Why is My Spider Plant Dying? (How-To Fix It)

  • By: Carl Adams
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Why is My Spider Plant Dying?

Your spider plant will start showing signs of dying if its growing environment is overwhelming or underwhelming. This potted plant is highly adaptive to different external conditions but is also sensitive to its surroundings. This is a simple and beginner-friendly plant. so, when you start seeing signs of wilting and weakness, what could be potentially wrong?

Well, a spider plant may fail to thrive and it could be due to the following factors:

Water Stress

If you are underwatering or overwatering your plant, then it would end up with water stress. It should be noted that a spider plant should never be in a container with soggy soil. This will affect the absorption of nutrients and also lead to suffocation.

Dehydration makes matters water. Your plant’s soil should never be left to get completely get dry. The foliage will start dropping and stems weaken. If the roots can’t effectively absorb water due to oversupply or undersupply, then you are at risk of losing your plant.

Fertilizer or Chemical Buildup

This is one of the most common spider plant problems that could actually result in death. Excess fertilizer application leads to a build-up of chemicals in the soil. For instance, spider plants with tips turning to reddish-brown color usually indicate excess fluoride content in the water. On the other hand, gray tips could potentially indicate that the soil has excess boron.

Low Humidity

Extremely low or high humid levels will make your plant suffer. It will start to show signs of stress and this will be quickly manifested by the leaves. High humidity, for instance, means that there will be limited air circulation. This will make it impossible for water to evaporate. Besides that, it would be impossible for the plant to draw nutrients from the soil. If this condition is left for a prolonged period, it will lead to root rot.

On the other hand, plants usually breathe via the stomata. So, when the weather is hot and the air is completely dry, then the stomata will open and the plant will end up losing more water. This will end up leading to dehydration that’s quite dangerous if it’s prolonged.

Inappropriate temperatures

Small temperature fluctuations won’t affect your spider plant. this is quite normal and the plant will continue to thrive. However, problems start to arise when there is a significant temperature fluctuation within the region. For instance, winter and summer are two extreme seasons and your plant could end up getting stressed.

Extremely low temperatures, for instance, will cause water found inside the plant cells to freeze. As a result, the plant cells will expand and destroy the whole plant. High temperatures usually affect the roots, stems, and leaves, resulting in damage.

Poor Lighting

This plant doesn’t need too much light or extremely low light for long. In case your plant is experiencing either, then it will stop growing. Prolonged lighting exposure will make your indoor plant leggy or spindly. However, the growth is usually diminished and poor as the plant strains to reach more light.

Insufficient lighting supply means that the plant can no longer handle its biological processes efficiently. For instance, if you plant can’t make food through photosynthesis, then it will starve to death.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases take a lot of nutrients from the plant. besides that, some of the pests directly feed on the plant. a diseased or pest-infested spider plant will never grow optimally and if this isn’t quickly detected, then the infection and infestation will progress until a point of near-death and eventually death of the plant.

Root Rot

Overwatering is one of the main causes of root rot. However, a poor potting mix can also result in this unwanted condition. Root rot is normally overwhelming to spider plants. It causes the plant to suffocate and even become vulnerable to lots of fungal diseases. The plant can’t continue to survive as it’s under a lot of internal and external pressure.

Signs of a Dying Spider Plant

Spider plants can also communicate. And so, if your plant is dying, you will get some visual cues. The visual signs are meant to indicate that the plant is suffering and that you should do something.

Common signs of a dying spider plant include:

  • Bad smell coming from the soil
  • Leaves turning brown or yellow
  • Stunted growth
  • Drooping foliage
  • Falling leaves
  • Soggy soil

Note: when checking for the signs of a dying spider plant, focus on the soil, the appearance of leaves, and stems. Besides that, use your sense of smell to determine the freshness of the air around the plant

how to save a dying spider plant

How to Save a Dying Spider Plant

It’s quite distressing seeing your favorite plant slowly waning and losing its shine. It would be great if you, therefore, take the necessary steps to revive the plant. your next course of action heavily depends on the cause factor.

Moderately water the plant

Overwatering usually causes suffocation.

