Troubleshooting Yellow Leaves on Spider Plants

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Have you noticed that your spider plant’s leaves are turning yellow? While it’s normal for plants to show signs of wear and tear, yellow leaves can be a signal that something is amiss. In this guide, we’ll explore the common causes of yellowing leaves in spider plants and provide solutions to help you remedy the problem.

Understanding the Types of Yellowing Leaves

Before we dive into the potential causes, it’s essential to differentiate between the two types of yellowing leaves. The first type consists of bright yellow, dry, and crisp leaves. The second type involves pale, mushy leaves. Recognizing the difference between these two types can help you narrow down the underlying cause of the yellowing leaves. Please note that we’re not referring to spider plants with natural yellow stripes or variegation in this guide.

Now, let’s explore the potential culprits behind your spider plant’s yellowing leaves.

1. Natural Aging

As spider plants age, their older leaves at the base may turn yellow, brown, and eventually die off. These aging leaves typically exhibit a brighter color and have a dry texture. If only the older leaves near the bottom of the plant are turning yellow and there are no significant signs of widespread leaf death, there’s no cause for concern. Simply trim off these yellowed leaves, and your plant will continue to thrive.

However, if you notice a large number of dying leaves scattered throughout the plant, the yellowing may not be due to natural aging. Keep reading to discover other potential issues affecting your spider plant.

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2. Iron Deficiency

Insufficient iron uptake is a common nutrient deficiency found in various cultivated plants, including spider plants. The most distinct symptom of iron deficiency is leaf chlorosis, where the leaves turn yellow while the veins remain green. In some cases, the leaves may even turn white.

If your spider plant has a regular repotting and fertilizing routine, iron deficiency shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you suspect iron deficiency, consider using an iron-rich fertilizer or supplement to support healthy growth and vibrant green leaves.

3. Overexposure to Sunlight

If your spider plant is positioned in direct sunlight and its leaves are turning yellow, it might be receiving too much sun. In this case, the yellowed leaves will have a dry or normal texture, rather than being mushy and pale.

Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve. Simply move the plant further away from the light source, and healthy new growth will develop with the appropriate color. While the already yellowed leaves won’t revert to their original hue, you can trim them off to improve the plant’s overall appearance.

4. Over-Fertilizing

Spider plants are known for their low-maintenance nature, including their minimal fertilizer requirements. While it might be tempting to add fertilizer during each watering session, over-fertilizing can do more harm than good. Spider plants are not heavy feeders and can thrive without frequent fertilization.

During the winter months, refrain from feeding your spider plant altogether. For the rest of the year, fertilize your plant with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer only once every other month. If you choose a milder fertilizer with single-digit NPK numbers, you can increase the frequency to once a month.

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Avoid the risk of burning your plants by using a mild option like Dr. Earth Pump & Grow, which has an NPK ratio of 1-1-1.

5. Pest Infestation

Pests can wreak havoc on plants by feeding on their sap, depleting essential nutrients and moisture. This often leads to stippled yellowing of the foliage. While spider plants are generally resilient to pests, infestations can still occur.

To prevent a pest problem, inspect your spider plant regularly and take appropriate measures to eliminate any pests you may find. Additionally, be sure to check the soil moisture before watering, as consistently moist conditions can attract pests.

6. Improper Watering

Determining the right watering routine for your plants can be challenging. Spider plants are no exception. If you underwater your spider plant, its leaves may start to turn brown and yellow, but they will be crisp rather than pale and soft. The browning usually begins at the leaf tips and gradually progresses downward.

To identify underwatering, check the soil. If it’s pulling away from the sides of the pot, your plant needs more moisture. While spider plants can tolerate drought better than excessive moisture, it’s crucial not to entirely skip watering. Allow the soil to dry to your second knuckle before watering again. Ideally, the soil should be about 75 percent dry, striking a balance between too much and too little moisture.


Understanding why your spider plant’s leaves are turning yellow is the first step in nursing it back to health. Whether it’s due to natural aging, nutrient deficiencies, overexposure to sunlight, over-fertilizing, pests, or improper watering, with the right care and adjustments, your spider plant will regain its vitality and vibrant green leaves. For more in-depth assistance in plant care or to browse a selection of high-quality plants, visit Ames Farm Center.

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