How To Grow & Care For Spider Plants

Spider plants are a great choice for any indoor garden as they’re easy to take care of, and amazing at purifying the air. In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about how to grow and care for spider plants. From how much light they need to the common mistakes to avoid, you’ll have all the info you need to keep your spider plants happy and thriving!

how to care for spider plants.YayImages

About Spider Plants

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are popular houseplants due to their hardiness and ability to thrive in a variety of conditions.

The plant’s long, slender leaves can be green or variegated, and they produce small white flowers that eventually give way to baby spider plants, or “spiderettes.” These spiderettes can be easily propagated, making spider plants a continually renewing source of greenery.

Their resilience and air-purifying qualities make them an excellent choice for enhancing indoor air quality and adding a touch of nature to your home. However, it’s important to note that spider plants are mildly toxic to pets.

While they are not deadly, ingestion can cause mild digestive upset in cats and dogs, so it’s best to keep them out of reach of curious pets.

Spider plant in a white ceramic potYayImages

How to Grow And Care For Spider Plants

Here are some essential tips to grow and care for spider plants:

1. Light Requirements

Spider plants thrive in bright, indirect light. They can tolerate low light conditions, but their growth may slow, and the variegation in their leaves may fade.

Avoid placing spider plants in direct sunlight, as this can scorch their delicate leaves, causing brown spots and damage.

For optimal growth, place your spider plant near a window with filtered light or use sheer curtains to diffuse the sunlight.

Regularly rotate the plant to ensure all sides receive equal light exposure, promoting even growth and a balanced appearance.

2. Watering

Proper watering is crucial for spider plant health. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaf tips to brown.

Always use room temperature water and ensure your pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

During the growing season, spider plants may require more frequent watering, while in the dormant winter months, watering can be reduced.

Consistency is key, so establish a routine to check soil moisture regularly, adjusting as needed based on the plant’s environment and growth.

Spider plant in a blue and white potSusan Wilkinson / Unsplash

3. Soil

Spider plants prefer a well-draining potting mix. A standard houseplant potting soil is usually sufficient, but you can improve drainage by adding perlite or sand.

Avoid heavy soils that retain too much moisture, as this can lead to root issues.

A mix of peat, pine bark, and perlite can create an ideal environment for spider plant roots, promoting healthy growth.

Regularly check the soil for compaction and aerate it if necessary to maintain proper airflow around the roots.

This helps prevent fungal growth and keeps the soil in optimal condition.

4. Temperature

Spider plants thrive in temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°C to 24°C). They can tolerate occasional temperature fluctuations but should be kept away from drafts and cold windows during winter.

Sudden changes in temperature can stress the plant, leading to leaf discoloration or dropping.

Maintaining a stable temperature within the preferred range helps ensure consistent growth and overall plant health.

If you live in a colder climate, consider placing your spider plant in a warmer room or using a space heater to maintain the appropriate temperature during colder months.

Spider plant growing in a white potYayImages

5. Humidity

While spider plants are adaptable to various humidity levels, they prefer moderate humidity.

In dry indoor environments, especially during winter, misting the leaves or using a humidity tray can help maintain optimal conditions.

Humidity levels between 40% and 60% are ideal for spider plants.

Placing a humidifier nearby or grouping plants together can also increase humidity levels.

Additionally, avoid placing spider plants near heating vents or air conditioners, as these can dry out the air and negatively affect the plant’s health.

6. Fertilizing

Feed your spider plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).

Reduce fertilizing during the fall and winter months when the plant’s growth naturally slows.

Over-fertilizing can lead to nutrient burn and damage the plant, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Using a diluted fertilizer can help prevent overfeeding.

Organic fertilizers, such as compost tea or worm castings, can also provide essential nutrients without the risk of chemical buildup.

Regular feeding ensures your spider plant receives the nutrients needed for robust growth and vibrant foliage.

spider plant care. a spider plant in a white pot with black polka dots.Cami Kaos / Unsplash

7. Repotting

Spider plants grow quickly and may become root-bound. Repotting every 1-2 years in a pot slightly larger than the current one will provide space for growth.

Ensure the new pot has good drainage to prevent waterlogging.

When repotting, gently loosen the root ball to encourage new root growth and remove any dead or decaying roots.

Fresh potting soil should be used to replenish nutrients and provide a fresh environment for the plant.

Repotting not only gives the plant more room to grow but also revitalizes the soil, promoting overall health and vigor.

8. Pruning

Regular pruning helps maintain the plant’s shape and encourages new growth.

Trim off any brown tips or dead leaves with clean, sharp scissors.

You can also remove spiderettes to propagate new plants or prevent overcrowding.

Pruning should be done during the growing season to avoid stressing the plant.

Removing damaged or diseased leaves helps improve airflow and reduces the risk of pests and diseases.

Pruning also allows the plant to direct its energy towards healthy growth, resulting in a more attractive and lush appearance.

Large spider plant indoors.Mathias Reding / Pexels

9. Pests and Diseases

Spider plants are generally resilient but can be susceptible to pests like spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.

Regularly inspect your plants and treat any infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Good air circulation and avoiding overwatering can prevent most diseases.

If you notice any unusual spots or discoloration on the leaves, isolate the affected plant to prevent the spread of pests or diseases.