Signs of Overwatering A Spider Plant

  • Leaves starting to lose their color
  • Falling leaves
  • leaves turning yellow
  • Leaves with pests and bugs
  • Brown leaves
  • Root rot

How To Revive A Spider Plant From Overwatering

  • Avoid watering your plant
  • Put the plant pot in an area with indirect but bright sunlight
  • Enhance air circulation in the soil by loosening the topsoil
  • Allow the soil to completely get dry before you consider if the plant needs watering

The best way to minimize the chances of your plant dying due to overwatering is to apply preventive techniques.

How To Avoid Overwatering A Spider Plant

  • Create a plant watering schedule that is customized depending on the age of the plant and season.
  • Only water your plant when the soil is water. You can check the soil’s moisture level by digging your finger into the soil.
  • Slow down the watering frequency in dormant seasons such as winter
  • Use a container with a good drainage system that allows excess water to seep through.

For a lot of plant parents, much focus is usually on overwatering. However, you should also consider underwatering. You might have overwatered your plant to the point where it was dying a slow death. But now that you know this, you could also be underwatering your plant and this can also result in unwanted side effects.

Common signs of an underwatered spider plant include:

  • Crispy dry leaves due to dehydration
  • Brown leaves or leaves with brown edges
  • Leaves that have lost their color
  • Stunted or slow growth
  • Pale and lifeless plant

If so, then you might still need to review how often you should water your plant.

How to save an underwater spider plant:

  • Thoroughly water your plant until the excess water starts to drain out.
  • Remove damaged leaves
  • Frequently apply mist to the plant’s leaves

How to prevent underwatering a spider plant:

  • Creating a watering schedule
  • Understanding that the spider plant’s water demands.
  • Use the bottom-up watering technique so that your plant can get enough water.

Regulate the Temperature Range

The external temperature may not be something that you can control. But you can implement other mechanisms that will ensure your plant is growing within its optimal temperature range requirements.

Signs your spider plant is dying due to inappropriate temperature:

  • Young drooping leaves
  • Leaves that are losing their color or with brown spots
  • Shrunken leaves
  • Stunted growth

But you can prevent your plant from dying due to extreme temperature ranges. Make sure that the spider plant’s environment is between 15-25 degrees celsius. Besides that, you should move it to a warmer spot when it’s extremely cold outside and close to the windows when it’s extremely hot. If the plant has damaged leaves, ensure that you trim them.

How to keep the temperature of your spider plant steady:

  • Ensuring that the temperature doesn’t fall below 15 degrees celsius (59 F) and doesn’t go above 27 degrees celsius (80 F).
  • Move your plant away from vents and radiators

Regulate the Humidity Range

You have to manage your indoor humidity range, just the way you do with temperature.

Signs your spider plant is dying due to poor humidity:

  • Leaves with brown tips
  • Dry and crispy leaves
  • Leaves with brown spots

The best way to handle this problem is to provide an environment with moderate levels of humidity.

How to manage the humidity of your spider plant:

  • Mist the plant’s leaves occasionally, especially during summer
  • Get a humidify and ensure that you maintain an environment with humid levels of around 40%.

You can prevent the damaging side effects of poor humidity by:

  • Avoid placing your plant in an area with direct sunlight
  • Getting a humidify with a high level of accuracy
  • Watering your plant appropriately

Fix Lighting Issues

A poor lighting system will interfere with the growth of your spider plant. if the lighting issue is quite extreme, then your plant might start to wilt and die.

Signs of a dying spider plant with lighting issues include:

  • Dropping foliage
  • Sunburn
  • Wilting or brown leaves
  • Leggy growth
  • Weak stems and leaves

How to fix spider plant lighting issues:

  • The plant gets at least 6 hours of bright and indirect light
  • Providing the plant with indirect sunlight during hot and intense hours and direct sunlight in the morning and evenings.
  • Avoid placing your plant directly on an exposed part of the window or the door

Root Rot/Repotting

If you have established that your spider plant is dying as a result of root rot, then you should consider repotting it. A spider plant with a rotten root will have brown and mushy roots instead of white.

