An overwatered spider plant will always show signs that it has been overwatered, and it doesn’t take long for them to appear.
From my experience, if you’ve overwatered your spider plant the most common sign is yellowing of the leaves. Over time the leaves may start to wilt and can also brown at the edges, and in serious cases, root rot can take over and cause some serious damage.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through 7 common signs that your spider plant has been overwatered, as well as some practical advice for how you can revive your plant if it has been overwatered.
7 Key Signs Of An Overwatered Spider Plant
1. Yellow Leaves
This usually begins with the leaves turning lighter shades of green, and eventually yellow. Yellow leaves can also be a symptom of other issues such as pest infestation and sunburn, however, so you’ll need to check for other signs to confirm that overwatering is the cause.
2. Browning Leaves
Browning leaves are another sign that a spider plant has been overwatered.
This typically occurs as the leaves transition from yellow to brown as they die. If the edges are brown and crispy, this is instead a sign of underwatering. Brown leaves as a result of overwatering will be limp and droopy.
3. Saturated Soil
Regularly checking the soil is a great way to know if overwatering has taken place.
If there is visible water on top of the soil, or if the top few inches of soil are soaked through with water, then the plant has been overwatered. If you notice this quickly it can be reversed using a few tips which I’ll share later.
4. Wilting Leaves
When the leaves of a spider plant begin to wilt it is likely due to overwatering.
This also happens due to underwatering, with the key difference that the leaves will turn crispy if underwatered.
5. Root Rot
Root rot is a condition that will eventually kill your spider plant if it isn’t dealt with. I’ve luckily never had to deal with root rot, but as houseplant owners, we should all be aware of the symptoms and how it can develop in the first place.
Root rot occurs when the roots are subject to excessive water for extended periods of time. It causes the roots to turn brown and soft, and then eventually die. Over time the entire plant will die, and in the meantime, you will notice a variety of symptoms as the leaves and stems slowly die.
A lot of people believe that spider plants can attract spiders, but the reality is that they can attract other pests that cause a lot more damage!
Excessive moisture created by overwatering will attract a wide variety of pests, and I’ve included the most common ones along with how to identify them in the list below.
- Aphids – Aphids can be difficult to spot, and usually require a close inspection. They come in several colors and can cause black fungus to grow on leaves.
- Mealybugs – Mealybugs are usually first noticeable by a white wax that they leave behind. They secret honeydew like aphids which can promote black mold growth.
- Spider Mites – Spider mites can be spotted by small webs that they build.
7. Spots On Leaves
Sometimes the yellowing of the leaves can occur in small spots over the area of the leaves.
This usually indicates that the plant is infected with a disease as a result of overwatering, or due to pests that are feeding on the leaves.
How To Tell If You’re Overwatering Your Spider Plant
One of the easiest ways to tell if you’ve overwatered a spider plant is to check the soil.
If the soil is saturated with water, then it has been overwatered. We’ve all been guilty of this before, and in fairness, it can be tricky to know how much to water your plant depending on the conditions of where you live.
I water my spider plants around once per week during the summer, and once every two weeks in colder months. In warmer climates, you will need to increase watering frequency, and vice versa.
Aim to get the top few inches of soil moist, but not completely saturated with water. Another easy way to know if the plant has been overwatered is if you start to notice several other symptoms from the list above.
Can An Overwatered Spider Plant Be Saved?
If you have definitely overwatered your spider plant then it isn’t the end of the world.
The key here is to be fast. The longer you leave the plant overwatered, the higher the chance that root rot will develop. If you notice the signs quickly it is a case of drying out the soil, and if it has been a longer period of time you will need to repot and assess how much damage has been done to the roots.
How To Revive An Overwatered Spider Plant
Reviving an overwatered spider plant can be super easy, but there are some cases where it’s more difficult.
Case One – Acting Quickly To Reverse Overwatering
If you are able to notice that your spider plant has been overwatered relatively quickly you’ll be able to reverse it in no time.
I’ve done this several times, and the easiest thing to do is move the plant to a location that receives more direct sunlight. This will evaporate the excess moisture, but keep it to a few hours of direct sunlight per day as a maximum as the leaves are susceptible to sun scorch.
Case Two – Root Rot
Root rot is quite tricky to deal with.
The first thing you need to do is confirm that root rot has actually taken place. Check the roots and surrounding soil carefully wearing gloves.
If the soil is saturated with water and the roots have gone soft and mushy these are telltale signs of root rot. Remove the plant from the soil and rinse the roots under gentle water to remove excess soil, this will make the roots more visible and it will be easier to see how bad the root rot has become.
Use a sterilised trimming tool to remove any affected roots and throw away all of the soil from the container. You can opt to treat the roots with a fungicide at this stage as well.
Once the roots have been addressed clean out the container using rubbing alcohol, or opt for a new container. Fill it will fresh soil once it has been cleaned and repot the plant.
Case Three – Pests
If pests have become an issue for your spider plant due to overwatering I would recommend still taking the steps in case one to reduce the amount of moisture in the soil.
The key difference here is that you will need to isolate your plant from any other houseplants you may have, as pests can spread between plants rapidly, so find an area with direct sunlight to evaporate the water that is separate from any other plants.
How To Tell The Difference Between An Overwatered And Underwatered Spider Plant
It’s important to know the difference between underwatering and overwatering, as they obviously need to be treated in different ways.
Underwatered spider plants will have dry soil (obviously), and the leaves will become crisp and the edges brown. Compare this to overwatered spider plants, where the soil is saturated and the leaves will wilt and turn yellow across the entire section of the leaves and it’s easy to tell the difference.
If you’re ever in doubt remember that underwatering is better than overwatering. Neither is ideal, of course, but overwatering does increase the chance of bacterial or fungal problems which are much more difficult to deal with.