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Spider Plant Yellow Leaves: Causes & Easy Fixes

Are you anxious about the yellowing of the gorgeous white-striped foliage of Spider Plant? 

Certainly, they might be lacking their crucial growth requirements.

Generally, Spider Plant yellow leaves are an upshot of watering issues, indecent lighting, changing temperature and humidity, excessive fertilizer, pests, or diseases. To solve this, monitor temperature shifts, give it a good amount of light and fertilizer, and keep tabs on diseases and pests.

So, let me steer you through this article to give you some tips for keeping your Spider Plant safe from the dangers of yellow leaves!

Is it Normal for Spider Plant Leaves to Turn Yellow?

Yellowing usually happens when you stop caring for your Spider Plant and don’t give them enough sunlight, fertilizer, temperature, humidity, or look after them when they are sick.

However, if you give your Spider Plant all the primary care but its leaves still turn yellow, there may be other reasons!

Image represents the arching leaves of Spider Plant
The long and grass-like leaves of Spider Plants are green and curve over the edge of their pot.

As the plant ages, its leaves turn yellow, which is nothing to worry about as it’s part of the plant’s life cycle.

Normally, aging Spider Plants lose their leaves from the bottom up, and you can make way for the new leaves by pruning the old leaves.

What Causes My Spider Plant Leaves to Turn Yellow?

How do you know if the plant is giving a distress call? You just have to look at the symptoms, that’s all!

1. Watering Issues

Keeping Spider Plants without water for over two weeks is a gamble.

Less water will dry up the soil, and the plant turns its leaves yellow, causing the leaf tips to become crisp.

Image represents the tips of the Spider Plant leaves turning crisp and brown
Underwatering the Spider Plant may cause the tips of its leaves to get crisp and brown.

When Spider Plant gains a decent amount of foliage at its maturity, it may require water twice every three weeks in summer.

Your Spider Plant can suffocate if you keep it in soggy soil for too long. They can’t pull enough water from the soil, and the leaves turn yellow.

Fortunately, your plant can break out from this peril if you don’t let overwatering eat your plant in the first place.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Water once a week in spring, but increase the watering session to twice during Summer.
  • If the symptoms don’t recede, uproot the plant, wash the soil off its roots, and check for signs of root rot.
  • Remove any mushy roots that give off a fishy odor using sterilized pruners
  • Repot the plant by adding extra draining elements like perlite or sand in the new potting mix.

2. Improper Light

In tropical forests, Spider Plants prefer to live under the canopies of other tall trees, which give them enough dappling sunlight to survive.

So, you should also try to replicate the lighting conditions of its natural home.

It is ideal for keeping Spider Plants in bright, indirect sunlight for 8 to 10 hours daily.

Spider Plants also tend to curl their leaves inwards to protect themselves from the extreme sun.

Similarly, less light is also unhealthy for the plant making its leaves fade to yellow and a little limp.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Locate your plant in an east-facing window indoors to give it ample sunlight.
  • Keep UV-protective films in front of west or south-facing windows to defend your plant from harmful sun rays.
  • You can also use fluorescent lights for 10-12 hours daily while keeping the plants indoors in winter.
  • Avoid using incandescent lights as they can manifest leaf burn.

3. Changing Temperature and Humidity

A shift in temperature can influence humidity, and vice-versa, as high temperature can make the air dry, lowering the humidity levels.

Due to their tropical nature, Spider Plants can survive between 21°C and 32°C and humidity of 40-70%.

The first effect of fluctuating humidity and temperature levels is seen in leaves, which turn yellow and later fall off.

High temperatures can cause the water to dry off the soil, so plants cannot take enough water, and their leaves curl.

Cold stress has a similar effect, as the water inside the cells of the leaves freezes up and turns them yellow.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Take your time to remove the damaged leaves using sterilized pruners.
  • Consider using frost blankets to cover your outdoor growing Spider Plants at night.
  • You can also group your Spider Plants together or keep the potted Spider Plant over a water pebble tray to increase the humidity or use humidifiers.
  • Misting your Spider Plant regularly in the morning during extreme heat spells will help cool down your plant.

4. Excessive Fertilizer

Spider Plants are not heavy feeders, so overfertilizing the plant may lead to yellow leaves.

Similarly, use balanced 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer once or twice a month in spring and summer.

You must give this amount once a month if you want total foliage growth for your plant.

Fertilizing in winter and fall can also ruin your Spider Plant as the plant remains dormant during this time.

