The spider plant is an ornamental indoor plant. It is easy to grow indoors, and its medicinal properties and air purifying capacity are what make it popular. In addition, spider plants require little care and maintenance as compared to other plants. However, without proper care spider plants are susceptible to diseases. So, what exactly are the most common spider plant diseases to look out for?
Here are the 5 most common spider plant diseases and how to prevent and treat them:
- Root rot
- Leaf tip burn
- Fungus gnats on spider plants
- Bleached foliage
- Pest damage
Read on to find out everything you need to know about spider plant diseases.
Overview Of Spider Plant
The spider plant (AKA Chlorophytum comosum) is among the most common houseplants. It is quickly grown and is particularly popular for the ease and speed with which it propagates.
|Height||When grown in a hanging basket, spider plants grow quickly, about 2 to 3 feet long and 2 to 2½ feet wide.|
|Decorative Features||Spider plants make lovely hanging baskets with long, grassy leaves available in green or striped yellow or white.|
|Sun Exposure||Spider plants grow strong with bright indirect light; however, they can tolerate some direct sunlight. Unfortunately, midday light may also scorch their leaves.|
|Temperatures Requirements||Ideal temperature:|
– During the day, temperatures between 65 and 75 °F
– At night 50 to 55 °F
|Propagation||– You can repot spider plants at any season. |
– Divide and repot plants before the roots expand adequately to crack the container.
– Wait four to six months before you start feeding newly potted plants.
|Common Types of Spider Plants||– ‘Vittatum’ is the most common type of spider plant with pale green leaves 4 to 8 inches long with white central stripes.|
– ‘Mandaianum’ is a dwarf spider plant with only 4 to 6 inches long leaves, dark green, with a bright yellow stripe.
– ‘Variegatum’ has white-edged leaves about 10 to 16 inches long and up to an inch wide.
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9–11 (USDA)|
Spider Plant Diseases (Symptom, Causes, and Prevention)
Below are the most common spider plant diseases to look out for, including symptoms, causes, and prevention:
1- Root Rot
Though a common disease in spider plants, root rot can be very difficult to detect. Root rot takes place beneath the soil or surface. That is why you may not even know that it is occurring in your spider plants. If you examine these plants’ leaves, it will help you determine whether the roots are rotting or not.
Here Are The Symptoms to Look Out for:
- Stunted growth
- Yellowing of leaves
- Signs of plant wilting
- Some leaves might start to fall out
- The appearance of brown spots on leaves
- Absence of offshoots or delay in blooming
- Drooping of the plant even after fertilizing
In addition, you can also test your spider plant to determine whether it has root rot or not:
- Inspect the roots by removing the plant from the soil or pot.
- Feel the roots to determine if they are mushy.
- Touch them and see if they fall off because rooting roots fall off if you touch them.
- The roots can be pliable and brown or pale
- See if the roots are foul-smelling.
What Causes Root Rot
Root rot is so common disease in spider plants. Knowing the causes of root rot in spider plants can help you prevent your plants from this disease. Its causes are mentioned below:
- Overwatering: If you overwater the spider plants, their roots fail to provide nutrients to the entire plant. Your plant will get root rot, and it can also die eventually.
- Poor drainage: If you plant your spider plant in a container that can’t drain excess moisture, it will cause waterlogging. The composition of the soil also affects drainage. To prevent poor drainage, you should make sure that the container has several drainage holes at its base so that it can drench excess water.
- Pathogenic infections: Pathogenic infections are one of the most common causes of root rot in spider plants. The soggy soil encourages fungal growth, thus, it can cause root rot. Moreover, overwatering also results in pathogenic infections.
- Inappropriate environment: Spider plants are specific concerning their soil; that is, they can’t grow properly in any type of soil. Garden soil isn’t good for spider plants because it’s known to be a breeding ground for fungus, mildew, and bugs. Peat moss soil is known to be best for spider plants.
- Smaller or larger pots: Spider plants don’t like to grow in any pot as they are pot-specific. Growing them in larger pots would mean that the roots have a large area to spread, and thus they will need more water. On the other hand, smaller pots can limit plant growth due to waterlogging in the soil. You need to buy the right pot before planting spider plants.
- Extreme temperatures: For spider plants, the likelihood of getting root rot increases in extreme temperatures. In extreme temperatures, water gets clogged in the soil and forms frost. The frost formation encourages fungal growth and thus causes root rot. A temperature of 60-75 °F /15-25 °C is best for spider plants’ survival.
How To Prevent Spider Plant’s Root Rot
You can prevent your spider plants from getting root rot if you do the following:
- Water the plants only when the soil feels dry upon touching them.
