Last Updated on November 14, 2022 by Plant Mom Care
Spider plant, a popular warm-weather perennial houseplant, is indigenous to Africa. It can tolerate plenty of neglect, even drought, and will be a visually stunning indoor plant if provided with warm temperatures and sufficient humidity.
This plant grows rosettes of slim arching leaves that stretch to 12 – 18 inches in length. The leaves are either green or variegated with green and white/cream stripes. Mature plants frequently put out long stems bearing small yellow or white flowers.
If the flowers get pollinated, small fruits will form. Once the flowers drop off, tiny plantlets grow in their place, ultimately forming their root systems and can be cut off to create new plants. This moderately fast grower is drought-tolerant as its fleshy tubers retain water.
They are often kept as hanging plants because the leaves, long stems, and spidery-looking plantlets cascade nicely over the sides.
Spider Plant Light Requirements
If grown outdoors, the plants prefer growing under light shade and even tolerate heavy shade, but foliar growth won’t be robust. The leaves get scorched under direct sunlight. If grown indoors, keep the plants near bright windows that get indirect sun.
Spider Plant Watering
These plants like moist but not water-logged soil. Overwatering will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant. They are sensitive to chlorine and fluoride in water, which makes leaf tips turn brown, so use distilled water or rainwater for potted plants. Since their tubers retain water, inconsistent watering won’t harm the plants too much although growth might be affected.
Spider Plant Humidity
They thrive in humid conditions however, low humidity can turn the leaf tips brown. Frequent misting can help to raise humidity levels.
Spider Plant Temperature
They thrive in temperatures between 70 – 90°F and will tolerate occasional temperature lows of 35°F, but plant growth will be affected at prolonged temperatures under 65°F. Protect them from drafts or air-conditioning vents.
Spider Plant Soil
They can grow in different soil types, but favor loamy soil with good drainage. They prefer neutral soil pH but can also tolerate slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soil. High salt levels in the soil can make leaf tips turn brown.
Spider Plant Repotting
These plants typically need repotting in 2 or 3 years in spring or when roots protrude out of drainage holes and above the soil. Choose a new container about 1/3 bigger than the roots with plenty of drainage capacity.
Fill 1/3 of the container with potting mix and carefully lift the plant out and place it around the same depth in its new home then, top off with potting mix. Water thoroughly and move the plant back to its location.
Spider Plant Propagation
These plants are very easy to propagate. Once the plantlets growing on the plant’s stems develop root systems that are about 1 – 2-inch long, remove and propagate them. Carefully cut them off the stem without too much damage to the plant.
Plant them in well-draining plastic or clay containers filled with fresh potting mix, and keep the mix moist (but not water-logged) until the young plants get established.
For plantlets without fully developed roots, place small pots filled with potting mix close to the parent plant. The roots of the plantlets will develop in a few weeks if you place them in the mix and keep them moist. Once this happens, cut the plantlets from the stem, and continue growing them in their pots.
Alternatively, you can dig up mature plants to divide them. Gently tug apart the root ball into separate sections, without damaging the roots too much, and replant the sections into new pots filled with potting mix.
Spider Plant Additional Care
These plants prefer a modest amount of fertilizer, approximately once a month in spring and summer. Over-fertilizing can cause brown leaf tips, but under-fertilizing can result in poor growth. Use a balanced water-soluble or granular fertilizer and follow the instructions.
Stop feeding the plants in winter, as they will become semi-dormant. Keep watering the plants regularly, since the plants still need water during dry winters.
Remove brown or dead leaves when they appear. If growth becomes too sparse and leggy, remove the plantlets to refocus energy on the plant.
Spider Plant Common Problems
These plants are generally problem-free, but some common pests like whitefly, aphids, and spider mites, can attack them. Decreased or discolored foliage is usually a sign of pest infestation. Most infestations can be treated by rinsing the plants with sprays of water. More serious infestations can be treated by spraying the plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil solutions.
If the plants seem to be struggling, don’t increase their watering or feeding program. This is most likely due to the plants getting root-bound – divide or repot the plants to resolve the problem. These are fast-growers, and if they suddenly appear to struggle, they most likely need more space for their roots.
These plants are particularly sensitive to salts or chemicals found in tap water. If leaf tips start browning, switch to watering with distilled water or rainwater. Brown leaf tips also happen if the plant gets too much direct sun. Keep in mind that these plants thrive better under indirect light or shaded conditions.
Where is the best location to keep a spider plant?
These plants can tolerate most light settings but flourish better under indirect bright light indoors. Avoid exposing the plants to direct sunlight, on a table or a shelf.
What is the lifespan of spider plants?
They usually live around 20 years, although a few gardeners have successfully kept their plants alive for longer than 50 years.
What causes spider plants to get brown tips?
Under-watering, over-watering, and too much exposure to direct sun and chemicals or salts in tap water can all result in brown leaf tips. Monitor your watering schedule – as a rule, water the plants once every week in spring and summer, reducing this to once every ten days in winter. Keep the plants away from direct sun and water them with rainwater or distilled water. Over-feeding can also cause this problem. Review your care plan and modify it as necessary.
How do you care for a spider plant growing indoors?
The indoor needs of these plants are simple – keep them under bright or moderate light in comfortable temperatures for humans and plants alike. Keep the soil consistently moist but not water-logged. Water them once weekly from spring to summer and once every ten days or so in winter, allowing the soil to become somewhat dry between watering. Plant them in well-drained soil and they will thrive. They are tough plants and can tolerate plenty of abuse, making them ideal candidates for novice gardeners.