How to Grow and Care For Spider Plants
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What You Will Learn
What is a Spider Plant? | Quick Care Guide | How to Care For Spider Plant | 💧 Water | ☀️ Sunlight | 🌡️ Temperature and Humidity | 🌱 Best Soil for Spider Plant | 🌻 Fertilizer | 😎 Pruning and Maintenance | ☢️ Toxicity | How to Propagate Spider Plants By Division | How to Propagate Spider Plant Plantlets | How to Repot Spider Plant | Common Spider Plant Disease | 📚 Top 5 Tips For Spider Plant Care | Where to buy Spider Plant? | Common FAQs
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are wonderful houseplants for beginners that will add a pop of color and texture to your home. Their showy green leaves with white stripes look beautiful when cascading from a hanging basket. Whether you're looking to purchase your first indoor plants or hoping to add to an existing collection, the spider plant is a great choice.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to grow spider plants like a pro. We’ll go over their growing requirements, how you can propagate new plants, and how to prevent issues like root rot. We’ll start by giving you a brief overview before diving into all of the growth and care guidelines.
What is a Spider Plant?
Spider plants, also known as spider ivy or airplane plant, are native to coastal areas in South Africa. Believe it or not, they are members of the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). They first began being cultivated as indoor plants during the victorian-era in Europe and were given the common name ribbon plants due to their beautiful foliage. They are now popular houseplants around the world and are great for beginners.
These plants can be grown in a regular pot or hanging basket. They grow in a cluster of rosettes and will produce white, star-shaped flowers. Flowers are produced on long stems that come from the center of rosettes. As the flowers fade, they are replaced by small plantlets which are often called ‘spiderettes’ or ‘babies’ which can be used to propagate new plants.
An added benefit of spider plants is their ability to purify the air and act as an indoor air filter. They can eliminate up to 95% of chemicals from the air in 24 hours according to NASA. Pollutants removed by spider ivy include formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.
References: Giese, M., Bauer-Doranth, U., Langebartels, C., & Sandermann Jr, H. (1994). Detoxification of formaldehyde by the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum L.) and by soybean (Glycine max L.) cell-suspension cultures. Plant Physiology, 104(4), 1301-1309.
What is the best place to put a spider plant?
Spider plants thrive in rooms with bright, indirect sunlight. Make sure to keep them out of direct, bright afternoon sunlight.
How long do spider plants live?
Spider plants regularly live for 20 years when grown in the correct conditions. Some gardeners have reported being able to keep them alive for as long as 50 years.
Spider Plant Care Guide
Window Locations (Ideal)
USDA Hardiness Zones
Where to Buy
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How to Care For Spider Plant
Spider plants are great for beginners and can be grown indoors as perennials or outside as annuals in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11. They prefer bright indirect light, moderate to high humidity, and temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are all of the in-depth details about how to grow and care for spider plants which will ensure they’re happy and healthy!
Spider plants require a moderate amount of water. This means it will need to be watered every 7 to 10 days depending on humidity levels. Many indoor plants require moderate amounts of water so sync up your new spider plant with your typical watering schedule to make your job as a plant parent easier. Always check the soil moisture first by inserting your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle to check for moist soil. If you detect moisture, hold off on watering and check again the next day. You don’t want to overwater your spider plant since overwatering can lead to root rot issues.
Spider plants can be sensitive to salts found in tap water. The salts can build up in the soil and lead to the leaves turning brown. If leaves start browning, you’ll need to switch to distilled water. To avoid this issue, it is best to water them with distilled water. Spider plants can also be sensitive to fluoride which is found in most municipal tap water. Fluoride issues tend to be more severe in spider plants that get too much sun and fertilizer. Using distilled water can eliminate any risk of fluoride damage to your spider plant. You can also collect and use rainwater as an alternative to distilled water.
How often should I water my spider plant?
You should water your spider plant about once per week. Wait until the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch to avoid overwatering.
How much water does a spider plant need?
