Spider plants (also known as Chlorophytum comosum) are easy-to-care for houseplants and you can even grow branches to grow more spider plants in your space!
Spider plants have arching, ribbon-like leaves that have varying patterns of green or white-green stripes and are especially beautiful to use in a hanging basket display. They are one of the most common types of houseplants and can suffer a great deal of neglect, so they are good for beginners to exercise their green thumbs as well.
Related: Learn how to care for Pilea plants, fig leaves, golden pothos, snake plants, rubber trees, and string of pearls plants.
Why are they called spider plants? Spider plants are native to the coast of South Africa, and during the warmer summer months they can produce small white flowers at the end of a long stem (called a ‘pup’) that resemble little spiders – these little spiders can be replanted to produce other plants. Spider factory!
Types of spider plants:
- Chlorophytum comosumdiverse’: This species has cream or white leaf margins with a dark green stripe down the middle and the long stems from which they grow are green.
- Chlorophytum comosumVitatum: The leaves of this variety have a white stripe down the middle surrounded by green margins and the long stems are white.
- Chlorophytum comosum “Bonnie”: This spider plant grows more compact and has more wrinkled leaves with green outer sides and a cream central stripe. Instead of white flowers, its flowers are yellow.
How often should I water spider plants?
You will need the soil to begin to dry between waterings, as spider plants like moist but not wet soil. Too much water can cause root rot and kill the plant. Water your plant well and then check it after a few days by sticking your finger into the soil to check the moisture level. Once the dirt is slightly damp, it’s time to water again.
Spider plants can be more sensitive to the fluoride and chlorine found in tap water, so if you want to really pamper your plant, you can use rainwater or distilled water instead.
Because spider plants are so good at retaining water, they can handle a few missed watering sessions better than other plants and even go weeks at a time between waterings.
Monitor your plant’s growth as you will need to move it to a larger pot once the roots grow out of the pot.
How much sunlight do spider plants need?
Spider plants can live indoors in low to bright locations not directly Light The lines of the plant actually change and look more pronounced when exposed to more sunlight, but you don’t want to put the plant in direct sunlight because that will burn and damage the leaves.
Outdoor spider plants prefer light shade but can do well in medium to heavy shade but will grow slower with less light.
Should I fertilize my spider plant?
you can use All-purpose fertilizer on your spider plant during the spring and summer growing seasons. Just add a little once or twice a month but be careful not to overdo it as this could harm the plant.
Follow the directions on the label for guidance on how much to use and you can even start with half strength to see how your plant does.
Temperature and humidity for spider plants
Because spider plants come from a warmer, more humid climate, they do best in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it away from air conditioning vents and drafts if growing indoors.
Pruning spider plants
You can remove any brown tips as they appear by using sharp shears or pruning shears to cut them off, but spider plants generally don’t need a lot of pruning.
Replant spider plants
If you see your roots coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or the top of the soil, it means the root ball has gotten too big and you will need to repot your plant.
Use a container 1/3 larger than the root ball (ideally one with drainage holes) and you can crumble the root ball with your hands to break up any large knots of roots to encourage it to spread into the new pot.
Propagating spider plants
The little spiders that grow at the end of the long stem not only give this plant its name, but they can also be replanted to grow more spider plants!
You can wait until the spiderwort begins to grow roots before cutting it and planting it in its soil pot, but the best method is to allow the plant to remain attached to the mother plant while you begin to propagate it.
Simply place a pot of soil near the mother plant and leave the spider on the soil until it begins to form roots and grow in the pot. You can use a wire bent into a “U” shape (or an open paper clip) to push into the soil around the stem to keep it in place in the dirt.
Only mature plants that have enough stored energy produce spiderlings, so not all plants are capable of making them.
Related: How to propagate plants
Diagnose common problems
- Crispy dry tips: This could be a sign that the plant is underwater, try watering it frequently or misting the plant weekly to keep the humidity high.
- Dark brown tips: It could be a sign of overwatering, let the soil dry out more between watering. It could also be fluoridated tap water so you can try distilled water or rain water for a while to see if that helps.
- Pests: Spider plants are usually more resistant to pests, but if you are infested with aphids, whiteflies and spider mites, you can rinse the plant with water or use neem oil for larger infestations.
Frequently asked questions
Are spider plants safe for cats?
Spider plants are actually a favorite among veterinarians because they are safe for cats.
Should I cut the brown tips off my spider plant?
If you are having problems with brown tips, you can cut off the brown parts (they will not turn green again) and then check to see if you have overgrown your plant or underwatered it as the root cause.
Should you miss spider plants?
Since spider plants’ natural habitat is more humid, you can mist your plant once a week with a spray bottle, this will help protect it from drying out.
Do spider plants help clean the air?
Yes! NASA conducted a study that showed how they greatly help clean the air, but you would have to have a very large amount of them in your home to do the same thing.