Spider Plant Root Rot (Reason and Ways to Fix Root Rot)

My spider plant was suffering from root rot. It wasn’t just once—I tried growing it twice, and both times, the result was the same. I was frustrated because I didn’t know where I went wrong. But I didn’t give up. After consulting an agriculturist, I finally found the answer.

I think many of you are facing or have faced this stage. It’s great if you know the solution, but for those who don’t and have given up, I have brought a solution.

In this informative guide, I explain every detail about spider plant root rot issues, including what causes it, how to identify it, how to solve the issue, and important factors for growing healthy spider plants. So without wasting time, let’s save the spider plant.

Spider plant overview:

Common NamesSpider plant, spider ivy, ribbon plant
Botanical NameChlorophytum comosum 
Plant TypeHerbaceous, perennial
Mature Size1–2 ft. tall and wide
Sun ExposurePartial, shade
Soil TypeLoamy, well-drained
Soil pHNeutral
Bloom TimeFlowers regularly
Flower ColorWhite
Hardiness Zones9–11 (USDA)
Native AreaCentral and Southern Africa

About Spider Plant Root Rot

Yes, I will say root rot is a sneaky villain and a silent killer beneath the soil that kills spider plants. Root rot is a disease that thrives well in wet conditions where the fungi get close to each other. When the soil gets excessive water, the roots are deprived of oxygen, due to which it start to decay. Here it is a feeling like throwing a pool party, but haven’t told the guests when the party is off, due to which they hang around and make the pool crowded. You will not notice it early and it will result in a bad things.

Causes of Root Rot:

The main cause of root rot is over-watering. It feels like giving the plant to drink water when it is not thirsty, leading to the circumstances of waterlogged soil conditions. The other factors which do affect roots are cold, weather, high humidity, and poor soil aeration. It seems like a detective story with multiple twists and suspects.

Spider plant root rot (Reason and ways to fix it)

Symptoms of Root Rot:

  • You need to learn about the symptoms of root rot so that you can find out when the spider plant starts to suffer from root rot condition. 
  • Although the sign cannot be seen easily, it’s only possible when you are a good observer.
  • Root rot will cause wilting leaves in wet soil is the first sign.
  • You will notice Browning and yellowing of the leaves.
  • All the symptoms feel like a plant is sending an emergency message and begging to save it from dying.

The Importance of Prompt Action:

Here I will say that root rot is not a death sentence for the spider plant, but you need to rescue the plant as soon as possible.

The sooner you get to know about the issue, the higher the chances of saving the plant. Actually, it’s a race against time.

So after finding any symptoms of root rot, just roll up your sleeves and save your plant because the spider plant is on countdown.

Identifying Root Rot in Variegated Spider Plants

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Wilting of leaves is the first sign of root rot. 
  • In case the plant is having yellowish tinge or brown spots, it means they are sending an SOS.
  • The dropping leaves with a foul odor near the soil surface are the signs of rotting roots inside the pot.

The Root of the Problem:

  • To check the root condition, you need to thoroughly check the spider plant root for any sign of root rot.
  • If you find the roots are firm and resilient, they will look like a fresh carrot. It means it’s a healthy fruit.
  • In case the roots are black, mushy, and crumble faster, it means it’s the case of root rot.
  • If the roots smell like the leftovers from a week, it indicates the root decaying.

Touch Test:

  • You can also check the root rot condition by squeezing the root gently, and if you find it squishy like an overripe fruit, then it’s actually bad news.
  • Talking about the healthy roots will not cave under pressure and will stand firm and unyielding.

The Sniff Test:

  • Checking by sniffing test because a healthy root smells like well, dirt, fresh, and earthy, but when it smells like something in a compost heap means it’s time for action.
  • Make sure to act fast because the sooner you catch any sign, the higher the chances of saving spider plants from root rot.

Immediate steps to be taken for Root Rot:

The following are some immediate steps, you need to take after noticing root rot conditions:

Step 1: Root Inspection:

Firstly, remove the plant from the pot as soon as possible, and then shake off the soil and wash the root thoroughly to spot the rot.

