If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably experienced this houseplants heartbreak…
You get your new spider plant, pot it up, and then the tips of the leaves turn brown or black. I’ve been through it too with my spider plants.
Leaves usually start turning a brownish color due to various careless mistakes on our part – moisture, stress, and sunlight overexposure being the most common factors.
So, let’s discuss what you can do to prevent your spider plant leaves from turning brown!
- 6 Most Common Reasons for Brown Tips on Spider Plant Leaves
- Stress from Overwatering or Under-Watering
- Fluoride Content in Water
- Overfertilizing Causing Salts to Build Up
- Too Much Sun Exposure
- Low Humidity Levels
- Plant Symptoms:
- Potential Cause 1: Inconsistent Watering
- Potential Cause 2: Water Sensitivity
- Potential Cause 3: Leaf Spot Disease
- Plant Mom Note:
- Related posts:
6 Most Common Reasons for Brown Tips on Spider Plant Leaves
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BO3oYVHFk0 Watch my video on bringing a neglected little spiderling plant back to life on my YouTube channel.
Chlorophytum comosum are popular indoor plants for their ability to thrive in sub-optimal growing conditions like indirect light. They’ll even produce spiderlings and flowers without too much effort. However, it’s pretty common for the leaves to look dead, black, crispy, or brown.
Here are a few reasons why your leaves may be turning brown and how you can prevent this from happening.
To get rid of brown tips on your spider plants, follow these easy steps every day / week:
- Consistent watering – water only when the soil is almost dry
- Bright indirect sunlight if growing indoors; partial to shaded light if growing outdoors
- Feed with weak water soluble fertilizer – in the event of salt buildup, thoroughly flush the soil with water
- Water it with fluoride-free water
- Monitor humidity levels
By the way – check out our full guide if you’re wondering about spider plants care,
Stress from Overwatering or Under-Watering
Water stress is a common cause of browning tips on spider plants and can be due to both over and under-watering your plant.
In the case of over-watering, excess water causes root rot, which stops the flow of water and nutrients to the rest of the plant, resulting in brown leaf tips. Without fixing the problem, it will kill your precious houseplant.
In the case of under-watering, your spider plant leaves will slowly dry out. Chlorophytum comosum likes soil that mostly dries out between waterings, but doesn’t completely dry out. Lack of moisture will turn your plant leaves brown.
With an under-watered plant, simply evaluate the potting mix you’re using and the moisture level in your container, then make sure to give it a frequent watering.
As for an overwatered plant, if the root rot is too extensive, you’ll have to remove those areas of the plant to give your plant a fighting shot at survival.
Now, if your next question is how often to water a spider plant to ensure it never has to deal with water stress, then simply put your index finger into the soil of your plant. If the first two inches are dry, your plant needs to be watered!
Also, make sure to repot your over-watered plant. To prevent over-watering, make sure to use a well-draining soil and a pot with a good drainage system. Always remember to empty the saucer some time after watering your plant – this will ensure that your plant’s soil doesn’t absorb unnecessary moisture.
Fluoride Content in Water
Over time, fluoride can be toxic for your plants!Oftentimes, spider plants suffer from browning tips when you subject them to water laden with fluoride.
Fluoride eventually builds up in your plant and starts hurting its health. It will inhibit your plant’s natural photosynthesis process and can even damage some of its tissues. Eventually, it will leave your plant leaf’s stomata and turn the edges brown. So, make sure your tap water doesn’t have fluoride in it.
If you suspect that fluoride is browning your plant’s leaves, regularly flush out the soil with distilled water. To flush the soil, pour a few containers of water into your plant’s pot and give it a few minutes to completely drain out. Once it’s drained out, flush and drain it again.
Rainwater works wonders in flushing out the fluoride from your plant’s soil. Also, use a soil with high calcium levels to prevent potential fluoride toxicity.
Overfertilizing Causing Salts to Build Up
Salt buildup from over-fertilizing is also a common cause of leaf browning in spider plants. Giving your spider plant too much fertilizer will cause plant toxicity and might even damage your plant’s roots – this will eventually turn the leaf tips brown.
A quick fix to over fertilizing is to repot your plant in fresh soil. You can also stop fertilizing your plant and flush the soil with water. This will flush out the excess buildup of salt accumulated from frequent fertilizing and return it to a balanced state.
A spider plant only needs to be fertilized once every 3 months during the growing season. Use a diluted, balanced, water soluble fertilizer to feed your spider plant. Don’t go overboard!
Too Much Sun Exposure
Notice the shaded sun this will get throughout the day when planted outdoors. Source: Ventilago
Spider plants placed in your outdoor garden like shady spots and even decent moisture in their soil. They don’t like the scorching sun – it gets too hot and the soil dries up completely. So, make sure to place your spider plant outdoors in a shaded area with moderate light.
As for indoor spider plants, place your plant in a place that has access to bright, indirect or filtered light. It will grow happily without forming any brown tips. Overexposure to direct sunlight will burn your plant’s leaves and turn them brown!
Low Humidity Levels
Spider plants need high humidity levels to thrive and blossom. In low humidity environments, your spider plant leaves will dry out and their tips will turn brown. So, during the winter season, make sure to place your indoor spider plant in a room with high humidity.