- Don’t water the spider plants during dormant periods or winter.
- Plant your spider plants in a pot or container that can drain perfectly.
- Fertilize your spider plants once during the spring or every three months.
- Use rainwater or distilled water for watering the plants.
- Don’t expose your plants to low humidity levels.
- Drain the plot gently if you suspect waterlogging.
- To get rid of bacteria and pests, use fungicides such as hydrogen peroxide.
- Avoid extreme temperatures.
- Plant your spider plants in appropriate soil.
- Prefer organic fertilizers over chemical fertilizers.
2- Leaf Tip Burn
Leaf tip burn (AKA Leaf-tip browning) is an annoying condition that commonly affects certain houseplants, including spider plants, tropical plants, and any plants with long and strappy leaves.
The most common nutrient issue associated with chlorosis, also known as the yellowing of typically green leaves due to a lack of chlorophyll, is the lack of iron. Still, yellowing may also be caused by manganese, zinc, or nitrogen deficiencies.
Here Are Leaf Tip Burn Symptoms To Look Out For
The most common symptoms of leaf tip burn are the browning of the margins of young, maturing leaves in the head and leaf spider plants leave.
The main difficulty when confronting leaf-tip burn is remembering that it’s a symptom of a larger problem. Remember that once your plant has burned leaf tips or margins, it is almost impossible to reverse the damage at that wounded location. So focus on identifying and correcting the underlying issue.
Nutrient deficiencies may occur because of insufficient amounts in the soil or unavailable nutrients due to high pH soil.
What Causes Leaf tip Burn
Tipburn results from calcium deficiencies in the spider plants growing tissue, which can happen even if calcium levels in the soil are adequate.
Calcium often moves in the transpirational flow in the plant, and it is essential for cell wall strength and membrane integrity. Therefore, the highest calcium concentration is in the outer leaves, where a higher level of transpiration occurs.
- Rapid growth produces conditions for the development of tip burn.
- Excessive fertilizer and pesticide spray damage can also cause leaf tip burn, according to Pennsylvania State University Extension.
- Soil water stress can also reduce the movement of calcium to the plant.
- Low humidity and parched soil may also cause brown leaf tips.
- Too much fertilizer or water that is high in soluble salts can also cause leaf tip burn, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension.
How To Prevent Spider Plant’s Leaf tip burn
- Increase circulation
- Avoid overhead watering
- And remove damaged foliage.
- And if the disease has advanced to the point it affects the stems, you should consider disposing of the plant.
3- Fungus Gnats On Spider Plants
Fungus gnats may not specifically come from spider plant diseases, but they are a problem for spider plants. Fungus plants are pests that are attracted to spider plants because they like warm, humid conditions and organic soil.
They don’t cause real damage to spider plants; they just annoy. However, certain species of fungus gnats lay eggs in the soil. Their larvae can damage the plants by making their growth stunt.
How To Get Rid of Fungus On Spider Plants?
You can control fungus gnats (also called soil gnats or spider gnats) by following the tips mentioned below:
- Move the infested plants away from the healthy ones.
- These spider gnats like to lay eggs in damp potting mix. So, make sure that you don’t overwater the plants.
- If your spider plant is severely infested, repot it into a clean container that contains drainage holes and fresh soil.
- You can catch the adult fungus gnats before they lay eggs with the help of yellow sticky traps.
- Cut these traps into the shape of small squares. Attach these squares to plastic or wooden sticks. After that, insert these sticks into the soil. Change these traps every few days.
- Placing several slices of raw potato on the soil surface can also help you solve the fungus gnat problem. You should lift the slices after about 4 hours to check for larvae.
4- Bleached Foliage
Spider plants’ leaves will bleach out areas, turning yellowish, whitish, or grayish at the surface, particularly near the middle of the reflexed leaf.
In general, bleached foliage is caused by either excessive leaf temperature, light intensity, or sometimes both, according to the University of Florida.
The symptom of bleached foliage often appears in spring or summer when greenhouses require shade and spider plants are hung high in the greenhouse where heat is extreme.
How To Prevent Bleached foliage in Spider Plants
To prevent bleached foliage, try to maintain proper light intensities and temperature.
5- Pest Damage
In general, spider plants are resistant to damage from bugs, but if you notice the bugs or leaves with spots or holes, you will need to act and bring your plant back to a healthy condition.
