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Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Yellow? And How to Fix It

It doesn’t matter if you have a Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’ or a Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum.’ Both can effortlessly become the center of attention for anyone.

Chlorophytum comosum, commonly known as Spider Plant, is an exotic evergreen perennial. It is one of the most beautiful indoor ornamental houseplants.

The gorgeous light- and dark-green foliage with elongated leaves make a striking contrast with creamy white variegations. The whole plant just looks breathtaking. It makes an excellent choice for indoor hanging baskets.

Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Yellow
“Spider plant with plantlets and flowers” via Wikimedia

Spider plant comes from the Asparagaceae family and is relatively easy to grow indoors. However, it can get occasional infestations of some pests and diseases. You are probably here, after asking yourself, “why is my spider plant turning yellow?”

Sometimes, the leaves in spider plants can turn yellow. It is indeed so sad to see these lovely leaves turning pale or yellow.

Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Yellow?

As a simple answer… It can occur if you just transferred the plant to a new environment — due to environmental stress.

It takes time for a spider plant to adapt to new environments —, because of certain pests and diseases like root rot, excess fertilizer, insufficient or intense lighting, less humidity, or a smaller amount of nutrients available to the plant.

I’ll elaborate on these further as we dive into the article. However, you can simply get rid of the pests by using neem oil spray and taking care of proper watering.

Causes of Yellow Leaves in Spider Plants and How to Fix Them

Out of the above reasons, the most common is improper caring.

Spider plant yellowing and leaves drying out Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Yellow
“Spider plant yellowing and leaves drying out” via Reddit

Improper Caring

Overuse of Fertilizers

Salts building up in the soil and nutrient toxicity is the leading cause of yellow leaves in spider plants. And the main reason for these salts to build up in the soil is overfertilization.

Expert growers know that spider plants appreciate a small dose of a balanced fertilizer on a monthly basis during growing seasons. But sometimes, due to an improper watering schedule or unhealthy potting mix, fertilizer salts can build up in the pot.

These salts absorb moisture from the soil, accumulating in little white chunks that can be seen near the drainage holes or the topsoil.

In this way, the plant gets deprived of water leading to yellow leaves.

How To Fix

The best way to fix it is through soil leaching. You can follow these simple steps:

  • Take your spider plant to a sink, bath, or somewhere you can drain a lot of water.
  • Now take a double amount of water that your pot can fill up.
  • It would be best to use lukewarm water.
  • Pour water slowly into the pot and make sure it drains perfectly out of the bottom holes.
  • If you drained the water you had but still see the white chunks. Wait for an hour, and then drain it again.
  • Repeat the process until you don’t see any more salt.

You can also re-pot your spider plant, but make sure you use a well-draining potting mix and do not overfertilize the plant. Always use a well-balanced fertilizer in a liquid form diluted to half strength.

Lighting Conditions

Spider plant is a resilient plant regarding lights. It thrives best in indirect but bright lighting conditions. However, it can also tolerate moderate amounts of light.

If your spider plant is not getting sufficient light, the leaves can turn pale or yellow. On the other hand, keeping your Spidey in direct sunlight for extended periods can cause the leaves to burn and turn brown or yellow.

How to Find the Best Spot for Spider Plants

If your spider plant has a lot of variegations, it is better to place it in a bright spot with filtered sunlight.

Keep it away from direct sun, and keep it out of shady areas. Find a perfect spot for your plant where it can get sufficient indirect sunlight.

Keeping your Spidey a few feet away from East- or West-facing windows will work fine. A Southwest facing window is also a good choice for your spider plant, as it provides balanced lighting throughout the day.

You can also grow spider plants under grow lights.

Less Humidity

Native to tropical and southern regions of Africa, the spider plant thrives in high humidity.

If you take a look at the stats,

Average humidity in Bloemfontein Free State
Average humidity in Bloemfontein (Free State) via weather-and-climate.

You can see that this plant would need an average of 50% moisture levels to flourish.

How to Increase Humidity Levels

If you don’t live in dry areas, 50% humidity levels are easy to achieve by weekly misting and proper watering. You can place your plant near a kitchen or a bathroom to notch up the water vapors in the environment.

However, you might need to pick up a humidifier if you live in dry areas.

Root Rot

The other leading cause of yellow leaves in most plants is root rot. It is closely related to improper care, but I think it is best to make a separate section on this issue; and how to fix it.

First of all,

Root rot is a nasty roots disease in which the roots turn black and mushy. They are not able to absorb any nutrients or water from the soil. And they just die…

Symptoms

Visual symptoms include yellowing and wilting of leaves. Mainly the whole foliage looks droopy and sad. Although, this can also occur due to some other reason. That’s why you have to take the plant out of the pot to check the rot.

After taking the plant out, you may see the roots have turned black. They break off by touching and leave behind a thin thread-like structure. If you find your spider plant looking like this, it’s root rot.

Check out this video tutorial on fixing root rot.

Causes of Root Rot

Overwatering

Every plant parent knows that overwatering is the principal cause of root rot. If you are constantly overwatering your plant, it definitely gets root rot.

Roots sitting in a pool of water are more likely to develop rot because they do not find any oxygen to respire. This leads them to suffocate and die.

Prevent Overwatering

While watering your plants, wait for the top 2-3 inches of the soil to get completely dry before giving it another shot of hydration.

You can check if the soil is moist or not by sticking your finger in it and feeling the dampness. If it feels pretty dry, it’s the best time to water your plant.

Underwatering

Keeping your plant underwatered for extended periods can cause root rot. When you keep your plant underwatered for a long time, the roots craving for water starts to shrink. And when you water your plant again, the damaged roots won’t absorb it.

This leads to waterlogging and causes root rot.

Prevent Underwatering

You can prevent underwatering in the same way as in the case of overwatering.

Pro Tip: I highly suggest you make a proper watering schedule for your plants. This will help you to take excellent care of your plants.

Bulky Soil Mixture

A clogged soil mixture is also a leading cause of root rot as it causes waterlogging. A potting mix should be well-draining and well-aerated. Let me show you how to make a well-arid and breathy potting mix for your spider plant.

Potting Mix for Spider Plants

We are going to make the whole mix in three parts. For 80% of the entire potting mixture, make a blend of 50% organic-potting-mix, 30% perlite, and 20% compost. Use orchid barks for the rest 20%.

  • Add a layer of half of your barks into the pot. Mix the other half with the soil mixture.
  • Now add a small amount of the blend into the pot before placing the plant.
  • After arranging your plant, add the rest of the blend to fill up the pot.

This makes a potting mix that’s perfectly draining and filled with nutrients.

If the root rot is severe, you must propagate the healthy leaflets. Because it is out of the question for the plant to regrow if the decay looks terrible.

Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Yellow 2
Spider Plant via unsplash.com

You can check out this video on YouTube about propagating spider plants.


Conclusion

With all that said, now you know all you need to know about yellowing spider plants. These exotic plants look amazing if they are fresh and healthy.