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Spider Plant Curling Leaves: Causes & Easy Fixes

The Spider Plant’s narrow leaves naturally curve as they grow long and heavy. But do not mistake curling for curving as it may indicate a stressed plant.

Generally, Spider Plant curling leaves indicate that the plant is dying due to inappropriate watering, chlorine poisoning, direct sunlight, wrong soil pH, bacterial root rot, and pot-bound condition.

However, reviving your beloved plant to its natural state is very much possible by quickly diagnosing the problem and applying appropriate treatments.

Why is my Spider Plant Curling? (Causes & Solutions)

Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) hail from tropical African forests, where they thrive under shade, warm temperatures, and ample humidity.

Although a low-maintenance plant, a Spider Plant would need a conducive growing environment to thrive.

Otherwise, you will begin witnessing curling leaves that will gradually wither and die.

Here are some probable reasons why your beloved houseplant is curling.

1. Watering Issue

Generally, Spider Plant needs watering about once a week or between 2-3 inches of soil drying out in spring and summer.

However, cut back to watering once 2-3 weeks in fall and winter to prevent the risk of soggy soil conditions.

Depriving Spider Plants of adequate watering will quickly lead to transpiration (loss of water from the leaves), where the foliage turns dry and curled.

spider plant curling leaves
The leaves will begin to fade to a lighter color before curling, which indicates a dry plant.

Although Spider Plants are pretty hardy, they will fail to retain a healthy structure without enough watering.


  • Start pruning severely damaged foliage and curled, dried, and discolored leaves.
  • Water the pot until the excess drains out of the drainage holes.
  • Alternatively, submerge the pot in a container filled with water to moisten the soil.
  • Water your Spider Plant once a week in spring and summer and every two weeks in fall and winter.
Spider Plants are usually thirsty and may forgive when you accidentally overwater them, but underwatering is a complete No-No.

2. Root Rot Condition

Accidentally overwatering your Spider Plant is forgivable but constantly keeping the soil soggy is nothing less than a crime!

Spider Plant prefers slightly soggy soil to thrive, but overwatering will lead to drowned roots and root rot.

The drowned roots will fail to obtain oxygen and nutrients, overtly harming the plant’s food production.

Moreover, the stagnant water around the roots will raise the moisture and invite all kinds of bacteria and fungi (Armillaria mellea, Clitocybe tabescens, Pythium, and Phytophthora) to grow, leading to root rot.

The curling leaves are the earliest indication of root rot, followed by soft, brown spots on the leaves.

So insert your finger into the soil to check the sogginess and determine whether the potting mix emits a foul odor.


  • Tilt your pot to the ground to let the excess water drain out.
  • Immediately cut back on watering and set the pot aside in a warm location to let it dry.
  • Remove browned and excessively curled leaves to redirect energy toward the plant’s growth.
  • Wait for the plant to revive before transplanting it to a new potting mix.

Are you suspicious of root rot?

  • Carefully slide the plant out to check for mushy, dark, and smelly roots.
  • Prune the roots using sterilized pruning shears before applying some fungicides and transplanting them in a new potting mix.
  • Water for about 1 inch once a week to keep the potting soil slightly soggy.

3. Chlorine Poisoning

Do you often water your Spider Plant with chlorinated or mineral water?

You might poison the fleshy tubers with chlorine and fluoride, leading to chlorine and chemical toxicities.

Watering Spider Plants require distilled or rainwater that does not leave any chemical residue in the soil.

They are sensitive to chemicals; hence, the leaves will begin to curl and lose deep green as the chlorine exceeds.

Sometimes, the narrow leaves will begin producing brown tips due to the high chlorine level.

Chlorine is unsuitable for a plant grown in a solid medium because it kills helpful bacteria and microorganisms in the soil.


  • Immediately stop using tap water or mineral water.
  • Carefully slide the plant out and aerate the soil to let the chlorine evaporate.
  • Let the potting mix out in the sun to dry before reusing it.
  • Alternatively, you can add sodium ascorbate to the water and pour it on the soil to neutralize the chlorine.
  • As a precaution, always use purified water or rainwater. Otherwise, let the tap water sit for 24 hours at room temperature to evaporate chlorine naturally.

4. Sweet Soil Condition

Spider Plant is a tropical perennial that thrives in slightly acidic soil to neutral soil conditions.

Generally, Spider Plant thrives in soil with a pH level between 6.0-6.5, which is slightly acidic.

Sweet soil, also known as alkaline soil, is terrible for Spider Plants as it makes the soil nutrients less available to the roots.

