Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are a lot of fun to own. These plants have some air purifying properties and can be grown as hanging plants or in pots.
They are generally very forgiving of neglect and handling but watch out for children and pets “playing rough.” What makes these little runners even more popular is how easily they propagate.
One plant can provide enough offspring to give to your family, friends, and neighbors when properly cultivated.
But just how easy is it to get these wonderful plants to take root during propagation?
How To Root A Spider Plant
There are a lot of different options for rooting your spider plant.
Not only can you propagate using soil or water, but the plant is also able to self-propagate with a little help.
The Basics: When and Where
Depending on the method you use, it might not be necessary to move your spider plant at all.
Airplane plant propagation only has special rules when repotting or trying to root clippings.
As a general rule, the best time to perform these two tasks is early spring, when the plant is just starting to wake up.
You’ll want to ensure the area is free of drafts and has bright, indirect sunlight.
When working with spiderlings, the parent plant can stay in its usual spot, and propagation may happen throughout the year.
Propagating through Division
Once your spider plant has reached a certain age and becomes pot-bound, division becomes one of the easiest ways to multiply your collection.
Details on Handling Root Bound Spider Plants
As you repot your spider plant, divide the mother plant into 2 to 4 equal parts and plant in separate pots.
You will need to tease the roots apart gently and may need to cut a few with a sharp, sterile knife if they’re too tangled.
Because the plant sections already have roots, they will recover as if you transplanted the whole plant.
How to Help Spiderlings Root Themselves
Spiderlings, sometimes called baby spider plants, spiderettes, or plantlets, result from flowers that fail pollination.
The babies resemble little spider plants and are attached to the mother adult plant by a runner.
If you have space and the plant is sitting on a surface, place a little pot of soil by the mother plant and gently sit the spiderling into it.
Ensure the baby is upright, and unfold a paperclip to hold it in that position if needed loosely.
The baby plant will automatically root itself in the well-drained soil, usually within a couple of weeks.
You’ll know when it’s rooted if it gives resistance when you gently tug.
Once the spiderling has established itself, you can clip the runner and move your new spider plant to its permanent home or give it away as a gift.
How to Root Spider Plants from Clippings
Normally when you think of propagating from cuttings, you think of using leaves or branches.
This is different for mature spider plants, where you will be clipping the spiderlings.
Use this method when dealing with a hanging spider plant.
- As a spider baby matures, it will grow little nub roots, even without soil contact.
- However, these won’t fully develop on their own.
- Clip the runner and place the spiderling in a pot, just like you would if it was attached.
- Be sure to keep the soil moist, and the spiderling will root in about the same amount of time.
How to Root Spider Plant Cuttings in Water
This is more of a novelty than anything else, as you’ll be able to watch the spiderling’s roots grow.
However, it does come with an increased risk of root rot and transplantation shock.
- To propagate, clip your baby plantlet and trim any leaves growing under the roots or at the very base.
- This step helps reduce the risk of submerged leaves, which could result in rot.
- Next, choose a glass or vase that’s deep and narrow.
- This helps keep the plant from submerging.
- Add a bit of water, just enough to cover the roots and stop before you reach any leaves.
- After 1 to 2 weeks, the roots should have developed enough to pot it safely.
Remember, the new plant will be more fragile than one grown directly in the soil, so try to ensure it doesn’t get stressed until you see some healthy new growth forming.
When your spider plant flowers, spiderlings will only form if those flowers have not been pollinated.
If bees or other pollinators visit your plant, the flowers may instead produce little green seed pods as they die.
The pods will turn brown and split as they dry out, revealing little black seeds.
Sowing these seeds is generally done by professionals, but you can do it with a little dedication and patience.
The seeds have a terrible shelf life and should be sown quickly, either loose or still in the pods.
Plant them in a starter tray, embedding the seed approximately ¼ to ½” inch deep.
Placing the pot on a heating mat can speed up germination, but avoid other heat sources which may cause the soil to dry out.
The soil must remain evenly moist until the seed has germinated, which will take approximately one month.
Once a seedling has several leaves, you may fertilize it and/or transplant it to a pot.