Spider Plant Pruning: How To Prune Chlorophytum Plants

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There are three things every spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) enthusiast learns early on:

  • Spider plants (airplane plant) require very little maintenance.
  • Cats love spider plants.
  • Spider plants can grow like a weed and be as unruly as Medusa’s hair.
pruning a spider plantPin

This latter detail means frequent pruning may be necessary for your spider plant care. But…

  • How should you prune a spider plant?
  • How do you know how much to trim or prune?
  • How often should spider plants be pruned or trimmed?

Read on to learn more about how to trim a spider plant even if you’re a beginner.

How To Prune A Spider Plant

Spider ivy is a popular houseplant that can be cared for in various ways. Occasionally, pruning your spider plant is essential to a healthy plant.

Good pruning habits also aid in propagation and keep your houseplant from growing out of control and to a manageable size.

A lush spider plant sits by a window with white blinds, in a sunny, modern room with a hint of an orange chair.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @planthivestore

The mature plant shared above by @planthivestore is beautiful. Look close and you will see where some of the tips of the leaves have been pruned.


When Should I Prune a Spider Plant?

It’s good to prune your plant whenever it gets too big for its surroundings.

However, you’ll also want to prune your plant when it develops yellow or brown leaves.

spider plants growing outside with brown tips on the leavesPin
Photo Credit: @PlantCareToday.com

Numerous spiderlings (baby spider plants) are another good sign that your potted plant needs pruning and may also be ready for dividing or repotting.

Typically, the best time to prune spider plants is in the spring or summer.

The spider above has been growing outside with lots of hot temperatures. The soil moisture is not very consistent from wet to dry leading to tips of leaves turning brown.


Tools of the Trade

Due to the small size of spider plant runners, you can choose to use a sharp pair of scissors or stick with pruning shears for trimming spider plants.

Always sterilize your tools before and after pruning spider plant.

In the event of an infestation, you should sterilize after each snip.

The best sterilization method is to dip your tools in rubbing alcohol, then wipe them dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Avoid using dull tools, as this can damage the indoor plant.

What to Prune

Variegated green plants in terracotta pots on a black metal balcony with mesh fencing.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @pahi_happycottage
  • Begin at the base of the spider plant and work your way outwards.
  • If the plant has brown tips, yellow leaves, or dead leaves, trim these away and check common causes such as water quality (tap water), sunlight, or soil quality.
  • It may also be a sign that it’s time to transplant or divide your plant.
  • Always trim at the base of spider plant leaves, even if only the tips are damaged, to avoid attracting pests or possible infections.
  • Promote new growth and control size and shape by removing damaged or diseased foliage and withered blooms.
  • Cutting the leaves near the base of the plant is also recommended if you want to decrease the length.

Prune the Roots Too

A spider plant with long, variegated leaves cascading out of a pot in a sunlit room.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @purrfectplants
  • Spider plant roots are sensitive to root rot. Always check for mushy roots and remove them.
  • Pruning the roots once every 1 to 2 years to help encourage growth, especially overgrown or root-bound plants.
  • This involves pruning them back by 1” inch and trimming away the outermost roots.
  • Avoid cutting the roots too much. Consider dividing the plant instead if you’re worried about harming it.
  • Moving along the plant, prune off any spiderlings or spiderettes.
  • Clip these at the base of the mother plant.
  • You can discard the baby plants or remove the stem from the baby and propagate the small airplane plants.

Pruning and Propagation

A person's hand holding a spider plant with variegated green and white leaves, with a blurred outdoor background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @wellnesswavetherapy

Pruning is not only about removing leaves or leaves with brown tips. Pruning also is for propagation. The curly leaved spider above has lots of “spiderettes” to prune and start new plants.


In nature, spider plants propagate or reproduce in much the same way as many berry plants.

The plant produces numerous runners or offshoots (commonly called spiderlings, plantlets, pups, or spider babies).

When the spiderlings come in contact with soil, they take root and become new plants.

When pruning your spider plant, look for spiderlings and clip them off at the end of the shoot from the main plant. 

Hanging terracotta pot with overflowing green and white striped spider plant against a neutral wall background.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @official_plants

Ensure you’re cutting back the long stems at the base of the mother plant.

Grab a pot (with drainage holes) of loose soil and sit the spiderling in the fresh soil.

Also, make sure you’re providing enough water and enough bright light, and maintain humidity levels.

It will soon take root and turn into a mature spider plant without rooting hormone or other treatments.

You can then keep the new plant or give it away to friends.

Remember to always follow the steps on how to trim a spider plant to avoid damage.

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