Spider Plants are popular due to the simplicity of their treatment and care. For the most part, they can be left alone with a little water and everything will be fine. However, sometimes your plant does need a little attention.
Spider Plants, while easy to take care of, do need specialized care. Curling, folding, or bending leaves can be a result of several factors, including:
- Too much sunlight
- A small pot (not enough space)
- Not enough trimming
Keep reading to learn which one might be affecting your Spider Plant, and what to do to fix the problem.
When you don’t water your plants enough, you may find that they begin to curl. When plants don’t have enough water for survival, it tends to be the leaves that go first. Generally, they will start curling, then turn brown on the edges, before they eventually shrivel up and die.
How Often Should I Water My Spider Plant?
There are a lot of factors that influence how often you should water a Spider Plant such as:
- Pot size
If you notice your Spider Plant’s leaves curling, it is a good idea to check the soil to see if it is damp. Spider Plants don’t enjoy being too wet, but they like moist soil and are not able to handle drought conditions. If your finger comes out dry from the soil, that’s a good indication it’s time to water your Spider Plant.
An underwatered Spider Plant is an easy fix. If you notice your plant seems dry and the soil isn’t very wet, add a little bit of water to the soil, just enough to make it slightly damp. A good rule of thumb is to water about once every week or two, with roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.
Spider Plants do best with small, but frequent waterings as they like a more consistent temperature, so resist the temptation to soak them with a large watering to make up for them not having had enough water.
Also, it rarely hurts to give them a light misting, which can help keep pests away.
One of the most common reasons plants die for new owners is overwatering. Unfortunately, a Spider Plant’s curling leaves can mean it is overwatered or underwatered. Since the visible result of both is the same, many new plant owners will water their Spider Plant more, assuming the leaves are curling because they don’t have enough water, and this will only make the situation worse.
While Spider Plants enjoy having water, they also don’t like overly wet soil. If the soil remains too moist, you may find that your Spider Plant also gets root rot. If you notice a limp Spider Plant, or that your Spider Plant has curly leaves, it is a good idea to check your soil.
If you have a pot that drains well and will drain the soil quickly, just try to leave it out without water for a day or two. The soil should drain itself. Just keep an eye on the soil and wait to water your Spider Plant again until it feels dry.
However, if you aren’t watering your plant more than recommended, and you still find your soil to be too wet, consider your soil and pot quality. Lack of drainage is either due to a pot that holds too much moisture, or soil that is too compacted and lacks proper aeration.
If the problem persists, consider changing out your pot, or adding things like small rocks and vermiculite to allow your soil to handle the water better.
3. Too Much Sunlight
Sure, all plants like sunlight. However, not all plants like sunlight in the same way. Some enjoy bathing in direct sunlight for most of the day, while some are content just sitting in the shade.
Spider Plants fall into the second category. They can take direct sunlight in the morning, but any longer, and they risk burning. When the leaves get too hot, they will start to wither and curl.
How Much Sunlight Does a Spider Plant Need?
Spider Plants like a bright room, but don’t do well in direct sun. Generally, the best place to put them is near a window where sunlight doesn’t shine right through so it gets a lot of light, but no direct light rays.
This one is easy enough. If you think your plant might be getting too much sun, just find a slightly shadier area to put them in.
If you notice some leaves are burnt or are starting to burn, it is a good idea to cut them off. They won’t grow back, and trimming them will leave space for new leaves to start growing.
As with any plant, Spider Plants are susceptible to various pests. When plants are overwatered, over-fertilized, or don’t have enough airflow, they are more susceptible to an infestation of pests.
What Kind of Pests Can Infest a Spider Plant?
The most common harmful insects that can infiltrate your Spider Plants are:
- Spider mites
Being able to identify which insects are on your plant may be important if they persist. However, the general treatment for each of them is the same. So if you are sure your Spider Plant has an infestation, you can perform the same treatment methods, regardless of type.
Once you get an infestation, you have to act quickly, especially if you have other plants. Otherwise, you will soon see them on every single plant you own. This is especially true for all indoor plants, as there isn’t much to stop them from moving to a new pot.
There are some simple solutions you can use with every insect. However, if none of these options are effective, you may have to approach the problem using methods that are more specific to the particular insect you are dealing with.
- Neem oil: neem oil works for almost all insects, especially mites. It isn’t harmful to pets or humans, so it makes for a great method to try without worry.
- Simply wash your plant: applying high-pressured water onto the leaves of your plants will get rid of a majority of all insects. Just make sure you don’t overwater the soil, and get the bends and underside of every leaf.
- Rubbing alcohol: while this is most effective with mealybugs, it can also get rid of some of the other insects. This works particularly well on insects with a waxy outer coating. The alcohol helps to break down that outer shell, making the bug easy to kill.
- Bring in predatory insects: if you don’t mind having a couple of extra insects in your area (for example if your Spider Plant is outdoors or in a greenhouse), purchasing ladybugs or soldier beetles to live in the garden can be beneficial. They eat many harmful insects, help pollinate plants, and they won’t hurt the plants.
These are the basic methods for killing almost any pest. If these don’t work, you can try investing in insecticidal soap or spray. If the infestation gets very severe, you may even have to soak the roots and soil in insecticides to get rid of the pests.
5. Not Enough Space
When a plant’s roots grow to fit the size of your pot and have no room to expand, the plant will stop growing as well. At some point, the roots will be so compressed in a tight space that the plant will start to die. This is known as a pot-bound plant.
Many people seem to think that by keeping a plant in a smaller pot, they won’t get a bigger plant. While this is true, that isn’t because the plant just stops growing. The plant on the surface may stop growing, but the roots will continue to grow and spread out to find more nutrients until they have no more space.
Once this space is gone, the plant will begin to show signs of stress. A pale Spider Plant, curly Spider Plant, or a wilting Spider Plant can all be signs of pot-bound plants.
How Much Space Does a Spider Plant Need?
There is no minimum or maximum space. As long as they have space for their roots to stretch out, they will. If you want them to stay in a smaller pot, you just have to trim up the roots occasionally or break up the plant into two.
If the roots are bound, it is a good idea to take the roots, break them up with your hands, and replant them into a bigger pot with more soil so that the roots can spread as they continue growing.
What if I Don’t Want My Plant to Grow Bigger?
It is better to catch this problem before the plants are completely root-bound. If you can catch it early, you can simply take a part of the plant and separate it into a new pot. If you don’t want to keep the new plant, it makes a great gift.
6. Not Enough Trimming
Generally, when you trim a plant, the main goal is to get rid of any unhealthy leaves. While you can also trim the plant so it stays smaller or in a certain shape, that is more up to the preference of the owner.
Spider Plants, like all other plants, need regular trimming to stay healthy. Otherwise, all you will see is your Spider Plant’s leaves breaking, and not producing new growth.
When you see droopy, dying Spider Plant leaves, it is best to cut them off. You can do this any time you see a dead leaf. This allows for healthier leaves to grow in their place. You can trim back baby Spider Plants as well, to stop them from growing and propagating.
A couple of times a year, it is a good idea to do a deeper cutting, to keep the plant healthy.
Spider Plants are some of the easier plants to take care of, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still need proper attention and treatment. Factors like water, light, soil, and pests can all affect their growth.
The six reasons that Spider Plant leaves curl are underwatering, overwatering, too much sunlight, pests, not enough space, and lack of trimming. By adjusting your watering schedule and changing the location of your Spider Plant, you can ensure that your plant will thrive.
You can prevent the curling of your Spider Plant’s leaves by trimming your plant a few times per year and ensuring that your plant’s roots are in the correct size pot.