How to Save Spider Plant from Root Rot (Step by Step)


Indoor potted spider plant showing root rot symptoms

Caring for a spider plant should be an easy job for its lovers. But what happens when you notice that it is no longer healthy and beautiful? Spider plant root rot is a common problem and it can be fatal for your plant if you do not treat it properly.

So, if your spider plant showing symptoms of root rot disease, then here are the steps to save your spider plant.

  • Take out the whole plant from the container
  • Rinse the whole root system with clean water
  • Inspect the roots, if the roots are brown and soft then it is infected with root rot
  • Cut off the infected roots with a disinfected scissor
  • Disinfect the whole root system with a hydrogen peroxide solution
  • Repot the plant using a fresh new soil and container

Keep reading this article will walk you through the steps and how to prevent the problem in the future.

Signs of Root Rot in Spider Plant

Root rot is a common condition in spider plants, yet it might be quite challenging to detect. You may not identify when the root is rotting because it manifests underneath (soil).

Looking at the plant’s leaves can help determine if the roots are rotting. The following symptoms should be alarming:

⦿ Yellowing of leaves.

⦿ Appearance of brown spots on leaves.

⦿ Some leaves might start falling out.

⦿ Signs of the plant wilting.

⦿ Stunted growth.

⦿ Delay in blooming or absence of offshoots.

⦿ Drooping of the plant even after fertilizing.

The above symptoms might result from other causes such as pests and extreme weather. Yet, there is the need to rule out all other causes of spider plant root rot. You can be sure that it is root rot by doing the following:

⦿ Remove the plant from the pot or soil and inspect the roots

⦿ Feel the roots to assess if they are mushy

⦿ Rotting roots may fall off upon touching.

⦿ The roots might be pale or brown and pliable.

⦿ Foul-smelling roots.

A healthy spider plant’s roots should be firmer (shouldn’t fall) and well spread out. They can also be black or white roots depending on the plant, but shouldn’t appear pale.

The plant can wilt within two weeks and die because of the inability to absorb the necessary nutrients.

Causes of Spider Plant Root Rot

1. Overwatering

It causes the spider plant’s roots to rot and prevents the root from providing water and nutrients to the entire plant. If you don’t solve the problem, your precious plant will die.

⦿ If you suspect that the cause of the spider plant’s roots rotting is due to excess moisture, follow these tips can be useful in saving it:

⦿ Gently remove the plant from the pot and allow it to drain excess water.

⦿ Adjust your watering schedule –once per week can be perfect during the first year of planting.

⦿ Check the moisture levels before watering –use your finger and push it at least an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, you can water moderately.

⦿ Ensure your saucer drains water adequately –the drainage holes at the base aid in drenching.

⦿ The soil should not be soggy; it is a fungus breeding ground.

⦿ Use distilled water or rainwater instead of tap water. The latter contains chemicals that can cause root rot.

⦿ Never water the plant during winter seasons.

You can avoid overwatering problems using the following steps:

⦿ Get purified or distilled water and keep it at room temperature –cold or hot water weakens the plans.

⦿ Use your finger and poke it in the soil to check if it’s dry before watering; you can do this once a week.

⦿ Ensure the soil doesn’t feel soggy when watering it.

⦿ Allow the plant’s container to drain out excess water.

⦿ Before watering, empty the plant’s saucer regularly.

TIP: Only water the plant when the soil feels dry.

2. Poor Drainage

Waterlogging that results from planting the spider plant in a pot that cannot drain excess water. Drainage is also dependent on soil composition.

Always ensure that the planter has several drainage holes at the base to drench excess water. Other remedies include:

⦿ Allowing the soil to dry before watering

⦿ Avoid planting in clay-heavy environments.

⦿ Water when the soil feels dry and not moist.

⦿ Plant in a smaller pot –the bigger ones tend to hold water

TIP: Always ensure that the soil isn’t soggy.

3. Pathogenic Infections

Among the most common causes of spider plant’s roots rot are pathogenic infections. It results from overwatering and soggy soil as it encourages fungal growth. (Source: University of Maryland Opens in a new tab. )

Remedies to pathogenic infections include:

⦿ Reducing watering frequency.

⦿ Avoid planting in regular soil.

⦿ Repotting if the condition is worse.

TIP: Research the perfect soil before planting. You can also consider repotting if the consequences are unmanageable.

4. Inappropriate Environment (soil)

Spider plants are unique and don’t grow in any type of soil. Garden soil, for instance, is a breeding ground for bugs, mildew, and fungus.

Every house plant thrives in particular soil; it will be best to grow the peat moss soil’s spider plant.

5. Larger or Smaller Pots

The spider plant cannot blossom in any pot because it is pot-bound. If you grow it in a larger pot, the roots might spread wider, needing more water.

Smaller containers limit growth because of waterlogging in the soil. Before planting, be sure to get the right pot.

6. Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures increase the spider plant’s vulnerability to root rot. Since water clogs in the soil, it forms frost that facilitates fungal growth and causes root rot.

