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Spider Plants: How to Grow and Care for Spider Plants | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Spider Plants

Chlorophytum comosum aka spider plant, airplane plant, St Bernard lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant in a terracotta pot
Photo Credit
t50/Shutterstock
Botanical Name
Chlorophytum comosum
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color

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How to Grow and Care for Spider Plants

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Spider plants produce a rosette of long, thin, arched foliage that is solid green or variegated with white. These easy-to-grow houseplants look especially lovely in a hanging basket and were a favorite in Victorian-era households. Here’s how to grow spider plants in your home!

About Spider Plants

During the summer, spider plants may produce tiny white flowers on long stems, as well as baby spider plants (offsets) called “pups.” The pups look like tiny spiders, hence the plant’s name!

NASA once highlighted spider plants for their reported air-purifying ability, though a large number of plants would be required to reap any benefits in the home. Nonetheless, they are a classic and attractive plant to add to your space.

Planting
  • Grow in a soil-based, well-draining potting mix. Spider plants like even moisture; they don’t like to be too dry or too wet.
  • Keep plants in bright to moderate indirect sunlight. Spider plants do not appreciate direct, hot sunlight, which can burn their leaves, causing brown tips and spots.
  • Spider plants grow fairly quickly and can easily become pot-bound. Plan to repot a spider plant about every other year.
  • Spider plants can be grown outdoors as annuals during the summer. They look especially good along the edge of a container or bed, as long as they are kept out of direct sunlight.
Growing
  • During initial growth, water occasionally; once fully developed (within one year), water moderately. 
  • In the spring and summer months, keep the soil moist to encourage growth. Do not let the soil dry out too much.
  • Maintain average room temperature and humidity. Spider plants prefer temperatures between 55 and 80°F (13–27°C), which makes them a great indoor houseplant.
  • Fertilize twice a month in the spring and summer; however, avoid overfertilization.
  • See more Houseplant Growing Tips.
Spider plant hanging in a window. Photo by Olga Prava/Shutterstock.
Photo by Olga Prava/Shutterstock
Harvesting
  • Healthy spider plants may eventually produce “pups,” offshoots from the adult plant that can be removed and replanted to start new plants. For the best results, allow pups to reach approximately two inches in diameter before removing them from the mother plant.

    Alternatively, set the still-attached pups into pots of soil placed next to the mother plant. Once the pups have rooted themselves into the soil, they can be cut loose from the mother plant.

    Learn more about propagating spider plants and other houseplants to share with your friends.

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Wit and Wisdom
Pests/Diseases
  • Spider plants are prone to tip burn, which can be caused by dry soil, low humidity, or a buildup of salt and chemicals found in some public tap water. Keep the soil slightly moist. Avoid watering with fluoridated or chlorinated water, and cut off brown tips if they do occur. 
  • To get rid of the brown discs on the leaves, use your fingernail to scrape off the brown residue every few days.
  • Mealybugs
  • Scale

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprise that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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