Spider Plants’ most common insect pest problems are aphids, scales, spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.
|Appearance||How To Prevent Aphids On Spider Plants||How To Get Rid of Aphids On Spider Plants?|
|Aphids||In general, aphids are about 1/16– to ⅛-inch long, small, pear-shaped, and soft-bodied insects. In addition, they can also be green, yellow, black, pink, or brown.||Aphids feed on new growth, roots, or the undersides of leaves. Also, they suck plant sap, which results in yellowing and distorted leaves.||– If you notice minor infestations on the spider plants, you can spray with water, handpick, or wipe the insects with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol.|
– You can also use insecticidal soap spray, but you need to repeat the treatment multiple times in most cases.
– Take your spider plant outside and spray it with insecticidal soap and neem oil extract to control aphids.
– Strictly follow label directions for safe use.
|Appearance||How To Prevent Spider Mites On Spider Plants||How To Get Rid of Spider Mites On Spider Plants?|
|Spider Mites||– Mites are not insects; however, they are more closely related to spiders.|
– Since they are tiny, plant damage is generally the first sign of the presence of spider mites. You can also notice a silky web if the infestations are disastrous.
– If the mites are left untreated, leaves become yellowed or bronzed, and the spider plant dies. Take action at the first sign of spider mites
– Generally, spider mites are more problem on spider plants that remain indoors year-round.
Take out your spider plants outside to prevent mites damage.
|– Spray sturdy spider plants forcefully with water, even the undersides of leaves, to remove mites and break up their webs.|
– Use insecticidal soap to spray spider plants.
– Spray once a week for several weeks to control mites.
– If you are taking out your spider plant, ensure you put it initially in mostly shade until it has adapted to the higher light levels.
– Follow label directions for safe use strictly.
|Appearance||How To Prevent Whiteflies On Spider Plants||How To Get Rid of Whiteflies On Spider Plants?|
|Whiteflies||– Generally, Whiteflies have a powdery white appearance and look like tiny moths.|
– Whiteflies are not really true flies, but they are more closely related to aphids, scales, and mealybugs. They are tiny and about 1/10– to 1/16 -inch long.
|– The damage caused by whiteflies is similar to that caused by aphids. The spider plant may be stunted, and its leaves turn yellow and die. |
– Like aphids, whiteflies excrete honeydew, making leaves shiny and sticky and encouraging sooty mold fungi growth.
|– Wash the spider plant. |
– Spray the spider plant thoroughly with insecticidal soap, particularly the lower leaf surfaces.
– Take your spider plants outside and spray them with insecticidal soap and neem oil extract to control whiteflies.
– Ensure you carefully follow label directions for safe use.
|Appearance||How To Prevent Scales On Spider Plants||How To Get Rid of Scales On Spider Plants?|
|Scales||– In appearance, scales are unusual insects and vary depending on species, age, and sex.|
– Several kinds of scales are pests on spider plants. There are two groups of scale insects: soft scales and armored scales.
– Soft scale secretes a waxy covering that is also an integral part of its body. In contrast, an armored scale secretes a waxy covering that is not an integral part of its body.
– Their size ranges from 1/16– to ½-inch in diameter.
|– Generally, you can find them on stems, the undersides of leaves, or on upper surfaces. |
– Be careful; scales feed by sucking plant sap.
– Like mealybugs, the soft-scale insects excrete honeydew, resulting in black sooty mold problems on stems and foliage, and armored scales do not excrete honeydew.
|– You can remove early infestations of scales by scraping them with a fingernail.|
– Adult scales are relatively protected from pesticides by their waxy covering.
– Use insecticidal soap, neem oil extract, or canola oil to get rid of scales’ crawlers
– Ensure you strictly follow label directions for safe use.
|Appearance||How To Prevent Mealybugs On Spider Plants||How To Get Rid of Mealybugs On Spider Plants?|
|Mealybugs||Mealybugs are tiny, pale insects compared to scales. They are around ⅛ to ¼ inch long and move very sluggishly. The adult female mealybugs cover themselves and their eggs with a white, waxy material, which makes them look cotton.||– The wax on mealybugs helps repel pesticides, making them slightly challenging to control.|
– In general, you can find mealybugs on the lower surfaces of leaves and in leaf axils, the area where the leaf connects to the stem.
– Like aphids, mealybugs excrete honeydew, which provides the opportunity to grow sooty mold fungi.
|– You can treat light infestations by removing individual mealybugs by using your hand or wiping each insect with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol.|
– Use insecticidal soap to spray on the spider plants.
– With a substantial infestation, it may be necessary to dispose of the spider plant.
– For outdoor houseplants, spray with neem oil extract to control mealybugs.
– Make sure you strictly follow label directions for safe use.
Since spider plant diseases are very common, it is relatively easy to prevent your spider plants from them if you know their symptoms, causes, and prevention.
Save this article to make sure your garden or lawn is safe from these spider plant diseases.