How to propagate spider plants

Spider plants are an easy-to-care-for indoor plant that can be seen in almost any household. They have long, spindly leaves (arguably where they get their name) and make beautiful plants for hanging pots or ones set on their own plant stand. One of the more perplexing features of the spider plant, however, can be the spiderettes. It’s hard to immediately know how to grow spider plants from cuttings, and the spiderettes are the key.

Spider plant with spiderettes

Should I cut the babies off my spider plant?

The big question when any spider plant owner sees the babies hanging off the parent plant: Should I cut them off? Well, that depends. If you aren’t interested in propagating new spider plants, or if you want your parent plant to direct its energy solely toward its own growth, then yes. Cut them off and dispose of them as you see fit.

However, if you’d like to propagate them, either for yourself or as a gift to a friend, then you may want to hold off on the ol’ snip-snip. Those little babies are what will give you your new spider plant, so you’ll want to make sure the babies are big enough to thrive on their own before repotting them. Once you see small knobs and roots on the bottom of your spiderette, that’s when you’ll know it’s ready for cutting — either by way of snipping the runner or leaving it attached to the parent plant.

If you have a hanging spider plant, it makes the most sense to cut the runners and repot the babies on their own. To cut the runner, trim as close to the base of the parent plant as you can (with a sanitized tool) without damaging the plant, then remove the runner from the spiderette in the same way. Trim as close as possible without damaging the plant or injuring the stem.

How to start a spider plant from a cutting

Whether you trimmed the spiderette off the parent plant or not, the process of starting the new spider plant from the spiderette will be roughly the same. The only difference is that one is in a pot and attached to the parent, and the other is in a pot on its own. Because the spiderette won’t be too big, you’ll want to try to secure it to the soil as best as possible without causing damage. This can be done by pinning it gently with an opened paperclip, just to ensure the roots stay in the soil.

From there, water the soil (but don’t drench it) and be sure the plant is out of direct sunlight. Within a few weeks, the spiderette’s roots should take hold, the plant will sprout new leaves, and if it’s still attached to the parent plant, this is when it’s ready to be removed.

Spiderette hanging from a spider plant
Tia Thompson/Shutterstock

How long does it take a spider plant to root in water?

When rooting in water, there’s always the risk of the spiderette dying when you transplant it to soil. That’s because spider plants rooted in water tend to be weaker than ones rooted in soil and can take awhile to regain their strength.

Planting spider plant babies in soil is the quickest way to get the plant to take root; however, if you don’t immediately have soil (or maybe you want to start your new plant in a way that causes less of a mess), you can place the spiderette in some water for one to two weeks. Be sure that the container you use isn’t too big — as you don’t want to drown the plant or cause rot — and is placed out of direct sunlight.

Can you propagate a spider plant from a leaf?

Unlike other plants where you can take a leaf cutting and grow a new plant from it, the spider plant is only propagated through the spiderettes. If there are no spiderettes growing from your plant, don’t worry. Spider plants need to reach a certain level of maturity before they can produce spiderettes, and even then it could take years for one to eventually grow. So be patient, care for your plant, and give it the best environment possible to encourage spiderette growth.

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