The spider plant thrives in areas with a temperature of 60-75 °F /15-25 °C). The following tips can prevent damage resulting from extreme temperatures:

⦿ Keeping the plant away from cooling units, windows, and drafty doors

⦿ Check the plant’s position and keep it far from heat-producing sources like fireplaces, radiators, and vents.

⦿ Avoid planting in direct sunlight.

The leaves of a spider plant exposed to extreme temperatures can turn yellowish, black, or brown and start drooping.

Should you notice any of these symptoms, it will help check the temperatures.

TIP: Plant in favorable temperatures (60-75̊F)/ (15-25°C).

7. Watering During Dormant Periods

Dormant periods refer to winter seasons, where the spider plants need less water. This would imply that the plant is dormant even though it still thrives.

Watering the spider plant during dormant periods makes it prone to root rot. The best remedy is to inspect if the soil doesn’t feel moist.

If there is a need for watering, you can do so in the morning but with moderation.

TIP: Avoid watering during winter; it harms the plant significantly.

Other Spider Plant Root Causes

Though fungal root rots are the most common problem in gardening a spider plant. (Source : PennState ExtensionOpens in a new tab.)

You can experience the following issues with this beautiful plant:

⦿ Exposure to extreme temperatures.

⦿ Growing in chronically waterlogged soils.

⦿ Planting in clay-based gardens.

⦿ Too much watering.

⦿ Planting in containers with less or no drainage holes.

⦿ Bugs like whiteflies, aphids, spider mites, and scales.

How to Treat Spider Plant Root Rot

When the spider plant’s roots rot, you can always save the plant within the shortest time. The following remedies are perfect for restoring your beautiful plant.

1. Repotting

Repotting refers to transferring the spider plant to a new pot so that it can continue flourishing. When there is a need for repotting your plant, be sure to use fresh soil and a different pot for better results.

Follow this procedure when repotting is your only solution:

⦿ Prepare the work area and gather all your essential equipment.

⦿ Gently hold the leaves or stems and slide the plant out by holding the planter’s base.

⦿ Loosen the plant and prune the spreading unhealthy roots. Avoid tampering with thicker and healthy roots.

⦿ Use a shovel or a knife to separate the extensive roots.

⦿ Clean the planter if you want to get rid of fungus or possibly get a new one.

⦿ Make sure the new planter has drainage holes. You can also use rocks or gravel to layer its base.

⦿ Get some of the old soil (it has nutrients that can ease growth) and mix it with the fresh soil.

⦿ After mixing the soil, place some of it (at least seven inches) in the new pot.

⦿ Transfer the spider plant in the new planter. Ensure that it is at the center and secure it with soil.

⦿ Avoid packing excess soil in the planter. This is because it inhibits breathing and the supply of nutrients.

⦿ Water it correctly and watch your precious plant flourish.

TIP: consider repotting every two or three years. The best time to repot your spider plant is when nearing the spring season.

2. Using Appropriate Soil Mix

One of the factors causing spider plant root rot is using any soil. Thus, the choice of soil is a critical consideration if you want your plant to thrive.

Garden soil isn’t a perfect choice; it makes the plant susceptible to bugs, mildew, and other insects.

You can always research the ideal type of soil before planting. Ensure the soil is even; not too dry, neither too moist.

TIP: Houseplants thrive in general-purpose soil consisting of perlite or pumice.

3. Watering After Repotting

Water the spider plant two days before repotting it. This way, the plant remains hydrated, reducing the chances of wilting or dying.

TIP: Allow the plant to recover and water it after five or seven days.

4. Care After Repotting

You should give the spider plant time to recover and grow because the roots ought to be intact. You should do the following:

⦿ Avoid tampering with the plant within the first two weeks, even if it appears weak and wilting.

⦿ Water after a week and make it a routine. Yet, you need to be cautious lest you make the soil soggy.

⦿ There lies a possibility of the roots dying; avoid wounding them and the plant.

⦿ Fertilize the plant fortnightly during the summer and spring seasons.

TIP: You can revitalize your plant by taking good care of it. .

5. Avoid Waterlogging

Frequently watering the spider plant clogs the plant and makes the soil cloggy.

This soil forms frost, which encourages fungus to develop and causes the roots to start rotting. If you suspect waterlogging, do the following to save your spider plant:

⦿ Gently remove your plant from its pot.

⦿ Wash the roots under running water gently.

⦿ Prune unhealthy roots.

⦿ Treat the roots using a fungicide.

⦿ Place your plant in fresh soil and allow it to grow.

TIP: Allow your spider plant to dry before watering.

6. Watering Schedule

Watering is a significant concern for first-time spider plant gardeners. It is recommended that you water regularly within the first weeks of planting. Also, avoid watering during the dormant season.

TIP: Push your finger to find out if it is moist or dry before watering.

7. Avoid Excess Fertilizer Application

Like any other plant, excess fertilizer harms the spider plant and can kill it. It results from toxicity in the soil that damages the soil.

⦿ Remedies to excess fertilizer:

⦿ Stop fertilizing if you suspect it is the cause for the spider plant roots rot.

⦿ Flush the soil using running water and replace with fresh soil.

⦿ You should fertilize your plant with a dilute solution.

⦿ Avoid fertilizing in winter because the plant will overgrow.

