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Propagating Spider Plants: Your Comprehensive How-to Guide

Propagating spider plants is a rewarding process that allows plant enthusiasts to grow and multiply their favorite houseplants with ease. By learning how to propagate spider plants, you can share these splendid plants with friends and family or expand your own houseplant collection.

Read on to learn all about the propagation methods and care required to see your beloved spider plants multiply and thrive successfully!

propagating spider plants

Propagation Methods

Water Rooting

One popular method of propagating spider plants is water rooting. To do this, carefully detach the siderettes from the parent plant and place them in a container filled with water. Make sure that only the root nodes are submerged in water to promote root growth.

This method allows you to observe the development of roots in a transparent container. Keep the water fresh by changing it every few days to prevent bacterial growth and ensure optimal rooting conditions.

Soil Planting

Another effective method for propagating spider plants is soil planting. With this method, you can plant the spiderettes or cuttings directly into the soil.

To begin, prepare a pot with well-draining soil and gently plant the spiderettes or cuttings into the soil, ensuring that the root nodes are covered. Water the soil to keep it moist, but avoid overwatering. Spiderettes planted in soil typically develop stronger initial roots compared to water rooting.

Division Method

The division method can also be used to propagate spider plants. This technique involves separating the root system of a mature spider plant into multiple sections, each with its own roots, leaves and stems.

Carefully excavate the plant from its pot, gently untangle the roots, and use a clean, sharp tool to divide the plant into two or more sections. After division, replant each section into a new pot filled with fresh, well-draining soil and gently water.


Although it is not as common or effective as the previously mentioned methods, leaf-cutting can be used to propagate spider plants. This method requires you to cut a leaf from the parent plant with a clean, sharp instrument and insert the cut end into the prepared soil.

Leaf-cutting propagation is generally not as successful as propagating spiderettes, as a single leaf often struggles to generate an entirely new plant. However, it might work in certain circumstances, and practicing this method can provide valuable experience in propagation techniques.

Tools and Materials

Green houseplant growing roots in water glass. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosus) also called  ribbon plant, airplane plant.

When propagating spider plants, it is essential to have the right tools and materials to ensure successful propagation:

  • Scissors or shears: Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the stolon (the part that connects the baby spider plant to the mother plant) to prevent infection and ensure a clean cut.
  • Pot or glass: When choosing to propagate spider plants in water, a small glass container or propagation station works well to facilitate the process. However, if propagating in soil, prepare a suitable pot with proper drainage holes to allow for adequate water drainage.
  • Potting soil and perlite: A well-draining potting mix is essential for the healthy growth of spider plants. Combine potting soil with perlite to improve drainage and airflow to the roots, promoting healthier root development.
  • Rooting hormone: While not necessary, applying rooting hormone to the severed end of the stolon can encourage faster root development and improve the propagation success rate.

Ideal Conditions for Propagation

When it comes to propagating spider plants, the proper conditions are key for successful growth and root development. Providing the right environment maximizes the chances of healthy, thriving spider plant babies.

Seasons: Spring and summer are the most suitable times for propagating spider plants due to the warmer temperatures and increased daylight during these months. The plant’s natural growth cycle is more active in these seasons, leading to a higher success rate in propagation.

Moisture: Maintaining the appropriate level of moisture is crucial for spider plant propagation. If you’re using the water propagation method, maintain about half an inch of water in the container while the plantlet roots form. For soil propagation, make sure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged, as this could cause the baby plant’s roots to rot.

Humidity: Spider plants thrive in a moderately humid environment. While they can tolerate lower levels of humidity, maintaining a level of around 50%-70% will be ideal for supporting the growth of new roots. Depending on the specific indoor environment, placing a tray of water near the plant or using a humidifier to achieve the desired humidity levels might be necessary.

Temperature: Ideal temperatures for spider plant propagation range from 65°F (18°C) to 75°F (24°C). These temperature conditions promote healthy root development and overall plant growth. It is important to avoid any drastic fluctuations in temperature, as this can stress the plant and hinder the propagation process.

Light: Spider plant propagation requires indirect sunlight or a bright, well-lit area. Strong, direct sunlight can harm the plant, causing the leaves to scorch or even hindering root development. Providing the proper amount of indirect light encourages the best environment for growth and ensures a robust, mature spider plant.

Caring for New Spider Plant Babies

Chlorophytum in flowerpot on table. Variegatum, comosum. Spider Plant

One of the first steps in caring for spider plant babies is selecting the right pot and soil. Choose a clean container with proper drainage and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting soil to promote healthy root growth. Plant the spider plant baby into the container, being careful not to bury the crown of the offset with soil.

Watering is crucial for young spider plants, but be mindful of over-watering. Water the new plantlets when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Make sure not to let the soil become too soggy, as this can lead to root rot, negatively impacting their growth.

In addition to watering, provide sufficient light for the spider plant babies. These plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight, making a well-lit room with filtered light an ideal location. Avoid placing the plants in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves and harm the plant.