Maintaining a clean growing environment and practicing good plant hygiene are essential for keeping your spider plants healthy and pest-free.

10. Propagation

Propagating spider plants is straightforward and rewarding.

Simply cut off a spiderette and place it in water or directly into soil.

Roots will develop quickly, and you’ll have a new plant ready to thrive.

Ensure the spiderette has a few roots before planting it in soil for the best results.

Propagation can be done year-round but is most successful during the growing season.

Closeup image of spider plant leaves.Levente Bagi / Unsplash

11. Cleaning

Regularly clean your spider plant’s leaves to remove dust and debris.

Use a soft, damp cloth or sponge to gently wipe both sides of the leaves.

This helps the plant photosynthesize efficiently and prevents pests from hiding in dusty foliage.

Avoid using leaf shine products, as these can clog leaf pores and interfere with the plant’s natural processes.

Cleaning also enhances the plant’s appearance, keeping it vibrant and healthy.

12. Keep Away From Pets

Spider plants are considered mildly toxic to pets. While ingestion is typically not fatal, it can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and drooling in cats and dogs.

Keep spider plants out of reach of pets or consider hanging them from plant hangers or shelves.

If you suspect your pet has ingested spider plant leaves or spiderettes, monitor them closely and contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist or worsen.

Check out our list of pet-safe plants for better alternatives.

Spider plant outdoors.YayImages

Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Spider Plants

Now that we’ve determined the best ways to grow and care for healthy spider plants, let’s take a look at what not to do:

1. Overwatering

One of the most common mistakes is overwatering spider plants.

These plants prefer evenly moist soil but can suffer from root rot if kept too wet.

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again, especially during winter when growth slows.

Use a pot with drainage holes to ensure excess water can escape freely.

2. Underwatering

On the flip side, underwatering can lead to dry, brown tips on the leaves and stunted growth.

Establish a regular watering schedule and adjust based on environmental conditions.

Check the soil moisture frequently, especially during hot weather or when the indoor air is dry.

Spider plant in hand.feey / unsplash

3. Poor Drainage

Spider plants require well-draining soil to prevent waterlogged roots.

Ensure your pot has drainage holes and use a lightweight potting mix with perlite or sand for optimal drainage.

Avoid heavy or compacted soils that retain too much moisture.

4. Too Much Direct Sunlight

While spider plants tolerate various light conditions, direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, causing sunburn or yellowing.

Place your spider plant in bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight to prevent leaf damage.

Consider using sheer curtains or placing the plant away from direct sun exposure.

How to grow and care for spider plant.Elly Endeavours / Unsplash

5. Not Enough Sunlight

Insufficient light can result in leggy growth and loss of variegation in the leaves.

Ensure your spider plant receives bright, indirect light for at least several hours a day.

Rotate the plant occasionally to promote even growth and balanced leaf coloration.

6. Neglecting to Trim Brown Tips

Brown tips on spider plant leaves are often caused by underwatering, low humidity, or fluoride in water.

Trim brown tips with clean scissors to improve the plant’s appearance and prevent further damage.

Maintain proper watering and humidity levels to prevent recurrence of brown tips.

Spider plant outdoors.YayImages

7. Using Hard Water

Spider plants are sensitive to chemicals and minerals in water, such as fluoride and chlorine.

Use filtered or distilled water when watering to prevent leaf discoloration and tip burn.

If using tap water, allow it to sit overnight to dissipate chlorine before using it on your plants.

8. Over-Fertilizing

Spider plants are light feeders and can be damaged by excessive fertilizer.

Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every 2-4 weeks during the growing season.

Reduce fertilization during winter when the plant’s growth slows.

Avoid applying fertilizer directly to dry soil or onto the foliage, as this can burn the plant’s roots and leaves.

Spider plant in an orange pot.Cindy D'Silva / Pexels

9. Ignoring Pests

Spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs can infest spider plants, especially in dry indoor conditions.

Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests, such as webbing, stippled leaves, or sticky residue.

Treat infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil, focusing on the undersides of leaves where pests hide.

10. Incorrect Pot Size

Choosing the right pot size is essential for spider plant health.

Avoid pots that are too large, as they can hold too much moisture and lead to root rot.

Select a pot that’s 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the plant’s current pot, with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Repot spider plants every 1-2 years to refresh the soil and provide room for root growth.

The Spider Plant in small pots to decorate the garden.YayImages

11. Not Repotting When Needed

Spider plants quickly outgrow their pots and become root-bound.

Repot your spider plant into a slightly larger container every 1-2 years or when roots start to fill the current pot.

Loosen the root ball gently during repotting to encourage new root growth and prevent the plant from becoming pot-bound.

12. Ignoring Temperature Preferences

Spider plants thrive in moderate temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°C to 24°C).

Avoid exposing them to cold drafts, hot air vents, or extreme temperature fluctuations.

Protect spider plants from frost and freezing temperatures, as these can damage or kill the plant.

Maintain a stable indoor temperature to ensure optimal growth and overall plant health.

High angel view of Spider plant.YayImages

Conclusion

Growing and caring for spider plants is rewarding and relatively easy with proper attention to their light, water, soil, and humidity needs.

By avoiding common mistakes and following these care tips, you can enjoy healthy, thriving spider plants that enhance your indoor space.

12 important spider plant care and growing tips.

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