The amount of water your spider plant needs depends on the size of the plant and the pot it is in. Place a saucer beneath your spider plant and water until the soil is soaked and you start to see water in the saucer. Allow the soil to drain, then dump out the water from the saucer.
Spider plants grow best in bright, indirect sunlight for at least 6-8 hours each day, although they are able to tolerate low light.
Direct sunlight can lead to sun scorch which results in brown leaf tips and leaf spots. Low light can lead to spindly growth and reduce the plant's overall health.
Make sure they get 6 to 8 hours of light per day to keep them happy and healthy. Rooms with several east and/or west-facing windows are perfect for spider plants.
Should I cut brown tips off my spider plant?
Since the brown tips won’t revive themselves, you can simply trim them off to improve the appearance of your plant. Just make sure you use clean, sharp scissors.
🌡️ Temperature and Humidity
Spider plants are happiest when temperatures are between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re growing them outside, they can tolerate colder temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit without being damaged. However, they won’t grow very much when temperatures fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moderate to high humidity levels are best for spider plants. Most homes have humidity levels that fall in this range, so you shouldn’t have to worry about humidity for indoor plants. Low humidity levels can lead to browning leaves.
🌱 Best Soil for Spider Plant
General purpose, well-draining potting mix works great for spider plants. Alternatively, you can also use a soilless medium consisting of 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss, and 4 parts pine bark. Spider plants will tolerate many types of soil mixes as long as your pots of soil are well-drained to prevent root rot issues.
The best fertilizer to use for spider plants is a complete liquid fertilizer with equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. You can fertilize spider plants every 3 to 4 months.
Avoid over-fertilizing as this can lead to fewer of its small white flowers and spiderettes being produced. Over-fertilizing can also lead to leaf tips turning brown.
😎 Pruning and Maintenance
Due to the growth habit of spider plants, they don’t really need any regular pruning but will need to be repotted frequently. If you want to reduce the size of your plant, make sure to cut them all the way down to the base of the rosette.
You can also prune off just the tip of the leaves if they have turned brown. Pruning off babies after a couple of weeks will keep them from stealing nutrients from the mother plant.
Spider plants are non-toxic to pets. You can grow them indoors without worrying about cats or dogs being harmed if they decide to make a snack out of them.
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How to Propagate Spider Plants By Division
Spider plants are extremely easy to propagate and they make a great gift for friends and family. Here’s a step-by-step guide to propagating them by division of the mother plant to make new plants. It is best to wait until it’s time to water your spider plant before removing it from it’s pot. This will reduce the weight of the soil and help it to slip out of the pot easier.
1. ) Gently lift the foliage and place your hand around the base of the leaves making contact with the soil surface for extra support.
2.) Tilt the pot and plant sideways and gently lift the plant from the pot.
3.) Gently loosen the soil and roots until you can see the individual rhizomes under each rosette.
4.) You’ll likely only want to make 2 to 3 divisions rather than splitting up every rosette. This will reduce the amount of damage done to the roots during the division process.
5.) Repot the mother plant and place your new divisions into a different pot with fresh, well-draining potting soil.
6.) Finish by watering your spider plants thoroughly.
How to Propagate Spider Plant Plantlets
Your spider plants will periodically put out long, wire-like stems which will produce small plantlets you can propagate into new plants. This propagation process is extremely easy, especially if you wait until roots have started to form on the spider plant babies before repotting them. Here are the steps to take to propagate your plantlets.
1.) If your plantlet doesn’t have roots, skip ahead to step 2. If your babies already have roots, you can cut the stem connecting it to the mother plant and simply repot it in fresh, well-drained soil and skip ahead to step 6.
2.) If your plantlet doesn’t have roots, you’ll want to wait for them to grow before detaching it from the mother plant. Sit the plantlet on the soil surface of fresh well-drained soil in a separate pot.
3.) To ensure the plantlet maintains contact with the soil surface, you can secure it using wire or a bent paper clip to hold down the stem attaching it to the mother plant.
