Spider plants are hardy hydroponic plants — this is how they grow best

Spider plants are wonderful plants. They’re often touted as a great plant for beginners, people who tend to forget to water their plants, and college students. Easy to care for and hard to kill, there’s a lot to love about spider plants. They’re also very easy to propagate, making them great gifts. If you’ve just received a spider plant as a gift, or are thinking of getting one for yourself and are wondering what these leafy guys are all about, then this article is for you. Read on to learn everything you need to know about spider plants, how to take care of them, and in what way they grow best.

Basic spider plant care

Spider plants are remarkably easy to care for. All they really need is a decent amount of light and some water and they’re good to go. They aren’t too picky about temperature, preferring a moderate temperature but tolerating some amount of heat and cold. They will also tolerate some space in between watering. In fact, when grown in soil, spider plants are more tolerant of underwatering than overwatering.

Spider plant cuttings growing in water in glass test tubes

Growing spider plants in water

Transitioning an adult, soil-grown spider plant to being fully aquatic can be difficult, but starting your hydroponic spider plant from a cutting or a plantlet is fairly quick. The overall process is the same as rooting any other cutting, but there is one major difference.

Plants get most of the nutrients they need through the soil, and hydroponic plants need to get theirs through the water instead. Regular tap water doesn’t contain the necessary nutrients to keep a spider plant alive long term, and, depending on your municipal water treatment plant, may have too much chlorine.

Once the cutting or plantlet has a few inches of roots, it needs to be fed. Luckily, there are plenty of liquid fertilizers available for hydroponic gardens! Spider plants don’t need anything special, but what they do need is regular water changes. This is to prevent a buildup of minerals or salts that the plant doesn’t absorb, since they have nowhere else to go.

Propagating spider plants

Spider plants are in a category of plants that are perhaps the easiest to propagate: plants that produce plantlets. The plantlets are little plants that form as offshoots from the parent plant. They can look different, depending on the plant, but for spider plants they resemble smaller versions of the parent plant.

To propagate them in soil, gently remove the plantlet from the parent plant and place it in the soil where you want it to grow. The plantlet will start putting out roots fairly quickly, and you’ll have another spider plant!

To propagate them in water, take the plantlet just as you normally would and place it in some water. Be careful not to let the leaves stay submerged! That leads to leaf rot. You shouldn’t have an issue keeping your plantlet afloat, but you can always start with a smaller, shallower container and repot it to larger glasses or vases as it grows.

spider plant baby
Tia Thompson/Shutterstock

Common problems with spider plants

Spider plants can survive a lot of conditions, but that doesn’t mean they thrive in them. Here are some of the most common problems spider plants have and what you can do to make sure your plant is happy and healthy.

If the leaves of your spider plant are becoming discolored, there are a few potential problems. It could be an issue with the amount of sunlight it’s getting. Too much can burn leaves, but not enough leads to dormancy and death. The tips of the leaves turning yellow and brown can also mean that there is too much chlorine in the water they’re getting. Pay extra close attention to this when growing spider plants hydroponically!

Now you’re fully prepared to start your hydroponic spider plant garden! You know how to grow spider plants in water and how to propagate your spider plant. Just remember to keep the leaves above water, feed it regularly, change the water often, and watch the chlorine levels of the water you’re using. You can use rainwater or well water if it’s available. Give your spider plant lots of sun, and lots of love, and soon enough you’ll be seeing those beautiful, tiny flowers and plantlets!

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