Step 2: Surgical Precision:

Always use sterilized scissors for completing a surgery, like snipping off the mushy, discolored roots, which feels like giving a new haircut to the plant.

Step 3: Disinfection:

After trimming, disinfect the remaining root by using a copper-based fungicide, which is an antiseptic for the plant’s open wounds. 

Step 4: Repotting with Care:

It’s time to plant it in fresh, sterile soil in a well-draining pot, which is like moving the plant to a better house for healthy roots.

Step 5: Monitoring :

You need to keep an eye on the plant and water it whenever it feels like the Sahara is dry.

Step 6: Fungicidal Backup:

I will recommend you water the plant using a fungicide side mix, which is like an insurance policy against the future circumstances of rotting. 

A reminder for everyone, all these steps are not just suggestions. They are actually a lifeline for saving the plant.

Proper Watering Techniques:

Since I have experience growing spider plants, I know the right way of watering the plant and to help you, I have covered every possible detail:

The Root of the Matter:

  • The main step is to soak the entire root ball into the water.
  • Just make sure every single root gets to drink water, but save the plan to sit in a puddle because it is the way of giving the plant a ticket to root rot city.

The Goldilocks Principle:

  • According to the Goldilocks principle, you need to hit the sweet spot between a desert and a swamp, which means the soil moisture should not be not too dry, or too wet.
  • You need to remember that the spider plant is not a cactus or a water lily. That is why it likes the soil, which is cool and slightly damp with a hint of vermouth.

The Waiting Game:

  • After finishing watering, the root makes the soil dry out.
  • This will feel like a suspense novel in which there is a need to build up some tension before making a big splash.

The Bottoms-Up Approach:

  • If you haven’t tried bottom watering, I will say it is like a spa day for the plant.
  • Here, you need to pour the water into a tray under the pot and let the plant soak up the water from the bottom.
  • Bottom watering is a great way by which the lower roots to get the perfect amount of water.

The Seasonal Shuffle:

  • With the season changing, the plant watering requirement also changes.
  • During the winter, the spider plant used to chill out and needed less water.
  • In the summer, when the plant grows, it needs more water.

The Moisture Meter:

  • When you are not sure when to water the spider plant, you can use a soil moisture meter, which will be like a translator for the plant and will tell you when the plant is thirsty and when not.

The Drip irrigation:

  • Drip irrigation is like having a personal butler for the plant, which serves the right amount of water at the right time.

The Watering Technique:

  • Yes, it is important to know the proper technique for watering. The spider plant, such as water, is thoroughly but infrequently.
  • You need to make sure the water reaches down deep to the roots, but this doesn’t mean allowing the plant to sit in water.


You should not just water the plant, thinking it will keep the plant alive. You need to keep it happy. That is why you need to pay attention. Give your time and let the spider plant thrice best. 

You need to understand the plant’s needs and adjust accordingly. Yes, overwatering is a common mistake, but with more care and attention, you can make the spider plant to remain healthy and happy.

Repotting a Spider Plant Root Rot:

Root Rot is a disaster for your spider plant, but the repotting process is considered a lifeline. don’t worry if you don’t know about this process, because here I have explained how to provide a fresh start in its new home and soil:

Selecting Pot:

  • You need to choose a new pot, which is one size larger than the old one with drainage holes.
  • A snug-fit pot will help to prevent the excess soil from retaining too much moisture because it causes root rot.

Preparing the Potting Mix:

  • For preparing a potting mix, you need to mix two parts of the potting soil with one part of perlite and one part of coconut coir.
  • It will help in promoting drainage and aeration which is important for healthy roots.

Removing the Plant:

  • After making the potting mix, remove the plant from its old pot.
  • In case of roots getting stuck in the side, you can use a knife around the edges, gently thinking that you are performing surgery, not wrestling.

Pruning the Roots:

  • Always use sterile scissors for snapping away, all the dark mushy roots.
  • Don’t cut the firm and white color roots.

