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How To Fix Spider Plant Root Rot? [Problem-Solving Guide]

Spider Plant not responding well to the care provided might be the result of underlying problems like root rot.

Generally, the Spider Plant shows signs of root rot, like yellow and curled leaves and stinking soil when overwatered or infected by pests and diseases. Besides, excess fertilizer, improper drainage, and low light could be the potential culprits. 

Needless to worry, you can fix the root rot in Spider Plant by identifying the problem and following care tips accordingly.

What Causes Root Rot In Spider Plants? 

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) belongs to the easy-to-care houseplant group, but root rot in them can take much of your effort to cure. 

Generally, you can tell the Spider Plant root rot through the following symptoms:
  1. Wilting leaves
  2. Brown spots on the leaves
  3. Drooping or turning yellow and brown leaves
  4. Foul odor coming from the soil
  5. Slow growth

To save the Spider Plant, it is essential to identify root rot’s causes and treat them accordingly.

1. Overwatering the Plant

Like most indoor plants, the Spider Plant does not demand regular daily watering. It should be fine if you water it twice a week but not more.

Generally, excess water in the pot saturates the soil, depriving oxygen to the plant’s roots. The suffocated roots fail to function well and cause yellow leaves and droopy plants.

Moreover, the prolonged excess moisture creates a suitable environment for pests and diseases, leading to mushy, discolored, and decaying roots. 

Brown Spider Plant
The entire plant looks sick when overwatered for a long time.

2. Limited Sunlight

Low light conditions indirectly contribute to Spider Plant root rot by affecting its health, making it more prone to root-related issues. 

Generally, the Spider Plant does well in 6-8 hours of bright indirect sunlight. But failing to receive proper light decreases the plant’s ability to undergo photosynthesis.

And, due to less energy reserve, the plants become weak to stand against several problems, including root rot pathogens.

Further, little light can lead to weaker and less developed root systems.

3. Inadequate Drainage & Improper Soil

One thing that the Spider Plant hates the most is standing water which is mainly due to improper drainage.

Since a plant requires enough air space in the root zone to grow, the dense and compact soil lacks porosity creating water-logged conditions.

Without the water to flow out, roots become mushy, change into a darker color, and fail to supply nutrients to the entire plant.

Ultimately, the root of the Spider Plant rot.

4. Too Much Fertilizer

A monthly dose of standard houseplant food in the spring and summer helps your Spider Plant rekindle its growth after the dormant winter. 

But, overdoing the fertilizer application results in a salt buildup in the soil, affecting the nutrients and water intake of the soil.

Further, the excess fertilizer cause chemical burns in the root, eventually leading to root rot. 
An spider plant turning brown.
You’ll notice the color of the leaves fading away from the edge.

Generally, the signs of Spider Plant root rot due to over-fertilization include brown leaf tips, curling leaves, and patches on the leaves.

5. Pests & Fungal Infection

Mostly, Spider Plants are resilient and less prone to pests and fungal diseases. 

However, once these anomalies make it to the plant, they damage the entire plant and the root.

Pests like spider mites, nematodes, and fungus gnats, feed on the organic matter from the soil and damage the delicate roots.

Meanwhile, the damaged roots are susceptible to fungal infections by pathogens like Rhizoctonia solani, Fusarium spp, and Phytophthora, causing root rot.

How To Save A Root Rot Spider Plant?

Diagnose the root rot causes individually and apply the best methods available below. 

A. Improper Watering 

  • Cut down on watering immediately and let the soil dry. 
  • If the soil has a strong foul smell, take the plant out of the pot and the soggy soil and repot them in a fresh medium.
  • Before you repot, check for mushy and brown roots and remove them.
  • Allow 1-2 inches of topsoil to dry out between each watering to prevent soggy soil.

B. Lack of Light 

  • Move the plant to an area that receives partial sunlight throughout the day.
  • You can place the Spider Plant in the east-facing window with low sun exposure suitable for the plant.
  • For regions that receive early and dark winter, use artificial grow light for 10-12 hours.
  • Use sheer curtains to protect the plant from harsh sun damage. 

C. Poor Soil & Drainage 

  • Amend the existing potting soil by adding a handful of sand or perlite to increase the aeration.
  • In case you have been using the potting soil for over 2-3 years, replace it with a well-draining potting mix that works best for the Spider Plant.
  • Do not apply extra pressure while repotting to avoid compactness in the potting mix. 

D. Over Fertilization 

  • Remove the white layer of salt from the soil.
  • Place the Spider Plant pot under running water to flush the excess fertilizer. Repeat the process 2-3 times for better results.
  • Carefully scan the plant for dark and mushy roots and trim them as they can hardly revive.
  • In severe conditions, repot the plant in a fresh potting mix, as it can help your Spider Plant recover from root rot.

E. Pest & Disease Invasion  

  • Isolate the infected plants away to protect other healthy plants from being infected.
  • Remove the Spider Plant from the pot and trim the infected parts, including the rotted roots.
  • Soak the plant’s root in hydrogen peroxide solution for 10-15 minutes, as it helps kill any fungal or bacterial pathogen present. But make sure to rinse the root well before replanting to avoid the potential chemical harm of hydrogen peroxide.
  • You may use neem oil to control the pest population before they enter the soil.

How To Save A Spider Plant From Root Rot?

All you need to avoid excess watering in the winter and control the soil moisture to prevent Spider Plant from getting root rot and other diseases. 

  • Use the bottom watering method in the Spider Plant to allow the soil to take enough water. Do not forget to drain the excess.
  • Make sure to refresh the substrate every 2 years. This helps the soil become porous and facilitates drainage.
  • Use a terracotta pot with enough drain holes. You may drill a few if it lacks any.
  • Make sure to avoid any damage to the roots while repotting.
  • Dilute the fertilizer to half the strength before applying it to the plant. 
  • Cut down fertilization in dormant winter months. 

From Editorial Team 

Avoid Frequent Repotting!

Repotting can be the ultimate solution for most Spider Plant problems, but frequent repotting can curb your plant.

For good health, only repot your plant in 2-3 years.