The spider plant is very sturdy, but if we do not provide the appropriate environment to the plant, their leaves will start curling. But what causes curly leaves in spider plants, and how can we fix it? Let’s find out!
Irregularities in the watering, overfertilization, and pest infestation are major causes of spider plant’s curly leaves. Try to move your plant to a brighter spot and water it adequately. You might have to repot the plant if the pot size is too small or the plant is overfertilized.
The curling of the spider plant leaves is amongst the common issues that most of the growers face. Often, the issue is because of the pest situation wherein the pests attack the plant and the new leaves of the plant.
Both overwatering and underwatering can lead to the spider plant’s curling leaves. Another reason that we will discuss in detail is overfertilization.
Spider plants require a very dilute dosage of feed and only during the growing season.
Providing the spider plant with bright indirect light is also essential. A spider plant grown in a darker spot does not develop the variegation that we get by keeping the spider plant in a brighter spot.
We will understand the reasons and the causes by taking a deep dive into this topic while helping you fix it.
Also read: How to tell if my spider plant is dying?
Table Of Contents
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6 causes of curly leaves on spider plant
The spider plant is one of the most common houseplants for decor as it is tough to kill. However, if you don’t care for it properly, your plant may experience some problems.
We might notice that the spider plant leaves go curly at a particular time of the year, and we do not understand why.
In this guide, we will help you with all the common reasons that could lead to the spider plant’s leaves going curly.
The causes of the curly leaves are:
- Improper light conditions and the placement of the plant
- Watering situations
- Fertilization or Overfertilization?
- Moisture and Humidity requirements
- The size of the pot
In this guide, we will understand the situation and fix your spider plant’s curly leaves.
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Improper light conditions and the placement of the plant
What does improper light condition mean in the case of the spider plant? In general, it stands for the light requirements of the spider plant.
A spider plant needs bright indirect sunlight for proper growth and maintains the leaves’ variegation.
If you have understood your spider plant, you might realize that light plays an important role.
For example, if a spider plant is kept in a dark spot with low light conditions, then the plant’s leaves will go curly.
Not only curly, but we will also notice that the leaves’ color is not as green as the spider plant that is kept in a brighter spot.
The spider plant requires bright indirect sunlight for the plant’s healthy growth.
When kept in a brighter spot, the spider plant leaves are greener than those kept in a darker spot.
Here comes the placement of the plant. We should keep the plant in a North or East facing window, where the plant would get bright indirect sunlight.
Also, the spider plant loves the morning sunlight.
If we keep the spider plant in direct sunlight for an hour every day, the leaves will develop good variegation.
However, there is a catch to the condition above. Never move a plant from one extreme to another. For example, if you move a spider plant from a really low light spot to a bright light spot, your spider plant will likely suffer.
This will cause stress to the plant, and the spider plant may develop curly leaves.
If we notice the curly leaves on the spider plant, then look for changing the plant’s placement.
Also read: How much light do spider plant need?
It is crucial for any plant owners to follow the watering regime, and only water, as much as necessary for the plant.
The spider plant does not need excess water and needs to dry out between waterings.
There are times when we need to mist the plant regularly, and we will discuss the same later in the guide.
The spider plant leaves can go curly by both the underwatering and the overwatering of the spider plants. So, let’s get into the details of both the circumstances.
Also read: How much water do spider plant need?
The spider plants can be watered once or twice every week during the summer season and during the winters, they can go up to two weeks without any watering.
An underwatered spider plant will start drooping, and the leaves will be curly. The soil is extremely dry and requires water.
In this case, we will feel the soil first. If the soil is dry, then water the plant. Also, check the soil at least 2 inches below.
Never feel the topsoil only. It could be that the top layer of the soil is dry, but the soil below is still moist.
If the soil is moist, then leave the plant for a few days.
In underwatering situations, watering the plant well will revive the plant, and the spider plant is healthy again after a few days.
The real problem arises when we have overwatered the spider plants.
No houseplant likes to be overwatered or sitting on still water. But one major problem is people don’t realize they are overwatering their spider plant.
How to understand the overwatering situation?
The first step starts with feeling the soil, which is the golden rule. If the soil is moist/wet and the leaves look curly with yellow color, then it could be an overwatering situation.
Spider plants are tropical plants, but they do not require much water.
First of all, check for the drainage holes and if the spider plant is standing on still water on the drainage tray.
If the drainage holes are blocked, then we will need to clean the holes. Always remove the excess water from the drainage tray.
