorly, limo, leaves can drop
- tips of the leaves turning brown
- leaves becoming pale yellow, usually starting at the tip
- if you smell the soil, you might notice a rotting stench if the root rot is present
How to avoid overwatering your spider plant?
Figure out a good watering routine, do not stick to a specific day but rather feel the soil. And when the first layer of soil dries, water the plant again. This can be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly.
The pot in which your spider plant grows, needs to have drainage holes.
Make sure the room you have your plant in is well ventilated. This will help in preventing root.
When watering your plant, you can water generously but let all the excess water drain away. Do not let the water collect in the pot. In some instances (high humidity), your plant will prefer smaller waterings (small quantity) instead of soaking. Try and see what works best for your plant.
Pot size matters – if the pot is too big for your plant, the chances for root root increase.
How to save your Spider Plant that is dying from overwatering?
You determined overwatering is the cause for your spider plant dying. Now what? If the issue isn’t too severe, drying out the soil, pruning the few damaged leaves, and adjusting the watering routine will be enough.
If the issue is more serious and your plant is really struggling, that alone might not be enough.
First, you should inspect the roots to see if there is any sign of root rot. If you can sense a foul smell, you can be certain root rot is present, but even if you aren’t noticing an odd smell, there still might be root rot present, and it can progress.
Gently pull the plant out of the pot (with soil and all) and inspect the roots. The roots should be strong and not mushy. The color should be light brown/beige to white. If you see dark, dark gray, or black roots that is root rot. Trim away rotten roots.
If the roots look suspicious, gently work your way through the roots with your fingers, removing soil and dead roots as you go. Rinse the roots with lukewarm water. If there is enough root rot, we would advise you to rinse the roots with a hydrogen peroxide solution as well (3% hydrogen peroxide ad water mixed in 1 to 5 ratio). This will kill the bacteria causing the issue.
Re-pot the plant into a fresh soil. Be sure to sterilise the pot too.
Prune away all the damaged leaves.
Also read: signs you are overwatering your plants
2. Spider Plant Dying Becasuse of Underwatering
Spider plants are quite hardy and will survive in dry soil for longer periods of time. Some may even thrive with soil to dring up between watering. However, spider plants do prefer moist soil, so if they are underwatered, more often than not, the plant will suffer. This issue is easy to identify.
How do you know if your spider plant is dying due to under-watering?
Symptoms to keep an eye on:
- soil dry for long periods
- you do not remember when was the last time you watered your spider plant
- leaves and while fronds drying
- lots of fallen off leaves near your plant
How to save your Spider Plant that is dying from underwatering?
Prune all dry and dead foliage. Also, prune severely damaged foliage. This will give the plant a chance to focus its energy on growing new leaves.
To save your dying spider plant, you will need to water it more frequently. Don’t go over the board, so you don’t end up with overwatering problems. If the soil is severely dried out, simply pouring water from the top won’t be enough as the soil is probably too compact and won’t retain that water.
Pour water into a container and let the pot sit in that container (bottom water). Let the plant soak for an hour or so. Check if the soil has loosened up. If it hasn’t, poke it with a fork or toothpick and soak again.
3. Insufficient light / too much light
Firstly, exposing your plant to direct sunlight won’t kill your plant, but it can burn the leaves, make tips or parts of the brown, and the plant looks like it’s wilting. It won’t look great if it gets too much, but it will live. Some direct sunlight, especially in the morning, is beneficial.
Too little light, however, can slowly kill your spider plant. Spider plants love bright indirect light, and while they do tolerate lower light areas, there is such a thing as to little light.
It will take a while for your plant to die, but if you have yours chucked in a darker area and see the plant losing leaves over time and no new growth or very slow growth, you can suspect the insufficient light is the cause.
Move your plant to a brighter area, and you should see the plant improving pretty quickly. Be careful, though, as you might (not necessarily) need to adjust your watering routine because of the move.
4. Salt and Mineral Build Up
Using the fertilizer too frequently or in larger than ideal quantities will lead to mineral and salt buildup in the soil. This will start hurting the plant sooner or later.
Check the instructions on the box and see if you were overfertilizing your spider plant. It’s always best to use less fertilizer than too much of it. Some plant owners never fertilize their plants, and the plants still live happy plant lives.
While not really common, tap water can cause this too, if it’s heavy in chlorine or other minerals. This is why you should always let your water sit in the room for a couple of hours, at least before watering.
How to Fix it?
Water your plant repeatedly a couple of times, letting the water run through the soil. This will wash out some of the minerals and salt that was building up in the soil. Do not fertilize again this season.
Before anything else, suspect pests. Always and with every houseplant. Spider plants aren’t really prone to pests, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get them. While pests might not cause your spider plant to die, it is best to eliminate this option than miss it and give the pests a chance to spread to your other plants.
Spider mites can be found on spider plants, and since these are so small, it’s best to inspect your plant and soil with a magnifying glass. Before the infestation is big enough for their signature webbing starts appearing, these pests are really easy to miss.
Other pests will be easier to spot.
Treat with your natural or chemical pest removing method, whatever works best for you.
Once your spider plant is pest free it should start to recover.