Why Does My Spider Plant Have Yellow Leaves? (Causes & Solutions)

Spider plant yellow leaves are a common problem that can happen. Thus, there’s no need to panic when you see it happen.

However, it is important to address the issue immediately to avoid it from becoming more serious.

That’s because certain causes of spider plant leaves turning yellow leaves can lead to bigger problems later on.

Why does my spider plant have yellow leaves? Overwatering is the most common reason for a spider plant turning yellow.

But improper lighting, fertilization, using water with high levels of chlorine, fluoride and salts can also cause this.

As such, make sure to spend the time to identify the problem before applying any treatment or solution.

Improper Lighting Can Cause Spider Plant Leaves to Turn Yellow

Spider plant yellow leaves usually occurs when the plant receives too much direct sunlight. This will turn its beautiful green and yellow variegations into something less appealing.

And what you’ll get are your spider plant leaves turning yellow and dry. They can likewise curl and inward, wilt and get scorched due to the excess light exposure.

Why?

In the wild, they grow underneath the larger trees and plants. This gives them the benefit of being shaded from the sun’s direct rays.

For this reason, spider plants are used to getting medium to bright indirect light or filtered light. And they cannot tolerate long periods of direct sunlight on a daily basis.

As such, it is a good idea to keep the plant a few feet from the window where it still gets plenty of light but stays away from the sun’s direct rays.

On the other hand, too little light can also affect the plant’s looks.

In this case, your spider plant will have pale leaves. Its colors will get faded and the plant itself will look weak.

This is why it is not a good idea to keep the plant in a dark corner or shaded location. Instead, keep it where there is enough light?

How much is enough light?

A good rule of thumb I like to use is to put down a newspaper or magazine where I plant to position the spider plant.

Open the publication up and start reading.

If you can read the text in the content without turning on a lamp or the ceiling lights, then there is enough light.

But if you need to squint, struggle or cannot read the smaller text, it means that location is not getting enough light for the plant to thrive in.

As such, the plant needs ideal lighting conditions if you want it to develop and maintain its beautiful green and yellow variegations.

Indoors, this means medium to bright indirect or filtered light with no direct sunlight.

Outdoors this refers to partial or semi-shade away from full sun.

If the plant gets too much direct sunlight or exposure to the sun’s direct rays, you’ll see its colors changes to yellow. After a while, they’ll turn brown and eventually drop.

Similarly, too little light will cause pale leaves on spider plant. Its growth will also slow.

As such, experimentation in finding a good position for your plant is key (especially in the beginning).

 

Temperature Problems Can Cause Yellow Leaves on Spider Plant

Spider plant yellow leaves can also occur due to temperature issues.

Ideally, this plant thrives in temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, this is what you want to shoot for.

The good news is that most homes will have temperatures in and around this range.

In fact, the average household temperature runs between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is because we humans enjoys this moderate climate condition.

Thus, it is generally easier to maintain proper temperature for your spider plant indoors.

However, you still want to be careful about the different seasons. If your home gets really hot during the summer or very cold during the winter, try to position the plant where the temperature stays somewhat moderated.

Also, avoid leaving the plant near air conditioners, heaters, radiators, stoves, ovens, fireplaces or windows with cold drafts.

For the most part, being a tropical plant, spider plants can tolerate heat. But if there’s too much heat, it can still experience heat stress.

As such, avoid temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

I prefer not to keep the plant anywhere above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s because while it can take the heat, the higher temperatures speeds up moisture loss.

This can lead to the plant drying up faster or becoming underwatered if you do not monitor it regularly.

On the other hand, the cold is something to watch out for more.

That’s because spider plants don’t like the cold, they have a hard time once temperature drops to under 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

You also want to keep it away from cold drafts or breezes that come in through the window or doors.

Cold temperatures and drafts will make spider plant leaves turn yellow. They’ll also slow or even stunt its growth.

Outdoors, the conditions are harder to control.

As such, all you can do if you want to keep your spider plant outdoors is to keep it away from very hot locations as well as the cold.

If it gets too hot during the summer, place it under a shaded area that still gets plenty or light. Good ventilation also helps to try to keep it cooler.

During late fall or winter, make sure to keep the plant indoors and warm.

It cannot stand frost or freezing conditions. Therefore, do not leave it outside when there is snow.

 

Humidity Issues

Temperature is usually easier to detect because we start feeling uncomfortable when it gets too hot or cold.

Therefore, this acts as a warning sign. And you’ll eventually think about your plants.

But humidity is much sneakier.

It is very difficult to tell when it gets very humid or very dry until things get quite excessive or you start feeling the heat or cold.

As such, this is something to watch out for if you own a spider plant.

Why?

Spider plants like medium humidity. Ideally, try to keep things around 40% to 60%.

Too high or too low humidity will negatively affect the plant’s growth and health.

If you notice your spider plant have yellow leaves, then humidity is worth checking. It is a sign that the air is too dry. And you should try to increase humidity.

