Spider Plants are one of the most popular houseplants, and you’ll find them hanging from baskets in almost every house lover’s home. Like its namesake, the Spider Plant’s vibrant leaves dangle over the edge of their pot like a spider’s legs. To keep this adorable and hardy plant happy, you’ll just need to learn the proper Spider Plant care.
The Spider Plant is easy to care for overall. It can survive most mistakes and come back just as strong as ever. But to keep the Spider Plant bright and healthy, it’s important to remember some important Spider Plant care requirements. Let’s go over some techniques and tips for your new houseplant pal.
What is a Spider Plant?
The Spider Plant is a trailing or hanging houseplant that is popular due to how easy it is to take care of it. In fact, it’s known as one of the easiest houseplants to grow. But while the Spider Plant is hardy and can survive in less than ideal conditions, this plant is striking when you know exactly how to care for it.
This evergreen perennial grows in clumps. The slim limbs arch upward and then dip down to the ground, reaching a length of 16 inches. This unique shape makes the Spider Plant perfect for hanging baskets. The long stems will dangle off the side.
The most common variety sports green and white stripes. It is also one of the most stunning flowering house plants, growing small, white flowers. This bushy, vibrant plant can get up to three feet and a width of five feet.
Why is it Called a Spider Plant?
Despite its beautiful appearance, the Spider Plant has a pretty spooky name for people who aren’t fans of arachnids. But the Spider Plant simply got that name due to the spider-like plants that dangle from the parent plant. Called “spiderettes,” they can sort of resemble spiders dangling from a web.
The spiderettes start their life as a small white flower. The plantlets have also earned the Spider Plant a second nickname — the Airplane Plant. That’s because the dangling little plants also look like whirling propellers. That’s a little less creepy than a bunch of baby spiders hanging from a web!
Where Are Spider Plants From?
Spider Plants originated in South and West Africa. They were introduced into Europe at the end of the 18th century, possibly by a well-known plant explorer named Carl Peter Thunberg. He traveled to South Africa in 1772 and 1773, collecting seeds, bulbs, and dried plant specimens. When his ship landed in Capetown, it’s believed that passengers took some of his plants on their return voyage home, sort of as a souvenir from their trip.
Victorians called the Spider Plant a “Ribbon Plant” (another cuter name) because of the plant’s variegated selections. The plant’s hardy nature and unique looks made it quite popular at the time. And they are still popular today for the very same reasons!
How to Care for a Spider Plant
The Spider Plant is quite a common houseplant, found in the homes of most plant enthusiasts. It’s easy to take care of and able to withstand a lot of mistakes, making it a great plant for first-time plant owners as well. While the Spider Plant can endure in most situations, there are a few key factors to keep in mind if you want your Spider Plant to look and feel its best.
Terra cotta pots are a great option for Spider Plants since it allows the soil to dry out a bit easier than plastic options. Pair it with a soil-based potting mix that drains well. Spider Plants don’t like to be too dry or too wet. They prefer an even moisture.
Keep in mind that Spider Plants grow pretty fast, meaning they might become pot bound. Pot bound is when a plant’s roots fill the entire pot, leaving no room for them to expand or grow. You should plan to repot your Spider Plant every other year.
Next, you have to choose where you want to place your potted Spider Plant. Keep the amount of sunlight in mind when picking a location in your home.
Spider Plants can grow in conditions from semi-shady to partial direct sun. While Spider Plants will tolerate low light locations, this plant prefers bright, indirect light to flourish properly. But don’t put them in intense direct light. This will burn their leaves.
With proper light, you’ll notice the stripes on their leaves becoming more prominent. But they won’t just look more vibrant. Spider Plants can live long, healthy lives when given the right amount of indirect light. They are known to live up to 20 years!
Watering a Spider Plant
Spider Plants like a bit of moisture but too much water can make the plant become soggy and lead to root rot. To keep the soil moist, water your Spider Plant once a week in the spring and summer. In the winter, cut watering back and allow the soil to dry a bit more between watering again. The Spider Plant is sensitive to the fluoride found in some tap water. The best water for a Spider Plant to thrive is distilled water or rainwater.
