Spider plants are super easy to propagate, and there are a few different methods you can use. In this post, I will talk about the different spider plant propagation methods, and show you exactly how to propagate spider plants 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!
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, propagating by division, or growing them from seed.
In this post, I will talk in detail about how to grow spider plant babies, and also briefly touch on how to propagate a spider plant by division. If you want to try growing the 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 offshoots (also called spiderettes or plantlets) that grow out from the main plant. These offshoots will usually flower in the summer, and babies will grow out of the spider plant flowers if they’re not pollinated. If the flowers are pollinated, then they will produce seeds instead of plantlets.
Once they are mature enough, the spider plantlets can be used to grow new plants.
How To Grow Spider Plant Babies
Growing spider plants from babies is the most common method of propagating spider plants, 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 a propagation box. Starting spider plants from cuttings can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on which spider plant propagation method you choose.
Taking Cuttings From Spider Plants
I recommend waiting until the babies have begun growing starter root formations of their own before taking spider plant 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.
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 off.
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 spider plantlets 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 grow on it.
Rooting Spider Plant Babies In Water
The easiest way to propagate spider plants is by putting the babies in water until new roots start to grow. The main disadvantages of rooting cuttings in water are that the plantlet could rot, and it can also go into shock when you transplant it into dirt.
The babies tend to be weaker when rooted in water, and it can take them a while to recover after being planted in dirt. If you have problems with spider 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 that are growing at 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 spider plant spiderettes. Only fill the vase 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 plantlets upright and helps hold the foliage out of the water.
Rooting Baby Spider Plants In A Propagation Chamber
When you use a propagation chamber for propagating plant cuttings, it’s easy to keep the humidity level high. Humidity helps the spiderettes root faster. Baby plants rooted in this way are also stronger, and have less risk of dying from transplant shock than those that are rooted in water.
You can buy a propagation kit or a mini greenhouse system, or you could make your own DIY propagation box. If you decide to make you own, adding bottom heat really helps to speed things up. You could also try creating a mini greenhouse by covering the plantlet and soil with a plastic bag.
Don’t use regular potting soil in a propagation chamber though, it’s too heavy. You’ll want to use a light soil mix of vermiculite, peat moss (or coco coir) and perlite or pumice for rooting cuttings. If you try this method, dipping the root nubs in rooting hormone will help the baby sprout roots faster.
Propagating Spider Plant Babies While They’re Still Attached
The benefit of rooting spider plantlets while they’re still attached to the mother plant is that you don’t have to worry about transplant shock. When you propagate spider plants this way, the babies are much stronger from the start. But this method is a bit more difficult because spiderettes still attached to the mother won’t always root as readily as they do when they’re removed.
With this method, you could use regular potting soil, or the same light rooting mix you would use in a propagation box. Simply put a pot of soil next to the mother plant, and stick the starter roots of the baby into the dirt. I recommend dipping the root nubs into rooting hormone first to encourage and speed up root growth.
Transplanting Spider Plant Babies
Allow the plantlets to grow several new roots before potting spider plant babies. Then you can use a general potting soil to pot them up. After planting the rooted baby into its own pot, water it well, allowing the excess water to drain out the bottom of the pot. Keep the soil evenly moist until the plant has become established in its new pot, but don’t overwater it.
You may also want to mist it daily using a plant mister, or keep it in a humid room (like a bathroom or kitchen) at first to help it recover. Cuttings rooted in water will take longer to recover after being transplanted into soil than those that are rooted in a propagation box or in soil. They may droop after being potted up, but they should recover after a few days.
Once you see new growth, that means the plant is established and you can stop babying it. After they’re established, baby spider plant care is the same as it is for a mature spider plant.
How To Divide A Spider Plant
Dividing spider plants is another common way to propagate them, and the best option if your plant doesn’t have any offshoots. As long as there are at least two clumps growing in the pot, you can split them apart.
Splitting a spider plant can be difficult if you have a mature, pot-bound plant. If your spider plant roots are really thick and tightly packed, then you will probably need to use a sterile knife to cut through it in order to split the plant. Otherwise, simply tease the roots apart until the clumps are separated.
Spider plants are easy-to-propagate houseplants, and the perfect plant to start with if you’re just learning how to multiply plants! Growing spider plant babies is especially fun, and will allow you to propagate spider plants very quickly. Soon you’ll have tons of new plants to fill your home, or even share with your friends and family (baby plants make a great gift too)!
Up next, read all about how to grow your new babies in my detailed spider plant care guide!
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!
Products I Recommend
- Winter Houseplant Care
- Houseplant Pest Control
- The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual
- The House Plant Expert
More Information About Plant Propagation
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- What Is Plant Propagation (and how to get started)
How do you propagate spider plants? Share your spider plant propagation tips in the comments section below.