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How to Care for Spider Plant

  • 5 min read

How to Care for Spider Plant

With its signature pale leaves that trail and curl around it, the Spider Plant is one of the most common houseplants out there. These plants are incredibly hardy, easy to care for, and great for hanging from ceilings or sitting on high shelves as the perfect beginner houseplant. To learn more about how you can help your Spider Plant thrive, check out this guide!

General Care

The Spider Plant is incredibly hardy but still slightly different from succulents in its care requirements. To ensure your Spider Plant stays happy and healthy, keep these tips in mind:

1. Light

Bright, indirect sunlight is a Spider Plant’s best friend. While this plant can tolerate shade, it won’t grow nearly as much as it would in bright light. In addition, try to keep your spider plant away from full sunshine, at least during the afternoon– the bright sunlight will quickly burn its delicate leaves, further stunting growth. For best results, consider keeping your Spider Plant near an east-facing window, where it’ll receive bright, but not harsh, morning sunlight. Alternatively, keep your Spider Plant near a south-facing window for it to get plenty of indirect light all day long. We recommend placing your Spider Plant in a hanging basket or atop a tall shelf so it can trail while still receiving filtered sunlight.

2. Soil

Like a succulent, Spider Plants prefer well-draining soil over a thick potting mix. If possible, look to your local garden store for some loamy soil, and if the soil’s too thick, modify it with a bit of perlite, sand, or peat moss. You can also modify a traditional potting mix with sand and peat for similar results.

3. Water

Spider Plants prefer to stay in relatively moist soil and don’t mind water on their leaves. Thus, the best way to water your Spider Plant is to do so when the top half of your soil is dry and with a single-hole watering can or bottle. When you water, let any excess drain completely from the pot before putting your Spider Plant back.

Spider Plant Watering Needs
Spider Plants prefer to stay in relatively moist soil
Photo by Alberto Nicoletta

4. Temperature and Humidity

Along with moist soil, Spider Plants also enjoy more humidity. Although low humidity environments are tolerable, your plant will grow much faster with a little extra moisture in the air. If you’d like to increase your home's humidity, occasionally mist your Spider Plant or keep it near a humidifier. 

As for temperature, this plant does best indoors, where temperatures are consistently around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Fertilizer

Unlike succulents, Spider Plants prefer a little fertilizer every so often. However, their leaves will turn brown if given too much (we’ll go into this later). Consider fertilizing your Spider Plant with an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season. You can also use compost to add extra nutrients to the soil once every two weeks.

Fertilizers For Spider Plant
Spider Plants prefer a little fertilizer every so often
Photo by Lucian Alexe 

 

Potting and Repotting

Since the Spider Plant prefers well-draining soil, it’s best to choose a well-draining pot to improve drainage further and ensure your Spider Plant’s soil doesn’t get too soggy. Ideally, your Spider Plant should have a pot with a drainage hole, but to further improve drainage, pots made from porous materials like concrete, terracotta, or ceramic are best

When it’s time to repot your Spider Plant, do so during the growing season to ensure the plant has plenty of resources to recover from any potential damage. You may want to consider repotting earlier if you’re repotting due to fungal gnats or root rot. 

Pruning

Spider Plants grow fast, and pruning your plant is essential to keep your plant in check. If you choose to prune your spider plant, it’s best to do it during the growing season (late spring to early fall). Always prune Spider Plant leaves from as close to the base of the plant as you can. Spider Plant offshoots make for great propagation starters– you can prune those at the leaf node.

Spider Plant Pruning
Spider Plants grow fast, and pruning your plant is essential to keep your plant in check
Photo by Susan Wilkinson

 

Blooming

Although it may be hard to notice, Spider Plants do bloom! A blooming spider plant has tiny white flowers with yellow stamens that grow among long stems. However, the blooming period is incredibly short and lasts only a few days during the summer. Fertilized blossoms will produce pod-like fruits that contain black seeds. After flowering, offshoots will also grow, which you can use for propagation.

Propagation

The best time to propagate a Spider Plant is after it blooms because the stems then grow into offshoots you can use as baby plants! To propagate a Spider Plant, wait until your offshoots begin to grow roots. When the roots reach an inch or two long, simply trim the offshoot from the mother plant using a clean, sharp pair of scissors. Plant the pip in a smaller pot filled with fresh, loamy soil, and mist the plant to keep your soil moist while the roots settle. 

Spider Plant Propagation
The best time to propagate a Spider Plant is after it blooms
Photo by おにぎり

 

Dormancy

Spider Plants go dormant in the winter when temperatures drop below 50 degrees, and humidity tends to drop. During this time, your plant may appear wilted. Its growth will slow, and it won’t need as much water as usual. During the dormant period, give it half as much water as it would need during the growing season and keep the plant away from direct sunlightTreat your Spider Plant as you usually would otherwise; just skip out on the fertilizer at this time.

Common Pests and Complications

Spider Plants are especially prone to overwatering complications like root rot and mold growth. To ensure your plant doesn’t contract root rot or develop mold, make sure you use well-draining soil and let any excess water drain completely from your pot after watering. Root rot in its early stages is manageable for any plant. You’ll just need to let the roots dry, trim away the damage, and repot your plant with fresh soil.

Another common problem with Spider Plants is browning leaf tips. This complication is primarily caused by excess fertilizer or low humidity. While you can’t save already browned tips, you can repot your Spider Plant with fresh soil and some compost, then trim off any browned leaf tips.

Toxicity

It’s essential to know a plant’s toxicity before keeping it in your home– especially if you have pets or children. Fortunately, the Spider Plant is not considered toxic to animals or people. However, ingestion may cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea, but no long-term damage. Since this plant is great for hanging, consider keeping it someplace out of reach from animals and children.

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