The Spider Ivy, more commonly known as The spider Plant Ribbon Plant or Chlorophytum Comosum, is an increasingly beloved perennial house plant. Originating in South Africa, this plant easily adapts to indoor life and needs minimal care to flourish.
That said, like all other house plants, the much-beloved spider plant is vulnerable to several health-related issues, mainly developing brown tips.
When this happens, you’ll undoubtedly be left wondering, “Why are the tips of my spider plant turning brown?”
First and foremost, I’d like you to cool down because is this is quite a common issue among gardeners. Better yet, correcting the problem is relatively easy and only requires a little extra care.
Why Are the Tips of My Spider Plant Turning Brown?
Of course, resolving the issue will require you to start by diagnosing whatever the underlying cause could be. That’s what I’d like to help you figure it out in this detailed guide.
1. Excess Light or heat
As noted earlier, the spider ivy hails from the temperate woodlands of South Africa, where these plants are used to enjoy high humidity while shielded from direct sunlight by surrounding taller plants.
If you have this plant in your home, you won’t need to go above and beyond to recreate the exact humid conditions found in South Africa.
That said, you will need to place a humidity tray near the tree any time you feel the air may be a little too dry.
The best rooms to keep a common spider plant are the kitchen and bathroom, as humidity levels are usually significantly higher in these. Living rooms and bedrooms, on the other hand, are the worst, as they lack humidity.
If you work from home, take your spider ivy plants outside during light rains, as the rainwater is also quite healthy for any indoor plant.
However, under no condition should you leave it in direct light conditions, because the plant is only adapted to moderate Light. The leaves also quickly burn in direct sunlight, and any moisture on the leaves from humidity or misting can result in even more severe burns.
2. Water Stress
Over the years I’ve provided solutions to commonly asked gardening questions, I’ve come to realize that water stress is, more often than not, the main culprit of spider plant tips turning brown. And this can happen to both seasoned and newbie gardeners.
In seasoned gardeners’ cases, it usually happens when the roots of the spider plant become so overgrown for the pot they’re in that these roots block the drainage holes at the bottom. Subsequently, the blocked drainage holes result in waterlogging and start stressing the spider plant.
With that in mind, immediately you notice your spider plant yellowing and browning at its tips, check the bottom side of the pot and ensure the roots are not pocking through its drainage holes.
In case they are, and you do not act right away, it’s only a matter of days before the plant takes a u-turn for the irreparable.
The best way to prevent a worst-case scenario is to simply re-pot the spider ivy into a bigger container.
As with all other plants and trees worldwide, watering spider plants is a bit of a balancing act. They need pots or containers with adequate drainage holes and well-drained and moist soil.
Give them too much, and they suffer from water stress, which risks root rot and yellow leaves. Give them too little, and they also start to die and turn brown (beginning with the tips.)
So depending on the type of soil you’ve used in the pot your spider plant is planted, come up with a reliable watering program you can follow.
The general rule of thumb is you should water after the first 2″ or 3″ of soil is dry, and this should be anywhere from one to two weeks. What’s more? The good news is that spider plants can withstand missing watering sessions here and there (even though this isn’t recommended, lest you form a habit.)
Never miss three watering in a row, and ensure you leave the pot’s soil moist whenever you’re departing from a long trip.
4. Chemical Burns
You’ll always come across two leading causes of chemical burns in the spider ivy plant: fertilizer and water.
Regarding fertilizers, spider plants require a small amount of fertilizer, if any. The mistake most new owners of spider plants make is either forgetting to dilute their fertilizers enough or going overboard, which can kill all the plantlets and do irreversible damage to the mother plant.
The other big cause of chemical burns in spider plants is water. Avoid any sort of chlorinated water, like tap water, since the spider plant is extremely sensitive to the chemicals present. Another chemical found in tap water that can cause serious harm to your spider plant is fluoride.
Instead, use distilled water for the plant, in tandem with the occasional treatment of hydrogen peroxide. If you have to use tap water, either use a Zero filter or let it sit in an open space overnight so some of the chemicals can evaporate.
As a final note, occasionally flush the soil to avoid any salt buildup (at least annually) and use a diluted liquid plant fertilizer that is water soluble.
I hope this guide provides the answer to your “why are the tips of my spider plant turning brown” question. Sadly, though, once the leaves of a spider ivy turn brown, there is no way to restore them to their original color.
But can you leave the leaves with brown tips on the spider plant?
Of course, you can do that without causing the plant any more harm, but rest assured it’ll detract from its visual appeal. Instead, I suggest you carefully prune away any leaves with brown tips. Being careful implies ensuring you do not remove too many leaves simultaneously.
Award the plant sufficient time to replace them by itself.