How to care for a spider plant with yellow & brown leaves

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are low-maintenance houseplants popular with beginning and experienced gardeners. Spider plant leaf colours range from dark green to white and green striped. The plant prefers bright light but may suffer when grown in direct sunlight. While some plants fail to thrive when root bound, the spider plant grows well in crowded growing conditions. Over watering hurts the plant more than drought. Often, you can care for a spider plant with yellow and brown leaves by changing the lighting conditions and watering routine.

Check the water level in the soil. Too much water causes the spider plant leaves to turn yellow. Determine the water needs by sticking your finger into the planting medium to the second knuckle. Don't water if the soil leaves your finger wet.

Use water that is free of chemicals when watering the spider plant. Additives in city and well water systems may be toxic to plants and cause yellowing or browning of the leaves. Filter the water, if necessary, to remove the chemicals.

Flush the spider plant with spring water if the water you have been using contains fluoride or chlorine. The build-up of salts in the soil results in yellow or brown leaves. Water the plant with chemical-free water until it runs out the bottom of the planter.

Move the plant to a location with less light if you are watering more than twice a week. Direct sunlight causes the plant to dry out quickly and results in brown leaves. The "pups" are the first part of the plant affected by too much sunlight and dry soil.

Transplant the spider plant into a sterile pot if water and sunlight are not causing the yellow and brown leaves. The original pot may contain chemicals or traces of harmful toxins. Flush the plant with clear water before placing in the new planter.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp scissors
  • Spring water
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About the Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for over 30 years, and published a variety of e-books and articles on gardening, small business and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.