How to grow Spider Plants for Beginners

Learn how to grow spider plants for beginners. Growing spider plants is easy with these basic care tips and tricks! Spider plants are so easy to grow they made our list of the 20 Best Indoor Plants You Can’t Kill.

In this beginner guide of how to grow a spider plant you will learn about this popular house plant which has been a favorite for generations of plant lovers, including;

  • How much light does a spider plant need?
  • How much water does a spider plant need?
  • How to propagate a spider plant.
  • When to fertilize your spider plant.
  • When to repot your spider plant.
  • common pests and diseases of the spider plant
  • And a few frequently asked questions.

There are a few species of spider plants grown in the home and outdoors in warm climates.

They’re monocots, so the main part of the plant grows similar to the way grass and daylilies grow—from the crown near the soil line. Spider plants (Chlorophytum spp.) are easy to grow.

Some are solid green, others have white or cream-colored variegation on the edges or in the center of the leaves.

How much light do spider plants need?

Although they’ll grow fairly well in bright indirect light, spider plants will be stronger and keep more of their leaves upright if given a few hours of direct sunlight. In winter, when days are short and sun is weak, plants benefit greatly with more sun.

How much water do spider plants need?

This plant forms swollen roots, which store water. Don’t keep the soil wet; let it dry somewhat between watering.

But don’t let it go bone dry.

They appreciate some humidity in dry air, but are quite tolerant of average conditions.

Keep the temperature in the 60’s or 70’s F. Plants left outdoors in autumn will tolerate very cool—but not frosty—temperatures for a while, but they will decline in health.

How to propagate spider plants

When they’re well-established, they’ll shoot out long runners, or stolons, which form flowers and plantlets at the ends.

Those little plants will grow roots at the bottom, and can be separated to make new plants. Just take a few of them, and nestle into damp potting soil, not too deep or those leaves will rot.

No need to start them in water first, but place the pot in a clear plastic bag, with the top open, for good humidity while they’re rooting.

The stolons can remain on the plant, even for years.

When to fertilize spider plants

Fertilize them with a general houseplant fertilizer every 3 to 6 weeks, more often in the growing season, less often in winter. Use less than is recommended on the package. For all houseplants, it’s a good idea to flush lots of water through the root ball once or twice a year to get rid of excess salts.

When to repot your spider plant

Because the root system is very vigorous, it will raise the plant higher in the pot. This will open up air spaces where water rushes through without moistening the root ball. You can soak the pot in the sink or repot the plant.

Take the plant out of the pot, and cut off about 1/3 of the bottom of the root ball. Repot into the same or slightly larger pot, stuffing potting soil between the roots and firming the soil. Keep the original soil level the same. Water it in.

I used to start plants in 4″ pots, and them move them up to 6″, or I’d put three of them in an 8″ or 10″ hanging basket. A 12″ pot will make a full, large plant, but it will demand good growing conditions.

Spider plant problems

Watch for root rot, scale insects, and spider mites. Pale or thin leaves can be peeled off at any time.

Brown tips are common in plants with leaves that end with a pointed tip, and are caused by too little or too much water, overfertilization, or low humidity.

But the tips can be trimmed, until eventually the whole leaf can be removed. Occasionally, I cut off the whole top of the plant, and it regrew.

With good growing conditions, spider plants grow fairly fast. Easy!

Spider Plant Frequently Asked Questions

Do spider plants need to hang?

The answer is ‘NO’. In nature the plant sends out stolons to rest on the ground around it and make roots.

The plant will be just as happy on a bookcase or window ledge, You just need to allocate it a lot of width if you are going to leave the babies attached and realize that if they make contact with the soil or moisture of another plant in the vicinity, they will be happy to make roots and take over that pot.

How long can a spider plant live?

I would have to say “”indefinitely”. I have been going to my dentist for 28 years now, and he always had this spider plant in one of the examination chair rooms in a west-facing floor-to-ceiling window.

One day, at one of my cleanings, I asked the hygienist if I could break off one of the “babies”, and she even brought me a plastic bag I could take it home in. I’m sure, in the 28 years this plant has been alive, I’m not the only patient who’s done this.

Also, my sister, I don’t know how many years ago, gave me a “baby” of the green variety. It’s still growing well, in the same pot, moss and all, in a south-facing window.

The trick, I guess, is to only soak it once a week, don’t overwater, and fertilize occasionally. Once it gets bigger, repot in a bigger pot. In short, my answer is “”indefinitely”!

Can spider plants live in low light?

Spider plants come in both green (Chlorophytum cosmosum) and variegated (Chlorophytum cosmosum variegatum), and neither of them tolerate low light well. You can make them stay alive in low light for a period of time by watering them very sparsely (they have tuberous roots that store water, so water them thoroughly and then allow them to go completely dry between. You can tell when they need watering because the leaves get pale).

However, the long term prognosis in low light is that they will dwindle and ultimately die, especially the variegated variety.

One thing you might try: if you are wanting to decorate a certain low light area with spider plants, have two spider plants. One day keep one of them in a moderate light location for health and the other in a low light area. Then you can switch them out, bringing the one that enjoyed the light for a day into the low light and the one from the low light to the moderate light area. That way they both stay healthy and you have the plant decor you desire.

How can you plant spider plants in the outdoors of your house?

You can plant spider plants outdoors, depending on where in the world you live.

I would recommend planting it only in regions of Africa. If you were to draw a line below the Sahel, you can plant Chlorophytum comosum anywhere south of it, all the way south to the Cape of Good Hope.

These plants require warmth, or at least not too much cold. Anything under 35F will be too cold. This means most, if not all, of North America is too cold in winter for Spider Plant, unless you live in a very warm place, and take extraordinary measures to protect it during winter. Those measures might include burying it in straw all winter, or covering in plastic tarp on cold nights.

Other than that, dig a hole where you have well-drained soil, and plop it in.

Why are the leave on my new spider plant turning brown? Should I cut the brown ends off the tips of my spider plant?

I think it would be better if you first figured out what is causing the leaf tips to brown. A quick look at “spider plant leaf tips brown” yielded a welter of suggestions: Too much water, Too little water, Too much fertilizer. Too little ambient humidity, Hot sun. Take a look at a good care sheet and figure what the cause is. The plant will probably grow fast enough that the current brown tips won’t matter. After you’ve figured it out, you can cut or not if it bothers you or doesn’t bother you.

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