To care for indoor spider plants, mist the leaves regularly, water them once a week, and locate the plant in a room with bright indirect light and a temperature range of between. Re-pot the spider plant every Spring.
Here is a table summarizing the main growing and care conditions of indoor spider plants:
|Growing Conditions:||How to Care for Spider Plants:|
|Light:||Bright indirect light. The leaves can scorch in direct sunlight.|
|Location:||Spider plants can grow anywhere indoors but prefer bathrooms due to the higher humidity.|
|Humidity:||Mist the leaves in the Summer and Winter, particularly if you use air conditioning or indoor heating.|
|Watering:||Water once a week in the Spring and Summer and once every 10 days in the Fall and Winter.|
|Temperature:||Between 45°F to 75°F (7°C to 24°C) is the optimal temperature range.|
|Potting Soil:||80% houseplant potting soil with 20% perlite is the best potting mix for spider plants.|
|Best Pots:||Terracotta and clay pots are best as they are porous and dry out more evenly. Always plant in pots with drainage holes in the base.|
|Repotting:||Re-pot mature plants every Spring, whereas plantlets and young plants can be repotted every 2 years. Always re-pot if you can see roots out of the soil.|
|Propagation:||Plantlets or ‘babies’ form on the end of flower stems after flowering in the Spring and Summer which can be propagated into soil.|
|Fertilizer:||Use a liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength in the Spring and Summer.|
|Pruning:||Pruning is not necessary but you can trim excess growth back to the base in the Spring and Summer.|
|Winter Care:||Water every 10 days or so in the Winter and mist the leaves to counteract dry air from indoor heating.|
About Spider Plants
Spider plants (chlorophytum comosum) are native to West tropical Africa, living in a humid, yet seasonally dry environment.
The houseplant cultivars of spider plants have variegated leaves which can either have white edges with a green stripe down the middle or green edges with a white stripe, whereas the wild varieties tend to have solid green leaves.
They are exceptionally popular houseplants due to how well they are adapted to indoor environments…
The Best Place to Keep a Spider Plant Indoors
Indoor spider plants should be in a room with bright indirect light, ideally in a humid room such as a bathroom. Spider plants can grow in low light conditions but they lose their variegated stripes whereas too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves.
I personally find spider plants grow best in a bright bathroom or kitchen as the higher humidity, bright light, and consistently warm temperatures recreate the conditions of their natural environment.
However, I have also grown spider plants in most rooms of the house as long as there is bright light.
If you choose to grow the spider plant in a hanging basket, then I recommend you water it more often (once every 5 to 7 days) as I have found from my experience that the soil can dry out much more quickly.
Mist the leaves Regularly to Increase the Humidity
It is important to mist an indoor spider plant’s leaves as the air indoors is usually too low which results in the leaf tips turning brown.
The air in most houses is typically around 10% whereas the humidity in the spider plant’s native environment is usually around 40%.
This discrepancy in humidity causes the leaves to lose too much moisture and turn brown as a sign of stress.
I find if you keep the spider plant in your bathroom and live in a climate with relatively high humidity then only the occasional misting once per week is necessary.
However, If you are in a dry climate or use a lot of air conditioning or central heating then I would recommend misting every other day or perhaps buying a plant humidifier which can create the optimal condition for your spider plant.
I found that grouping my other humidity-loving plants together (such as monstera and orchids) can help create a favorable microclimate of humidity in the house and it also makes it easier to mist your plants at the same time.
How Often to Water Spider Plants
Water spider plants about once a week. Spider plants have thick fleshy roots that can store moisture, so spider plants are very forgiving if you forget to water them for a few extra days. Always allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering.
In my experience, I have found that spider plants are more susceptible to dying from overwatering rather than underwatering.
Allowing the top inch of the soil to dry slightly between bouts of watering ensures that you can achieve the perfect balance of soil moisture for your spider plant in your indoor environment.
If the spider plant is overwatered then it develops root rot and can die back whereas underwatering just results in wilting and brown leaf tips which can easily be remedied by giving it a good soak and trimming off the brown tips.
Water Indoor Spider Plants from Top or Bottom?
Spider plants can be successfully watered from the top or bottom, but I personally recommend watering from the bottom.
This is because I find the spider plant’s roots can draw up and store a significant amount of moisture which can dry the soil quicker than you would expect.
When the potting soil dries out it can bake hard and repel water off the surface, which means the moisture does not infiltrate properly and reach the roots.
Watering from the bottom (by filling the dish, tray, or saucer underneath the pot) allows the soil to draw up water so that it becomes evenly moist after 30 minutes or so.
Just be sure to empty the tray of any excess water after 30 minutes to prevent root rot.
Best Temperature for Indoor Spider Plants (Around Room Temperature)
The optimal temperature range for spider plants is between 45°F to 75°F (7°C to 24°C) However they can survive with higher temperatures temporarily.
I would not recommend placing spider plants on a cool window sill, particularly in Winter as I found cool temperatures can cause the leaves to develop brown streaks.
I also found that my spider plant can develop brown leaf tips if they are too near to central heating in Winter, so keep the spider plant on the other side of the room from any sources of indoor heating.
Ideally, keep the plant out of the direct path of air conditioning or forced air as this can too cause the leaf tips to turn brown through a combination of low humidity and hot or cold temperatures.
Best Soil for Spider Plants
The best soil for spider plants is a mix of 80% normal houseplant potting soil amended with 20% perlite. The perlite creates the aerated soil structure that the spider plant’s root requires whilst the potting soil retains enough moisture to prevent drought stress.
