Q&A: Spider Plant Browning

Here's a tip on how to take care of your spider plant.

Q: Lately the tips of my spider plant have all been turning brown. Is this from overwatering or not enough sun? I usually water once a week, and the plant gets indirect light.

A: Spider plants tend to brown at the tips for one or more reasons, most commonly moisture stress. As the plant grows it requires more frequent watering because the plant is root-bound. If your plant has grown a great deal, it may need to be repotted into a larger pot or divided and part of it replanted in the same pot. Also, winter heating can create a very dry atmosphere, and indoor plants suffer from the lack of humidity, especially if located near a heat vent or radiator. Moving the plant away from such heat sources, running a humidifier, grouping plants together or keeping them in a humid area (such as over the kitchen sink or in a bathroom where people shower) can help.

Another common reason for browning of leaf ends is the gradual build-up of minerals or salts from fertilizer. To leach out these salts periodically, water the plant to the point of runoff and repeat several times.

Heavily chlorinated water or water that's been run through a water softener can be additional reasons for browning tips. If you suspect this, try using collected rainwater or water from another source.

Finally, the tips will not regrow, so trim them off neatly. Hope this helps you troubleshoot!

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