I find the easiest way to propagate spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) is by using the pups, aka plantlets, that mature plants produce. To encourage these pups to develop roots, you can place them in water or soil. You can also use division to propagate large spider plants. In this guide, I’ll cover two methods to propagate spider plants via plantlets as well as one other method.
Can You Propagate Spider Plants?
Not only can you propagate spider plants, but doing so is a breeze! Spend some time with a healthy plant, and you may soon find yourself with an army of little spiders.
If you’re new to propagating plants, the spider plant is a great plant to start with. After you master duplicating this plant, you can move on to more advanced options.
Considerations When Propagating a Spider Plant
As long as you start with pups, spider plants are extremely easy to propagate! They can be rooted in water, soil, or even on the plant.
Even if your spider plant isn’t producing pups, healthy plants are easy to propagate by division.
Time of Year
While some people say you should propagate spider plants in the spring or summer (similar to repotting a spider plant), you can propagate any time of year. New plants will grow a bit slower in the fall and winter, but propagation can still be successful.
Should You Use Water or Soil?
One of the age-old debates in the plant propagation world is whether you should propagate plants in water or soil. Proponents of each method like to root for their method, but the truth is it depends on the plant and your preferences.
Spider plant pups can be propagated in water or soil, it really just depends on what you prefer.
Can You Propagate Spider Plants From a Leaf?
While the easiest way to propagate many plants is via a leaf cutting, this isn’t true for spider plants. If you cut a mature leaf and place it in water, it isn’t likely to form roots.
Fortunately, you can easily propagate spider plants from the tiny plantlets that form after the plants flower.
How to Propagate a Spider Plant
How to Propagate Pups in Water
As we mentioned above, rooting spider plant pups is the easiest way to produce new spider plants. While it may sound obvious, you need access to these small plantlets to get started!
Young plants and those in poor environments are unlikely to produce pups. However, even if you have a healthy plant in tip-top shape, it may not be producing any babies! If this is the case, double-check the environment and practice patience.
Gloves – even though spider plants aren’t considered toxic to humans, it’s prudent to wear gloves throughout any extended houseplant care project.
Once you have a plant with spider plant pups, you can propagate using these steps.
- Use a sharp and sanitized pair of shears (as you would to prune a spider plant) to remove the pup from the mother plant. Cut near the base of the planet while avoiding cutting the actual plantlet.
- Fill a container with a small amount of water, about half an inch. You can use a mason jar, drinking glass, or any other container.
- Place the pup in the water, so only the base of the plant is covered. The leaves should not be submerged.
- Set the container in an area with lots of indirect light.
- Change the water every few days.
- After a week or so, you should see roots begin to form. At this point, you can plant your spider plant in soil or allow the roots to grow longer.
How to Propagate Pups in Soil
Propagating the pups in soil is similar to the process of propagating them in water. If you use this method, it’s best to start with pups that have already started to grow roots. At the very least, you should start with pups that have nodules indicating root formation is about to begin.
- Use a sanitized pair of scissors or shears to remove a planet. Try to cut close to the base without cutting the plantlet itself.
- Obtain a pot with drainage holes. The container only needs to be big enough to fit the plantlet.
- Fill the pot with a well-draining soil mix, such as the FoxFarm Happy Frog mix (via Amazon).
- Use your fingers or a trowel to make a small hole in the soil. The hole only needs to be large enough to fit the base of the spider plant and any roots.
- While this step is optional, you can apply a rooting hormone to the base of the plantlet. Follow product instructions if you opt to use a rooting hormone.
- Place the plantlet in the soil. Only the base of the plant should be under the soil.
- Water well.
- Place the pot in a warm place with indirect light.
- From this point on, treat your plantlet like you would a mature spider plant.
How to Propagate Via Division
If you don’t have access to spider plant babies, you can also use division to propagate new plants.
- Start with a spider plant that is at least three inches in diameter.
- Remove the plant’s root ball from the pot and gently shake off excess soil.
- Use your hands to gently tease the plant’s roots apart. You may need to use a trowel or knife if the roots are dense.
- Once you have two sections of leaves and roots, place each one in a pot filled with a well-draining soil mix.
- Water well and place in a warm area with indirect light.
Propagation Problems, Questions, and Remedies
How long does it take a spider plant to root in water?
This depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the spider plant pup as well as environmental conditions. In general, spider plants will start to form roots within one to two weeks.
Can a spider plant live in water forever?
Spider plants can live in water for a long time. However, if you don’t move them to soil, you will need to frequently change the water.
How long does it take to propagate spider plants?
If you start with a spider plant with pups, you can have new spider plants in a matter of a few minutes! However, it may take up to a few weeks before these new plants develop roots.
Are spider plants hard to propagate?
No, spider plants are one of the easiest plants to propagate.
Can you grow a spider plant from a broken leaf?
No. Unlike many other types of houseplants, you cannot propagate spider plants from leaf cuttings. If you have a broken leaf, it’s best to toss it.
Can a spider plant grow from one leaf?
No, you cannot propagate a new spider plant from a leaf cutting. However, you can easily propagate these plants via spider plant babies, aka pups or plantlets.
Why is my spider plant not rooting?
Spider plants can take a few weeks to root, so you’ll need to be patient. You also want to ensure the plant is in a warm area with bright, indirect light.
Propagating Spider Plants – The Final Word
With this information in tow, it’s time to start propagating your spider plants! If your plant is producing pups, use these to produce new plants. And if you don’t have access to pant babies, try your hand at division.
For more, see our ultimate guide to spider plant care at home.