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.


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

Related: Tips on Chlorophytum Comosum Care here

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

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.

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.

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.

Related: Why Do Spider Plants Leaves Turn 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.

Always sterilize your tools before and after pruning.

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

Begin at the base of the spider plant and work your way outwards.

If the plant has brown tips, yellow leaves, or dead leaves, you will want to prune 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.

Also, ensure to remove damaged or diseased foliage and withered blooms to promote new growth and control size and shape.

Cutting the leaves near the base of the plant is also recommended if you want to decrease the length. 

Once every 1 to 2 years, you should consider pruning the roots to encourage growth, especially overgrown or root bound plants.

Always check for mushy roots and remove them.

This involves pruning them back by 1” inch and trimming away the outermost roots.

Avoid cutting the roots too much, and consider dividing the plant instead if you’re worried about harming it.

It’s also important to trim the roots every 2 years, as they’re sensitive to root rot.

Moving along the plant, you can prune off any spiderlings known as spiderettes.

Clip these at the base of the mother plant.

You can then either discard the baby plants or remove the stem from the baby and propagate the latter.

Pruning and Propagation

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. 

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, ensure you’re providing enough water, enough 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.

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