Repotting Process:

  • Now it is time to place the plant in a new pot.
  • Put a well-draining mix, and tsurgery,ss down lightly to eliminate the air pockets.

Post-Repotting Care:

  • It’s time to water the plant, and after that, keep the pot where it gets indirect sunlight.
  • Always remember that over watering is the enemy of healthy roots.


Repotting is an art that should be done in the right way so that your plant feels like thank you for helping in this vibrant growth.

Drainage and Preventing Water Accumulation:

Importance of Proper Drainage:

  • I will say that drainage holes are not negotiable because the whole spider plant depends on them.
  • Without an escape for the root, the water will not go and remain into the roots which will create a straight situation of root rot.

Setting Up Pot:

  • Choose a pot that has more hole-y then a block of Swiss cheese. 
  • You can add a layer of tables at the bottom of the pot, which will help the soil from cloggy things. 

Saucer and Tray Management:

  • Do not treat a saucer like a swimming pool for the plant.
  • Whenever you see water in the saucer dump, make sure to dump it out.
  • You can prop the pot up with small feet or well placed rock, which will help in enhancing the airflow and evaporation.

Techniques to Keep Things Dry:

  • In case you forget things, then you can set a reminder to empty the saucer after watering the plant or you can choose a pot, which has a built-in drainage system.
  • In case you don’t like any of the above methods, just use a turkey baster which used to suck up the excessive water.

Terracotta pot:

  • Talking about the terracotta pots, it’s like a breathable workout gear for the spider plant.
  • Using them will take away moisture and will help in keeping the root dry.
  • If you put in a  well draining mix, it will create a winning combo.

The Elevator Trick:

  • You can elevate the pot with help of anything that results in lifting it off.
  • Use old tiles pot feet shaped or a few stacked pennies which will elevate the pot.
  • Always make sure to have enough space for air to circulate and water to disappear.

Long-Term Prevention of Root Rot in Spider Plants

Maintaining a Healthy Root Environment:

  • Maintaining consistency is the long-term prevention of root rot condition.
  • Always make sure the spider plant is potted in a well draining mix with a combination of Coco coir, perlite, and vermiculite.
  • This soil mix helps in retaining moisture without any waterlog and makes balance between hydration and aeration.

Preventive Treatments:

  • You need to focus on all the preventive treatment, especially when the plant has also gone through with root rot problems.
  • Following all the preventive treatment will help the plan to create a shield against the fungal infection.
  • I will suggest you use the product according to the instructions which results in avoiding chemical overkill.

Rotatshould notd Inspection:

  • Make sure to rotate the pot regularly, which is not giving a view, but it helps to promote even growth and help to detect the issue early.
  • Make sure to have a close eye during this rotation to find out any sign of stress.

Soil and Fertilizer Management:

  • Make sure to refresh the top layer of the pot periodically and ensure the soil is not compacting because it will result in water retention issues.
  • You can add fertilizer, but don’t overdo it  as applying a balanced fertilizer will support the recovery and growth of the plant
  • In case of adding bulk fertilizer will stress the plant and damage the roots.

Cultural Practices:

  • Make sure to check the plant environment.
  • Avoid keeping the plant in areas where there is poor circulation and excessive humidity, which will lead to root rot problems.
  • Providing a stable environment helps in preventing this stress and will keep the plant away from diseases.


You need to create a space for the plant, which is comfortable for the spider plant which results in vigorous growth and vibrant variegation.

Soil and Pot considerations:

The Dirt on Soil:

  • For maintaining the soil condition around the plant, you need a soil that drains well so that you can save the roots of the plant from drowning.
  • Having a well drained soil feels like a party host because it knows when to hold water and when to  let it go.
  • This doesn’t mean to just add an old bag of soil, because not all the soils are created equally.Uses soil which is rich, but loose.
  • Try adding perlite or lava rocks in the soil mix as they used to create an air pocket that helps in gas exchange and improves drainage.

