If you’re looking at how to care for a spider plant, chances are you’ve taken one of these wonderful houseplants and want to give it the best chance of growing. Or, your spider plant has seen better days and you’re looking for last-minute life-saving tips. Either way, we’re here to help.
Spider plants, also known as Chlorophytum comosum, are so named because of the offsets or “puppies” they produce that hang from the plant — somewhat similar to a spider on a web. Fortunately, this is where the similarities end. These houseplants are easy to use, adaptable and straightforward to grow, so they are perfect for beginners. However, there are still day care tips that even the most experienced gardener should know. Here’s how to care for a spider plant.
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How to care for a spider plant
1. Make sure the light is adequate – Spider plants grow in bright, indirect sunlight, so placing a window sill may be best. Do not place them in direct sunlight as this may dry out the plant and burn the leaves.
Spider plants are very hardy and can survive in the shade as well, but the growth will not be impressive. If you move your spider plant outside in the summer, make sure it is still out of the sun.
2. Do not overwater or underwater – If your spider plant is still growing, it will need to be watered more regularly than an established plant. As a general rule, you should aim to water your spider plant once a week, but always check the soil moisture level with your finger beforehand. If the soil feels wet, stop watering for a day or two.
When watering a spider plant, try to keep the soil moist, but don’t let it get too wet as this can lead to root rot, which in turn will kill the plant. If you notice brown tips forming on the edges of the leaves, this could be due to fluoride and chlorine in tap water. To put an end to this, try using distilled or rainwater.
3. Use the best soil and chop it up if necessary – While spider plants can grow in all types of soil, for best results, the soil should have a loose texture that drains easily. The pH should also be fairly neutral. We recommend the Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix ($10.39, Amazon).
The spider plant will grow quickly and will likely need to be replanted every one to two years with new soil. If roots begin to grow above surface level or outside the drainage holes, the spider plant needs a larger home. Find a pot about an inch wider than what you’re using now and make sure there are drainage holes.
You can replant the spider plant entirely or divide it from the roots into smaller plants. This is a good solution if you feel like it’s looking a little off lately. Puppies can also be separated to help with this, but we’ll cover that in more detail later.
4. Pay attention to the temperature – Spider plants grow best in temperatures between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit or 13-27 degrees Celsius. This means that they can be moved outside in the summer if you live in a warm climate.
You want to monitor humidity, too. Spider plants love a moist environment, so keep spraying them occasionally and make sure they don’t dry out or the leaves will start to turn brown.
5. Feed often – If you want to give your spider plant an extra boost, feed it some fertilizer. Follow the instructions on your chosen fertilizer for correct use and the correct dosage, but once a month is usually sufficient. Be careful not to overfeed your spider plant as this can do more harm than good.
Don’t worry about fertilizing your spider plant in the winter, but remember to keep watering it.
6. Prune any dead leaves – If some leaves die and turn brown, there is no harm in cutting them off. Cut them off at the base of the plant using scissors or shears. At the very least, this will make your spider plant look even more adorable.
If there are not as many leaves as there used to be, you can encourage more growth by cutting any puppy free. For more details, see How to Propagate a Spider Plant at the end of the guide.
7. Banish pests – Spider plants are at risk for mealybugs, scales, whiteflies, and spider mites, to name a few. If your plant appears to be struggling, take a closer look and check for any pests.
You can easily rinse off some pests under the tap, but you can also purchase insecticides intended for more stubborn infestations.
8. Rotate the pots – Rotating your pots ensures that each side receives an equal light source that promotes healthy growth, and this can aid in flowering as well.
If the spider plant has flowered, you should see small white flowers growing on long, thin stems. They will eventually turn into little ones.
How does spider plant reproduce?
When your spider plant is growing, you can easily separate the pups to create independent plants. When you do this, you have a constant supply of spider plants, or at least a nice gift for friends and family.
You’ll know your little ones are ready to go on their own once the roots are about an inch long. You can cut it off the stem with a pair of shears and transfer it to another pot with fresh soil. Just make sure to keep it good at first.
If you want to play it safe, you can alternatively put the puppies in a bowl while they are still attached to the mother, and only separate them once you are sure they are established.
Are spider plants good for the air?
Yes, spider plants have been shown to remove formaldehyde from the air, but it won’t make much difference unless you have plenty of it. This means that one spider plant will not be comparable to one spider plant The best air purifiersbut it’s still good to have them in the house because of this.
For more planting tips, tricks, and methods, check out our guides on what to plant in May, how to prune hydrangeas, how to care for orchids, and how to plant sunflower seeds.