Specific Houseplants

How to Prevent the Ends of My Spider Plant from Turning Brown?

Spider plant outdoors planted in shade won't suffer from brown or black tips

If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably experienced this houseplants heartbreak…

You get your new spider plant, pot it up, and then the tips of the leaves turn brown or black. I’ve been through it too with my spider plants.

Leaves usually start turning a brownish color due to various careless mistakes on our part – moisture, stress, and sunlight overexposure being the most common factors.

So, let’s discuss what you can do to prevent your spider plant leaves from turning brown!

6 Most Common Reasons for Brown Tips on Spider Plant Leaves

Watch my video on bringing a neglected little spiderling plant back to life on my YouTube channel.

Chlorophytum comosum are popular indoor plants for their ability to thrive in sub-optimal growing conditions like indirect light. They’ll even produce spiderlings and flowers without too much effort. However, it’s pretty common for the leaves to look dead, black, crispy, or brown.

Here are a few reasons why your leaves may be turning brown and how you can prevent this from happening.

To get rid of brown tips on your spider plants, follow these easy steps every day / week:

  1. Consistent watering – water only when the soil is almost dry
  2. Bright indirect sunlight if growing indoors; partial to shaded light if growing outdoors
  3. Feed with weak water soluble fertilizer – in the event of salt buildup, thoroughly flush the soil with water
  4. Water it with fluoride-free water
  5. Monitor humidity levels

By the way – check out our full guide if you’re wondering about spider plants care,

Stress from Overwatering or Under-Watering

Water stress is a common cause of browning tips on spider plants and can be due to both over and under-watering your plant.

In the case of over-watering, excess water causes root rot, which stops the flow of water and nutrients to the rest of the plant, resulting in brown leaf tips. Without fixing the problem, it will kill your precious houseplant.

In the case of under-watering, your spider plant leaves will slowly dry out. Chlorophytum comosum likes soil that mostly dries out between waterings, but doesn’t completely dry out. Lack of moisture will turn your plant leaves brown.

With an under-watered plant, simply evaluate the potting mix you’re using and the moisture level in your container, then make sure to give it a frequent watering.

As for an overwatered plant, if the root rot is too extensive, you’ll have to remove those areas of the plant to give your plant a fighting shot at survival.

Now, if your next question is how often to water a spider plant to ensure it never has to deal with water stress, then simply put your index finger into the soil of your plant. If the first two inches are dry, your plant needs to be watered!

Also, make sure to repot your over-watered plant. To prevent over-watering, make sure to use a well-draining soil and a pot with a good drainage system. Always remember to empty the saucer some time after watering your plant – this will ensure that your plant’s soil doesn’t absorb unnecessary moisture.

Fluoride Content in Water

Over time, fluoride can be toxic for your plants!Oftentimes, spider plants suffer from browning tips when you subject them to water laden with fluoride.

Fluoride eventually builds up in your plant and starts hurting its health. It will inhibit your plant’s natural photosynthesis process and can even damage some of its tissues. Eventually, it will leave your plant leaf’s stomata and turn the edges brown. So, make sure your tap water doesn’t have fluoride in it. 

If you suspect that fluoride is browning your plant’s leaves, regularly flush out the soil with distilled water. To flush the soil, pour a few containers of water into your plant’s pot and give it a few minutes to completely drain out. Once it’s drained out, flush and drain it again.

Rainwater works wonders in flushing out the fluoride from your plant’s soil. Also, use a soil with high calcium levels to prevent potential fluoride toxicity.

Overfertilizing Causing Salts to Build Up

Salt buildup from over-fertilizing is also a common cause of leaf browning in spider plants. Giving your spider plant too much fertilizer will cause plant toxicity and might even damage your plant’s roots – this will eventually turn the leaf tips brown. 

A quick fix to over fertilizing is to repot your plant in fresh soil. You can also stop fertilizing your plant and flush the soil with water. This will flush out the excess buildup of salt accumulated from frequent fertilizing and return it to a balanced state.

A spider plant only needs to be fertilized once every 3 months during the growing season. Use a diluted, balanced, water soluble fertilizer to feed your spider plant.  Don’t go overboard!

Too Much Sun Exposure

Spider plant outdoors planted in shade won't suffer from brown or black tips
Notice the shaded sun this will get throughout the day when planted outdoors. Source: Ventilago

Spider plants placed in your outdoor garden like shady spots and even decent moisture in their soil. They don’t like the scorching sun – it gets too hot and the soil dries up completely. So, make sure to place your spider plant outdoors in a shaded area with moderate light.

As for indoor spider plants, place your plant in a place that has access to bright, indirect or filtered light. It will grow happily without forming any brown tips. Overexposure to direct sunlight will burn your plant’s leaves and turn them brown!

Low Humidity Levels

Spider plants need high humidity levels to thrive and blossom. In low humidity environments, your spider plant leaves will dry out and their tips will turn brown. So, during the winter season, make sure to place your indoor spider plant in a room with high humidity.

During the summer season, you can keep the humidity level high by timely watering, grouping it with other houseplants, or using a humidity tray.


If your spider plant leaves turn black, it’s a sure sign of bacterial leaf blight. It starts outs as light spots on the leaf tips, which slowly turn brown and then black. Bacterial leaf spot is often the result of overly hot and humid conditions.

To prevent the spread of this disease, avoid overhead watering and remove all damaged foliage. If the disease has started affecting the stems, then you will sadly need to dispose of your plant as it will die, and could infect other houseplants in your garden.

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