Spider plants are quite popular among houseplants owners and are considered one of the best air-purifying plants. But sometimes, spider plants can suffer from brown tips when you ignore their basic needs.
But what causes brown tips in spider plants, and how can you fix the same? Let’s find out.
Brown tips in spider plants mostly occur due to dehydration. The reason for dehydration could be root rot, underwatering, low humidity levels, and pest problems. Start by adjusting the watering schedule and misting the plant with diluted neem oil to help with humidity and keeping the pests at bay.
Negligence often causes problems like the browning of tips, and it’s quite common. But don’t worry, you can prevent it with the proper care routine.
This article covers all the possible reasons that might be causing the brown tip in spider plant and the cure to such issues.
So, let’s dive right into it.
Table Of Contents
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What causes brown tips on spider plant leaves?
Your spider plant’s health depends upon many factors that include the environment, temperature, quality of water, and fertilizer.
If you are one of those people who take great care of their plant, keeps it under indirect sunlight, keeps watering it from time to time, and even keep cleaning it now and then.
However, still, it faces issues like the browning of the tip then you may undoubtedly be worried and thinking that “where did I go wrong?” and “what should be done?”
So here’s the list of some major factors responsible for this issue. Further, we’ll discuss all those things one by one in detail where most of the people go wrong.
- Excess sunlight
- Improper watering
- A buildup of salt and chemicals mixed in tap water
- Low humidity level
- Pests attack
Let’s discuss these issues in detail.
|Excess sunlight||Heat increases→Plant use water to dissipate heat→Lack of water in plant→Brown tips|
|Overwatering||Leads to root rot→Plant cannot absorb water and nutrients→Lack of water in plant→Brown tips|
|Underwatering||Leaves starts losing stored water→Lack of water in plant→Brown tips|
|Chemicals in water||Affects the water intake of the plant→Lack of water in plant→Brown tips|
|Low humidity levels||Plants lose excess water during transpiration→Lack of water in plant→Brown tips|
|Pest attack||Sucks sap from the plant→Lack of nutrients and water in the plant→Brown tips|
|Overfertilization||Harms the roots→Impacts water intake→Brown tips|
Too much sun can lead to brown tips
Spider plants are tropical plants that don’t prefer direct sunlight. Direct sun exposure often causes leaf damage, which causes the leaf to turn brown.
When the plant is exposed to intense sunlight, the moisture level goes down significantly.
Apart from that, direct sunlight produces too much heat, and the plant needs to use its water reserves to dissipate that heat to prevent damage. That can lead to brown tips and spots in your spider plant.
Artificial light sources are sometimes used as supplementary light sources only if used with precautions and guidance.
Also, keeping the plant in a darkroom can lead to the yellowing of the leaves, and eventually, the plant may die sooner or later.
Also read: How much light do spider plant need?
Improper watering is the most common cause of brown tips
Like every other plant, spider plant also can’t survive and grow without water.
Both overwatering and underwatering the plant might be the reason for brown tips in spider plants.
You should never water the plant when the soil is already wet as it can make the soil soggy. Your excessive love can be deadly to your plant.
When you end up overwatering the plant, it usually results in root rot. Root rot can be life-threatening for the plant as it prevents the flow of nutrients and water to the foliage.
As a result, the plant starts getting dehydrated and brown tips appear on your spider plant.
It’s the same as keep on feeding a baby even if he’s already full.
You should also never let the soil dry out completely for too long as it can lead to nutrition deficiency to the plant, which can cause the plant to weaken.
When you underwater your plant, then brown tips are likely. You can quickly fix this problem by adjusting the watering schedule.
Sometimes, underwatering is why the spider plant loses the green stripes.
Also read: How much water do spider plant need?
A buildup of salt and chemicals that comes with tap water
Tap water contains chemicals like chlorine and fluorine. Adding such chemicals might have a good reason for us humans, but they are undoubtedly harmful to your plants.
Plants do not have a strong ability to bear such chemicals, and we can see their harmful effect on them.
Tap water contains fluoride to prevent our teeth from decaying, but fluoride can be toxic for plants.
Chlorine is also added in tap water to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites, but it can cause the leaf’s tip to turn brown and even black.
Hence not watering your plant for a while might be way better than watering highly chlorinated water.
You can also collect rainwater to water your plant as it doesn’t contain such harmful chemicals that can damage our plant’s foliage.
When you continuously keep watering a spider plant with tap water, after a certain amount of time, it reaches its maximum limit to bear the effect of chlorine and fluorine, which leads its leaves to turn brown.
At first, you will notice the browning only at the plant’s tips. But soon, it can lead to browning of entire leaves.
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Low humidity level leads to brown tips
Most beginner hobbyists consider all other ways but mostly ignore the humidity level, which causes discomfort to the plant. Low humidity causes drying out and browning of leaves.
If your spider plant is kept at low humidity levels, you will likely notice all its tips turning brown.
Keeping the plant near an air conditioner can decrease the plant’s humidity as this can make the air dry.
Seasonal change can also impact the humidity level of the plant. Humidity level during winters is low as compared to the summers. Thus, make sure you keep that in mind.
Also read: Should I mist my spider plant?
Over fertilization can lead to salt buildup and brown tips
As you care enough about your plants, you probably know why plants need fertilizer.
But you also need to know that over-fertilization leads to the plant’s sudden growth with inadequate numbers of roots.
The insufficient amount of roots eventually becomes the reason for not supplying enough water and nutrition to fulfill the plant’s amount.
Brown tip may be the indication of excessive fertilization. Sometimes new hobbyists fertilize their spider plant during the winters when their plants are dormant. This might also result in brown tips.
