Why is My Spider Plant Dying? Troubleshooting Guide for Beginners

Owning an unhappy spider plant can be stressful and heart-breaking. After all the love, time and care you’ve invested into your plant, seeing a spider plant that is dying is enough to make you want to throw in the towel!

We say ‘DON’T GIVE UP!‘ The team at the Garden Bench Top is here to help. We’re here to hold your hand and guide you in finding the answer to “Why is my spider plant dying?

Why is My Spider Plant Dying? Trouble shooting guide

Using this troubleshooting guide, we’re confident you will discover the reason for your sad spider plant.

So pick up that towel and get your fighting gloves on, because we are going to give it our all to the very end!

What to Expect from our Troubleshooting Guide

Spider Plant Trouble Shooting Guide

Treat this troubleshooting guide as the central hub for your spider plant problems. This guide is designed to be used as a navigation menu.

If you find the solution to your ailing spider plant in this article – that’s fantastic. There is a lot of great information here.

However, in an effort to keep this guide in digestible bits of information, we have also split out topics that we felt deserved their own focused (detailed) article. We have made it easy for you to find these topics by linking to them in helpful locations through this navigational guide.

Common ProblemsPossible CausesRemedies
Leaves getting brown spotsa) fungal issues
b) baterial disease
c) low humidity
a) treat with hydrogen peroxide
b) repot with fresh soil
c) create DIY humidity tray
Leaves developing brown or black tipsa) overwateringa) use soil moisture test
Spider plant turning brown in middlea) root rota) repot and trim rotten roots
Leaves developing brown edgesa) chlorine and chemicals presenta) use filtered or rain water
Leaves have brown burn marksa) too much direct sunlighta) move to indirect light
Spider plant appears limp a) too little light
b) underfed
c) water stress
d) root bound
e) water quality
a) move to indirect light
b) increase fertilizer
c) use soil moisture test
d) repot and trim rotten roots
e) use filtered or rain water
Spider plant is leaninga) top-heavy
b) uneven light
a) prune top of plant
b) rotate or move plant
Spider plant is stickya) scale infestationa) manual removal and treatment
Leaves turning yellowa) water stress
b) environmental changes
c) toxic substances in soil
d) fertilizer overdose
e) incorrect lighting
a) use soil finger test
b) move to friendlier position
c) use filtered water
d) flush soil
e) reposition plant

How to Revive a Sad Spider Plant Back to Health

There are two paths you can take to try and revive spider plant. You can:

  1. use a trial and error approach by reading through every possible reason that may be causing your spider plant to look like it’s dying, OR
  2. identify the symptoms your spider plant is exhibiting, and reading a list of potential causes for those symptoms.

Both approaches will reach the same end result, but one approach (our preferred method) is much quicker.

Observing the symptoms and then diagnosing the cause from those symptoms makes more sense to us, rather than trial and error. It directly addresses the problem(s) at hand, and has a greater chance of success. Plus, taking the trial and error route takes time, which has the potential of putting your spider plant at risk.

Why do the tips of the spider plant leaves turn brown and black?

If your spider plant has brown leaves, something is not quite right, such as water condition, lighting and even an imbalance of minerals in the soil.

You can narrow down your search for the primary cause by identifying the part of the leaves that is turning brown.

For example, leaves with browning tips suggests your plant is under water-stress.

Whereas, brown patches and brown spots over the leaf’s surface could indicate infected plants caused by disease or pests.

Suggest Remedy

Once you have identified the part of the plant that is browning, read up on the remedies to revive your browning spider plant leaves in our detailed guide, Why is my Spider Plant Turning Brown?.

Why are spider plant leaves turning pale or yellow?

Determining the cause of a spider plants’ leaves turning yellow is a tricky one. The reason is there are so many things that could cause this change in appearance.

Water stressed spider plants often signal their unhappiness with yellow leaves. On the other hand, a spider plant’s sensitivity to chemicals in the soil (like fluoride or chlorine) can also trigger yellow leaves.

Whatever the cause, yellow leaves on plants generally signal the beginning of something that can be detrimental to your plants’ wellbeing.

Suggested Remedy

This is one of those times when discussing all the solutions to yellow leaves would not be possible in one sentence or paragraph.

So instead, we did a deep dive into the causes for you in our comprehensive guide for spider plants with yellow leaves.

