How to Care for a Spider Plant (+ Propagation Tips!)
Most plant parents at some time in their lives will have a Spider Plant. It is a beloved houseplant that is great for beginners and rewarding for experienced plant owners too! This blog post will discuss the care needs for Spider Plants as well as tips on Spider Plant propagation to turn those little spider babies into thriving new plants for your collection!
How much light does a Spider Plant need?
Bright to medium light is best, and you should avoid direct sunlight which can burn your Spider Plant’s leaves. Sunburn looks like brown spots on the leaves or browning tips and edges of leaves. Spider Plants can be kept in lower light levels, but they will grow more and faster with more access to light.
How much water does a Spider Plant need?
Spider Plants like to stay evenly moist, but not soaking wet. Avoid letting your Spider Plant completely dry out, and also don’t overwater or leave the plant in a non-draining pot where the roots may rot if they sit in too much moisture. Typically, water when the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out.
Spider Plants also enjoy average humidity at home, but if your home is very dry consider a small humidifier or keeping your plant in the bathroom where it can benefit from the steam of your morning shower.
Does a Spider Plant need fertilizer?
You can fertilize spider plants once or twice per month in the growing season (spring and summer), but overfertilizing can harm the plant so be careful! A standard houseplant fertilizer will do the trick, and you can dilute to half strength to err on the side of caution.
What is the best temperature for a Spider Plant?
Spider Plants are easy to keep indoors at regular room temperature between 65 and 85 degrees. They’ll even thrive outside in the spring and summer once temperatures are consistently higher than 55 degrees.
Propagating a Spider Plant
Spider Plants can become root bound fairly quickly (within a year or so), but they actually reproduce more when root bound and as long as their roots are not blocking the drainage holes in their pots, they can be kept pretty pot bound for a year or two before needing to be repotted.
When a Spider Plant reproduces, or propagates, it grows a long stem that will develop tiny “spiderettes,” or Spider Plant babies. These babies can be kept on the stem until they have developed roots, which will look like small protrusions at the base of the spiderette. You can choose to root these spiderettes in soil or water.
Snip off your spiderette and plant its tiny roots in a well-draining potting soil in a pot with drainage holes. Optionally, you can root the spiderette in a small glass or jar of water (a shot glass is a perfect size) for a few weeks for it to develop longer roots before transplanting into soil.
For the best-looking new Spider Plant, plant several spiderettes in a pot together to encourage a more bushy and full appearance as the plant grows. Keep the soil slightly moist until new growth begins to show, and then revert back to your normal care habits.
Common Spider Plant problems
Spider Plants commonly have dried, brown tips, which can be trimmed off (but keep a little bit of the brown edge to avoid introducing bacteria to a fresh cut in your leaves). A common cause of this “tip burn” is using tap water, as Spider Plants can be very sensitive to the chemicals used to treat municipal tap water. Try using filtered water or dechlorinating drops to help avoid tip burn. Not enough moisture (either via watering or humidity) can also cause dried tips, so make sure you water adequately.
Spider Plants, like other houseplants, can pick up common pests like Mealybugs and Scale. If an infestation is small, you can typically remove the pests by wiping them away with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and treating with a mild antimicrobial soap. Once infestations are well established, it’s probably best to throw your plant away for the safety of your other plants, unfortunately.
Since Spider Plants enjoy being a bit root bound it can be easy to miss if they overgrow their pot and start blocking drain holes. Pay close attention because if your plant’s roots don’t allow for proper drainage, the roots will sit in excess water and rot.