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This blog post is contributed by Sarah Gerrard Jones, an expert on houseplants.
If, like me, you’re a 70’s baby, chances are you lived in a house with a spider plant. House plants, like clothes, go in and out of fashion and the spider plant is currently enjoying a revival. It’s not hard to see why.
It’s easy to look after, looks great hanging in Macramé, and produces little babies that you can gift to your family and friends.
You can choose to keep the spiderettes hanging on the mother for months or even a few years, but if you decide to free her up from her parental duties, follow these simple tips for happy, healthy babies.
Look closely at the bottom of the spider plant baby.
If you can see small nodes, these are where the roots will form (see the image above) and this an indication that it’s ready to go it alone.
Using scissors, cut the baby plantlet off the mother’s stem. I like to cut it as close as possible to the baby so there’s no unsightly stem left sticking out.
Once you’ve removed the baby, you can cut the stem away from the mother plant as nothing new will grow on it.
There are two popular ways of propagating spiderettes. The first is placing them in water so that the bottom of the plant is touching the water. The second is my preferred method, which is to put it straight into soil.
Here is how it goes:
You should begin to see the baby producing new leaves from the crown. This is a sign that it has now established a root system and is on the grow. Caring for the baby now entails as much care as you would give the mother plant:
How much light is needed – Spider plants are tolerant of a variety of light conditions. They will do fine in medium to low light, but to thrive and produce offspring, they need bright indirect light (like an east- or west-facing window). A south-facing window is okay if the plant is placed about a foot back from the light.
When to water – This will depend on how warm and how much light your plant is getting, but as a rough guide, water when the top 2” of soil is completely dry, usually about every 7-10 days. Reduce watering in winter to once every 2-3 weeks
When to feed them – Spider plants are greedy! Fertilise them every two weeks during spring and summer to promote healthy growth and encourage offsets.
There’s no definitive time for a plant to start producing offspring, but it could be that your plant hasn’t reached maturity. It needs time to establish itself in its environment and this could take months or even a few years. If it’s healthy and hasn’t produced babies after a few years, you should perhaps consider changing its environment. Spider plants won’t tolerate
dry conditions and don’t thrive in very low light. Why not try moving it to a brighter location? A humid bathroom with natural light is ideal.
Brown tips on the leaves are usually a water issue – either too much or too little. But this can also be caused by too much sun, which can frazzle the leaves. Check your watering schedule. If the soil is waterlogged, let it dry out before watering again. If the soil is totally dry, then it’s been underwatered and needs a drink. Try and remember to water your spider
plant when the top 2” of soil is dry.
If you don’t know when to water your spider plant, use your thumb as a guide. Press it about 2” into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. If it’s moist, hold off.
Have you ever propagated spider plant babies? If so, how did it go? Share your experience in the comment section below!