How to Grow Spider Plants
Spider plants are one of the easiest houseplants to grow. They require very little care while rewarding you with new plants that can be shared with family and friends.
Spider plants are tropical plants from South Africa that have become naturalized in tropical areas all over the world. Hardy in zones 9 through 11, they are often used as a ground cover or an edging in tropical and sub-tropical outdoor landscapes. Their only drawback is that they can become invasive in these situations, escaping the garden and spreading all over the yard.
Growing Spider Plants
- Indoors, they make spectacular hanging plants that can reach three feet in length.
- They produce small white flowers year-round.
- The foliage comes in two colors: The most common is solid green leaves, and my personal favorite are plants with variegated green and white leaves.
- Regardless of which color you choose, the leaves are 10- to 16-inches in length.
- There is also a dwarf spider plant that has green leaves with a central yellow stripe. The leaves on these tiny plants are only 4- to 6-inches long.
Soil and Water Requirements
- Spider plants should be grown in well-drained soil, fertilized during the summer, and watered only when the soil becomes dry.
- Over-watering results in root rot which will kill the plants.
- Spider plants are sensitive to fluoride, often found in municipal tap water. If the tips of the leaves turn brown, switch to distilled water.
- Brown leaf tips can also indicate that you are over-fertilizing your plants. The best way to avoid that is to use pellets or time release fertilizer at the beginning of the summer.
- Do not fertilize your plants during the winter when they are not actively growing.
- Repot your plants when the fleshy roots start showing above the soil.
- Wait at least 4 to 6 months before fertilizing your repotted plants.
Light and Temperature
- Spider plants like bright indirect light but not direct sunlight which will scorch their leaves.
- Outdoors, they can survive in semi-shade but will not grow as well.
- They prefer cooler temperatures; 65°F to 75°F during the day and 50°F to 55°F at night.
- They are sensitive to very cold temperatures, so outside of the tropics, it is a good idea to move them away windows and exterior doors during the cold winter months.
Propagation is simple: The plants do all the work for you by producing plantlets on long stems. When the plantlets start to develop roots, it’s time to remove them from the parent plants and plant them in their own pots. You can use your new plants to either add to your collection or share them with family and friends. It will take two years for the new plants to mature and start making plantlets of their own, so be patient.
Spider plants are great for beginners. They are not fussy, growing in almost any conditions.
Questions & Answers
Why doesn't my spider plant produce any plantlets? I've had it for several years.
It could be due to several reasons. It could be that your plant is getting too much light or not enough light. Your plant could be getting chilled in the winter if you live in a cold climate or maybe it is too hot in the room where it is kept. Perhaps it needs to be fertilized.
© 2014 Caren White