Propagating spider plants is super easy, and there are a few ways to do it. In this post, I will talk about the different methods, and then show you exactly how to root the babies step by step.
A reader on my Facebook page recently asked me to write a post about how to propagate spider plants.
Well, the good news is that spider plants are one of the easiest houseplants to propagate.
It’s so easy that soon you’ll have tons of new spider plant starts to share with your friends and family.
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How To Propagate Spider Plants
There are three main methods for propagating spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum, also called an “airplane plant”), and they are all really easy.
These methods are rooting spider plant babies (a single leaf won’t work), propagating by division, or starting them from seed.
In this post I will talk in detail about how to propagate spider plant babies, and also briefly touch on dividing them.
If you want to try seeds, then check out my post about how to collect and grow spider plant seeds.
What Are Spider Plant Babies?
Spider plant babies are the identical offspring of the mother plant. They’re also called offshoots, spiderettes, spiderlings, pups, runners, or plantlets.
They will appear at the bottom of long stems that shoot out from the mother. Once they’re mature enough, the offshoots can be used to make new airplane plants.
They only form on the flowers if they’re not pollinated. If the flowers are pollinated, then they will produce seeds instead of plantlets.
Related Post: Plant Propagation: A Detailed Guide For Beginners
When To Propagate Spider Plants
You can propagate your spider plants just about any time of the year. But it’s easiest and quickest to do it during the spring and summer months.
The best time to remove the babies is when they have their own roots underneath. If they aren’t mature enough, it may not work.
I recommend waiting until the babies have a few starter root formations of their own before taking your cuttings.
If the spider plant babies have no roots, or you only see tiny nubs, then it’s best to wait until they’re a bit more mature.
How To Cut Spider Plant Babies
Once you determine a plantlet is ready to be propagated, you can remove it from the mother by cutting it off.
Sometimes the babies will come off easily when you disturb them, and you don’t even have to cut them.
If you’re wondering where to cut spider plant babies from the mother, it really doesn’t matter. But I like to cut them as close to the top of the spiderlings as I can, just so there’s no ugly stem sticking out.
Be sure to use a sterile pair of precision clippers so you get a nice clean cut.
Once you remove the baby, you can prune the long stem back to the bottom of the next one up, or all the way to the main plant because nothing new will come from it.
How To Grow Spider Plant Babies
Growing spider plant babies is the most common method of propagation, and there are a few ways you can do it.
You can root them in soil while they’re still attached to the mother plant. Or you can cut them off and either root them in water, or propagate your spider plantlets in soil.
Related Post: The Best Plant Propagation Tools, Equipment & Supplies
1. Propagating Spider Plant In Water
The easiest way to propagate spider plants is by putting the babies in water until they get new roots.
The main disadvantages of rooting cuttings in water are that the spiderette could rot, and or it can go into shock when you plant it into soil.
The babies tend to be weaker when rooted in water, and it can take them a while to recover from transplant shock.
Here are a few tips for the best successfully rooting spider plants in water…
- If you have problems with airplane plant babies dying after potting them up, then you might want to try one of the other two methods for rooting them next time.
- Before you put them in water, cut or pinch off any leaves around the base of the plantlet or under the roots. Any foliage that is submerged under the water will rot.
- I like using a deep, clear vase to root my airplane plant spiderettes. Only fill it enough to cover the roots of the baby plant though.
- If the plantlet sits in water that’s too deep, it will rot. Using a tall skinny vase keeps the spiderling upright, and helps hold the foliage out of the water.
Related Post: Why Do Spider Plant Tips Turn Brown & How To Fix It
2. Spider Plant Propagation In Soil
You can also propagate your spider plant in soil, and this method will result in the strongest starts.
Baby plants rooted in this way have less risk of dying from transplant shock than those that are rooted in water. The only downfall is that it can take a little longer.
Below are a few tips for rooting spider plants in soil…
- Use a propagation chamber or tent the plantlet and soil with a plastic bag to keep the humidity level high, and help the spiderettes root faster.
- Place the container on top of a heat mat to keep the soil warm, which really helps to speed things up.
- Don’t use regular potting soil, it’s too heavy. Instead, use a light mix of vermiculite, peat moss (or coco coir) and perlite or pumice.
