How to propagate Spider plant

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Spider Plants are popular houseplants known for hardiness, easy maintenance, and air purification properties. In addition, Spider Plants are extremely easy to propagate, making them a favorite amongst novice gardeners looking to up their plant game. Keep reading if you currently own a Spider Plant and want to know how to propagate it. This article will cover the basics and methods of propagating Spider Plants so that you have everything to need to get started!

Propagating spider plants

The basics of propagating spider plant

You can propagate Spider Plants by trimming off their plantlets/offshoots, layering plantlets in soil (while plantlets are still attached to the mother plant), cuttings, or root division. In addition, Spider Plants are best propagated in the spring as this is when the plant is most actively growing. 

The most common method of propagating Spider Plant is by snipping off the plantlets/offshoots that grow along the runners (stolons). These baby Spider Plants can be potted up in their own containers and tend to happily root into the new pot all on their own. You can also propagate Spider Plant without snipping off the plantlets. This method, called layering, involves placing a still-attached plantlet into a separate container and allowing it to root into the potting mix before trimming off the runner that connects it from the mother plant. Spider Plants can also be propagated by root division, and less commonly, by stem cuttings.

How to propagate spider plant
Plantlets, also called offshoots or simply spider plant babies, readily grow off the side of the mother plant. These plantlets are easy to trim off the mother plant and pot up in their own separate planter pots.

Propagating Spider plant from plantlets

Spider plants readily grow offshoots, also known as plantlets, that grow out on runners (stolons) from the base of the mother plant. Each plantlet develops a separate root system as they look for a growing medium to root into. You can propagate Spider plants from offshoots by removing them from the mother plant and replanting them in another pot with their roots attached. You can either pop them right into a planter filled with soil or watch their roots develop by propagating the plantlets in water for a few weeks.

Spider plant plantlet

Propagating Spider plant cuttings in soil

Use a clean pair of snips to cut the runner connecting the plantlet to the mother plant. Fill a small ~4″ pot with potting mix and pop the base of the plantlet into the potting mix. Water the plantlet to saturate the potting soil. Reposition the plantlet if it shifts in the soil so that the plantlet is nicely vertical. Set the plantlet in a spot with bright indirect sunlight (or under a plant light) to help it grow its roots into the potting soil.

Spider plant baby rooting in water

Propagating Spider plant babies in water

Snip a plantlet off the mother plant in the mid-point of its runner. As an optional step, you can dip the base of the plantlet in the rooting hormone (but this is often not necessary). Place the plantlet in a clear glass container with fresh water. Move the container to a spot with bright but indirect light. Change the water regularly to keep it fresh and clean. Once the roots have grown out towards the glass sides of the container, gently place the rooted plantlet into a planter with fresh potting mix. The roots will be quite soft, so be careful while backfilling with soil. Water the plant after potting it up.

Spider plant babies - plantlets growing off mother plant
Just pop a planter full of the moist potting mix under one of these overhanging plant babies. As long as the base of the plantlet is touching the soil, it will generally sprout roots and grow right into its new pot while still being attached to the mother plant.

Propagating Spider plants by layering

Propagating Spider Plants by layering involves potting the plantlets, or offsets, in another pot while still attached to the mother plant.

Here are the basic steps to propagating Spider Plants by layering:

  1. Fill a pot with potting soil, preferably about 4″ wide.
  2. Place the pot next to the mother plant.
  3. Take the plantlet and root it in the soil while still attached to the mother plant. To keep the plantlet from coming out of the soil, attach the wire, a plant pin, a bobby pin, or a paper clip to it.
  4. Care for both the plantlet and the mother plant the same way, keeping both plant pots watered.
  5. When the plantlet develops roots, cut it away from the mother plant. What you are left with is another Spider Plant!
Spider plant roots

Propagating Spider plants by root division

Because Spider Plants grow so rapidly, you may need to use root division to ensure your plant doesn’t outgrow its pot. Propagating Spider Plants by root division involves dividing the root ball into sections, ensuring each section contains roots.

To propagate a Spider Plant by root division:

  1. Take your Spider Plant out of its pot and look at the roots.
  2. Cut off any damaged roots with a pair of sharp, disinfected scissors or a plant knife.
  3. Divide the root ball into sections. The number of sections you have depends on how many planters you have and how big the mother plant is. Most mother plants seem to divide well into 2-4 smaller portions.
  4. Repot each section into separate planters with well-draining soil. Water thoroughly. 
Spider plant offset - propagating from baby plants
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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.