Just bought a new spider plant that looks like it needs some more space? Is your existing plant’s pot is starting to look a bit cramped? You might be wondering how repotting a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) works. When should you do it? What kind of planter and soil does a spider plant need?
Keep reading for everything you need to know about repotting a spider plant to help it grow and thrive.
When to repot a spider plant
If you’ve been growing spider plants for a while, you’ll know that these houseplants handle being in a cramped pot pretty well. So how do you know whether it’s time to repot your spider plant yet?
Here are a few indications that this might be right the moment for a new planter:
- Your spider plant’s roots are coming out of the drainage hole.
- Roots are starting to show above the soil level.
- Your spider plant’s soil dries very quickly, resulting in droopy leaves.
- The planter has cracked.
If any of these apply to your spider plant, it’ll probably appreciate some more space. If it’s autumn or winter, wait until spring; during the growing season, you can go ahead and repot whenever you’d like.
A healthy, growing spider plant can usually be repotted once every 1-2 years. They don’t mind being root-bound, but they tend to grow so fast that you do end up having to change them out relatively often!
Tip: When repotting a spider plant, you can move the whole plant into a big new container, or you can separate it and use multiple smaller planters.
How to repot a spider plant
How do you know what size pot you need to go for when you’re repotting a spider plant? Well, it depends on whether you’re repotting the whole plant or separating it.
The separation method is mentioned in the guide to propagating a spider plant. This species grows in a clumping matter, meaning you can usually easily separate the mother plant into multiple new plants. Obviously, if you do this, all of the resulting new plants can go into smaller planters than the mother plant was originally in.
If you’re repotting the plant as a whole, the rule of thumb is to just go one pot size up. Measure the width of the planter you’re using right now (at the neck). Go for something a few centimeters or about an inch larger. For example, if your plant is in a 20 cm (8″) wide planter now, you can upgrade it to a 25 cm (9″) one when you repot.
As for the type of container you should be using, this plant is really not that demanding. The most important thing is a drainage hole to allow excess water to escape after each watering session.
One great option is to use a standard plastic nursery pot. You can then place this in a decorative overpot, which doesn’t have to have a drainage hole. When it’s time to water, you just pull the plant in the nursery pot out of the overpot, water it in the sink and then place it back once the soil has had some time to drain.
Due to its dangling foliage and spiderettes, Chlorophytum comosum is also a very popular option for hanging planters. Same story here: as long as the container has a drainage hole, your spider plant should be perfectly happy in there.
Soil for spider plant
As with all of its care aspects, Chlorophytum comosum really isn’t very demanding when it comes to soil type. The species’ roots are chunky, strong and tuberous, meaning they’re able to grow pretty much anywhere.
In the home, you can just use a standard houseplant potting soil, although mixing a handful of perlite in there can be helpful. This improves drainage and makes sure the soil doesn’t stay wet for too long after watering, which comes in handy because wet feet can cause root rot in houseplants.
Repotting spider plant babies
If you own a mature spider plant, you’ve probably noticed what this species is well-known for: spiderettes! These plantlets, which dangle from the mother plant like spiders from a web, can be used to easily grow a whole new plant. The mother spider basically does the majority of the propagation work for you.
To repot a spider plant baby, you can sever its connection with the mother plant using a sharp and clean knife or scissors. Then, you can pot it up into a small planter with the same soil mixture you use for adult spider plants. Keep the soil lightly moist (though never wet!) and the spiderette should root and continue growing in no time.
If you want to make sure the plantlet is rooted before you pot it up, that can be done as well. Just separate it and then place it in a vase or glass of water, so that the bottom is submerged but the leaves stay dry. This is called water propagation.
Once your water-propagated spiderette’s roots are an inch or so long, you can pot it up as described above. Or don’t: they can stay in water pretty much indefinitely.
How to care for a spider plant
Repotting a spider plant isn’t the only care aspect you should keep in mind if you want to keep your plant happy and healthy, although it is an important one.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when caring for Chlorophytum comosum:
- Light. Spider plants aren’t very demanding when it comes to light (noticing a pattern yet? They’re really very easy.), although they do appreciate it. Try offering bright, indirect light.
- Water. Due to their tuberous root systems, spider plants can go for a bit without water. That being said, they do prefer to stay lightly moist. If you wait too long, your plant will let its leaves droop, although it should quickly perk back up after watering.
- Fertilizer. This species is a pretty vigorous grower during the spring and summer months, so you can supplement it with a normal houseplant fertilizer. Be sure to dilute the fertilizing liquid and stop feeding outside of the growing season.
- Pet safety. Pet owners will be pleased to know that spider plants are in fact non-toxic to pets, as noted by the ASPCA. They do have a strange effect on cats, though. They are said to work as a hallucinogenic not unlike cat grass for our felines. Read more in the post on spider plants and cats.
- Problems. The most common issue with spider plants tends to be when the plant develops brown tips. Although this can be caused by lack of water, the most common cause is excess minerals in the tap water. Read more in the post on brown tips on spider plant.
Tip: Want to know more about caring for a spider plant? The full spider plant care guide contains everything you need to know.