Spider plant leaves bending is a serious problem caused by light stress, incorrect watering, improper soil pH, nutrient deficiency, and fungal diseases. Luckily, you can fix the leaves if you know the exact reason.
Continue reading this article to know details of causes and easy solutions that work every time.
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- Why Are Your Spider Plant Leaves Bending?
- What Are the Top Solutions for Spider Plant Leaves Bending?
Why Are Your Spider Plant Leaves Bending?
Your spider plants’ leaves are bending for several reasons like improper lighting conditions, overwatering, drought stress, unsuitable soil pH, and unhealthy and weak roots. It is also possible the leaves are bending because insects and different diseases are attacking them.
– Too Much or Too Little Light
Plants need light to start photosynthesis, which generates energy/food for them. However, the leaves of spider plants may show curling/bending when they receive direct sunlight at high intensity for a longer time than required.
Generally, spider plants love indirect sunlight for 6 – 8 hours to do photosynthesis successfully. If they receive more than this, there is a chance of dehydration, which can cause wrinkles on the leaves.
Similarly, photosynthesis will not occur as required if they receive less light than 6 hours. As a result, plants will have lower energy, which is not enough to hold the vigor of the leaf and stem. So, spider plants should get appropriate sunlight for better health.
A spider plant’s leaves may bend if they face drought or water stress. It is because moisture is really important for every internal mechanism of plants. If you don’t provide enough, these processes will be disturbed. When this happens, plants will find it hard to maintain their leaf health.
Underwatered plants may show symptoms with brown tips, red spots, and dry leaves being indications. If they stay in such a condition for some time, their leaves will curl up and ultimately fall. If you still don’t water these plants, they will wilt and eventually die.
Sometimes, watering stress can also occur when growing plants in sandy soil. This soil type has poor moisture retention properties and cannot hold water for later usage. Therefore, you must keep checking the moisture level by either sticking your finger in the soil or using an instrument like a moisture meter.
– Tackling Overwatering
Adding too much water is another reason why leaves bend. When you add lots of water, roots stay submerged in it for longer, thus deteriorating. During it, the oxygen supply gets limited, which causes suffocation and can lead to leaves curling up.
In addition, nutrient uptake is also compromised when you overwater plants. We all know how crucial nutrients are for proper plant growth. So, leaves start to disfigure when overwatered spider plants cannot absorb fertilizers from the soil.
– Weaker Root System
Are spider plant’s leaves too heavy? Then Roots are the main culprit. When a plant’s root system is weak, don’t expect the plant to stay in good shape. It is because water and nutrient absorption mainly depend on the roots’ efficiency. If they face any stress, they won’t perform their role to the fullest, eventually leading to leaves bending.
The root system can get weak for several reasons like poor watering, transplant shock, bad soil, diseases, etc. In this situation, the only thing to do is follow basic care tips like proper watering, adding organic fertilizers, etc.
– Adding Impure Water
You now know how crucial it is to add adequate water. But that’s not the only thing to worry about the water. Its quality is super important, too, as a spider plant is highly sensitive to impurities.
When you add impure water, the chemicals and pollutants will accumulate near the roots. If you keep applying it, there will come a time when these impurities will overtake nutrients in the soil, severely harming the plants.
Furthermore, pollutants can make the soil over-acidic, making the environment unfavorable for the root hairs. When this happens, plants will become nutrient deficient, and the leaves will start to bend and disfigure.
– Unsuitable Soil PH
Another major reason spider plant leaves turn brown and eventually bend is unfavorable soil pH. When it is not in the optimal range, roots find it hard to take up all the nutrients around them. So, expect to see nutrient deficiency symptoms like leaves turning yellowish-brown and other plant problems when pH is not what the plants want.
– Insect Infestation
When you see leaves bending or curling upwards, then look for insects. They like to reside on the undersides of the leaves, on the stems, and under the ground. Most insects suck the juice from the leaves, while some chew the foliage. That is why plants’ health is compromised when their population gets out of hand.