Weather and Humidity
If you recall where Spider Plant’s originated, it makes sense why this plant prefers it hot and humid. You should never let your home fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You should never let your Spider Plant be exposed to cold drafts. Instead, keep the temperature 60 to 80 degrees for your plant. It should be above 55 at night.
While the hardy Spider Plant will do well in any environment, even dry ones, they thrive best with humidity. You should mist your Spider Plant regularly.
Do Spider Plant’s Require Fertilizer?
The Spider Plant doesn’t require fertilizer, but it can help during certain parts of the year. Just make sure to never over-fertilize your plant or it may cause some serious issues. Always make sure the soil is damp before applying fertilizer.
During the winter and autumn months, the Spider Plant grows a lot slower. There’s no need to feed the plant fertilizer around this time. During the spring and summer, provide your Spider Plant with liquid fertilizer or pellets up to twice a month. This can give the plant a boost during the growing season.
Common Spider Plant Care Issues
The Spider Plant is super easy to care for and doesn’t often complain — even if you forget a few things here and there. Of course, your Spider Plant won’t look its best if you don’t provide it with proper care. Here are some signs that you might need to switch up your Spider Plant care routine.
A healthy Spider Plant has bright green leaves. If you notice the tips turning brown, there are a few reasons for this. The first might be chemicals in the water. This can cause a build-up and is overall bad for your plant’s health. Allow water to sit out overnight before watering with it again. Or use filtered water.
Another reason is dry air. If it’s not humid enough, your Spider Plant might start sporting brown tips. If that’s the case, mist your Spider Plant regularly to keep them moist.
Brown tips can also be from overfertilizing. Try cutting back on the frequency of fertilizing you do if you think this might be the culprit behind the brown tips.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Spider Plants are overgrowing their pot since they like to be in a tighter pot. But sometimes you’ll notice their roots blocking drain holes. This is concerning because the roots will start to rot when the pot can’t properly drain. You definitely don’t want your plant sitting in excess water.
Leaves Turning Black
If your Spider Plant is turning completely black, or a dark brown, it’s most likely being overwatered. Feel its leaves and see if it feels soggy. Between watering, make sure that your Spier Plant’s soil is dry. Even use a toothpick to check on the soil below the surface.
Common pests include the Mealybug and Scale. These infestations can happen to any houseplant, including Spider Plants. If you notice a small infestation, remove the pests by wiping them away with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Then treat the plant with mild antimicrobial soap.
Unfortunately, a heavy infestation might result in the plant being fully untreatable. At this point, a lot of plant owners will toss the plant so the pests don’t spread to other house plants.
Propagating a Spider Plant
Healthy Spider Plants produce an offshoot of the adult plant. These are sometimes referred to as “spiderettes.” This offspring is where the Spider Plant got their name, since the spiderettes resemble a baby spider dangling from a web. Spider Plants will reproduce more when their roots are bound. Just make sure they are not blocking the pot’s drainage holes.
Allow these baby plants to reach about two inches in diameter before removing them from the main plant. Keep them on the stem until they have developed roots. These will look like small protrusions at the base of the spiderette.
Snip off the spiderette and plant its tiny roots in potting soil that drains well. You can also root the spiderette in a small glass or jar full of water. A lot of plant lovers use a shot glass. It should remain there for a few weeks as it develops longer roots. Then transplant it into the soil.
Plant several of these baby plants together to encourage a bushier and fuller appearance as the Spider Plants grow. Keep the soil slightly moist during this time. Once the growth begins to show, revert back to the plant’s regular watering schedule.
Final Thoughts – Spider Plant Care
The Spider Plant is popular thanks to its durability and one-of-a-kind looks. It has bright green leaves that arch and then dangle when put in a hanging basket. This is an easy-to-care-for plant that easily adds flair to any room it’s in.
Just remember that Spider Plants shouldn’t be overwatered. Water them once their soil is dry, about every one or two weeks. But don’t forget to mist them to keep your plant comfy — they love humidity. Spider Plants also need indirect sunlight to stay bright and grow at a good rate.
And when they grow, Spider Plants will often produce babies, known as spiderettes. With the right care, you can have plenty of bright and attractive Spider Plants in your home!