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Why Is My Spider Plant Dying?

The most common reason for a dying spider plant is overwatering, but can also be caused by underwatering, overfertilizing, not enough sunlight, lack of nutrients, or low humidity. Fortunately, there are some ways to save your dying plant that even beginner plant owners can handle.

What Does A Dying Spider Plant Look Like?

One of the indicators of a dying spider plant is brown tips or leaves that are rapidly turning brown.

Another sign of a dying plant is yellowing leaves that may begin to turn mushy and look wilted.

Brown leaves are often caused by underwatering, too much light, or over-fertilization, and these issues can usually be reversed and your plant revived.

Yellow, wilting, mushy plants are usually a sign that root rot has set in. You’ll need to repot quickly in hopes of saving the plant.

What Causes A Spider Plant To Die?


Spider plants, or Chlorophytum comosum, are native to South Africa and can adapt to dry conditions as they have thick roots and rhizomes to help them store water. However, they are unable to handle excess water or water being trapped in the soil, as this can make the plant roots more susceptible to root disease.

If the spider plant is consistently given too much water, is watered too often, or does not have a well-draining potting mix, it will eventually succumb to root rot, at which point it is likely too far gone to save.


The best way to rectify this issue is by adjusting your watering schedule and the amount of water you give your plant. A general rule of thumb is to wait until the top two inches of the soil are dry before watering. Typically this will be about once every 7-10 days.

You will also want to ensure that there are sufficient drainage holes on the bottom of the pot and that you are using well-draining potting soil. If you notice that your plant’s soil retains a lot of water, it is best to repot your spider plant with fresh soil that has perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, or bark mixed in for drainage.

If your plant is too far gone and you notice mushy yellow leaves, you can try repotting it. When you remove the plant from the pot, inspect the roots and carefully trim off any rotten or damaged roots.

You will need to repot a plant with root rot.


Though much more tolerable of dry conditions than moist, your houseplant still needs water as part of its general plant care. If you let your plant’s soil dry out completely, it may begin to develop brown leaf tips.

Lack of water will eventually kill the plant.


Give your plant a drink and then adjust your watering schedule and water your plant more frequently. Make sure not to water it too often, but don’t allow it to completely dry up. Generally, you will want to water it about once a week, but make sure to check the soil first.

The best way to check the soil and see if it’s ready for water is by sticking your finger in down to the second knuckle. If the soil is dry, then it’s time to water. If it is still moist, wait a little while longer.

Inadequate Sunlight

Your spider plant needs bright indirect light to thrive. Though they are able to live in low-light conditions, they grow best when they get plenty of indirect sunlight.

However, you want to make sure that they are not receiving too much direct sunlight because they are susceptible to sunburn. If your plant is getting too much sun, the leaves will get scorched. Damaged leaves are unable to make nutrients through photosynthesis, so the plant will eventually die if left in the harsh sun.


Place your spider plant in an area that receives enough light, but avoid any areas that receive too much direct sun. Hanging baskets near windows are ideal for spider plants so that they can soak up some bright indirect light without burning.

Spider plants enjoy plenty of filtered light.

Improper Humidity Levels

Because spider plants are native to tropical regions, they are accustomed to humid environments and do not do well in areas of your home with dry, cool air. If the humidity is too low, their leaves will dry out and shrivel.


Misting your spider plant’s leaves with distilled water can replicate their humid environment and make them perk right up. Another way to ensure your home’s humidity levels are just right for your plants is by placing a humidifier or pebble tray in the room with them.

Watering With Tap Water

Because of the high levels of salt, chlorine, and fluoride in tap water, it isn’t the best water to use on your indoor plants. Depending on the level of chemicals in your water, it can cause your spider plant’s leaves to turn brown and wilt and eventually kill the plant.


Rather than using tap water to water your snake plant, you can switch to filtered water or rainwater. Unfortunately, the tips of the leaves do not bounce back from chemical sensitivity, so you will need to snip them off with a pair of sterile scissors or pruners.

Pest Infestations

Spider plants are susceptible to certain pests such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies which, if left untreated, can cause tissue damage and kill your plant. As the pests feed on the sap within your plant’s leaves, they secrete a substance that can lead to sooty mold.


The best way to treat these pests is by using an insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticulture oil to rid the leaves of the infestation. After that, general routine spider plant care is needed to keep your plant growing and thriving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an overwatered spider plant look like?

Initially, the leaves will begin to fade from a deep green to paler green, beginning toward the bottom of the plant and moving upward. If the problem is not rectified, the leaves may begin to droop and develop brown spots that are soft and mushy.

How do you save a rotting spider plant?

First, fertilization and watering should be stopped. You should also repot your spider plant into a new pot, ensuring that it has plenty of room and sufficient drainage holes. Make sure you use fresh, well-draining potting soil.

You should also prune your spider plant to get rid of the dead and rotting leaves before watering. If there are any spiderettes (baby spider plantlets or offshoots) growing, carefully cut them off and plant them in their own pot to propagate your spider plant.

Give your plant time to recuperate and you may even see some new growth eventually.

Should I remove dead spider plant leaves?

Yes, you should always remove any dead spider plant leaves so that the plant can use its energy toward new growth.

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