Picking the Perfect Pot:

  • Always choose a pot with a drainage hole, which should be there without them. The root will risk waterlogging and rot.
  • Don’t select a pot that is too small because the soil will dry too fast, and one that is too large will risk overwatering, so select the perfect size of the pot according to the plant.
  • If you are using plastic pots, they will retain moisture longer than terracotta pots. So for people who live in dry areas, plastic pots are best for them, but if you live in a humid climate, then using terracotta is perfect.


Choosing a perfect pot is a way to prevent water accumulation and promote healthy root growth, so always make the right decision for the spider plant.


  • Talking about aeration, with a combination of good soil and ensuring the pot provides adequate air circulation to the roots helps in preventing moisture, buildup and promoting healthy root growth.
  • When choosing the soil and pot, always consider the drainage size, material, and aeration. Thinking about all these factors will help you get the right one for preventing spider plant root rot.

Managing Environmental Factors


  • Talking about humidity, I will call it an uninvited guest at the party because no one asks for it, but it still makes things uncomfortable.
  • Providing the plant with high humidity levels is a silent killer for spider plants, which will lead to excessive moisture all around the roots.
  • It’s not because of over watering, because you might think it’s overwatering, as high humidity does have the same effect of saturating leaves with water vapor and preventing the plant from getting nutrients from the soil, thus leading to root rot.
  • The best solution is to buy a dehumidifier or place the plant in a lower humidity spot.
  • You can also try grouping of the spider plant with other plant, which will help in creating a microclimate with balanced humidity


  • The spider plant does not like certain temperature fluctuations, just like humans would not enjoy a cold draft while they are drinking a hot cup of tea.
  • The extreme temperature change puts stress on the plant, which makes it more susceptible to root rot.
  • Always maintain a stable temperature in the comfortable range of 68 to 77 °F. 
  • In case the plant is getting cold air and showing signs of stress, you need to move it to a warmer spot

Air Circulation: 

  • A plant getting good air movement feels like fresh breath for a spider plant.
  • Good air circulation helps regulate temperature and humidity, reducing the risk of mold and mildew.
  • Protect the plant from excessive wind or fan movement because it will result in drying the plant and increasing the water requirement.
  • Thus, the spider plant does need a gentle breeze that is not fast.



If you are maintaining the environmental factor, remember, it is not just for preventing the root rot condition. It’s about making a comfortable home for the spider plant.

Alleviating Root Rot:

Diagnosis and Assessment:

In case of finding the spider plant, not looking well, and you suspect root rot, then the first thing you need to do is confirm your suspicions.

For that, pull out the plant out of the pots and take a thorough look at the roots. If the roots are healthy, they will have a firm and light color, but if they are not healthy, you will find a dark color. squishy or moldy roots. 

Treatment Options:

There are multiple treatment options that will revive your roots from root rot conditions, such as:

Repotting and Trimming:

  • As soon as you find any symptom of root rot, just take a pair of sterile scissors and start trimming.
  • Make sure to cut away all the infected roots and only keep the healthy, white roots
  • After cutting, it’s time to repot the plant in a new pot, because the old one does have some nasty fungi spores. 
  • If you want to use the old pot, make sure to sterilize using a bleach solution.

Fungicides and Natural Remedies:

  • You can use some products that will help control any ffungicide,like fosetyl-al, metalaxyl, and phosphorous acid, which will control any growth of it.
  • Make sure to first test a small area of the plant before treating the whole plant.
  • You can also try natural remedies such as cinnamon, hydrogen, peroxide, vinegar, and bleed solution, which are best for fungal infections, but here, I will also say first test, then apply.

Post-Treatment Care:

  • After treating the plant, it’s time to recover it. For that, you need to place the plant away from sunlight and keep the plant in water for a few weeks.
  • This is all where the spider plant recovery starts. 


Root rot is preventable, so once you see any signals, make sure to check the plant.


Now you know what causes the spider plant root rot, so make sure to prevent all those conditions, which will help the plant to stay away from root rot problem and result in healthy growth. 

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