Why is my spider plant looking limp?

When you have a limp and generally sad looking spider plant, we would suggest some quick action is necessary to prevent your plant from crossing past the point of no return.

The limp appearance means the whole plant is being affected. It suggests there may be something wrong within its environment, like the lighting conditions.

Or if your spider plant has been happily thriving in the same position for a couple of years, the limp appearance could be the result of your plant being root bound?

Suggested Remedy

To get to the bottom of your limp spider plants’ problem, use our cause/symptom checklist in our troubleshooting guide to pale and limp spider plants.

Why is my Spider Plant Leaning?

Although a leaning spider plant isn’t necessarily the best to look at, the good news is there isn’t anything overly concerning (like root rot or pests).

Sometimes a spider plant will end up leaning to one side because it has become top-heavy. This is a good sign that it has been happily growing, and it means you have been keeping on top of your husbandry responsibilities.

Another common reason a spider plant will lean to one side is low light conditions. If you have placed your spider plant in a room that has light coming from one side of the room, only the side that is receiving adequate light will grow. This causes the plant to grow unevenly.

Suggested Remedy

Fixing your leaning spider plant is relatively simple.

A top-heavy spider plant should be pruned back until it is balanced on both sides. Don’t be afraid to prune your spider plant aggressively, as they are fast growers and will be looking full and bushy again in no time.

For spider plants that are growing on one side due to a lack of light, the best option is to reposition your spider plant in a spot that receives plenty of indirect sunlight from all angles. However, if you are limited in space and only have low-light conditions, you can rotate your plant every couple of weeks to encourage even growth.

Why is my spider plant sticky?

scale insect on plant
scale insect infestation

Sticky spider plants suggest you have a pest infestation.

The culprit is an insect called scale.

They are sap sucking pests that feed on your plants by piercing their leaves to get to the nutritious sap. Your spider plant becomes sticky from the sap that leaks from their feeding holes.

Unfortunately, they are hard to see when in small numbers. But when they begin to grow in number and form colonies, you can see small brown legions along the leaves.

Suggest Remedy

Treating scale isn’t hard. The problem is the scale of the scale (yes pun intended). If you can see them, it means they are present in large numbers.

To begin the cleanse, try to take as many scale insects off your spider plant using a cotton bud. It is important to be as thorough as possible, including getting into the crevices and hard to reach places. You do not want them to multiply again, only having to repeat this process a month later.

After you have manually cleaned your plant, use an organic insecticide (like neem oil) and spray the entire plant. Again be thorough.

If you have successfully removed the scale, your spider plant should remain clean and not feel sticky.

Frequently Asked Questions about Spider Plants

Why is my spider plant dying after repotting?

Plants that react badly to a transplant or repotting are generally suffering from a term that is called ‘transplant shock‘. This means, the plant has essentially experienced trauma during the transition. It could be due to the roots being damaged, or the soil is too wet after being watered, or even that the new pot is too big for the plant.

Try placing the plant in a position that receives plenty of indirect sunlight. Make sure the soil is moist, but not soggy, ensure any excess moisture drains out and prune any leaves that are clearly dead.

The next thing is the hardest. You will need to wait and observe. Hopefully, your plant will adjust and re-establishes a healthy root system.

When to repot a spider plant?

Due to their strong and fast growth, we recommend repotting your spider plant every 1-2 years. If you notice roots creeping out from the drainage holes in the pot, it’s time to repot.

Are spider plants toxic to pets?

The good news is that spider plants are not toxic to pets. We still don’t think you should encourage the habit, as this may teach your pets that it is okay to eat your indoor plants. And the next plant they snack on may not be so pet – friendly.

Are Fungus Gnats Harmful To Spider Plants?

Fungus gnats are soil dwelling insects that love to fly around your potted spider plants. The larvae eat rotting roots of any plants, and fungus gnats in the adult stage love moist soil to lay their eggs in.

Fungus gnats will not damage or harm your plants, like aphids or scale insects, but they can be more annoying to other house occupants!

Should I Mist A Spider Plant?

Misting your spider plant will do it good, because they thrive in humid environment. Misting increases the amount of moisture present in the air, and as the water droplets evaporate off your plant, it will help to maintain the humidity levels.

If you notice your plant with brown leaf tips, try misting it and see if it resolves your discolored leaves.