The spider plant can be watered once a week during the growing season but always feel the soil first.
The same rule of feeling the soil goes for the dormancy period, which is during the late fall and winter. However, the watering cycle increases to once in two weeks.
We can avoid the overwatering of the spider plant by:
- Always feeling the soil before watering
- By creating a watering regime
- Digital notes, also sticky notes attached to the plant works great
- Check the drainage holes and clean them
- Never allow excess water to settle on the tray
- If necessary, a report might be required
We will talk about the repotting of a spider plant later in the guide, where we will also talk about saving the spider plant.
When should I water my curly spider plant?
The spider plant should only be watered when the soil at 2-inch depth feels dry. However, you can get by even if you keep the soil a little moist, but it is not recommended to do so when you are a beginner and you have not understood your plants well.
If your spider plant is underwatered or overwatered, then you need to adjust your watering schedule accordingly to save your plant from dying.
Also read: Overwatering vs. Underwatering
The spider plant does not require excess feed and demands only dilute dosages.
The feed type should be diluted and an all-purpose fertilizer for the spider plant. We should go for a 2-4-4 or a 4-4-4 fertilizer for the spider plant.
Now, the trick behind fertilizing is the amount we use and the duration.
Once a month during the growing season works completely fine for the spider plant.
The spider plant does not require feed during the dormancy period, that is, during the late fall and winter.
This is when the plant takes time for itself and stops the growth. So, if you have been noticing no growth during the winter, then it’s expected.
Curly leaves on the spider plant is also a result of overfertilization of the plant. We will also see some other signs, such as brown tips caused by overfertilization.
Overfertilization causes leggy growth, and it also results in stunted growth of the spider plant.
How can we avoid overfertilization?
To treat a spider plant with overfertilization:
- Check for the mineral build up in the upper layer of the soil. If you can remove it, then please remove the excess build-up.
- However, you have dosed any liquid fertilizer in excess, then we might need to repot.
- Remove the root ball of the pot and Keep the spider plant under running water. It will ensure that the excess fertilizer is removed from the plant.
- Now, take another pot. We will need a mixture of well-draining soil, pumice/perlite, and compost.
- Add the mixture to the new pot.
- Place the root ball in the center of the pot but gently.
- Cover the plant with some more of the mixture that we used above.
- Gently tap the pot to remove the air-pockets.
- Water the plant while ensuring that the drainage holes are not blocked.
- Do not fertilize the plant for a month.
Also read: Do spider plant need fertilizer? How much? How often?
Moisture and Humidity requirements
The leaves of the plants curl because they are facing issues with adaptation. It could be that we have just received the plant, and the leaves are curling.
We need not worry in such cases because the plants, just like human beings, require some time to adjust to the new environment.
With watering and proper light conditions, we will see that the spider plant is back to normal.
When it comes to the spider plant’s moisture and humidity requirements, they need a balanced environment.
We need to ensure that the plant is kept away from the window still during the winter, from where it could receive the cool draft.
Because of the cool draft, the spider plant’s leaves could curl. Also, if lept near the radiators will harm the plant equally.
Spider plants need regular misting during the winter as we will notice the spider pups’ growth soon after the winter.
When we see the spider pups’ growth on the mother plant, then make sure to mist the plant regularly.
In winter, the spider plant will not require daily watering but daily misting will be necessary. You can also add a humidifier to help with the humidity side, especially if you live in a place where humidity is very low.
A quick note to keep in mind is to add a neem oil solution when we mist the spider plant. The neem oil solution is an organic way to keep the plants free from bugs.
The idle temperature requirement for the spider plant ranges from 50°F to 80°F.
Also read: Should I mist my spider plant? How to maintain ideal humidity level without misting?
The size of the pot
People often neglect the most critical factor for growing an indoor houseplant. It is the pot size and the requirement of the plant.
In the case of the spider plant, we see that the spider plants love to get a little rootbound, so let the roots develop completely first.
If the plant roots have space to develop further, then the spider plant’s foliage will continue to grow.
However, if your plant is leggy and has curly leaves, also not showing any signs of growth, then it could be that the plant requires another pot.
How do we check that the spider plant has developed in the pot?
If we notice that the roots are bulging out of the drainage holes and are crusty white, then the roots have developed completely.
In such a situation, the plant does not get enough room for development, and as a result, it halts the plant’s growth.
Curly leaves are a sign that the plant needs to be transferred to a bigger pot.
