Why does my Spider Plant have yellow leaves? Causes and Solutions

Last Updated: June 8, 2022

Spider Plants are great for beginner plant parents or those that just want an easy plant to bring a little something extra to their space. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t come without their range of issues.

Yellow leaves are quite a common problem to have with Spider Plants and it indicates that something isn’t quite right with either the care of their environment. Below we go through all the main reasons why Spider Plants develop yellow leaves as well as how to fix and prevent the issue.

Underwatering can cause yellow Spider Plant leaves

Spider Plants are quite tolerant when it comes to watering but a consistent lack of it will cause yellow leaves. The leaves will also go quite dry and crispy and start to fall off the plant. To check whether a lack of water is the issue, carefully take your plant out of its pot to check the moisture in the soil. If the soil is quite powdery then you can assume underwatering is the cause of the yellow leaves.

You want to slowly reintroduce watering to your Spider Plant over the course of a week. Avoid drowning it in water as it won’t like going from one extreme to another. So water it a little each day for a week and your plant should bounce back to full health.

Overwatering can also cause yellow leaves

This is a slightly rarer cause with Spider Plants but is still worth mentioning. Spider Plants are definitely more tolerant of the occasional overwater compared to lots of other houseplants so this won’t happen unless there is consistent overwatering and the potting mix never gets a chance to dry out at all.

Consistent overwatering will cause the roots to rot and the plant won’t be able to take up any of the needed nutrients, which means it will develop yellow leaves. The first way to tell if the soil is waterlogged is by smelling it. If the potting mix smells quite damp and musty then there is a good chance it has been waterlogged for a while.

Take your plant out of the pot to check and replace the potting mix if it’s waterlogged. You don’t want to wait for it to naturally dry out as this can cause more damage to the root system.

Cut away any of the rotten roots to encourage new growth. You want to be very careful with how much you water your Spider Plant going forward as you want to avoid this problem reoccurring.

Healthy Spider Plant

Healthy Spider Plant

Yellow patches can be caused by sunburn

Another cause of yellow leaves on Spider Plants is too much direct sunlight. They thrive in bright but indirect light. If the leaves look quite scorched and patchy then sunburn might be the cause. Too much direct light can also make your Spider Plant go quite light in colour as it is bleached from the sun so those are the two main things to look out for.

Unfortunately, once the leaves have been burnt by the sun there is no reversing that. Trim off the worst affected leaves and move to a slightly shadier spot in your home. You need to watch out a little more in summer when the sun is a lot stronger and is out for more of the day.

Temperature extremes can lead to yellow leaves on a Spider Plant

Another factor that can harm your Spider Plant is really high or low temperatures. It can happen that your Spider Plant is in an area that gets hotspots or cold drafts and this can cause the yellow leaves. If your plant is too close to a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight or is too close to a radiator or heating vent then the hot air can dry out the plant. To avoid this, ventilate the room well and keep all plants at least 1 metre away from radiators, heaters or cookers.

Cold air can also be harmful to your plant and can also cause yellowing of the leaves. Make sure there are no drafts coming through the windows or doors that your Spider Plant (or any other houseplant) is near. You may also want to invest in a digital thermometer to keep track of how the temperature changes throughout the seasons and make sure your spider plant is in its ideal range.

Overfertilisation can also cause some yellowing

Spider Plants don’t need to be fertilised that often, or even at all!

We recommend feeding them a few times over the growth period of spring and summer and not at all during winter. This is because growth will slow down dramatically when it’s colder and darker. If you are fertilising your Spider Plant more often than this then it may be the cause of the yellow leaves.

Remove any slow-release fertiliser spikes or just stop adding fertiliser to the water and you should start to see the problem stopping. Don’t feel you have to fertilise your plant as we don’t tend to do it with Spider Plants as they grow quickly and produce plenty of baby plants without it.

Those are the most common reasons why your Spider Plant has developed yellow leaves. Luckily they are quite hardy plants so they will bounce back even if the problem has affected a lot of the plant.

Trim away the worst affected areas to encourage new and healthy growth and over time your plant should recover. If you want to learn more about caring for your plant then check out our Spider Plant care guide. 

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