4.) Water your plantlet once a week.
5.) Once the plantlet starts producing roots, you can cut the stem attaching it to the mother plant.
6.) Water your new plantlet thoroughly and ensure it gets plenty of indirect sunlight.
Should I cut off the babies off my spider plant?
While the babies of your spider plant won’t hurt the mother plant, they will steal nutrients and may limit growth. Feel free to enjoy them for a couple of weeks but ultimately if you aren’t going to propagate them you should remove them.
What do spider plant babies do?
Spider plant babies develop from unfertilized flowers produced on long stems from the mother plant. In nature, they allow the mother plant to produce offspring and spread without the need for flower fertilization.
How to Repot Spider Plant
Spider plants can quickly become potbound and will benefit from frequent repotting. You can either repot them in a larger pot or divided them into multiple new plants using our propagation guide above. These are the steps you should take to repot your spider plant.
Note: This process is easier if you wait until it’s time to water your plant and repot it beforehand. This will reduce the weight of the soil and make it easier to remove from the pot.
- Step 1: Gently lift the foliage and place your hand around the base of the leaves making contact with the soil surface for extra support.
- Step 2: Tilt the pot and plant sideways and gently lift the plant from the pot.
- Step 3: Fill the bottom of a new pot, that is approximately 2 inches larger than the previous container, with well-draining potting soil. The pot should also have drainage holes to help prevent overwatering.
- Step 4: Gently loosen the roots around the edges which will allow them to expand into the new soil in the new pot.
- Step 5: Place the plant into the new container and make sure it is centered and straight.
- Step 6: Gently fill in the space around the plant with potting soil. Don’t press the soil down as this can make it difficult for the roots to expand.
- Step 7: Water your newly potted plant gently and thoroughly. If the soil compresses after watering, add more if necessary.
- Step 8: Wait to water your plant again until the soil is completely dry in the top two inches to avoid overwatering.
Common Spider Plant Disease
If this is your first time experiencing root rot, read our full guide on root rot.
Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants including spider plants. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms can include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base. If you’re seeing these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.
- Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system.
- If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.
- Clean off the roots with sterile water.
- Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.
- You can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the roots.
- Once cleaned up, repot your plant in fresh houseplant soil mix.
📚 Top 5 Tips For Spider Plant Care
- Make sure your spider plant gets at least 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.
- Only water your plant when the top two inches of soil are completely dry to prevent root rot issues.
- Consider using distilled water or rainwater to avoid issues that can be caused by tap water that has high amounts of salts and fluoride.
- Repot your spider plant frequently to allow room for root growth and keep it from becoming potbound.
- If leaf tips turn brown, trim them off to improve the appearance of your spider plant.
Where to buy Spider Plant?
Spider plants can liven up a room with their beautiful foliage and help to remove toxins from the air in your home. Having a beautiful plant begins with purchasing healthy plants from trusted vendors.
At Neverland, we offer a variety of different spider plants so you may find you want to purchase more than one type! We add new products every day and have fast shipping times to get your plants to their new home quickly!
Check out our inventory of spider plants today!
Visit Neverland blog today for more tips and useful resources. Plants bring a lot of joy, so we strive to help you have the best plant-growing experience possible!
FAQs on Spider Plant
Why are my spider plant's leaf tips turning brown?
There are a few different causes of brown leaf tips on spider plants. Browning can be caused by overwatering, sun scorch from direct sunlight, and adding too much fertilizer. Tap water with too much salt or fluoride can also lead to brown leaf tips.
What makes spider plants bloom?
Spider plants will bloom when they become root bound in their pots. They can also begin to bloom when days become shorter in fall and they receive less sunlight.
Can I grow spider plants outdoors?
If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, you can grow spider plants outdoors as annuals. When temperatures dip below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, they will die. If you keep an indoor plant, you can use the plantlets it produces to provide a batch of plants for outdoor use each year.
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