What should be the idle size of the pot?
As a general rule, we choose the pot one size bigger than the previous one. You can also choose the pot according to the size of the plant.
What does this indicate?
For example, if your spider plant is currently potted in a 1-gallon pot, then we will need a 2-gallon pot, and if the plant is in a 2-gallon pot, then a 3-gallon pot will be required.
However, always allow the roots to develop completely and let the roots get a little rootbound. Spider plants show better growth as their roots get established.
Also read: What happens if your pot size is too big?
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Pest is a prevalent issue amongst houseplants, and we need to be preventive towards the pest situation.
First of all, let us understand the signs of the pest situation.
The spider plant leaves start curling, and we will see that the spider plant has some spots on the leaves, also yellow/brown leaves.
The pests feed on the newest leaves, and we might not see the growth in such a situation.
What type of pest attacks the spider plants? If we notice little white spiders, then it is spider mites, and these are very sticky to the leaves.
If we notice furry cotton balls, then it could be the mealybugs.
Next comes the removal of the pest off the spider plant. To achieve this, we will first need to isolate the plants from the others.
The reason behind the pest could be some other plant as well, and hence make sure to check all the plants if they are clubbed together.
Once isolated, then spray the spider plant with a neem oil solution. This is an organic way to remove the pests from the plants.
If we want, we can also choose the pesticides available on the market but give a dilute dosage to the plant.
Use the spraying for at least two weeks to completely remove the pests and their eggs, if any.
If known at an early stage, we can remove the pests entirely, which could be hazardous.
The pests will feed on the entire plant and might affect the other plants if kept near the infected plant.
How do you take care of a curly spider plant?
We are now well aware of the reason behind the curly spider plant and can tackle the above situations.
We also know what to do when the plant is not watered correctly and if the plant is suffering from an overwatering condition.
Next, we will get into steps of how to cure a curly spider plant. Let us get started!
Situation 1: When the plant is curly without any signs
When we do not know what might have caused the spider plant leaves to go curly, then it is best to give the plant some time.
Water the plant right and allow the excess water to escape from the drainage holes.
Provide the spider plant with indirect bright light and, if possible, give the plant some direct sunlight for an hour.
Direct sunlight will help with the variegation.
It could be that the spider plant needs some time to adapt to the new environment, or we have changed the placement of the plant.
The spider plant leaves go curly when it experiences environmental changes or stress.
Situation 2: When we are suffering from an overwatering or overfertilization issue
First of all, we try and resolve the issues first by removing the excess water and the excess fertilizer from the plant.
However, if nothing works, we will need to repot the spider plant to a new pot.
How to repot the spider plant?
To report a spider plant, we will need a few general things to consider. The list is as follows:
- A new pot
- A well-draining potting soil mix
- Perlite/pumice and Compost
- A clipper/ Pruner/ Scissors
- Disinfectant/ Rubbing Alcohol
Let us understand the process.
- First, get the pruners/ clippers ready and disinfect them with the disinfectant or rubbing alcohol
- Disinfecting the clippers ensures that no disease or pest is transferred to our already suffering plant
- Now, trim the excess roots that can be seen from the drainage holes
- Gently remove the rootball from the pot
- Keep the plant under running water if the plant was suffering from an overfertilization issue
- This will ensure that the fertilizer is washed away from the plant
- Next, take the well-draining potting soil and mix it with perlite/pumice and add some compost to the soil
- Add the above mixture to the new pot
- Place the spider plant in the center of the pot
- Be extremely gentle during this process as the roots will be very delicate
- Once placed, cover the plant with the soil & compost mixture
- Tap the pot to remove the air-pockets
- Water the plant right and do not overwater
- Keep the pot in a bright indirect light
Situation 3: Spider pups are not growing
We need to take care of the spider plant once we see the pups growing. We will see small buds on the spider plant during the late fall.
The spider plant requires a bit of moisture when it grows the pups.
It might not be required to water the spider plant daily, but misting the spider plant will help with the growth of the pups.
Final Note: The art of keeping the spider plant is to see the growth of the pups, and the art lies in the propagation.
When we mist the spider plant, add a neem oil solution to the water.
Neem oil solution will help prevent the pests’ attack, and it is completely organic.
Also read: How to save a dying spider plant?
Source: Common insect pests and diseases, College of agricultural studies, Spider Plants Introduction, University of Vermont, Spider plant care, National science foundation.
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