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How to Propagate Spider Plants

Wondering how to propagate spider plants? There are a few different ways, but today I’m going to talk about spider plant propagation in water. In my opinion, it’s the fastest, easiest, and most rewarding way to do it. Read on for more.

How to propagate spider plants easily in water!

I have to admit that spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) aren’t my favorite plant. I have had some bad luck with them in the past despite supposedly being really easy to care for.

Truthfully, it was probably user error before I knew much about plants. So I wanted to give it another shot. What influenced me? This absolutely stunning spider plant FULL of flowers and babies my mom has in her dining room.

Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s throwing those new shoots and tiny babies out every which way, giving a kind of crazy vibe. I can dig that. So instead of buying a new spider plant, I decided to propagate spider plant babies from my mom’s plant.

I don’t really have room for a large plant right now, and her plant is so healthy and beautiful that I figured I could just work from that. So let’s chat a bit about the spider plant.

large hanging spider plant

Table of contents

Can you propagate a spider plant from a cutting?

Although it isn’t really my favorite plant, I gotta give credit where credit is due: the spider plant is a true propagation power house. I say that because it literally propagates itself without you doing anything.

The spider plant babies that mother plants produce are basically new plants that you can pop off and work with. Or you can just leave the babies on the mother plant.

If your plant is happy and thriving, the babies will mature and also create babies. This will lead to a crazy trailing look. My mom’s plant is surely headed that way!

large hanging spider plant
flowering spider plant
screenshot of instagram account

How can I encourage my spider plant to have babies?

But how can you get your spider plant to grow more spider plant babies? Giving it the right growing conditions is the first step. Spider plants enjoy bright to moderate indirect sunlight and warm temperatures.

Once you see the plant flower, you know you’re doing something right. It’s these small white flowers that turn into new spider plant babies!

Don’t give this plant too much direct light, though, as the leaves are prone to burning. While spider plants can tolerate low light levels, they won’t thrive and likely won’t flower or produce babies.

Misting your plant with a spray bottle can also be helpful, especially if it gets a lot of light. Aside from the right care conditions, keeping spider plants snug in their pots is a good way to encourage spider plant baby growth.

But don’t worry if you need to repot your spider plant to a slightly larger pot. If it’s happy it will grow quickly, filling up that space and getting snug enough to churn out more spider plant babies. 

large hanging spider plant

Should I propagate my spider plant in water or soil?

There are three main ways to propagate spider plant babies: by cutting them off and planting them alone in soil; by planting them in soil while they are still attached to the mother plant, severing them off of the mother plant later; and by rooting them in water. 

I think water propagation is the easiest because the spider plant babies sprout new white roots so quickly in water. You can let the roots develop quite a bit before planting the propagated babies and monitor the whole process.

While I am not necessarilly the biggest fan of water propagation for all plants, plants like spider plants, pothos plants, and monstera deliciosa plants respond quite well to water rooting. It’s so easy—why complicate things?

That said, if you want to skip the water step, you can plant your cutting immediately in soil. You’ll want to keep the soil moist to encourage root development, but you won’t be able to see what’s going on under the surface of the soil.

propagating spider plants in water

Where do you cut baby spider plants?

No matter what type of propagation method you choose, a successful propagation starts with taking a good cutting. Here’s how to take a good cutting of a spider plant baby.

First, look for a spider plant baby that has little nubs on it. These are the beginnings of those beautiful new roots that will help your new plant thrive. They look like the picture below. Make sure you get at least one of these when removing your baby.

You can also trim off the stem that the spider plant baby emerged from. You don’t need it to be long to root the cutting. Nor do you need to leave it on the parent plant.

spider plant babies
bottom of a spider plant baby
spider plant baby
spider plant baby
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Here is the link to the Dropbox folder with the guide!

cover of my propagation guide that says getting started with houseplant propagation

How to propagate a spider plant in water

Here are the steps to propagate spider plants in water. You’ll just need an existing spider plant, a clean knife or pair of scissors, and a container of water. Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Remove a spider plant baby

First grab a spider plant baby and fill up a container with water. Since the tiny spider plants don’t have long stems like some other plant cuttings, I like to use a mason jar with water or a bowl of water.

spider plant babies
woman holding spider plant babies

Step 2: Grow roots in water

Next you’ll need to add your plants to a bit of water. You want the water to cover the root area only, not the entire plant. Set the plant and water in a spot with bright, indirect light. Check it every few days to monitor root growth, adding more water as necessary.

Make sure the roots remain covered in water throughout this process. I like my roots get nice and long over about 1 month in water. You could probably get away with a bit shorter of a time period.

propagating spider plants in water
woman holding a cup of water with spider plant babies in it
spider plant roots growing in water
spider plant roots growing in water

Step 3: Plant the new spider plant

Once the roots are sufficiently established, you can plant the spider plant just as you would any other plant. I planted three rooted spider plant babies together in one pot so it wouldn’t look so piddly. You don’t have to do this, though—you can plant them alone.

As for the soil, a good well-draining potting soil helps to ensure the roots don’t stay too wet. A soil mix labeled for indoor use is best. If you don’t have an indoor potting mix, lighten up your dirt by adding some coco coir or fine moss and perlite, sand, or both! 

Here’s all of my little babies clumped together and planted as one for a full look. Unfortunately I left this sitting on the counter in Henry’s reach and he got up and chewed all of the ends off because he’s an a-hole…but it will grow back 🙂

spider plant propagation in soil
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What happens if you leave spider plant babies?

Nothing at all! You can definitely choose to keep the babies on the parent plant. My mom has kept most of the babies on her mother plant. It creates a lush look.

Eventually, if your plant remains healthy, the babies will begin producing babies. I have no idea how many “generations” of families that one spider plant can produce, though. I’d love to know. My mom’s plant is certainly giving it a go, though. Here is an updated picture.

huge beautiful spider plant with lots of babies
huge beautiful spider plant with lots of babies
spider plant babies on a stem

How often should you water a spider plant cutting?

Once your transfer your water-rooted cutting to soil—or if you planted your spider plant baby directly in soil—you’ll want to keep the soil evenly moist. I recommend watering the plant slightly more than you would an established spider plant.

That’s because you need a bit of extra moisture to help the roots develop. Once you can gently tug the plant and get some resistance, you know it has started to root. You can back off watering.

spider plant leaves

How long do spider plant cuttings take to root?

The length of time it takes for spider plant cuttings to root depends heavily on the conditions you’re growing the plant in. Propagations in the fall and winter take longer to root than those done in the spring and summer.

That’s because warmer temperatures, plenty of bright, indirect light, and some extra humidity can help plants root faster. It could take several weeks for your spider plant babies to grow several inches long in water.

Then, after you transfer the cutting to soil, it could take another few weeks for the water roots to transition to soil. Water roots are a bit different from soil roots, so keep the soil evenly moist as they adjust to their new home.

propagating spider plants in water
spider plant roots growing in water

Pin my tips about how to propagate spider plants!

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  1. Glenda Myers says:

    Example of synchronicity, I looked at my very pregnant spider plant this a.m. and wondered if there was instruction in propogating a spider plant on your blog (which I recently discovered) and it showed up in my e mail this very day !!! thank you for your helpful log, you keep it interesting too.

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