- If you try this method, dipping the bottom nubs in rooting hormone will help the baby sprout roots faster.
Related Post: Make A Cheap & Easy Propagation Box For Rooting Cuttings
3. Propagating Spider Plant Runners While They’re Still Attached
With this spider plant propagation method, you put a pot next to the mother and stick the starter roots of the baby into the soil while it’s still on the stem.
The benefit of rooting Chlorophytum comosum plantlets while they’re still attached to the mother plant is that you don’t have to worry about transplant shock.
But it can be a bit more difficult because spiderettes still attached to the mother won’t always root as readily as they do when they’re removed. Here are a few tips…
- With this method you could use either regular potting soil or try a light and fluffy mix for rooting.
- I recommend dipping the bottom nubs into rooting hormone first to encourage them to take root faster.
- During the summer you could just put your spider plant on the ground and place the babies on top of the soil in your garden, and many times they’ll root without any help from you.
How Long Does It Take Spider Plant Babies To Grow Roots?
Spider plant babies can grow roots very fast, you might see them forming in as little as 2-3 days. But it will take 2-4 weeks before they’re long enough for transplant.
The full time range can be anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on which method you choose and the environment. If it’s cold or very dry, it will take longer.
Why Isn’t My Spider Plant Rooting
There are a few reasons why your spider plant babies won’t root. They either weren’t mature enough, they dried out, they were too wet and rotted, or the environment is too cold.
Only use mature spiderlings that have their own roots forming, and make sure to keep them in a warm location.
Never let the roots dry out at any point, and make sure either the soil is evenly moist, or the water is only deep enough to cover the root nubs, and not the leaves.
Related Post: How To Water Spider Plants
How To Transplant Spider Plant Babies
Wait until they have 2-3″ long roots before transplanting your spider plant babies into a container with fresh soil.
Water it well and allow the excess to drain out the bottom. Keep it evenly moist until the start has become established in its new pot, but don’t overwater.
They may droop for a few days after, but they should pop back up in a week.
Water propagated spiderettes will take longer to recover after being transplanted than those that were rooted in soil.
Learn all about how to grow your new babies in my detailed spider plant care guide!
How To Propagate A Spider Plant Without Babies
Dividing spider plants is another common way to propagate them, and the best option if your plant doesn’t have any offshoots.
Splitting Chlorophytum comosum can be difficult if it’s pot-bound. If the roots are really thick and tightly packed, then you will probably need to use a sterile knife to cut through it.
Otherwise, simply tease them apart until the clumps are separated, and plant them into a new container at the same depth they were before.
In this section I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about spider plant propagation. If you don’t find yours here, ask it in the comments below.
Can you propagate a spider plant from a leaf cutting?
No, you cannot propagate a spider plant from a leaf cutting. The only way to do it is by rooting the babies, splitting the rootball, or starting them from seed.
What is the best way to propagate a spider plant?
The best way to propagate a spider plant is by rooting the babies that form at the end of the mother plant’s offshoots. These spiderlings can be rooted in soil or water.
Can I propagate my spider plant in water?
Yes, you can propagate your spider plant in water, and this is the quickest way to do it. Just make sure you only submerge the bottom where the roots are forming, because if it’s too deep it could rot.
Is it better to propagate spider plants in water or soil?
It’s better to propagate spider plants in soil rather than water because the roots will be stronger, and there’s less risk of transplant shock.
Spider plants are easy to propagate, and perfect to start with if you’re just learning. Soon you’ll have tons of new babies to fill your home, or even share with your friends and family (they make a great gift too).
If you want to learn how to multiply even more of your plants, then my Plant Propagation eBook will be your guide to propagating plants! It will teach you the basic methods of plant propagation for beginners, and give you all the information on propagating plants you need so you can multiply any plant you want. Download your copy today!
More About Plant Propagation
- How To Propagate Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) Cuttings In Water Or Soil
- Propagating Coleus Cuttings In Soil Or Water
- Propagating ZZ Plants From Cuttings Or Division
- How To Propagate Banana Plants
- Propagating Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine Cuttings Or Tubers
- How To Propagate Snake Plant (Sansevieria) In Water Or Soil
How do you propagate spider plants? Share your spider plant propagation tips in the comments section below.