During the summer season, you can keep the humidity level high by timely watering, grouping it with other houseplants, or using a humidity tray.
If your spider plant leaves turn black, it’s a sure sign of bacterial leaf blight. It starts outs as light spots on the leaf tips, which slowly turn brown and then black. Bacterial leaf spot is often the result of overly hot and humid conditions.
To prevent the spread of this disease, avoid overhead watering and remove all damaged foliage. If the disease has started affecting the stems, then you will sadly need to dispose of your plant as it will die, and could infect other houseplants in your garden.
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First, let’s clean up your plant. This allows the plant to direct its energy to new healthy growth.
- Remove entire brown leaves (they will not turn green again) or the affected portion with a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears.
- Wipe the blades of your scissors with rubbing alcohol between each snip.
- You may need to trim your plant in stages because you never want to remove more than 20% of the affected leaves at one time–this could shock your plant.
Now, let’s get your Spider Plant on the road to recovery.
One reason your Spider Plant’s leaves are turning brown on the edges could be due to your tap water. Tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride – all of which can build up in the soil of your plant causing the tips of the leaves to burn and turn brown. One way you can remedy this is to use a water filtration system. If you do not have a filtration system available, leaving your water in an open container or sink overnight before using can help relieve some of the chlorine.
Increase the humidity
Your Spider Plant may also be turning brown from a lack of humidity. Increase the humidity around your plant by misting the leaves on a regular basis, using a pebble tray, or moving a humidifier nearby.
Incredibly dry soil
Your Spider Plant can dry out a bit between waterings, but be sure you’re not underwatering your plant. Keep a consistent watering schedule–water when the top 50% of the soil is dry.
If you accidentally let your Spider Plant’s soil dry out completely, you may see leaves go limp, droop, lose color, and possibly start to brown. If the soil is extremely dry all the way through the pot, a thorough soak is in order.
Here’s how to soak-water your Spider Plant:
- Place your plant in your sink or tub without the saucer. Fill your basin up with about 3-4″ of water. Make sure the water isn’t hot!
- Allow your plant to soak up water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot for at least 45 min.
- Feel the top of the soil after your plant has been soaking–has the water reached the top 2-3” of soil?
- If not all the soil feels saturated, water your Spider Plant slightly from the top of the soil to help speed up the saturation.
- When your plant’s soil is evenly damp, drain the sink/tub and allow the plant to rest while it drains thoroughly. Place the plant back on its saucer and back in its proper spot.
– Brown, dry spots on some of the leaves
– Leaf tips turning brown
– Small brown spots trimmed in yellow
Potential Cause 1: Inconsistent Watering
If you notice brown tips and spots on your dracaena, the problem is probably due to inconsistent watering. If the soil dries out too much, the tips of the leaves will present with brown tips and spots.
How to fix it:
A good system for determining when to water is to scratch into the soil about 1 inch down. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water. Check your plants about every 7 to 10 days and remember that our homes are often hot and dry in the winter, so plants may need to be watered more often.
Potential Cause 2: Water Sensitivity
If you notice brown spots on the tips and edges of leaves, this could be a sign of chlorine and/or fluoride in the tap water or, a build-up of salts within the soil.
Fill a container with your tap water and allow it to sit uncovered for at least 24 hours so that the chlorine and fluoride can evaporate. Another option is to use rainwater or distilled water instead.
Also, if you notice an accumulation of white deposits on the outside of the pot (especially near the drainage holes), this is a sign of excess salts. Use rainwater or distilled water to flush out excess salt.
Potential Cause 3: Leaf Spot Disease
If you see small brown spots trimmed in yellow, your plant might have a Leaf Spot Disease. The attacking fungus or bacteria leaves small brown spots trimmed in yellow where it’s feeding on the leaves. These spots may vary in shape, color, and size.
Immediately remove the affected leaves and isolate your Dracaena from your other plants for the time being. To treat Leaf Spot Disease, try this homemade remedy of putting a tablespoon or two of baking soda and a teaspoon or two of mineral oil in a spray bottle of water. Shake the solution well and then spray all areas of the plant that are infected with brown spots.
photo credit: Missouri Botanical Garden
Plant Mom Note:
I suggest always removing the damaged area of a leaf or the complete leaf if entirely brown. Removal of the dead leaf or damaged areas helps the plant recover and look its best. You will need very sharp scissors or pruning shears.
Instructions for proper removal of damaged or dead leaves:
1. Trim off brown leaf tips or spots with clean shears. Cut off only the damaged tips or spots leaving a tiny margin of brown so not to damage the remaining healthy foliage on the plant.
2. If the entire leaf has turned brown, remove individual leaves at their base. Pull the leaf gently; it may come off on its own. If the leaf doesn’t separate with gentle pulling, snip through the stem with clean shears.
Do you have a plant question or concern? Don’t worry Plant Mom is here to help! No matter what your question is or what kind of plant you have, I am here to answer your questions and give you the encouragement you need to be the best plant parent you can be. I want to share my love and knowledge of plants with you.