So, give less or no fertilizer when your plant is ready for winter sleep.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • First, trim off the damaged leaves to promote the growth of new leaves.
  • If there is excessive salt on the topsoil, flush it 4-5 times with distilled water.
  • However, persisting symptoms may indicate that you must change the potting soil and prepare a new potting mix for your Spider Plant.
  • Use rain or distilled water to irrigate your plant to prevent salt accumulation in the soil.

5. Transplant Shock

Spider Plant may experience transplant shock when moving to a new place. So, the effect of this shock reveals itself on the leaves that turn yellow.

But, no need to fret as the plant will repay its green and glossy leaves after becoming familiar with its new environment.

However, yellow leaves are also obvious in recently repotted Spider Plants if the pot is of incorrect size.

Spider Plants become root bound quickly, and you may see roots protruding from the topsoil or drainage holes within a year after transplant. 

Image represents the root bound condition of Spider Plant
Spider plants may experience the root-bound condition that can give rise to the yellowing of the leaves.

So, take a good look at the leaves and the symptoms of root bound before transplanting your Spider Plant.

But, you can take prompt action to prevent the yellow leaves in Spider Plant that occur by transplant shock.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Choose a spot that receives filtered light when you relocate a plant to a new area.
  • Consider using a pot 1-2 inches larger when repotting your Spider Plant.
  • Wait 2-3 weeks before giving liquid fertilizer to the newly repotted Spider Plant.
  • Soak the soil thoroughly with water before you fertilize the plant after transplanting.

6. Pest Attack

Major pests that may attack your Spider Plants are spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and fungus gnats.

Moreover, these pesky bugs remain hidden within the leaves and soil, drink away all essential juices, and turn yellow.

Check the table below about the pests and the symptoms that can hurt your Spider Plant.

Spider MitesMites stay in fine spider-like webs present between the leaves and scratch their surface.

AphidsAphids are present on the lower surface of the leaves, misshape them and turn yellow by sipping all the sap.
MealybugsThese bugs are found on the leaves or attached to the stems, they crack veins and drain sap from plant.
WhitefliesThese flies hide under the surface of the leaves and pull out juices from the plant.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Isolate the damaged plant parts to prevent pests from outspreading.
  • Use weak blasts of water to remove the pests from the leaves’ surface, underside, and base.
  • If this isn’t working, use a neem oil spray and insecticidal soaps to remove them.
  • Other alternatives could be using Q-tips dipped in disinfectants and then rubbing them at the site of infection.

7. Horticultural Diseases

Bacteria and fungi are the pathogens that cause diseases in Spider Plants.

Fungi prefer to infect the roots, while bacteria affect the leaves and the rest of the parts and turn them yellow.

Check the table below to learn about the diseases and their symptoms in the Spider Plant.

Phytophthora Root Rot
Roots turn black, mushy or slimy to the touch and leaves curl or yellow.

Xanthomonas Leaf Spot
Dark or black sunken spots form on the surface of the leaves, surrounding them.
Xanthomonas Leaf Blight
Tips of the leaves turn brown at first.
Margins of the leaves also develop a yellow hue and later they get brown.

Immediate Actions to Take

  • Isolate diseased plants from healthy plants and transplant them with fresh potting mix.
  • Disinfect a new pot by washing it with low-phosphate detergent.
  • If the disease is still evident, spray broad-spectrum fungicides or bactericides that can affect many pathogens.
  • Avoid the plant from staying in soggy soil conditions for too long.

Should I Cut the Yellow Leaves off My Spider Plant?

The yellow leaves on the Spider Plant don’t serve any purpose and become burdens for the plant.

Removing the leaves will make room for new leaves to take their place. 

The plant must also complete its flowering cycle, so removing the yellow leaves will prevent it from spending its energy in the wrong place.

However, you will need proper guidance about pruning these leaves from the plant as you don’t want to lose the healthy leaves.

Image represents the babies of Spider Plant
Infected baby Spider Plants can be cut away to avoid spreading infection between the plants.

Thus, grab a few supplies for the process, like pruners, disinfectants, and gloves.

Once you are done, follow the steps to remove the yellow leaves from the Spider Plant.

  • Check for leaves that are yellow, brown, or unwell for their natural look.
  • Take a pruner, spray disinfectant on its surface, and let it dry for a few minutes.
  • Remove the whole infected leaf away, or just cut around the brown tips to offer some shape to the plant.
  • After this, move the plant to an open place with good aeration and dappling sunlight.

Cutting the Spider Plant’s yellow leaves is easy; you can learn from this video.

From Editorial Team


As perennials, Spider Plants will always grow fresh verdure when they bounce back from stressful situations.

You can prune these plants during Summer and Spring when they are actively growing.

Happy Gardening!   

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