Also read: Do spider plant need fertilizer? How much?
Pests attack are likely to cause brown tips in spider plants
Although spider plants are hardy plants, pests like Aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies can do severe damage to your houseplant.
Aphids are the soft-bodied pest that relies on plant tissues and the liquid inside the plant.
You can’t see spider mites easily, but as its name itself reveals its appearance, it comes in a variety of colors and has eight legs with an oval body.
These pests can multiply reasonably quickly, and as a result, they end up feeding on your spider plant’s sap, which makes your plant weak and deficient. This can lead to brown tips in spider plants.
Whiteflies are white and cottony in appearance and can do severe damage if left untreated.
If you ignore these pests on your houseplant, they will start spreading like wildfire and impact all the plants at your home.
Also read: How to save a dying spider plant?
How do you get rid of brown tips on spider plants?
Now that you know what causes brown tips in spider plant, the next question that comes to your mind must be how can I get rid of brown tips on my spider plant. So, without further delay, let’s dive into the details.
Move the plant so it gets indirect bright light
Spider plants thrive and grow better under a bright light. But that doesn’t mean we should keep it under direct exposure to sunlight.
If your spider plant is placed somewhere outside the house (might be on the patio), a shady spot would be right to keep the plant healthy.
As for indoor, please place it in a place where it has indirect access to bright light.
These plants prefer bright indirect lighting conditions that means keeping them in your window with a sheer curtain would be best as the sunlight will not affect them.
Adjust the watering regime
You should only water your spider plant when the first 2 inches of the soil is almost dry. However, it would help if you never let the soil dry completely up to the extent that it feels dry and flaky.
The leaves may start drooping and possibly start getting yellow or brown if you underwater the plant all the time.
Try to provide a sufficient amount of water—neither too much nor too little. And make sure to check the pot’s drains as this might be possibly creating the issue.
Also read: Overwatering vs Underwatering
Use water free of chemicals.
We have already discussed how harmful tap water could be for the plants. While you can eliminate chlorine by letting the bucket of water sit overnight, fluoride could be a nuisance to deal with.
If you were watering your plant with tap water to date, then it might be the reason for those brown tips.
Let the water sit overnight so that the chlorine gets evaporated. Using a calcium-rich soil mix can also reduce the impact of fluoride toxicity in plants.
You can also replace the tap water with rainwater, purified or distilled water for watering the plants, and your plants will glow differently.
Rainwater is another best-proven source of water for plant watering.
Maintain a high humidity level
Spider plant thrives in high humidity, so you must consider increasing humidity levels.
There are various ways to maintain the humidity for the plant. Some of them are given below.
Humidifiers are by far the best way to increase the humidity around your plants. You can purchase it and place it in the same room where the spider plant has been kept.
Grouping the spider plant with other plants in your house and watering them timely can help also increase the humidity.
Misting the spider plant once every week. Don’t forget to remove any standing water from the leaves whenever you mist.
Keeping the plant in a room with high humidity during winters and water the plant timely during summers to maintain the humidity. Moving them to your bathroom could also help with humidity.
Only fertilize your plant when needed
Fertilizer fulfills the deficiency of nutrition in plants, so you can’t completely stop using it.
However, overfertilization can bring more damage to a plant than under fertilization can ever do.
It is suggested to fertilize a spider plant once a month during the growing season(spring through summer).
Start by cutting down the feed during the fall. Also, you must never fertilize your plant during winter.
If you have already overfertilized the plant, remove the excess fertilizer by watering the plant adequately. Keep watering the plant unless the excess water starts leeching out from the drainage hole.
As the water gets flushed out, it carries away all the excess salt and fertilizer buildup from the soil. This shall help with overfertilization.
Alternatively, you can repot the plant into a fresh pot to help with the situation.
Keep the pests at bay
First of all, always keep the plant in a clean place and schedule cleaning the area at least once a week.
To avoid pests on your spider plant, you can use insecticides, but if you have children or a pet in the house and are afraid to use it, you can use vinegar or neem oil as a natural insecticide.
I personally love the neem oil solution that I can mix with my spray water and mist my plant once a week. This helps with the humidity as well as keeps the pests at bay.
Liquid soap mixed with water can be another effective cure to get rid of these harmful pests.
Maintain steady temperature
Temperature also plays a vital role in the life of a plant. Usually, Room temperature is suggested to be the best temperature for a spider plant’s growth.
However, the temperature between 65° F to 85° F is considered a reasonable range for spider plants to thrive.
A Spider plant can be kept outdoor on your patio under a shady spot during summers but consider keeping it indoors during winters.
However, avoid keeping them near a furnace or air conditioner as these can shock the plant and lead to brown tips.
Also read: Can spider plant be kept outside?
Also read: How to revive a dying spider plant?
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Can brown leaves turn green again?
No, there is no possibility to turn the brown leaves green again. The best bet for you shall be to get rid of the brown leaves so the plant can focus on new growth.
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Should I cut the brown tips off my spider plant?
Yes, you can trim the brown tips off your spider plant. However, it will not look any pretty that way. The best bet for you shall be fixing the cause of brown tips, so new growth remains healthy.
How often should I water a spider plant?
You should water your spider plant twice a week during the summer and once in two weeks during the winter.
However, no one can tell you a definitive schedule for watering. The best way is to test the soil dryness and water when the top two inches of the soil feel dry.
Is it ok to keep a spider plant under direct sunlight?
No, you should never keep spider plants under direct sunlight. An hour or half of the morning sun might not harm your spider plant much, but intense sun during noon can be detrimental to your spider plant’s health.
Source: Common insect pests and diseases, Spider Plants Introduction, University of Vermont, Spider plant care.
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