The Habitat
Share to PinterestWhy You Should Have Spider Plants at Home
HomeIndoor plants

Easy Tips for Caring and Growing Your Spider Plants

Alicia Smith
Share to PinterestWhy You Should Have Spider Plants at Home

The spider plant is a delightfully adaptable houseplant that is almost impossible to destroy. It’s the perfect choice for busy people, on-the-go families, or for those whose thumb is not even faintly green.

This hardy, popular species is an attractive and easy-care addition to your home, but following a few tips will help you maintain its beauty and productivity indefinitely.


Bringing your spider plant home

Share to Pinterestwoman carrying potted plant to put it on the sunlight by the window
skynesher / Getty Images

Spider plants can grow from seed, but leave this to the pros; these easy growers produce offshoots so frequently that this isn't necessary. The typical owner usually just purchases a plant that's already established.

If you buy a plant that's ready to display, keep it flat and secure in the vehicle on the way home. Drive gently, and take it inside as soon as you arrive at your destination.


Planting your spider plant

Share to Pinterestperson fixing plant outdoors
kn1 / Getty Images

Though they can adapt to a number of conditions, loose and loamy neutral soil works best for spider plants. Adequate drainage is an absolute must.

Don't use a small container, as the roots will start to take off in a week or two. Similarly, don't use a pot that's awkwardly large. Find something that's a comfortable fit. Due to continued growth, spider plants will need replanting in larger pots every year or two, but that doesn't mean you need to go overboard to begin with.


A healthy start (1 of 4): sunlight

Share to PinterestFresh leaves spider plant orange pot in house garden with morning sunlight and selective focus

Spider plants are adaptable plants that can tolerate most conditions, but they thrive best in bright spots where they're exposed to moderate indirect sunlight. To avoid sunburn, you can rotate the pot every few days.

Spider plants can grow in temperatures close to freezing, but they stay healthier when the temperature is between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler end of that range is preferred, and a humidifier in your plant's space is ideal.


A healthy start (2 of 4): watering

Share to Pinterestwatering spider plant
Simplylesia / Getty Images

In the case of spider plants, less is more, so avoid overwatering. To ensure your spider plant remains healthy, use distilled or purified water to nourish it. Tap water usually contains minerals such as salt and fluoride, which are compounds unfamiliar to spider plants in their natural environment.

The build-up of these compounds in your plant can destroy it. To avoid shocking the plant, use water that was allowed to reach room temperature.


A healthy start: humidity levels

Share to Pinterestperson spraying spider plant with water

Native to Central and Southern Africa, spider plants prefer humid weather. Though they don't like direct sunlight and it can burn their leaves, they do thrive in warm temperatures. For best results, spray or mist the leaves regularly to keep them moist and healthy. Otherwise, low humidity will cause browning.


A healthy start (4 of 4): special nutrients

Share to PinterestSpider plant on a wooden table at home balcony.
Veena Nair / Getty Images

Fertilize your spider plant once or twice a month during summer and spring, the growing season for this species. For best results, use a liquid fertilizer and pour the solution over the soil, at the plant's base, according to the package directions. It’s best not to fertilize in the winter or if the plant has outgrown its pot.


Healthy growth (1 of 2): pruning your spider plant

Share to Pinterestchlorophytum comosum aka spider plant
tg50 / Getty Images

To keep your spider plant looking its best, take a few minutes every week or two to remove dead or turning leaves. They'll pull out easily.

If your plant's leaves seem to be thinning, go ahead and remove the plantlet shoots — but see page 9 for what to do with them! These babies take up a tremendous amount of energy, and getting rid of them will redirect effort back to the mother plant's foliage.


Healthy growth (2 of 2): repotting your spider plant

Share to PinterestChlorophytum comosum spider plant
tg50 / Getty Images

Plastic containers are not only unattractive but can also impede your plant’s growth — the resulting insufficient air circulation can lead to root rot. A porous pot with a drainage hole is a better choice. Line the bottom of the pot with peat moss, then fill it with lightweight, drainable soil like vermiculite.

You can also repot your plant when it becomes too big. Pull out or cut the root ball into sections and replant each section in a drainable pot filled with fresh soil.


Can I propagate my spider plant?

Those charming little plantlets that give the spider plant its name can be separated for more plants. Pluck off these babies and root them by placing them on a cotton ball or paper towel over a cup of filtered water until the roots are one to two inches long. If you prefer, you can also place it in soil, water, cover it with a ventilated plastic bag, and leave it in a sunny spot. Once it is well-rooted, remove the bag and grow as usual.

The best method for growing successful offshoots is to keep them attached to the mother plant. Simply place the plantlets into a pot of soil that’s close to the original plant. Water generously and once the roots grow, then snip the shoot from the mother plant.


Common diseases

Share to PinterestSpider Plant hanging on with dead shoots
bgwalker / Getty Images

Though not exceptionally prone to diseases, spider plants do occasionally encounter problems, usually caused by environmental issues.

Root rot is a common plague, coming about due to overwatering, poor drainage, or soil fungus. Regardless of the trigger, if you see your leaves yellowing or otherwise appearing sickly, it's best to replant your spider plant. Use a larger pot with fresh soil. This is a catch-all way to get rid of bacteria and pathogens, too.


Common pests

Share to PinterestExtreme close-up of red spider mites -Tetranychus urticae on a leaf
Joaquim F. P. / Getty Images

Spider mite infestations are common to spider plants. These mites suck the sap from the undersides of leaves and their colonies can grow quickly. If you discover spider mites on your plant, isolate it to protect your other plants.

Treat a spider mite infestation by mixing three tablespoons of mild liquid dish soap in one gallon of water and spraying this on your spider plant. After two or three hours, wipe the solution from the leaves. Repeat the treatment every four to seven days.


Displaying your spider plant

Share to PinterestSpider plant in white pot at balcony
FeelPic / Getty Images

Unless you're in USDA zones 9 to 11, spider plants should remain potted and indoors during cold weather. As long as they're away from direct sunlight, they'll do well with very little upkeep. Due to their cascading leaves, they're an ideal hanging basket plant. They work wonderfully on pedestals, plant stands, and other elevated areas, too.

For those who live in warmer climates, spider plants make great ground cover. Alternatively, planting them in pots to display on porches or decks will enliven the space.


Similar plants

Share to PinterestDracaena Plant
IpekMorel / Getty Images

Spider plants are definitely unique, but they do share characteristics with a handful of other plants.

Japanese sedge plants are the closest aesthetic look-alikes, albeit with narrower leaves. Dracaena and pandanus plants also have some similarities, but grow much larger. Bromeliad summer also shares some leaf features with spider plants, as do a few varieties of air plants.


Cautions and additional information

Share to PinterestSpider plant
KDP / Getty Images

Good news for plant parents with fur babies: spider plants are non-toxic to cats and dogs.

If your plant isn't creating the cute little plantlets so many people love, consider its pot size. A pot that is too large with prevent your plant from sprouting these babies; a slightly rootbound situation is best to encourage self-propagation. Your spider plant might also fail to reproduce if it's not getting enough light.


Varieties of spider plant

Share to Pinterest"Bonnie" spider plant
Olena Troshchak / Getty Images

Spider plants are a pretty recognizable species, but you can choose some specific varieties based on your aesthetic preferences.

  • The "Bonnie" variety has leaves that curl for a charming effect.
  • The yellow part of the variegated "Zebra plant" leaves will turn white as the plant matures, for a starker contrast.
  • "Variegatum" or reverse variegated spider plants are green in the middle of the leaf and white or yellow on the edges.



Scroll Down

for the Next Article