Anything too alkaline (7.0 or over) will lead to excessive leaf curling due to incapacity to obtain and use nutrients.

A high level of salt content in the soil caused by excess fertilization or synthetic fertilizer use may also make the soil alkaline.

Salt with high alkalinity will eliminate healthy microorganisms in the soil, making it infertile.

Check for curling of leaves, along with discoloration (yellow, brown, or black) as the tell-tale signs of salt toxication.


  • Start with uprooting the plant and amending the soil with organic matter to lower the pH level, such as egg shells and organic compost.
  • Introduce elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate to reduce soil pH effectively.
  • Use a soil pH meter to check the pH level before transplanting the Spider Plant.

Are you worried about overfertilizing?

  • Run the pot under water several times to leach out salt and set it aside in a warm location to dry.
  • Remove excessively damaged leaves and wait about a month before feeding again with an all-purpose fertilizer.

If your Spider Plants have yellow leaves, learn about causes and solutions.

5. Direct Sunlight

Spider Plant does not tolerate bright, direct sunlight. Remember, it is shade-loving plants.

Ensure to grow them in an area with diffused sunlight for about 6-8 hours a day at home to keep them away from harm.
spider plant in pot
Direct sun, especially afternoon or summer sun, can scorch the plant leaves, leaving them curled.

Moreover, the scorched leaves will wilt and produce browned tips, requiring you to know more about the Spider Plant’s sunlight requirement.

It clearly indicates that your plant is getting too much sunlight and needs immediate rescue.


  • Remove overtly damaged leaves using a sterilized pruning shear.
  • Soak the plant leaves in water and lightly water the soil to allow it to cool down naturally.
  • Move it to an east-facing window where it can receive early morning sunlight.
  • Keep it at the south-facing window at least 4 feet away from the light source.
  • Say No to placing your Spider plant outside unless it is habituated to direct sunlight.

6. Pot Bound Condition

A slightly pot-bound condition is suitable for Spider Plant roots to thrive, but excessive pot-bound may stall root growth.

The pot-bound Spider Plant will experience difficulty absorbing water and nutrients, leading to curled and wilting leaves.

Similarly, the soil will also look compact, and roots will pop out of the soil and drainage holes, which is an imminent sign that the roots are squished and need a bigger home.


  • Consider repotting the plant in a larger pot, at least 2” wider than the previous pot, to allow for healthy root growth.
  • Remove the plantlets to propagate them in new potting soil and allow the mother plant to retain more energy for root growth.
  • As a precaution, repot your Spider Plant every 1-2 years, depending on its vigor.

Are you worried about your Spider Plant? Take a look at 12 problems and their solutions.

7. Pest Infestation

Although rare, Spider Plants may encounter some damaging pests from the infected plants, leading to leaf curling.

Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips may attack the spider plant foliage and suck the juices out, leading to thin and curled leaves.

Also known as sap-sucking insects, these pests may reside in infected potting soil or transmit from garden-grown plants.

They will gradually proliferate and start munching on leaves, sucking the sap that keeps foliage sturdy.

Once the surrounding is conducive, these pests will lay eggs, thrive, and infest the plant. Overwatering the plant, low lighting, and excess humid condition are often the main precursors to pest infestation.

Look out for visible pest infestation signs like minute insect-like creatures, white web-like residue under the leaves, oozing sap from the leaves, and egg deposits.

Find out how to identify pest infestation and eggs on housplants.


  • Start with quarantining the plant and only reintroducing it to other plants when the problem subsides.
  • Using a tweezer or your finger, pick the visible pests and eggs and drop them in a soapy water solution.
  • Next, consider washing your plant with a mild soapy water solution to remove pest residues.
  • Alternatively, you can wash your plant with neem oil or horticultural oil to treat and prevent further infestation.
  • As a precaution, keep your plant in a warm location with appropriate humidity (50-60%), and never mix the houseplant with outdoor plants.
  • Similarly, avoid bringing garden plants inside the house, along with fresh cuttings of twigs, grasses, and leaves near the houseplant.

Wash your Spider plant with soapy water or neem oil every few months to completely prevent pest infestation.

Final Thought

Spider Plant is an easy houseplant to maintain, provided good weather, regular care, and some love.

Give your plant ample indirect sunlight and water every week in the growing season, replace potting mix every year, and feed all-purpose fertilizer once a month.

The curling of Spider Plant leaves is often temporary and will regain its natural vigor shortly after a quick fix.