Why are my Spider Plant Leaves Turning Yellow? Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Spider plants are generally resilient indoor plants, that can adapt to most household conditions. So when you see your spider plants’ leaves turning yellow, it is a cry for help and that action is required…quickly. There are many things that can cause yellow leaves, like:

  • changes in the surrounding environment,
  • water stress from too much or too little water, or
  • the presence of toxic substances in the soil or water.
Spider Plant Yellow Leaves

It may seem overwhelming at first, but we have got you covered. We’ve all had plants take a turn for the worse at some point in time. And we are here to provide reassurance that your plant is not doomed.

By using our troubleshooting guide (below), and implementing the suggested remedies quickly, you’ll be enjoying a thriving spider plant in no time.

So take a deep breath, and let’s jump into rescue and revival mode!

Why are the leaves on my spider plant turning Yellow? – The Causes

Okay, so the good news is we are already heading in the right direction.

You have identified that your spider plant is showing signs of distress with yellowing leaves. This is a good thing, because yellow leaves can sometimes be the initial stages before further symptoms develop in your spider plant. So you have caught the problem early – HIGH FIVE!

credit: giphy

Let’s take a look at potential reasons that can cause an indoor spider plant to turn yellow.

Water Stressed Spider Plants

Even though spider plants are considered easy to care for, they can experience water stress if they receive too much or too little water. And as you can probably guess, yellow leaves are one way they signal to you that you need to up your watering game.

As with all plants, too little water will cause dehydration. Dehydrated spider plants become weak and prone to disease and pests. This will snow ball into further problems, which is not a road you want to go down.

On the other hand, too much water tends to create soggy potting soil – especially if you are not using the right indoor soil with good drainage. Soggy soil can lead to root rot which is extremely detrimental to spider plants, and will usually end in their demise.

Water Stressed Spider Plants
credit: Unsplash

Suggested Remedy for Water Stressed Spider Plants

The big question is how do you know if you are providing the perfect amount of water for your plant?

We like to use a method that has proven extremely reliable – called the soil moisture finger test. It is a simple and effective technique that indicates when to water your plants.

Simply dig your finger about an inch deep into the topsoil around your spider plant and test the moisture levels. If soil sticks to your finger as you pull it out, there is still moisture present. If your finger comes out relatively clean, then it is time for water.

Environmental Changes

Sometimes sudden changes in the surrounding environment, like cold temperatures, can cause the spider plants’ leaves to turn yellow.

Environmental factors like temperature and humidity all play a part in a plant’s ability to function properly.

Spider plants generally thrive in temperature ranges between 50-75° Fahrenheit (10-24° Celsius). They can live in warmer climates, but spaces that get too hot will stress the plant.

At the same time, low humidity can cause a spider plant to develop yellow tips on the leaves. Low humidity can be a problem for some households during the cooler months of the year.

Another helpful hint is to see if your spider plant is located in a drafty position or is in front of air conditioners or heaters. Direct cooling or hot air will also cause your plant to experience stress and develop yellow leaves.

Suggested Remedy for Environmental Changes

Sometimes changing the location of your spider plant will do the trick in getting your spider plant to bounce back.

However we recognize that isn’t always an option for some indoor plant enthusiasts.

If you suspect low humidity is causing your spider plants’ leaves to change yellow, try using a humidity tray under your plant.

DIY Humidity Tray for Spider Plants
learn how to create your own pebble tray for humidity

Toxic Substances and Water Quality

Spider plants are part of the lily family, which is renowned for being sensitive to excess chemicals and substances in their soil.

And unfortunately, if you have been using tap water to water your spider plant, you may have (unknowingly) been playing a part in the slow poisoning of your spider plant. Tap water includes excess salts and minerals, like fluoride and chlorine, that can build up in your plants soil. Fluoride may be great at keeping our pearly whites strong and healthy, but it is not a good mix with spider plants. It can cause your plants’ leaves to turn yellow with brown leaf tips.

What’s more, if your house uses hard water, the minerals can leave mineral residue on your spider plants’ leaves, preventing it from being able to photosynthesize.

Suggested Remedy for Toxic Substances

Changing your water source from tap water to filtered or distilled water will make a world of difference to your spider plant.

Filtered water has all the unnecessary chemicals stripped out, leaving only the good stuff.

If you don’t have access to a source of distilled water, you can also use rain water from catchments or water tanks. Just be sure to check that the natural rain water isn’t stagnant for long periods of time.

Fertilizer Overdose

Sometimes being a bit too liberal with your feeding can have the reverse effect on your plants. Excess fertilizer in your plants’ soil becomes toxic and can actually cause your spider plants’ leaves to turn yellow – almost like they are getting burnt.

If you notice a white substance forming on the top of your plants’ soil, it is likely that parts of the fertilizer you are using is not being used by your plant. Similar to the presence of fluoride and chlorine from the tap water, your spider plant will reject this and begin to slowly weaken in health and appearance.

Suggest Remedies for Over Fertilization

Reducing your feeding schedule is the most sensible solution for over fertilization. However, you may also need to flush your soil to eliminate the build up of salts and chemicals from the initial feedings. To do this, run warm water through the soil, ensuring the excess water (and chemicals) is flushed out from the drainage holes.

Incorrect Lighting Conditions

Incorrect and uneven light can upset a spider plant to the point where its leaves become pale and yellow. If a room doesn’t receive indirect sunlight, you may need to supplement your plant with a gro-light or another source of artificial light. The reason being, spider plants require indirect light to photosynthesize. Without light, they cannot produce energy to grow and will eventually become stunted and unhappy.

spider plants need indirect sunlight to thrive
credit: Unsplash

Suggest Remedies for Incorrect Lighting Conditions

Some people may think direct sunlight is the best answer for an ailing plant, but this would actually have a more detrimental effect on an already weakened spider plant.

Spider plants need plenty of indirect light in order to thrive. If you cannot prevent your spider plant from being exposed to direct sunlight, install some see – through curtains that can filter the strong rays of sunlight. Spider plants can tolerate dappled sunlight during the early morning and late evening sun.

Final Thoughts

Yellow leaves on spider plants can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean your plant is doomed. With quick and calculated action, you can revive your spider plant to its original glory (or better).

If, you have worked your way through this troubleshooting guide and are still struggling to rescue your plant, visit our central hub for common problems with spider plants. We are committed to saving our community’s plants…one plant at a time.