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Saving Your Spider Plant: How to Fix Yellow Leaves and Keep Your Greenery Gorgeous

November 24, 2023
5 minutes read
A healthy

Ah, the humble spider plant. It's a staple in homes around the world, beloved for its hardy nature and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions. But what happens when your once vibrant greenery starts to turn a sickly yellow? Fear not, plant parents! We're here to help you diagnose and treat your spider plant's woes, and get it back to its glossy green glory.

Understanding the Spider Plant

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of plant care, let's take a moment to appreciate the spider plant in all its glory. Native to tropical and southern Africa, the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a popular houseplant thanks to its adaptability and attractive, arching foliage.

Spider plants are known for their long, slender leaves that come in a variety of patterns, from solid green to variegated white and green. They're also prolific propagators, producing baby plants, or 'spiderettes', that dangle from the mother plant like tiny green spiders.

Despite their robust nature, spider plants can occasionally run into problems, the most common of which is yellowing leaves. But don't panic! This is usually a sign of a simple care mistake that can be easily corrected.

Diagnosing Yellow Leaves

So, you've noticed your spider plant's leaves are turning yellow. The first step to saving your plant is diagnosing the cause. There are several reasons why spider plant leaves can turn yellow, including overwatering, underwatering, too much light, and nutrient deficiencies.

Let's break down each of these causes, so you can figure out what's going wrong with your plant.


Overwatering is the most common cause of yellow leaves in spider plants. These plants are succulent-like in nature, meaning they store water in their leaves and can tolerate periods of drought. If the soil is constantly wet, the roots can become waterlogged and oxygen-starved, leading to root rot and yellow leaves.

How can you tell if you're overwatering? Check the soil. If it's soggy or water pools on the surface after watering, you're probably giving your plant too much H2O. The leaves may also appear swollen or feel mushy to the touch.


On the flip side, underwatering can also cause yellow leaves. If your spider plant's leaves are yellow, dry, and crispy, it's likely begging for a drink. Spider plants prefer evenly moist soil, so if the soil is bone dry, it's time to water.

Remember, though, that 'evenly moist' doesn't mean 'soggy'. It's a delicate balance, but once you get the hang of it, your spider plant will thank you.

Too Much Light

Spider plants love bright, indirect light, but too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, causing them to turn yellow or brown. If your plant is near a south-facing window or another source of intense light, consider moving it to a less intense location.

Not sure if light is the problem? Look for signs of sunburn, like yellow or brown patches on the leaves, especially on the side facing the light source.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Finally, yellow leaves can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, particularly a lack of nitrogen. Spider plants aren't heavy feeders, but they do need a balanced diet of nutrients to stay healthy.

If your plant's leaves are yellowing from the tips inward, or if the yellowing is accompanied by slow growth, a nutrient deficiency might be to blame. Consider using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to give your plant the nutrients it needs.

Fixing Yellow Leaves

Now that you've diagnosed the problem, it's time to fix it. Here's how to address each of the causes we've discussed.


If you're overwatering, the solution is simple: water less. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. If the plant is severely waterlogged, you may need to repot it into fresh, dry soil.

Remember, it's better to underwater than overwater. Your spider plant can recover from a little drought, but root rot is a serious, often fatal condition.


If your plant is underwatered, give it a good soak. Place the pot in a sink or tub and water thoroughly until water runs out the drainage holes. Then, let the plant drain completely before returning it to its usual spot.

Going forward, try to keep the soil evenly moist. This might mean watering once a week, or once every two weeks, depending on your home's humidity and temperature.

Too Much Light

If your plant is getting too much light, move it to a location with bright, indirect light. North or east-facing windows are usually a good bet. If you don't have a suitable window, consider using a grow light.

Remember to turn your plant every so often to ensure all sides get equal exposure to light. This will promote even growth and prevent leaf burn.

Nutrient Deficiencies

If your plant is lacking nutrients, start feeding it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Follow the package instructions for dosage, and remember to water the plant thoroughly before and after fertilizing to prevent root burn.

Spider plants usually only need to be fertilized once a month during the growing season (spring and summer), and not at all during the dormant season (fall and winter).

Preventing Yellow Leaves

Prevention is always better than cure, and the same goes for plant care. Here are some tips to keep your spider plant healthy and prevent yellow leaves from developing in the first place.

  1. Water correctly. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Water less in winter when the plant is dormant.
  2. Provide the right light. Spider plants prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, which can scorch their leaves.
  3. Feed regularly. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  4. Ensure good drainage. Spider plants don't like wet feet. Make sure your pot has drainage holes and use a well-draining potting mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the tips of my spider plant's leaves turning brown?

Brown leaf tips can be a sign of low humidity or water quality issues. Try increasing the humidity around your plant, and use distilled or rainwater to water it.

Can I cut off the yellow leaves of my spider plant?

Yes, you can trim off the yellow leaves. This won't solve the underlying problem, but it can make your plant look better while you figure out what's going wrong.

Why is my spider plant not producing babies?

Spider plants usually produce babies when they're slightly root-bound. If your plant isn't producing babies, it might need a smaller pot, or it might not be getting enough light.

Remember, plant care is as much an art as it is a science. Don't be discouraged if your spider plant runs into problems. With a little patience and care, you can nurse it back to health and keep your greenery gorgeous.

About me
Liz Walker
Liz Walker
Hey there! I am Liz, a dedicated gardener and nature enthusiast with over two decades of hands-on experience.
Through my articles, I share insights ranging from organic pest control to creating stunning garden designs.
My aim is to inspire you with the joys of gardening, providing practical advice that makes nurturing your green space both fulfilling and enjoyable.
More about Liz
Liz Walker
Liz Walker
Hey there!

I am Liz, the founder of MyAeroGardening. 
Through my articles, I share insights ranging from organic pest control to creating stunning garden designs.
My aim is to inspire you with the joys of gardening, providing practical advice that makes nurturing your green space both fulfilling and enjoyable.
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