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Propagating spider plant | Through babies or division

The ever-popular spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is one of the most common houseplants out there. One of the reasons it’s so widely loved is because propagating spider plant is super easy: if one of your friends or family members has one, you can have one as well. One mature spider plant can produce enough mini versions of itself to decorate an entire room or provide endless gifts.

So how should you go about propagating your spider plant? The article below explains all of the steps to creating your own spider plant army.

Note: were you looking for instructions on caring for a spider plant? Head over to the spider plant care guide instead to find out how to keep yours happy and healthy.

Spider plant babies

The main reason Chlorophytum comosum (spider plant) is so easy to propagate is because a healthy, mature plant will produce offsets. You can propagate this plant by dividing clumps, of course, but it’s not the easiest way to do so. A better option is to just wait until it starts to produce its spider plant babies: spiderettes.

Spiderettes are what this plant derived its common name from, as they grow from thin stems that they hang from like little spiders from a web, hoping to touch soil at one point to be able to continue growing by themselves.

Obtaining a spider plant baby from a mature plant is easy enough. All you have to do is separate the spiderette from its mother plant by cutting or pinching the stem connecting the two. That’s it! Although the spider plant baby will not have roots yet at this point, it’s not difficult at all to get it to develop its own root system and continue growing as its own plant.

Did you know? There are many different spider plant varieties out there. The most common is the straight-leaved variegated spider plant, but there are also fully green cultivars as well as spider plants with curly leaves (‘Bonnie’ cultivar) and all kinds of different variegation patterns. All of them can be propagated in the same manner, so you can easily collect them all!

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) cutting in water. | Full spider plant propagation guide

Spider plant propagation in water

Once you’ve obtained your spider plant baby, the next step is to get it to root. There are two ways to do so: spider plant propagation in water or soil (described in the next paragraph).

My favorite way to propagate any houseplant is to do so in water, because with a nice small vase or plant propagation station, it makes for a lovely little display while you wait for results. Additionally, it makes it much easier to see the spiderette’s progress.

Houseplant propagations tend to start growing a root system before working on leaves, so if you place the spider plant baby in soil, you will be left wondering for quite a while before you can see whether the propagation has been successful or not.

  • All you need for propagating spider plant in water is a container that allows you to submerge the bottom of the spiderette while the leaves stay dry. Fill it up, place the prop in there and find a location for it that’s light and warm but doesn’t get scorching direct sun. After that, it’s waiting time!
  • Spider plant babies tend to root very quickly and almost all propagation attempts will be successful. During warm summer days you’ll probably see the first roots pop up within a week or so.
  • During colder seasons or with less light it can take up to four weeks for something to happen.
  • Once your spiderette has rooted you can decide to leave it in its container indefinitely or prepare a pot for it to continue to grow in. All it needs is some standard potting soil, kept slightly moist but never wet.
Spider plant cutting in small glass vase.

Spider plant propagation in soil

As mentioned above, spider plant propagation in soil is not for those who want to follow every step of the process. Because spider plant babies will root before growing new leaves, it can take a few weeks to start seeing new growth that confirms the propagation attempt has been successful.

On the other hand, propagating in soil does save time, as you won’t have to pot up the rooted baby plant later. It all depends on your own preferences!

  • To propagate spider plant in soil, prepare a small pot with standard potting soil (possibly some added perlite for increased drainage). A standard plastic nursery pot works well for this, as it will have drainage holes in the bottom that prevent the soil from becoming too soggy.
  • Just push the spiderette into the soil far enough for it to not fall over and keep things lightly moist.
  • Once you see new leaf growth appear, you can be sure your spider plant propagation attempt has been successful.
  • If you’re getting impatient and would like to know whether roots have developed yet, you can also give the spiderette a careful tug. If you’re met with resistance, congrats! A root system has formed and the plant will start growing soon.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) with many pups photographed against white outdoor wall
Spider plant babies ready to be planted!

Dividing spider plant

Although most houseplant enthusiasts like to propagate their spider plants by simply using spiderettes, there is actually another way. This species grows in a clumping manner, which means that it’s possible to easily divide it.

Dividing a spider plant is best done when you’ve already taken it out of its planter. This way, you can easily see the different clumps and select ones to separate. In most cases you can just pull the clumps apart, although you can always use a sharp, sterilized knife if necessary.

Cut any dead roots and leaves off the clumps and pot them into normal spider plant soil. Because each plant will almost always already have roots, you can just continue watering as usual. Easy as pie!