They thrive in a moderately humid environment, with a 40-50% relative humidity level. To maintain these levels, you can mist the leaves regularly or place the plant on a tray with pebbles and water. For well-balanced growth, rotate the pot every week so all sides of the plant receive equal exposure to light.

Fertilizing spider plant babies is not immediately necessary, as they’ll have enough nutrients from the potting soil to start their growth. However, once they have established a healthy root system, you can begin fertilizing them with a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dosage.

Potting and Repotting after Propagation

After successfully propagating spider plants, provide the right environment for their growth. Potting and repotting involve choosing the proper container and soil mix and ensuring the plant’s roots have adequate space to spread. This process also helps maintain the spider plant’s health and promote continuous growth.

First, select a suitable container for transplanting the spider plant’s new growth. The container should have drainage holes in the bottom, which helps prevent waterlogging and root rot. Choose a container size that can comfortably accommodate the plant’s root ball, allowing room for growth.

Combine a lightweight potting mix with added perlite to improve drainage when preparing the soil mix. A 2:1 ratio of potting mix to perlite is a good starting point. This mix provides a balance of moisture retention and air circulation, which is vital for healthy root development.

Before transplanting the new spider plant, gently remove it from its current container or propagation medium. Be careful not to damage the roots during this process. Once removed, examine the root ball and trim away any dead or damaged roots using a clean pair of scissors.

Place the spider plant in the new container, ensuring the root ball is centered and positioned at an appropriate depth. Fill the container with the prepared soil mix, tamping it down gently around the root ball. The soil should completely cover the roots, leaving a small gap between the soil line and the pot’s rim for future watering.

After transplanting, water the plant thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain through the holes in the bottom of the container. Maintain a consistent watering schedule as the spider plant establishes itself in its new environment. To maintain humidity around the plant, you may also consider covering the pot with plastic wrap for the first few days after repotting, allowing for air circulation by leaving gaps or holes in the wrap.

As the spider plant grows, continue to monitor its progress, ensuring it receives adequate water, light, and nutrients to thrive. Over time, you may need to repot it again as its root system expands and requires more space. Keep in mind that repotting should be done when necessary, not on a strict schedule, to prevent undue stress on the plant.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Slow Root Growth: Patience is key when waiting for new roots to appear on the pups or offshoots. Ensure that you provide adequate water and maintain a favorable environment to encourage root growth.

Wilting Leaves: It’s not uncommon for leaves to wilt during propagation. To remedy this, trim any unhealthy parts of the leaves and continue to provide steady care, as recovery is likely in most cases.

Brown Leaf Tips: One common issue indoor spider plants face is browning leaf tips. This is often caused by underwatering or excessive sun exposure. To address this, place a humidifier close to the plant to maintain humidity levels, group it with other plants, or use a humidity tray.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chlorophytum comosum (also known spider plant, airplane plant, St. Bernard's lily, spider ivy, ribbon plant, and hen and chickens) in a pot on the wooden fence background

How to propagate spider plants without babies?

It can be challenging to propagate a spider plant without babies, but it is possible by dividing the main plant. Gently remove the spider plant from its pot and separate the root ball into smaller sections.

Make sure each section has a good amount of roots and leaves. Replant the divisions into new pots filled with fresh potting soil and water them well. The plants should continue to grow and eventually produce their own babies.

Where to cut spider plant babies for propagation?

To propagate spider plant babies, choose healthy, well-developed plantlets, also known as “spiderettes.” You should cut them right below the base of the baby plant, where it connects to the long stolon (the thin, stem-like structure extending from the mother plant).

How long does it take for spider plant babies to grow roots?

Once the spiderettes are removed, they can be rooted in water or soil. In water, roots should begin to develop within 2 to 3 weeks. If you choose to propagate directly in soil, it may take a little longer, roughly 3 to 4 weeks, for roots to form. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy during this time.

How long does it take to propagate spider plants in water?

When propagating spider plants in water, roots usually take 2 to 3 weeks to develop. Once the roots are at least an inch long, you can transfer the baby plant to a pot filled with well-draining potting soil. Be sure to keep the soil slightly moist to help the plant transition from water to the soil.

Do all spider plants produce babies?

Not all spider plants produce babies, but most mature plants do. It is common for healthy, well-cared-for spider plants to produce long stolons with multiple plantlets. Factors such as lighting, humidity, and care routines can affect the plant’s ability to produce offshoots.

If you find that your spider plant is not producing babies, consider adjusting its environment and care to encourage growth.

Should I cut the runners off my spider plant?

Cutting off the runners of your spider plant can help maintain its shape and size while promoting the growth of new leaves on the main plant. It also provides an opportunity for propagation. However, you may choose to leave the runners to enjoy the cascading effect they create.

Wrapping up Spider Plant Propagation

Now that you’re a spider plant propagation pro – and hopefully the proud plant parent of thriving spider plant babies – are you ready to dive into other propagation methods? We’ve got a plethora of plant information on Minnetonka Orchards.