How to minimize damages of root rot on your spider plant:

  • Get a new plant container and the appropriate potting mix
  • Uproot your plant from its current pot and analyze the state of its root.
  • Use a sharp and clean pair of scissors to remove the affected roots
  • Soak a cloth in a mild alcohol-based disinfectant and then use it to wipe the cuts. This is important in preventing the further spreading of the fungal infection.
  • Place a moderate amount of soil in the new container and then place your plant at the central part.
  • Add more potting mix to provide the plant with the appropriate root cover.
  • Water the plant appropriately and ensure that the soil has the appropriate moisture content.

Don’t wait until your spider plant starts to show signs of dying before you can re-pot it. Once you see that it’s root-bound, you should re-pot it straight away. A root-bound plant is one whose roots have run out of the growing space and you will start seeing roots emerging from the drainage holes.

Moderate Fertilizer Application

Excess or inadequate application of fertilizers will often lead to yellowing leaves. Leaves in such a state can’t function optimally and process food.

Signs of fertilization problems with spider plants:

  • Browning of the leaf margins and tips
  • Defoliation
  • Slow or no growth
  • Wilting of the lower leaves

However, there are several quick-fix solutions that you can implement.

Don’t Apply half-strength fertilizer once a month in Spring and Summer. The plant is actively growing at this time and, therefore, needs more nutrients

If you think that you have over-fertilized your plant, run excess water through the soil and it will drain the excess salts.

Use an Alternative Source of Water Supply

If you are using a municipal source of water to hydrate your plant, you should consider alternative options. Municipal water is usually heavily treated and contains lots of fluorides. The best strategy should be to use distilled water. Besides that, you can always collect and use rainwater if you are in a position to.

Eliminate Pests and Treat Diseases

Pests and diseases will never let any plant die. So, if you have noticed that one of these issues is the reason your plant is dying, then you should consider providing immediate treatment.

Common signs of pests and disease infestation in a spider plant include:

  • Slow to no growth
  • White visible spots on the plant’s leaves and stem
  • Leaves with noticeable holes
  • Speckled leaves
  • Distorted stems and leaves
  • Wilting leaves/leaf blight
  • New leaves falling off

How to save a spider plant from pests or disease:

  • Use a cotton ball that’s dipped in soapy water to treat and clean the leaves. This will help to remove pests that are stuck.
  • Alternatively, use neem oil and dish-soap solution and spritz it over the plant to kill pests
  • Use a solution with a combination of neem and alcohol to eliminate stubborn pests

Clean the Leaves

This is one of the management tips that’s often ignored. To fully take care of your plant, you need to clean its leaves. Understand that the spider plant appreciates a moderately humid environment in addition to misting and regular watering.

This can lead to the accumulation of dirt, dust, and bugs over time. keep your plant clean by using a clean and soft microfiber to remove dust and dirt. Use a damp piece of cloth to remove sticky bugs and dry dirt.

Can a Dying Spider Plant Be Revived from Outdoors?

When we are talking about reviving a spider plant and how you can stop it from dying, it’s usually in an indoor setting. But can you put your spider plant outside with the hope of successfully reviving it?

This might seem like a great idea but it’s not the best at this point. Remember that your plant isn’t thriving at this point and it’s almost close to dying. So, changing its environment will definitely lead to shock and you might actually accelerate its dying process.

But once you have managed to successfully revive your plant and its healthy, you can take it outside. But you should consider boosting its resilience by implementing an environment that will facilitate its growth. For instance, some plant parents usually take their spider plants out early in the morning and late in the evening so that they can take in the soft sun’s rays.

This can be a good starting point, especially if you want your plant to start spending more and more time outside. Besides that, some take their plants outside during summer and take them in during autumn. In this case, you should build a shade that will protect the plant’s leaves against too much sunlight that can lead to scorched leaves.

If the outdoor climatic conditions are moderately warm, you can cultivate your plant in your garden. However, you should first understand that this is a perennial plant. it generally does well in gardens found in zones 9-11. The soil needs to have a good drainage system and adequate nutrients


In conclusion, it is disappointing when you find that your spider plant seems to be dying. However, you do not have to resign your spider plant to that fate.

You have options to save your spider plant, you just have to diagnose what the problem is and correct it.

Ultimately it comes down to doing a few very important things. Give your plant adequate light. Water it appropriately, and make sure it is in a quality potting mix that drains well, but can still retain moisture.

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