I have personally found that perlite is the best soil amendment for spider plants (rather than grit) as perlite is formed of a volcanic glass that can absorb and hold water whilst also creating a porous soil stricture that allows excess water to drain away from the roots.
Since I have been using perlite in my soil mixes (rather than grit) I have found my spider plants are less likely to develop brown leaf tips (due to drought stress) yet also have the right balance of drainage to avoid any problems with overwatering.
You can also plant in a potting mix that includes cactus soil, although your spider plants may need to be watered more often as cactus soil drains very quickly.
Best Pots for Spider Plants
The best pots for spider plants are terracotta or clay pots as they are porous which helps the soil to dry out more evenly whereas ceramic and plastic pots are impermeable, which means the pots can retain too much moisture around the roots.
The most important feature is that the pot must have a drainage hole in the base to prevent excess water from pooling around the roots.
Spider plants prefer deeper pots rather than wide shallow pots as their roots have a tendency to grow deep and establish rather than growing wide and near the surface.
Spider plants can actually tolerate being fairly pot-bound and I have found that they produce the greatest number of offsetts or ‘babies’ when the roots are somewhat pot-bound.
If the pot is large the spider plant directs its energy to grow its roots whereas in smaller more snug pots where the roots have already filled out the spider plant prioritizes growing its offsetts for propagation.
How Often to Repot Spider Plants
Re-pot spider plants when the white roots push up and out of the soil or if they are clearly pushing against the side of the pot. Re-pot mature spider plants every Spring in a pot that is 2 inches wider than the previous pot.
I have found from my experience that if you leave a spider plant in the same pot for too long the roots can push against the side of the pot which can cause water to trickle down the gap rather than infiltrating the soil.
I find that smaller spider plants may only need repotting every 2 years but always repot in the Spring as this is when the plant is at its most resilient.
Spider plants can die from stress if you re-pot them in Winter.
Re-pot the spider plant into a potting mix of 80% houseplant potting soil and 20% perlite for optimal soil structure and water in the well.
Should I Prune the Babies off my Spider Plant?
It is not strictly necessary to prune the spider plant babies off the main plant, but it is a good way to propagate and grow a new spider plant free of charge.
If you do not want another spider plant then you can trim the vine from which the plantlet or ‘baby’ appeared back as far as you can to the base.
A spider plant that is growing many offsets indicates a spider plant that is thriving in the right conditions!
Read my article if your spider plant is not growing or developing off-setts.
How to Propagate Spider Plants
Spider plants are my favorite plant to propagate as they do all the work for you! The spider plant displays delicate white flowers in the Spring and Summer which then develop into the plantlets or ‘babies’ which then develop roots and then propagate.
The photo above shows both the delicate white flowers and there is a plantlet on the end of the stem that has already formed from the flowers that display a few weeks earlier.
The above photo shows my spider plant with the developed off sett with its tiny delicate roots ready for propagation.
- The best way I have found for propagating spider plants is to wait until the spider plant babies are the same size as the one in the photo and to place a pot (filled with houseplant compost and perlite) next to your spider plant.
- Use a paper clip bent into a peg shape to hold the spider plant plantlet in place, whilst keeping the stem attached.
- The stem is still providing moisture and nutrients for the plantlet whilst the plantlet’s roots develop and establish in the soil.
- Keep the soil relatively moist to encourage the roots to establish so that they can draw up moisture and sustain the new plant.
- I typically cut the main stem off with a sharp pair of pruners after around three weeks as this gives plenty of time for the roots to establish in the soil.
- Try to keep the soil evenly moist for the first few weeks after propagation and use a half-strength fertilizer to aid growth in the Spring and Summer months and you should have a nice spider plant free of charge!
Spider plants have even been identified as useful plants for removing pollutants from indoor air for a healthier indoor environment, so I think the more spider plants propagated the better!
How to use Fertilizer for Spider Plants
Use a general houseplant liquid fertilizer at half strength in the Spring and Summer months every 2 weeks.
In my experience, spider plants always grow better with fertilizer as they have abundant foliage which takes a lot of resources to grow every year. Fertilizer also promotes the growth of plantlets for propagation.
I have found that fertilizer applied at full strength can turn the leaves droopy which is why I recommend half-strength.
Do not apply any fertilizer in the Winter as the plant is dormant.
How to Trim a Spider Plant
Spider plants do not need an annual pruning necessarily but I sometimes prune any droop leaves back to the base with a sharp pair of pruners in Spring to tidy the appearance of the plant up.
You can trim any brown tips off the plants but always ensure you cut diagonally so that the leaf end has a tip, rather than cutting straight across.
Prune away any flowers or plantlets that you do not intend to propagate as they take away energy from the plant.
Spider Plant Care in Winter
If you live in a home with forced air or central heating then I recommend misting the leaves of your spider plant regularly in Winter to prevent the leaves from drying out and turning brown.
I also recommend placing the spider plant on the other side of the room from any sources of indoor heating as this can also dry out the soil and cause it to bake hard so that it does not absorb moisture.
Keep the spider plant away from cold frosty window sills and keep it in a room that is ideally above 45°F (7°C) at night.
As the spider plant is dormant it requires watering less often in Winter. Wait until the top inch of soil has dried before watering again in the Winter which I typically find means watering the Spider plant once every 10 days.
I personally recommend feeling the soil with your finger to detect when the soil is dry as I find moisture meters are not as accurate as they need to be to establish a good watering cycle for your spider plants.
If you have any problems with your spider plant, read my article How to Revive a Dying Spider Plant.