Insects that love to feast on spider plants are aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, whitefield, scale insects, and sciaridae. You can also notice the residues of insects like tiny brown or red spots, honeydew, and cottony webbing.
– Root Rot is to Blame
Another possible reason you see spider plant leaves snapping is root rot fungal disease. As the name suggests, roots start to rot when plants are infected with this disease. In this condition, they cannot absorb water and nutrients from the soil, no matter how many doses you apply.
When rotting gets severe, leaves also start to bend. After some time, the wilting will begin too. If you don’t do anything to cure this disease, the infected plant is most likely to die. So, how to specifically know when plants are facing root rot?
If you notice dark brown spots on its leaves, a foul smell coming from the wet soil, and the leaves curling, the roots have started to rot because of this fungal disease. Plants can get this root problem due to overwatering, impure water, over-fertilization, low temperatures, and poor drainage systems.
– Nutrient Toxicity
You have already read how badly nutrient deficiency affects plants—just like that, adding too many fertilizer doses is also detrimental. This phenomenon is called nutrient toxicity, and it generally happens when you carelessly add any fertilizer without even considering the soil condition.
Nutrient lock will happen if the soil has enough nutrients and you add fertilizers. In this condition, the nutrients will get “stuck,” and roots won’t be able to absorb them. So, nutrient toxicity can also lead to nutrient deficiency in plants.
– Improper Pot/Container Size
The last major reason your spider plant might be bending is the container’s size. Just like you need space in your home, roots also need some area to stretch properly. But if you have grown a plant in a small pot/container, there is little room available. So, the roots will start to circle and move randomly. In some cases, they can even come out of the soil near the base of the stem.
So, when roots spread abnormally, they will not absorb nutrients and water from the soil properly, which will cause the curling of leaves. It will also damage the foliage of the spider plant and ruin its aesthetic value. So, take the sign of a plant turning bad as a side effect of incorrect pot selection.
What Are the Top Solutions for Spider Plant Leaves Bending?
The top solution for spider leaves bending is to first ensure there is enough moisture in the soil. You should add organic manure to enhance drainage, which will help leaves stay in shape. Furthermore, applying fertilizers and insecticides will also stop the leaf bending.
– Water Properly
As discussed, both underwatering and overwatering can cause leaf curling and bending. So, you must apply water properly at the right time. So, how often do spider plants need water? Well, once-a-week watering is enough for them to thrive. Apply it early in the morning because most of the water will evaporate if you do it during the daytime.
Moreover, you should only water plants when the upper layer of soil is completely dry. This will prevent plants from getting overwatered. You should pour adequate water that is enough to soak the roots. This will keep your plants safe from stress.
Also, make sure the water you are applying is free from contaminants. There are now lots of kits that test the water and tell you whether it is safe. Use them; if they give a bad rating, don’t add this water. Furthermore, If you live in a neighborhood where pure water is unavailable, add some chlorine to eliminate all the contamination.
– Enhance Soil Drainage Capability
When you apply water and it stays on top of the soil for hours, it means soil drainage is poor. If you notice it and don’t do something immediately, then get ready to see complications. The damp conditions will cause oxygen deficiency, impact nutrient absorption, and invite fungal diseases.
So, to improve soil drainage, the first thing to do is check whether the hole at the pot’s base is clogged. When debris gets stuck there, water won’t pass through and will build up inside, causing water-logged conditions.
The fault lies in the soil if the hole is not the problem. So, apply compost and manure to improve the drainage properties. Applying these organic things will also enrich the soil with essential nutrients. In addition, removing the topsoil and adding clay is another great practice to fasten up the drainage.
– Grow Plants Where Proper Light Falls
Sunlight is a natural blessing for plants which can turn into their worst nightmare if you don’t place them in a suitable location. It would help if you chose a spot where a spider plant can enjoy six hours of light on its surface. If they get more than that, then leaf scorching will occur. After some time, leaves start to bend, and it is highly unlikely they will recover if the reason is sunburn.
Furthermore, light intensity is high during summertime, which can cause cell death in the leaves. At first, the yellow spots will start to emerge. When the temperature stays high, leaves become dehydrated and lose their vigor. Then, they discolor and ultimately bend. So, if you want to avoid seeing yellow leaves, grow plants where enough light falls with moderate intensity.
