Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosumi) are definitely one of the easiest plants to propagate if you have a strong and mature mother plant. There are two main methods you can use and we will guide you through each of them in this post, including the step by step guide, tools you will need and advantages of each method. You will come away knowing everything you need to make this process a success.
Why propagate a Spider Plant?
Before we get started you might be wondering why it’s beneficial to propagate your plant? Well here are a few good reasons:
Create more plants for free!
This will multiply your plant collection without needing to spend any more money! They also make great gifts for friends and family if you have enough greenery in your home already.
Save a dying plant
If you have accidentally overwatered, over-fertilised or mistreated your Spider Plant and is feeling neglected or looking as though it is dying, sometimes the best way to save the whole plant is by taking the healthy parts of the plant and using them to form new plants.
To make your plant fit its environment.
If your Spider Plant has become too big for your space or propagating the plant is a great way to stop cuttings from going to waste.
What tools will I need to propagate my Spider Plant?
Let’s start off with the easy part. It’s important to make sure you have all the things you need before taking any cuttings.
Healthy and mature Spider Plant
Clean, sharp scissors/shears
Spare pot(s) with and without drainage holes
Fresh soil and water
Newspaper or plastic sheet if propagating indoors
Rooting hormone (optional)
Gardening gloves (recommended)
How to propagate a Spider Plant with cuttings
This is a nice and easy way to propagate your plant once the mother plant is mature enough to produce spiderettes. Your plant will only produce babies if given the right care and are in the ideal environment.
Check the growth of any Spiderettes
You will only be able to successfully grow your plant babies if they have some roots growing. If removing them too early, there is a risk that the spiderettes won’t root quick enough and the cuttings will wilt. If the roots are an inch long, they are ready to be separated from the main plant.
Make the cut
Using sharp scissors or shears, cut off the spiderette from the main plant. We always try to grow a few at a time to increase the chance of getting a few successful growers.
Choose how you will grow your spiderette(s)
Here you have two options; soil or water. We tend to always go with propagation in water as you can keep an eye on roots that are forming and it is easy to change out the water every few days. Make sure that the water is fully covering the roots, but not the whole spiderette as the leaves may start to rot.
However, you can also have success with potting them directly into soil if you give them the right care and attention and the roots are long enough.
Pick your location
Once you have popped your cuttings in water or well-draining soil, it’s time to give them a home. You want to choose somewhere that gets a good amount of sunlight each day to maximise growth. However, be careful about too much direct light as it can lead to leaf burn which you want to steer clear of as it can damage your delicate cutting.
Switch out the water regularly
If you have chosen to pot your Spiderettes in water, make sure you change the water out completely every 2-3 days. This will stop the water from stagnating and bacteria growing. If you have pot your cuttings in soil, continue your usual plant care. Water every few days and keep an eye on any drainage issues that may be occurring.
We tend to forget a little bit about this step. In all the excitement that comes along with propagating, we sometimes get a little disappointed when we don’t see any new roots or leaves pop out straight away. But just because there isn’t any new growth happening immediately, it does not mean your propagation has been unsuccessful. It may take a week or so for new growth to appear! So just take care of your spiderette and keep an eye on it.
Repot your cuttings into something bigger
So you have slaved away changing out the water on your new Spider Plant cuttings and finally, they are thriving and growing plenty of new strong roots! Once the roots are about 5-7cm it may be time to repot your cuttings.
Enjoy your new plants
Whether it becomes a gift for someone or the new focal point of a room, your new plantshould now be a grown-up and may even someday become a mother of its own to new spider babies.
How to propagate a Spider Plant through division
This method only really works if your plant is quite bushy and you don’t mind taking part of it to form a whole new plant. But if you do have a big enough Spider Plant with various sections, then this method is great for those who don’t want to wait for weeks/months for roots and new leaves to grow. With the division method, you get new plants instantly!!
Take your plant out of the pot
To be able to propagate your Spider Plant through division, you need to locate the various natural offshoots of the plant and separate them out. The first step is to carefully lift your plant out of its pot, trying not to damage the leaves or root system.
Locate the various natural divisions
When looking for a part of the plant to divide it will become very obvious if there are various different offshoots that make up your Spider Plant. Carefully shake the root system to loosen the soil so you can see the root system clearly. Don’t worry if a few roots break during this process as it won’t harm your plant.
Separate out into sections
You may have to trim off the odd root to detangle the plant but with a little gentle tugging, you should be able to pull the sections apart to form individual plants. If your plant only has one offshoot you can use a clean knife to slice this section in half. Just make sure that each part has a good amount of the root system.
Place each section in fresh potting mix
Pop your mother plant back into its original pot (or downsize slightly if you have taken away a substantial amount of the original plant). Then pot your new Spider Plant(s) into fresh potting mix. Make sure not to reuse old potting mix from other plants as this can really easily transfer pets or bacteria without you even realising!
If the roots on any of your sections aren’t very mature you may want to grow them in water for a few weeks.
Continue normal Spider Plant care
Now your new plants are safely in their new homes you want to resume normal care.
Spider Plant Propagation FAQs
Here’s some answers to the most common questions we get on this subject, hopefully something here can help!
Re-using potting mix from other houseplants is a definite no. There may be pests or unhealthy bacteria lingering in potting mix without you even realising. So reusing soil can easily transfer these pests or diseases from one plant to another.
Luckily it’s quite a fast process compared to some other houseplants so you should start to see new roots growing after just a few weeks. But it can be unpredictable so as long as your cutting looks healthy and is getting the right care, it will just be a waiting game.
Always start to propagate in spring time, as this will give your plant plenty of warm summer months to grow.
Always use a high-quality potting mix to make sure your plants get the right amount and mix of nutrients.
Using rooting hormone in the form of gel or powder is completely optional when propagating Spider Plants. They work to stimulate root growth on new cuttings, not only speeding up the process but also producing stronger roots.
Grow lights are great to use when propagating houseplants as they provide ideal light conditions for young seeds and cuttings to boost growth. If you don’t have ample light in your home then this is definitely the way to go. You can also use them on mature houseplants over autumn and winter when they don’t get as much light so are a great investment for any plant parent!
One thing you don’t need to worry about is remembering to fertilise your cuttings. Fertilising cuttings before they are mature can actually slow down growth as you are providing nutrients straight to the plant which discourages root growth. You want to wait about a year before fertilising.
Common problems when propagating Spider Plants
Propagating plants doesn’t always have a 100% success rate and you may encounter some problems along the way. But don’t worry, below we have all the main problems you may face when propagating your plant so you can figure out what is causing these problems to arise and hopefully solve them before it kills your plant cuttings.
Patience is the number one thing you need when propagating any houseplants as there isn’t a fixed timeline at which you should expect to see growth. Although growth is fairly quick for Spider Plants, it can still take weeks or maybe months for anything to happen in some cases. As long as your cutting is healthy you have nothing to worry about.
If your cutting has started to turn soft and mushy then chances are it is rotting. This can happen if too much of the cutting is placed in water.
It’s totally normal for a slightly slimy layer to form around your cutting and its roots in water. This is totally normal and you shouldn’t worry. We recommend giving your cutting a quick rinse when you change out the water to remove this.
Check out our full Spider Plant Care Guide that has all the information on how to continue care for your cuttings once they have matured.
Written by Billy Dawson