Spider plants are beautiful and easy-to-care-for houseplants, making them a favorite for indoor gardening. However, if you are like me and frequently neglect your houseplants for weeks or, I’ll admit it, even months at a time, you might find yourself with a wilting spider plant.
The good news is that this problem is quickly resolved for people like me. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll first explain why your Spider plants might be slowly dying and then instruct you on what you can do to revive your houseplant just in time.
Signs That Your Spider Plant is Dying
Even though your spider plant cannot speak, it has excellent nonverbal communication abilities. The plant will quickly let you know if something is wrong and how bad it is getting.
Here are some signs that your spider plant is about to die.
Although the leaves of spider plants are not stick-straight, they should still be rigid due to their curling, hanging, blade-like nature. Your plant should be scrutinized if it sags, droops, or hangs. At this point, your spider plant can’t support itself.
Overwatering is likely to blame for the plant’s mushy roots and base. It’s possible that root rot, a fungus that can kill plants inside and out, has already set in.
It may also be due to dehydration if a spider plant is limp and pale, especially if it is brittle and dry to the touch.
Due to their rhizomes, long, horizontal underground stems that can store water, spider plants can withstand some drought, but eventually, they will need to be watered.
Leaves or Fronds Dropping off the Plant
Finding one or two long leaves that have fallen off the Chlorophytum comosum is a heartbreaking experience. Then another appears, and then another. If your plant continues in this manner, there will be no more leaves, so what is happening?
Again, the most likely culprit is overwatering. Water must have accumulated in the roots, rhizomes, and leaves. As was already mentioned, this might result in a mushy base that makes it difficult to hold onto leaves.
Over and over again, the leaves budge and fly out. Many plants can experience foliar shedding or leaf drop, but the causes are usually the same.
You don’t even need to stick your fingers in the soil of your spider plant to know if it is sufficiently moist. One look will be all it takes. The soil will be darker in color, appear compact and mushy, and shine in the sunlight, all of which will be noticeable.
Since mold is present on the surface, the soil might also be white. If you look beneath the surface, more mold might be hiding. All of these symptoms point to a severely overwatered spider plant.
More often than not, the drenched-in-water soil will be followed by almost all the other warning signs listed in this section.
Strange Smell Emanating from the Soil
Oh, and let’s not forget to discuss the smell of the soil because I promise you, it will smell. What is the source of the foul smell from your spider plant, then? Is it the odor of dying plants? Almost, yes
Root rot has some unpleasant odors. The roots of the spider plant are rapidly perishing deep in the soil. You will smell it when this occurs to a significant enough degree, and it won’t be pleasant. If there is visible mold growth on the soil surface of the spider plant, this may be the source of your nausea.
Mold has an earthy, foul smell that some have compared to the smell of musty gym socks when there is enough of it. Your olfactory receptors may even detect the foul odor of mold mixed with dead roots, making them want to flee.
Lack of Growth
The spider plant is regarded as a plant with rapid growth. It grows sufficiently that you should consider repotting yours each year. It’s worth investigating if your spider plant’s growth has completely stopped or has slowed down significantly. A plant can’t grow when it is close to dying. It can’t grow more leaves or sustain those spiderettes because it’s expending all of its energy on trying to preserve the little life it still has. A variety of problems may halt a spider plant’s growth.
It will become malnourished if you don’t fertilize the plant frequently enough or give the spider plant the right blend of nutrients. The plant can only exist because it is too feeble to act.
Extremes in temperature and severe overwatering or underwatering of the plant might prevent growth.
Look at the leaves of the spider plant. Do you notice inappropriate colors like yellow, brown, or black? These colors also indicate trouble.
Brown leaves on your spider plant are a sign that it is either not getting enough water or is directly exposed to the sun. Leaf browning can also be a result of high temperatures. In all three cases, the plant is drying out more quickly than it should be. If left untreated, extreme dehydration could kill the spider plant.
Even though yellowing or chlorosis are not always indicators of impending doom, they usually indicate that something is wrong. Yellow leaves, for example, can result from a lack of sunlight. Sunburned areas that are visible as white spots on the leaves will eventually turn brown or black. Your spider plant may fry if it spends too much time in the sun.
The worst of all is the blackened areas. These signify severe disease (including root rot) or exposure to extremely high temperatures that have caused the plant cell walls to die.
How to Revive a Dying Spider Plant
Using the advice above, you must have established that your spider plant is actually dying and not just going through a period of stagnant growth. You want to do everything you can to save it, but you need help figuring out where to begin.
Here are the plant-care guidelines from the introduction that, if followed promptly, can save your spider plant from dying.
Water The Soil Properly
Since the spider plant is regarded as a relatively low-maintenance plant, it doesn’t require as much watering as you might think. Frequent watering causes root rot, which, as previously stated, is a major indoor plant killer.
How can you ensure the spider plant receives the ideal amount of water? Feel the soil two inches down by sticking one or two clean fingers into it. The spider plant needs to be watered when the medium is dehydrated to the touch.