⦿ Use organic fertilizers instead of artificial ones.

⦿ Fertilize three times in a year.

TIP: Only Fertilize once in three months.

8. Check Humidity Levels

Low humidity levels inhibit the spider plant from sprouting and flourishing. Water your plant regularly during summer.

TIP: Ensure that the plant grows under high humidity conditions.

9. Bacteria, Fungus, Pests and Diseases

Other reasons why the spider plant’s roots could be rotting include pests, diseases, bacteria, and fungus. Black leaves with spots are a common symptom.

You should check if the stems are affected and dispose of the plant because it will die. If you don’t get rid of the plant, the infection can spread to other houseplants.

You can trim the unhealthy roots if the stems are not infected. Alternatively, you could use neem oil. Insecticidal soap can also help if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also, frequently apply hydrogen peroxide to kill any fungus and bacteria. It also aids the absorption of nutrients and ensures the plant is healthy.

How to apply hydrogen peroxide when treating spider root rot:

⦿ Fetch 3% of the solution and add one tablespoon per cup of water.

⦿ Spray on the plant’s base, but be careful not to water the foliage.

⦿ Allow the soil to soak the solution.

TIP: Add hydrogen peroxide during watering

10. Pruning

Overwatering or overfertilizing your spider plant means that it will overgrow. The best remedy is to prune it by cutting the foliage, get rid of damaged leaves and brown tips.

How to prune:

⦿ Use sharp, sterilized scissors and trim the areas that appear unhealthy.

⦿ Snip at an angle, and the tips.

⦿ Trim the plantlets if you wish to replant.

TIP: Prune your plant regularly to avoid overwatering.

11. Propagation

When you cannot save the spider plant from root rot by repotting, it will be best to consider propagation.

You can replant the old spider plant and have several fresh ones that beautify your home.

Practical Hacks that Will Revive Your Dying Spider Plant

You can save your spider plant from dying by doing the following:

⦿ Establish if the plant is on the verge of dying.

⦿ Prune the weak and dead parts and yellow leaves.

⦿ Don’t tamper with the stem; you will need it for repotting.

⦿ Understand the problem; is it a root rot?

⦿ Water the wilting plant or move it to a higher humid environment

⦿ Drain out excess water from an overwatered plant.

⦿ Add nutrients by fertilizing.

⦿ Apply an insecticide if infested with pests.

How to Prevent and Control Spider Plant Root Rot

Since root rot is a common spider plant gardening problem, you can prevent it by doing the following:

⦿ Water only when the soil feels dry.

⦿ Don’t water during winter or dormant periods.

⦿ Plant in a pot that can drain perfectly.

⦿ Fertilize your plant every three months or once during spring

⦿ Use distilled water or rainwater when watering the plant.

⦿ Avoid exposure to low humidity levels.

⦿ If you suspect waterlogging, drain the pot gently.

⦿ Use fungicides like hydrogen peroxide to get rid of bacteria, pests, and diseases.

⦿ Avoid extreme temperatures (60-75 °F /15-25 °C) is perfect).

⦿ Move the plant towards perfect lighting –it shouldn’t be too hot or too low.

⦿ Use the appropriate soil. Loose, loamy soil is perfect if planting in the garden.

⦿ Avoid using chemical fertilizers. Instead, use organic ones.

⦿ Water two days before repotting

Controlling Spider Plant Root Rot

You can control root rot and prevent it from infecting the whole spider plant. If you suspect root rot, do the following:

⦿ Suspend watering and fertilizing.

⦿ Prune the plant frequently before watering.

⦿ Repot or replant during spring.

⦿ Allow the plant to recover after repotting.

⦿ If the stems are affected, it will be best disposing them instead of repotting.

FAQS

Why is my Spider Plant dying?

If your spider plant is dying, it means that you are either overwatering or underwatering it.

Too much moisture causes the spider plant’s leaves to darken or turn black. On the other hand, underwatering discolors the foliage, causing the plant to die.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Root Rot?

Using hydrogen peroxide to treat rotting roots is the perfect solution. It contains oxygen molecules, which aerates the soil and facilitates its growth.

However, it will help if you use a dilute solution because too much can entirely kill the plant’s roots. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can Plants Recover From Overwatering?

Waterlogging is one of the most common problems every houseplant gardener grapples with. You can notice the improvement results within a week.

The following tips help recover a plant that could die from excess water:

⦿ Position the plant’s pot direction towards a light to speed up water loss. However, be cautious, as too much light can kill the plant.

⦿ Place the plant in a pot with drainage holes to drench the excess water.

⦿ Gently remove the plant from the pot and place it on a surface like a magazine that can absorb excess water.

⦿ Avoid fertilizing the plant as it worsens the situation.

⦿ If the situation is worse, repotting will be best instead of leaving the plant to die.

Though root rot is a common problem that gardeners have to deal with, it will be best to treat your plant soonest possible.

A plant whose roots are rotting is susceptible to death if the fungus keeps spreading.

Instead of losing your beautiful spider plant, make sure the plant has a proper drainage channel. You should also grow it in a healthy environment free from fungus infections.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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