Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Pale, Yellow, or Brown and Going Limp?

Spider Plants are well-loved plants. They go by many different names, including Spider Ivy, Ribbon Plant, and Airplane Plant. Originally from South Africa, they don’t need much care and make excellent decorations in a home or office space. 

Unfortunately, if you aren’t sure how to properly take care of a Spider Plant, you may notice that it isn’t as vibrant and springy as it should be. Your Spider Plant may turn pale, yellow, brown, or limp due to overwatering or underwatering, lack of nitrogen, improper sunlight, or pests. 

If you are unsure of what might be causing your plant not to look its best, continue reading below. We will cover why your Spider Plant may be turning brown or yellow and what to do when those problems arise. 

Why Is My Spider Plant Turning Brown and Wilting?

The most common reason a Spider Plant will begin to turn brown is due to stress from insufficient water. This may be due to not having enough water in the soil, too much of a breeze that is pulling water from the air and leaves, or not enough humidity in the air around the plant. 

While Spider Plants can handle drought and survive, they may begin to turn brown anyway. 

As for wilting, improper watering and the wrong light or temperature can cause that problem. Combining brown and wilting leaves is usually a good indicator that you are underwatering or overwatering your plant. 

To check, the best thing to do is a soil test. Stick your finger or another object into the soil about 2 inches (5 cm) down. If the soil comes back dry, it is time to water again. Otherwise, wait until the full 2 inches are dry before watering. This can help reduce overwatering. And if you do this regularly, it can prevent underwatering as well. 

Why Is My Spider Plant Pale and Limp?

Pale spider plant
Usually, a pale and limp plant is a sign of overwatering a plant. However, it can also be caused by too much light, being root bound, pests, or lacking nitrogen.


Spider Plants are tropical and enjoy quite a bit of water, but they can still be overwatered. This is especially true in winter when their growth starts to slow. Like underwatering, always check the soil before watering to ensure it is dry about 2 inches (5 cm) down.


Both lack of light and too much light can cause droopy and pale Spider Plants. Too little light, and they will turn to a yellow color and begin to droop. Too much light, and they will turn white with burnt edges and begin to droop. 

A Spider Plant prefers a lot of sunlight but not direct sunlight. Make sure they get quite a few hours of indirect sunlight to make your plant the happiest. 


If you haven’t used fertilizer on your Spider Plant for a while and are using plain tap water to water your plants, it may be suffering from a lack of nitrogen. Adding a little organic fertilizer to your water every once in a while can help fix this. 


If you don’t think any of these are the problem, pests might be another reason. To check for pests, simply place a white piece of paper under your plant’s leaves and give them a little shake. If small little green, brown, black, or gray objects fall onto the paper, that is a good sign there are pests present. 

Use neem oil or diatomaceous earth to get rid of them. 

Is My Spider Plant Wilting From the Cold?

It is possible that your Spider Plant could start to wilt from the cold. Most Spider Plants do best between 65 and 90°F (18 to 32°C). While the plants can survive and grow until temperatures drop to 35°F (1.6°C), they may begin to wilt or grow only very slowly.

What Does an Overwatered Spider Plant Look Like?

An overwatered Spider Plant tends to look thin and discolored. Usually, they will begin to form discolored spots, typically brown or yellow. When overwatering is constant, the leaves may also shrivel, curl, and wilt. 

If root rot occurs, the bottom of the plant’s stem may be discolored and swollen, and the plant won’t be able to support itself well anymore. 

How Often Should a Spider Plant Be Watered?

plant misting
There are a lot of factors that go into watering a plant and the frequency. Things like air flow, humidity, how well the soil drains, pot size, plant size, and season can all cause changes in how much you should water. 

A good guideline for watering your Spider Plant is to start watering once a week, which should get you close. You may want to stretch this to two weeks in the winter as the plant will grow slower. 

However, to know exactly when your plant needs watering, doing the soil test is ideal. You will want to stick something into the soil about 2 inches deep (5 cm) when it comes back dry; that is when you should water. 

This may be a pain to do often, but as you do it more often, you should start to figure out the average amount of time it takes your plant’s soil to dry, and you can start watering based on that. 

How Do I Know if My Spider Plant has Root Rot?

If your Spider Plant has root rot, there are significant signs. At first, you may only see your plant slowing its growth and not growing new leaves as much as they should. Then, the leaves may begin to turn yellow and brown and wilt.

As root rot progresses, your plant will start to get a discolored stem. The base of the plant will grow soft and swollen and be a discolored brown. It may also be mushy to the touch. 

The best way to tell is with the roots, however. If the roots are discolored, brown, and mushy to the touch, then root rot is pretty much the only thing that is likely to be causing damage to your plant.  

How Do I Know if My Spider Plant is Dying?

If your plant is dying, you may notice that your soil stays very wet, even days after watering. This is because the roots are not absorbing water to provide for the plant as they should. 

You may also notice that your plant is losing all of its leaves. Once the leaves are gone, it is hard for your plant to continue to get the energy it needs from the sun. It may be able to grow from the roots, but it will be difficult and take a lot of time and care to recover. 

Where Should You Place a Spider Plant?

Spider Plants prefer light shade to bright indirect light. They can go outside somewhere as long as they don’t get a lot of sun, so placing them underneath other tall plants is ideal. 

Inside, they can go near a window with sheer curtains so that it isn’t getting direct light. A room with a lot of humidity or a humidifier is also a good idea. 


Spider Plants are attractive plants that are often considered easy to take care of. However, sometimes, things go wrong and when this happens, it is best to act quickly and begin to eliminate possibilities to reduce the chances of root rot or a dying plant. 

Your Spider Plant may turn pale, yellow, brown, or limp due to over or underwatering, lack of nitrogen, improper sunlight, or pests. Check your Spider Plant’s top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil regularly to determine the best watering schedule and use fertilizer to top up nitrogen in the soil. Be sure to give your plant lots of indirect sunlight per day and use neem oil if you notice pests on your Spider Plant’s leaves.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to eliminate possibilities and figure out what was wrong with your plant.