There are few plants with the draw of Chlorophytum comosum (kloh-roh-FY-tum kom-OH-sum).
The plant was one of the first to be recognized by NASA as an air purifier, even though it’s hardly the strongest.
It’s non-toxic to cats, dogs, and humans; and comes in a wide range of shapes with either variegated or non-variegated varieties.
The airplane plant or ribbon plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow and relatively foolproof.
This houseplant can withstand a lot of neglect and grow in a wide range of lighting conditions, including fluorescent.
But one of the best aspects of spider plants is that propagate without the need to bloom. They reproduce so readily that you can easily share this wonderful plant with friends and family.
How To Propagate Spider Plants – 6 Ways
There are a number of ways to try your hand at spider plant propagation. We share a total of 6 unique methods, four for propagation itself and two different options for medium.
Here are the different methods to propagate spider plants, some of which are easier than others.
One of the best methods for propagating spider plants when you want a few new plants is division.
Use this method when repotting, as you will need access to the root ball.
Once the root ball is exposed, carefully divide the roots into 2 to 4 equal sections and plant each segment in its own pot.
Expect some transplant shock even on a mature plant. But it won’t take long for the new spider plant to begin filling out again, giving you multiple plants to grow and share.
The big advantages to this method are two-fold:
First, this is a great way to restrict the growth of your spider plant, as you can continue growing it in a smaller pot.
Second, the divided plants are all older, so a species that blooms in adulthood will be able to flower much sooner than if you propagated through little plant spiderlings.
Spiderlings (Clip Method)
One of the great things about Chlorophytum Comosum is its ability to create spiderlings aka baby spider plants.
A mature spider plant will send out a long stem that develops little spider plantlets. These will dangle down if the parent plant is in a hanging basket.
These spider plantlets form tiny root nubs, even when they’re not in contact with soil.
Once the spider plant babies have developed at least five leaves and some small roots, they can be clipped from the mother plant and gently pushed into a small pot full of moist soil.
Set the pot in bright, indirect sunlight and keep it well-moistened until your growing spider plant has new leaf growth (generally a couple of weeks).
Spiderlings (Umbilical or Stolon Method)
Perhaps the easiest method when you have the space for it, the umbilical method allows you to root your spiderling sprouts more efficiently.
- Sit small pots filled with damp potting mix near the parent’s pot.
- Gently guide the growing baby spider plantlets onto the soil.
- Pin the stolon with the baby plant attached down with an opened paper clip.
- This keeps the roots intact with the soil to root more effectively.
You don’t need to root spider plant babies as long as they’re still connected to the mother plant.
Spider plant care is no different from the clip method. Make sure the babies have access to bright indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist until you see new growth.
At that point, you can safely clip the spider babies off from the mature spider plant and give the new plant away or put them in their own spot.
Seeds (Expert Method)
Most domestic varieties are difficult to flower, but wild plants and a few domesticated ones will produce small, capsule-shaped fruits.
These fruits can be cracked open, causing tiny black seeds to fall out.
Due to the relative difficulty of coaxing a spider plant to produce seeds, this method is generally only performed by professional plant breeders.
But, dedicated home plant enthusiasts use this method as well.
The 2 Growing Mediums
It might seem counterintuitive, but there are actually two different mediums you can use for growing spider plants.
Soil is an obvious choice, but did you know you can also use hydroponics?
Here are some tips for getting the most out of each medium.
Related: Soil for Spider Plants
Tips for Soil Propagation
When propagating in soil, it’s best to go with an African violet mix. Avoid fertilizer or chemicals, and aim for a neutral pH.
Since spider plant babies are very sensitive to chemical damage (brown leaf tips), your potting soil should be mild and you should only water use distilled water.
Learn more on Why Spider Plants have Brown Tips
A good rule of thumb is to wait for the spider baby to at least double in size before introducing any (highly diluted) fertilizer or insecticidal treatments, such as neem oil.
Tips for Hydroponic Propagation
Hydroponic propagation is best used on baby spider plants when you don’t have room for normal propagation methods.
Suspend the plant over a container of distilled water, allowing the undeveloped root area to make contact but keeping the leaves above water.
Place the container in a spot with indirect sunlight and change out the water daily to prevent the risk of bacterial or fungal infection.
After a few weeks, the roots will have developed enough to transfer the plant to potting soil.
It’s best not to root in the water longer than necessary, as this can lead to root rot in time.