Also, don’t take indoor plant leaves curling down laying down. It is also super easy to handle light stress if you are an indoor grower. It is because advanced grow-led lights are now generally used to “lighten up” indoor plants. They have an intensity meter, which you can use to increase or decrease the intensity.
– Adjust Soil PH Organically
If you love your plants, then ensure the soil’s pH levels are in the ideal range (6.1-6.5). To know about it, you can use different things like a pH meter, pH test strips, pH meter, or any other pH tester.
If you find out that the soil is more acidic than required, then add garden lime, baking soda, wood ash, or kiln dust. Mix any of these materials in water and then carefully pour them on the soil. The best strategy is to apply a little and then measure the pH to ensure you don’t over-alkaline it.
If pH testers show that the soil is alkaline, add sulfur, compost, mulch, or cottonseed meal. Choose any one and then add it carefully to the soil to lower the pH within the range that plants like.
– Apply Insecticides
If you spot lots of insects around your spider plant, then it is time to do something to get rid of them. Applying organic insecticides is the best way to deal with these unwanted guests.
You can use neem oil spray, Insecticidal soap, or Cayenne Pepper sprays to ward off these insects. You can also try baking soda and vinegar to keep the soil insects at bay. People prefer neem spray because it has a strong smell that insects don’t like.
If you still see insects damaging the plants after applying organic insecticides, then it is time you take out the most lethal weapon to get rid of them – chemical insecticides. They damage the outer layer and internal organs of the insects. That is why they instantly get killed when their skin gets in touch with the chemicals.
However, you will have to be careful with chemical insecticides as they can also cause different health complications, like skin allergies, teary eyes, etc. So, ensure you wear gloves, glasses, and a mask before spraying chemical insecticides. You can buy these precautionary items and any spray you want at any nearby gardening store or online.
– Add Fertilizers Intelligently
You must apply fertilizers smartly if you want the soil to avoid nutrient deficiency and toxicity. The best time to apply the fertilizers is before the seed sowing and when it is time for flowering. You can also add fertilizers on any other occasion if a soil test says that it lacks nutrients.
Also, please don’t fertilize your spider plant in the winter. This plant doesn’t focus on vegetative or floral growth in the season. So, it requires very few nutrients. If you still apply fertilizers, they will build up in the soil and can lead to toxicity. The optimal time to apply fertilizers is during the spring or at the onset of summer.
Moreover, experts also suggest choosing organic fertilizers over inorganic ones. It is because nutrient lock and toxicity usually happen when you apply doses of inorganic fertilizers. Contrarily, organic sources release the nutrients slowly, so there is neither a chance of nutrient deficiency nor the likelihood of nutrient buildup (except when you apply them in higher dosages).
– Change Their Homes
If the pot size is small and you notice leaves bending, it is time to give plants a new home. Purchase a relatively bigger pot and then carefully transplant the plant into it. A rule of thumb is to buy a pot almost 3 inches bigger than the last one.
Moreover, ensure the new pot has a pothole, which can aid in the drainage of extra water you may accidentally apply. In addition, sterilization of the pot before transplantation is another good practice to kill any pathogen.
Furthermore, plant transplanting also provides the opportunity to add nutrient-rich and well-drained soil. So, cash in as many advantages as you can while doing transplantation.
You now know everything about the causes of Spider Plant leaves bending and what to do to fix them.
Here are the key takeaways to revise every important point of the article:
- You should apply water to a spider plant once every week or when the soil around the roots dries up. If you overwater or underwater it, its leaves will start to bend.
- Let Spider plants grow in those spots where they receive around six hours of light.
- In case of insect infestation, try organic fixes first. If they don’t work, then go for chemical sprays.
- You should test your soil before you apply fertilizer so that you don’t cause different problems like nutrient toxicity, nutrient lock, etc.
- Always grow your plants in bigger pots or containers for better root health.
So, follow these spider plant care tips, and you will never have to see their leaves bent again.