Your spider plant’s leaves turning yellow or developing brown tips is usually a sign that it needs more moisture in the air.

But before you do anything, I highly suggest checking to see what the room humidity is.

If it is between 40% and 60%, then the yellow leaves on your spider plant is likely caused by something else.

However, if room humidity is in the 20s or low 30s, consider increasing humidity.

For this reason, I like to have a hygrometer near my plants. This lets me quickly know what the humidity is at any given time.

If you live somewhere with four seasons, keep in mind that hot summers can get quite arid. Similarly, winters are notorious for dry air as well.

So, be ready for these seasonal changes.

Similarly, some appliances like heaters and air conditioners will dry up the air in the room when they are turned on. The lower humidity will also persist for about 20 or so minutes after you turn them off.

In case you need to increase humidity around your spider plant to avoid yellow leaves and brown tips due to lack of moisture in the air, you can get a humidifier, mist the plant or use a pebble tray.

 

Overwatering is Common in Spider Plant with Yellow Leaves

Whenever I see a spider plant leaves turning yellow, I always check for overwatering first.

Why?

Overwatering is much more dangerous that all of the other issues on this list. That’s because it can lead to root rot.

And root rot, if not detected and treated early enough can be fatal for your spider plant.

But before I get into that, let’s go back to the spider plant and overwatering.

Spider plants are tough and resilient plants that can tolerate neglect. One reason is that they are drought tolerant.

As such, they are low maintenance since you do not need to water them regularly.

Because of this, many plant owners end up overwatering the plant. That’s because they treat it like many of their other houseplants.

If you do, you’ll end up watering your spider plant more often than it needs.

And this will result is your spider plant’s leaves turning yellow.

The plant itself will struggle as well.

Instead, it is always good practice to wait until the top half of the soil has dried completely before you add watering. The plant will stay happy and you’ll avoid overwatering.

To check, you can stick your finger into the soil to see until where the moisture is. I prefer to use a wooden chopstick or wooden stick and insert it all the way down until the stick hits the bottom of the pot.

When you take it out, the wet line on the wooden stick will tell you until where the soil is moist.

Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter as well.

When watering, do so thoroughly.

This means adding water to the soil until you see the liquid start dripping from under the pot. This will ensure that the root ball is saturated.

In doing so, the roots are able to get all the drink they want.

After that, make sure to get the plant completely drain. This will prevent the plant from sitting in water.

Besides knowing when to water and how to water, also make sure you’re using the right kind of soil and container.

Spider plants need well-draining soil to get rid of excess moisture. This prevents waterlogging and overwatering.

Similarly, ensure that the pot you use has drainage holes.

Watering too often, using the wrong kind of soil or a pot with insufficient drainage can all lead to overwatering. This puts your spider plant at risk of root rot.

Root rot occurs when the roots die from suffocation or fungal disease due to the excess amount of water.

It will keep spreading as well until most or all of the roots have died and rotted if you do not intervene and save the plant.

If that happens, your spider plant will eventually deteriorate and die.

 

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Underwatering

Underwatering is a less common occurrence in spider plants. That’s because of the plant’s toughness and ability to tolerate long periods without water.

However, if you neglect it and allow the soil to day dry for months at a time, the plant will eventually sustain damage and die as well.

Before it does, you’ll see your spider plant develop yellow leaves.

This happens not only when the plant is overwatered but also when it is underwatered.

When the soil gets very dry and stays that way for days to over a week or of, you’ll see your spider plant turn yellow.

This yellowing will accelerate as long as the problem is not fixed.

The tricky part here is that both underwatering and overwatering both can cause yellow leaves in spider plants.

Therefore, before you take any action to treat either, it is important to distinguish between the two when you make your diagnosis.

If you make a mistake, the consequences can be troublesome.

For example, adding more water to an already overwatered spider plant can accelerate root rot or cause that to happen.

Similarly, if you misdiagnose underwatering for overwatering and let the plant dry out further, the spider plant can end up very dehydrated.

So, how can you check beforehand?

Check and feel the soil. You can use your fingers, a moisture meter or a wooden stick.

An overwatered spider plant will have wet, soggy, mucky soil. In all likelihood, the soil will be wet all the way down.

In contrast, an underwatered spider plant will have very dry soil. The surface of the soil will be dusty and can separate from the edges of the pot.

Once you can confirm that underwatering is the cause of spider plant yellow leaves, then give the plant some water.

When doing so, water it thoroughly.

Avoid wetting the leaves. Instead, water directly onto the soil and drench the root ball until you see liquid start dripping from the bottom of the pot.

After that, make sure to let the plant completely drain.

On my end, I prefer to water from below or use bottom watering.

In this method, you place the pot in a large sink, bathtub or container. Fill the receptacle with water until nearly halfway up the pot.

The soil will then absorb the water at its own pace. This takes quite a bit longer.

Once the top 2-3 inches of soil feel moist, you know that the root ball is saturated. Take the pot out of the water and let it drain completely.

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