For all the floral brilliance of garden flowers and delectable fruity flavors of fruit-bearing plants, you have to admit, they can be a bit fussy.
While it can be fun and rewarding for serious gardeners to take care of such plants, even those with the greenest of thumbs might want to turn to plants that are less high maintenance sometimes.
Spider plants are usually a perfect example of this. They are long, green, and don’t require a lot of attention to keep them in good condition. However, even they are not immune to problems from time to time.
In particular, spider plants are vulnerable to their tips going brown. What once looked like a long, lush stretch of green can turn into a morbidly-brown patch of death all too quickly.
You hardly want brown spider plants hanging around your home, which is why you’ll want to pay heed to these easy-to-follow steps for addressing browning tips.
Problems From Overwatering
All plants need water, obviously, but there’s such a thing as having too much of a good thing, and that’s the case here. While the right amount of water can help your spider plants grow to great lengths and enjoy a nice, long, healthy life, overwatering them can result in just the opposite occurring.
A fair amount of this has to do with the fact that soil typically needs to dry out at least somewhat between watering and irrigation sessions. Failure to do so can cause an excessive buildup of moisture, which in turn can cause the roots to start to rot.
If this occurs, you’ll need to remove those elements of the roots that have gone soft and rotted before it spreads.
In addition to this, having so much water built up near the base of or sucked up into the plant can cause a great deal of stress on the plant’s systems from the roots out to the ends of the leaves.
Problems From Underwatering
Unfortunately, the issues raised by water stress don’t stop there. In fact, just as too much water can stress a spider plant, causing it to turn brown at the tips, the same can occur if the plant is underwatered.
While in the former case the stress is caused by drowning your plants’ root system and putting a burden on it that way, this time it’s the opposite that stresses your plant, as it struggles to suck up what little moisture it can.
To combat this, you’ll obviously want to start by watering your plant a little more. Of just as great concern, however, is how well your soil retains that water in the first place.
Underwatering may not be the result of you not watering your plant enough but simply the plant not soaking it up enough due to the soil being poor or not retaining enough moisture or retaining it for long enough.
One simple way to check if your spider plant is getting enough water is to stick your finger in the soil and see how much of it feels moist. If you don’t feel moisture anywhere within the topmost two inches, chances are your spider plant needs to be watered.
Fluoride in the Water
The problems with water and spider plants continue. For plants that are allegedly not too fussy, they sure can be finicky about how much water they should receive, though that’s true of most plants.
The big problem here, though, isn’t so much the amount of water as what’s contained within it, namely, fluoride. While a little bit of fluoride might not be too much of a problem, if you allow your plant to soak up too much, overtime it can start to build and cause problems, namely, inhibiting your plant’s ability to perform photosynthesis.
In especially severe cases, it can even lead to the plant’s tissue being damaged. This is part of what can eventually cause the stomata in your plant’s leaves to turn brown.
One of the simplest but most important steps to take in preventing this, therefore, is to make sure that you don’t have fluoride in your water. You might want to purchase a water filter that specializes in filtering out fluoride.
In addition, you might want to try and flush out soil that has been polluted with fluoride with distilled water, allowing it to drain out all the way.
If you prefer a more natural approach, or your spider plants are planted indoors, rainwater can be a good way to flush out fluoride as well.
Overfertilizing and Salt Buildup
Here we have yet another case of too much of a good thing backfiring. While fertilizing your spider plant can help it grow, if you overdo it, you once again risk the kind of leaf damage that reveals itself with those telltale brown spots.
One manifestation of this is salt buildup. Too much fertilizer can result in plant toxicity, and can even cause problems for your spider plant’s roots.
One quick way to reboot your plant following salt buildup in your spider plant is to replant it in new soil.
All of this naturally begs the question – just how often does your spider plant need to be fertilized, anyway? The answer is likely to be on the low side, around every couple of months.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution, and don’t overdo it.
In addition to fertilizing issues with salts, you also want to pay attention to the chemicals your plant is taking in and how it can affect its short- and long-term health.
Pay Attention to the Tips
You’ll also want to take a closer look at the color of the tips. So far, we’ve referred to sick or leaves as browning. Still, whitish or grey tips can also indicate toxicity, namely boron.
On the other hand, if the water in your area is heavily treated, the tips may well be on the darker side once they start to get sick.
One of the major problems every plant owner has to watch out for are the diseases that can ravage them seemingly without notice. While experienced hands can spot warning signs well before brown spots start to emerge, it can be difficult for those just starting out with spider plants.
Check the color of the tips against the conditions listed above to help you self-diagnose your plant.
Overexposure to the Sun and Low Humidity
Once again, too much of a good thing can prove bad when it comes to sun exposure. If your plant’s tips are brown, it may be drying out from getting too much sun. What’s more, if you live in an arid climate, the low humidity can also cause the tips of your spider plant to turn brown.
Spider plants in particular need high levels of humidity to grow well. For this reason, if you do live in an arid climate, it’s advisable that you bring your plants indoors during the dry season to give it some more shade and moisture, or to install a humidifier nearby.
By taking careful heed of these different indications of potential spider plant sicknesses, you can identify and rectify them that much more quickly, helping ensure your plant’s longevity and beauty.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.