Must Know Tips for Watering Spider Plants


Why are my spider plant leaves turning black

Water spider plants with a generous soak of rainwater when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Always water with a good soak so that excess water trickles from the drainage holes in the base of the pot. Mist the leaves with water regularly to increase humidity.

Allowing the top inch of the soil to dry between bouts of watering ensures that the spider plant’s moisture requirements are met whilst avoiding problems associated with overwatering such as root rot.

Keep reading to learn how much to water spider plants in Winter, why you should water with rainwater, not tap water, and how to establish the correct watering schedule for spider plants and spider plantlets from propagation…

How Often to Water Spider Plants

Spider plants are tropical plants that are native to Southern Africa where they thrive in relatively high humidity and evenly moist to somewhat dry soil.

As the spider plant’s native environment can be dry and hot, it has special adaptions to cope with drought stress such as storing water in its thick fleshy white roots and rhizomes, which means it can tolerate some neglect when growing in your home.

To care for spider plants successfully it is important to emulate their watering and the typical soil moisture conditions of their native range.

Spider plants require evenly moist soil with the top inch of the soil just drying out between bouts of watering. Typically this means watering spider plants once every 7 to 10 days, but this varies according to your climate and conditions in the home.

This cycle of watering meets the moisture requirements of the spider plant without watering too often which promotes the conditions for root rot.

It should be noted that how often you have to water spider plants depends on several factors such as:

  • The level of humidity in your climate and the home.
  • The size of the pot (smaller pots dry out much quicker).
  • Whether the spider plant is in the direct path of an air current from air conditioning, forced air, or draughty areas of the house.
  • The capacity of the soil to retain moisture after watering.

To establish how often you should water your spider plant in the specific conditions of your home feel the top inch of the soil. If the soil feels damp or still moist then delay watering. If the top inch feels somewhat dry and you can detect very little moisture then this is the perfect time for watering with a generous soak.

Once you know how long it typically takes for the top inch of the soil to dry out from your spider plant, you can establish a watering cycle that accurately emulates the typical watering and soil moisture conditions of the spider plant’s native environment.

Top Tips For Watering Spider Plants

  1. Try to water spider plants with rainwater or filtered water, whenever possible. Spider plants are very sensitive to chlorine and fluoride (both found in tap water) in the water which can turn the tips of the leaves brown. Watering with tap water occasionally does not do any significant harm but rainwater or filtered water is the best practice for maintaining a healthy spider plant.
  2. Mist your spider plants regularly. Spider plants are native to relatively humid climates. Spray water onto the leaves of your spider plant at least once per week to create a humid micro-climate that mimics its native environment. Spray more consistently if you are in a particularly dry climate. The tips of the leaves turning brown is a sign of stress due to low humidity.
  3. Avoid placing your spider plant in the direct path of air currents or near any sources of heat as this can dry out your plant too quickly.
  4. The optimal temperature for growth. Spider plants are adaptable to a wide range of temperatures but grow best in temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (23°C) during the day and 55°F at night. If the temperature in your home exceeds 80°F (27°C) then spider leaves can turn brown due to drought stress, in which case you should water more often and spray the leaves regularly to save it.
  5. Size of the pot. Slightly larger pots than the root ball of your spider plant are best as this is thought to encourage the plant to form plantlets for propagation and typically allows the soil to dry out at the optimal rate.

(The tips of spider plant leaves can turn brown or yellow for several reasons. Read my article on how to revive a dying spider plant to find the cause and solve it).

How Often to Water Spider Plants in Winter

The spider plant’s demand for moisture can fluctuate according to seasons, even if it is indoors.

Spider plants enter a state of dormancy over Winter in response to fewer hours of light and lower light intensity. This means spider plants typically require watering less often compared to active growth in the Spring and Summer.

Also, cooler temperatures can reduce the rate at which the soil and the plant dries out which can increase the risk of root rot if you do not decrease the frequency of your watering.

Typically spider plants should be watered once every 2 or even 3 weeks in Winter in response to less hours of sun, to meet the moisture requirements whilst also avoid root rot.

However, some variables can significantly change how often you should water spider plants during Winter.

In our homes, the temperature can fluctuate significantly during Winter thanks to sources of heat such as radiators, fires, and forced air which lowers the humidity and causes the soil to dry out more quickly.

If you notice the tips of the spider plant’s leaves turning brown then this is a sign of drought stress and you should increase how often you water and mist regularly to counter the drying effects of indoor heating.

If the spider plant leaves turn yellow or black, this indicates you are watering too often.

Spider plants are hardy so as long as the top inch or so of the soil dries out between watering the plant should recover from bouts of over-watering or under-watering in Winter.

How Often to Water Spider Plantlets from Propagation

If you are propagating developing plantlets from the parent plant then water so that the surface of the soil stays evenly moist but not saturated.

Small plantlets do not have a very well-developed root system and therefore a very susceptible to drought.

So it is important to water the plantlets more regularly than the parent plant which by comparison can store water in its thick, fleshy white roots and rhizomes so can tolerate much dryer conditions.

Check the soil’s moisture by using your finger to judge the level of moisture in the top inch of the soil, as this is the strata of soil in which the plantlets are drawing up their needed moisture.

As long as the soil is consistently moist and does not dry out, then your plantlet should be able to develop roots and grow.

Always water with a really good soak rather the watering lightly as this creates more evenly moist soil and encourages the roots to grow and develop so they can sustain a much larger plant.

How Much to Water Spider Plants

Knowing how much to water spider plants is as important as knowing how often to water.

Whilst there are many variables such as climate, temperature, and humidity that can all influence how often to water spider plants, the amount of water should always be the same.

Water spider plants with a really good soak, so that excess water tickles out the base of the pot.

Watering in this way ensures that the water has infiltrated the soil so that the roots can uptake the moisture they require.

A really generous soak also encourages the roots to grow down into the soil and mature so that they can store water which increases the spider plants resistance to drought.

Watering your spider plant too lightly results in only to top inch or so of the soil being moist and the water does not reach the roots where it is required. This causes the tips of the leaves to turn brown as a sign of drought stress.

(Read my article, spider plant not growing and not producing babies?)

If you’re looking for more care tips, read my article How to Grow and Care for Spider Plants Indoors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Water spider plants with a generous soak, so that excess water trickles from the base of the pot. Wait until the top inch of the soil is dry before watering to meet the moisture requirements of spider plants whilst avoiding root rot.
  • Mist spider plants regularly to create a humid micro-climate that emulates the conditions of its native range.
  • Ensure that the soil stays evenly moist for spider plantlets as they develop roots.
  • Always water spider plants with a generous soak to promote healthy root growth.

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