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Why Is My Spider Plant Curling? 8 Reasons the Leaves Twist and Turn

Why Is My Spider Plant Curling? 8 Reasons the Leaves Twist and Turn

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So you finally bought that spider plant you always wanted and it has increased the visual appeal of your home tenfold. But all of a sudden, you notice the leaves are starting to curl, and now you’re full of questions.

Why is my spider plant curling? Am I doing something wrong? What can I do to prevent that? Read on to find out.

What Makes the Leaves of Your Spider Plant Curl?

The answer is pretty simple: You’re not providing an ideal environment that prompts healthy growth. I know that’s a general justification though, so let’s see the factors that might cause the leaves of your spider plant to curl.

1 – Inconsistent Watering

If it’s your first time buying a plant, you might think you need to shower it with water and nutrients to help it grow healthy leaves. Well, you don’t. That’s actually counterproductive.

Would you enjoy it if a friend kept shoving food in your mouth after you were full? It’d probably make you sick. That’s what over-watering spider plants is like.

It suffocates the roots, causing them to decompose. They won’t be able to absorb the necessary nutrients and transfer them to the leaves, which prompts them to curl.

Underwatering your spider plant is just as bad. The roots will die from malnutrition and stop transferring water to the leaves, forcing them to curl.

2 – Low Temperatures

Spider plants hail from the tropical lands of South Africa, so they prefer warm environments—specifically temperatures ranging between 75-80℉.

So you can probably tell cold weather wouldn’t be good for them. If you keep your plant somewhere below 50℉, expect its growth to slow down and its leaves to curl.

3 – Direct Sunlight

As much as they love warm environments, spider plants can’t handle direct sunlight especially during the afternoon. It dries the leaves out, causing them to curl.

4 – Poor Soil

How would you feel if you had to live in a visually displeasing house with an uncomfortable bed and zero amenities? I bet you’ll be down all the time and not be able to function normally.

That’s what using poor soil feels like to plants. Spider plants aren’t that picky, but they require soil that keeps them hydrated all the time without absorbing too much water.

If the soil retains excess water, it’ll cause root rot. On the other hand, if it doesn’t absorb enough water, your spider plant will dehydrate quickly.

In both cases, your plant will suffer and its leaves will curl. It’s not just about drainage either.

If your soil is too alkaline or acidic, your plant won’t absorb the necessary nutrients to grow properly and you’ll end up with curly leaves.

5 – Pot Size

Yes, the size of the pot might be causing your spider plant’s leaves to curl. You see, as the plant grows, the roots spread out to absorb more nutrients and water to continue that growth process.

If your pot is too small to allow the roots to expand, your plant will become root-bound. The roots won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients, and the leaves will curl from malnutrition.

On the other hand, if your pot is too big, it’ll contain too much soil, which will retain excess water. As I’ve already established, this can prompt root rot and cause the leaves to curl.

6 – Chlorine-Rich Water

Tap water contains chlorine, which spider plants are sensitive to. It causes their leaves to curl and turn brown. So you want to avoid it at all costs.

7 – Under-Fertilizing

Spider plants aren’t heavy feeders. However, you still need to provide them with a decent amount of nutrients so they can grow healthy leaves.

If you’re not applying enough fertilizer, they won’t have the energy to grow and their leaves will start curling from malnutrition.

8 – Pest Infestation

Yes, spider plants are durable and versatile, but they’re not pest-resistant. You’re bound to face an infestation at one point.

The stress these cheeky buggers create can cause your plant’s leaves to curl – but how do you know it’s pests that are making the leaves curl?

Simple. There will be other indicators. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Spider mites: Spider mites give themselves away by leaving webs on the underside of the leaves.
  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies aren’t hard to notice because their white color makes them pop. Besides, the sticky honeydew they produce can make the leaves lose their color.

How to Prevent the Leaves From Curling

Now that you understand all the factors that cause your plant’s leaves to curl, let’s see what you can do to prevent that in the first place.

1 – Use Well-Draining Soil

Luckily, you can find excellent pre-mixed soil bags in any local gardening store. I can’t recommend mixing your own soil enough though.

It’s the most efficient way to customize a potting mix that caters to your plant’s nutritional needs.

I know the idea sounds scary, but it’s more simple than you think. All you have to do is mix equal parts organic potting mix, coco coir, orchid bark, and worm castings.

At first glance, that mix seems like a chaotic mix of random ingredients, but each component works to create the perfect soil.

Coco coir improves soil drainage so you don’t have to worry about retaining too much moisture. Orchid bark aerates the soil to give the roots room to breathe.

Finally, worm castings provide essential nutrients, prompting the growth of healthy leaves. Add a pinch of limestone to neutralize the soil too, and you’re done.

2 – Protect Your Plant From Pests

You can probably tell that the most efficient way to fight pests is to prevent them from spreading in the first place.

So, keep the area around your plant clean and don’t over-water the soil, as excess moisture attracts pests. You also want to aerate the room your plant sits in.

I know things don’t always go that smoothly, though. If your plant is facing a pest infestation, regular insecticidal soap should be enough to dry these pests out.

You might also want to go with Neem oil; it’s gotten popular as an effective pesticide. You can go the DIY route too, and make your pesticide at home. It’s not that complicated either.

Mix 0.2 gallons of lukewarm water and 1 tsp of liquid dish soap—that should be enough to kick these pests out.

3 – Water Your Plant Consistently

Spider plants don’t have a fixed watering routine, which is why many new gardeners have trouble determining when it’s time to give the soil a rinse.

Here’s the trick: Touch the top two inches of the soil. If it’s dry, give it some water. If it’s damp, wait until it dries a bit.

You don’t want to wait too long, or the soil will dry out, and you’ll end up with a dehydrated plant. On average, you’ll water your spider plant once every 7-10 days if you’re growing it indoors.

How will you know if the soil is dry enough? Well, you can always use a moisture meter to measure the soil’s moisture levels.

Pro tip: Use distilled water as it’s chlorine-free and so it won’t harm your spider plant.

4 – Expose Your Plant to Bright Indirect Light

Spider plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight.

That’s why I recommend placing them in a north-facing window. It faces away from the sun, so you don’t have to worry about receiving direct light.

If you only have south-facing windows, your best bet is to keep them behind a curtain to filter some of that light.

What if you’re growing them outdoors? Then place them somewhere with a bit of shade.

Pro tip: Rotate the pot every once in a while to ensure every side of the plant is receiving enough sunlight.

5 – Fertilize Your Plant Moderately

You don’t have to stick to a specific fertilizer brand – any balanced, liquid type will work. It’s the fertilizing pace that counts anyways. From experience, you’d want to fertilize your plant at a moderate rate.

Once every two to four weeks would be ideal. Start with once every two weeks and see if it works. You can then make the necessary adjustments however you see fit.

Final Thoughts

The next time one of your friends asks you: “Why is my spider plant curling?” You know what to say. It all comes down to not providing an ideal environment.

Whether it’s poor soil, inconsistent watering, or harsh lighting conditions, identifying the problem takes time and careful inspection. Once you treat the issues, though, you’ll have a healthy plant with vital leaves.

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