Some indoor gardeners let the soil dry out about halfway down the pot. If you want to, you can do that, but you should watch out for indications that your spider plant is getting too dry. Remember that those signs include dryness of the soil, browning or yellowing of the foliage, and these symptoms.
Spider plant is much better suited to being underwatered than /to being overwatered, but it should ideally experience neither. The fingertip test is the best method for determining when to water the spider plant throughout the year.
After all, if the summers are scorching, the plant will require more water than it would in the fall or spring when the weather is milder. The spider plant enters a dormant state in the winter and won’t require much if any, water.
Provide Bright, Indirect Light
Although the spider plant can tolerate various lighting conditions, some are more suited to promoting healthy development and maintaining variegation.
Your greatest hope for cultivating a spider plant that is healthy and happy is bright, indirect light.
The plant will receive precisely the right amount of light via your curtained window to support development, but not to the point where it becomes crispy and dried out.
Keep your spider plant near a window that faces east or north, which receives softer sunlight as opposed to the harsh afternoon sun that enters through a window that faces west or south.
Does the spider plant mind a little shade? That’s all there is to it. When your spider plant receives bright enough, indirect light, it will grow slower than it would.
Variegation may also start to disappear. Keep in mind that the spider plant can receive light from other sources besides the sun. Grow lights, and other artificial lighting are adequate during cloudy days and the dark winters.
Avoid Cold and Hot Temperature Extremes
Surprisingly, the spider plant can withstand both extremes in temperature. It prefers temperatures up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit at the lower end and between 70 and 90 degrees at the upper end.
While there is no reason why the plant should be exposed to hotter or colder temperatures than those listed, it is possible, and you should try to limit it as much as possible.
During the summer, it’s nice to allow indoor plants to spend some time outside, but not during a particularly oppressive heat wave.
Wait for calm summer days, such as those with highs of 80 or perhaps 85. It will be ideal conditions for the spider plant. During cold spells, you should always leave a spider plant inside; if not, the plant may not survive.
Extreme temperatures can also happen indoors. For example, if you have leaky windows or doors, place your spider plant atop your fridge or near a radiator or return vent; the plant will be constantly exposed to gusty air.
These air sources can cause your plant to become stressed and show symptoms like yellowing, wilting, leaf shedding, and possibly more severe ones if the conditions continue, such as extreme cold or heat.
Use All-Purpose Fertilizer
Although the spider plant is delicate to overfertilization, this does not imply that fertilizer should be avoided entirely. Use a balanced all-purpose plant fertilizer to fertilize this plant at least once a month starting in the spring, when it will start its active growing season.
Although some estimates suggest fertilizing twice a month, I wouldn’t with a spider plant. If you overfertilize, salts can build up in the plant’s soil and cause fertilizer burn.
The signs of fertilizer burn are similar to those of a spider plant submerged in water or deep-fried: foliar browning or yellowing, a crispy texture, dehydration, and dead leaves. Watch for these signs and reduce your fertilizer usage as necessary.
The best thing you can do for a spider plant with fertilizer burn is to either change the soil or thoroughly rinse the existing soil. Fertilizer burn symptoms can persist even if you stop fertilizing as frequently because of the residual salts in the old soil.
Identify and Treat Pests
Like almost all indoor plant species, spider plants are susceptible to at least some pests. It’s wise to learn which ones they are so you can eliminate them right away. Spider mites are an example of such a pest species.
These tiny insects can spin white, mold-like webs across the Chlorophytum comosum plant’s foliage. Whiteflies are another culprit. Whiteflies are flying insects that are frequently white and can be found under the leaves of plants.
Mealybugs are an unarmored species of scale insect. They have the potential to form enormous clusters and consume all of the juices from the spider plant. The insects will leave behind honeydew, which is a sap-like byproduct.
Spider plants also attract aphids. These unwelcome bugs can be woolly, tiny, and sleek and come in various colors. They, too, will eagerly consume plant juices.
If your spider plant has pests, it’s likely because it has been weakened in some way. Therefore, a plant on the verge of death will have many more pests lingering around.
Many of these pests are easy to get rid of, and it works by dabbing cotton swabs or balls with alcohol. Pests will return if the underlying issue causing them is not addressed.
Identify and Treat Diseases
The spider plant is less susceptible to disease than many other indoor plant species. The ones that can harm this plant are fungi, such as fungal leaf and root rot. Both diseases are spread by overwatering, which causes the plant to become more saturated than it should be and starts to kill its roots or leaves.
Removing the problematic foliage will help a spider plant infected with a fungal disease survive. Remove the plant from its container, look for the root ball, and cut off any dead roots. These will be slick, black, and smelly, which will help you distinguish them from healthy roots.
The soil surrounding the spider plant should also be replaced because it is obviously too wet at the moment to be of any use. If the spider plant receives the proper care, it may recover from its current state of death and live another day.