How to Propagate Spider Plants: Top 3 Methods

Rooting Spiderettes in Water, Soil, and Natural Propagation

propagating spider plants

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly
  • Estimated Cost: $10

The propagation of the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is rewarding since it's easy and costs practically nothing to do by using cuttings to make new plants. You can make countless plants for yourself or gifts. Spider plants are treasured for their pretty green or variegated foliage, potential ability to purify the air, and ease of maintenance. They only need well-drained soil, indirect light, and moderate watering to thrive and produce "runners" and baby plantlets called spiderettes. Learning to propagate spider plants takes only a few supplies, and it's simple.

If your mother plant has baby plantlets, you can detach them from the stolon (the long stem the baby grows from) and root the babies. Cut the babies off, clipping as close to the spider plantlets as possible, removing the unattractive, yellowed stolon. Next, propagate them in water or plant them directly in the soil with the cut end down. If propagated in water, roots will form within seven to 10 days. Using the soil method may take a little longer, but the roots will be stronger.

If your spider plant is not producing spider babies, the original plant might need longer to mature, the pot is too large, causing the plant to concentrate on root production and not reproduction, or the plant is getting too much light. If your plant is producing many spiderettes, you should prune them off. A trimmed plant has more vigor and is not competing with plant babies for fertilizer or water.

Here are three methods of propagation, and children are amazed by the science of learning how to grow these plants.

Spider Plant Care & Propagation Tips

  • The best time to propagate spider plants is during the spring and summer growing seasons, but this plant is such an easy grower it can be propagated throughout the year.
  • The only ways to make new spider plants are to grow them from seed, divide, or cut spiderettes and root them in water, soil, or via their stolon. You can't grow spider plants from leaf cuttings.
  • When grown indoors, these warm-weather perennials love warm temperatures and humid air; they do not tolerate temperatures below 50 F.
  • They require regular watering, preferring moist but not soggy soil—water at least once a week, less during the late fall or winter months.
  • This plant can grow in many soil types but grows best in loamy, well-draining soil.
  • Give fertilizer once a month throughout the growing season (spring to fall).
  • Repot your plant as needed once its roots have outgrown the container.
  • Spider plants prefer light shade or bright, indirect light.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

All Methods

  • Pencil or dibber
  • Sanitized sharp knife, flower snippers, or shears

Materials

Water Method

  • Clear glass jar (1 for each spiderette)
  • Water to fill jar

All Methods

  • Soilless seed starting mix
  • 4-inch pot (1 for each spiderette)

Instructions

materials for propagating spider plants
The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Water Method of Spider Plant Propagation

The water method of propagating spider plants allows you to develop the plant’s roots first, then plant it with already established roots into the soil. This method enables the spider plant to grow faster once in the pot. It takes a bit more time to get the plant from cutting to pot, but it will enable you to watch the roots develop and can make for beautiful decor. The steps are easy:

  1. Fill Your Jar With Water

    Gather a clean, clear jar and fill it with water. Let the water sit for an hour to de-chlorinate and come to room temperature. While this is happening, this is a perfect time to get your cutting utensil, whether it be a sharp knife, flower snippers, or clippers, and use some alcohol to wipe the blade clean.

    pouring water into a jar

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Gather Your Cuttings

    Along the stolon of the mother plant, carefully remove the spiderettes from the stolon. Do this by cutting right along their base. Do not worry about cutting the stolon. If it is removed, that is okay, but if it is kept more spiderettes will form from the stolon eventually.

    carefully removing spiderettes from the mother plant

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Add Cutting to Jar

    Place the new cutting into the water just deep enough to cover the very bottom of the spiderette. Do not let any leaves touch the water, reposition the plant if necessary.

    positioning the spiderette in the water

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Place in Sunlight

    Put the container in indirect sunlight and wait. Change the water when it gets cloudy and wait for roots to develop. After some time, you will start to see the roots form. When you have a good grouping of roots, remove the new spider plant from the water.

    waiting for roots to develop

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Fill Your Pot With Soil

    Fill a pot with drainage holes with soilless seed starting mix. Add perlite to ensure good drainage. Use a pencil or dibber to make a deep and wide hole to accommodate just the roots of the new spider plant. 

    filling a pot with soilless potting mix

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  6. Plant Your Cuttings

    Place the spider plant roots deep in the soil, with the base of the plant level at the top of the soil. Cover roots with soil. Moisten the starting mix but do not soak.

    planting the spiderette

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  7. Place in Indirect Sunlight

    Place the newly potted plant in a warm place in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can kill the tender plant.

    placing the plant in direct sunlight

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  8. Check Cuttings

    When you give it a gentle tug and your plant yields, it has not rooted yet; it still needs more time. The roots will eventually establish themselves in the soil and branch out. When you tug and are met with resistance, your plant takes root.

    checking to see if the plant has taken root

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Potting Method of Spider Plant Propagation

Potting is the easiest but most time-consuming method to establish roots. Using rooting hormone may speed up the process, but it is unnecessary.

Some offshoots may already have roots forming as they hang from the mother plant. Others may not have developed roots yet, but they're still likely to root well in time. Those are the easiest to establish. Take a spiderette straight from the mother plant and place it in the new pot till it roots. Doing it this way, you get a potted plant from the start, but rooting takes longer, and you do not see when the roots develop. 

The benefit of using this method is that the roots will be stronger from the start and will not need to establish themselves further. Water-grown roots can be a bit weak and must acclimate to the soil. The steps to propagating by the potting method are:

  1. Clean Your Tools

    Clean your cutting utensil, whether it be a really sharp knife, flower snippers, or clippers, by wiping the blade with alcohol.

  2. Gather Your Cuttings

    Along the stolon of the mother plant carefully remove the spiderettes from the stolon. Do this by cutting right along their base.

  3. Fill Your Pot With Soil

    Fill a pot with soilless seed starting mix. Use your pencil or dibber to make a hole deep enough to accommodate just the bottom of the new spider plant. If you've harvested offshoots with roots already forming, make the hole deep enough to accommodate the roots.

  4. Plant Your Cuttings

    Place the spider plant as deep as the roots and cover it with soil. Keep the base of the plant level with the soil line. If you would like to use root hormone, dip the bottom of the spiderette into the hormone according to the product’s instructions before planting. Moisten the starting mix but do not soak.

  5. Place in Indirect Sunlight

    Place your newly potted plant in a warm place with indirect sunlight.

  6. Check Your Cuttings

    Give it some time for the roots to establish themselves in the soil and expand. Lightly tug on the plant; if you are met with resistance, your plant has taken root. If your plant gives, it has not rooted yet and still needs some time.

Stolon Method of Spider Plant Propagation

This method is most akin to what would happen in nature. The plant sets out new stolons that would get covered in soil, the spiderette would root, and the stolon would break or be cut off, propagating asexually. This method is also the easiest; it does not require any tools and can be done in the same pot as the mother plant.

Transplant later, or it can be done into another pot right from the start. It is up to you. Here are the steps on how to use the stolon method:

  1. Fill Your Pot

    Fill a pot with soilless seed starting mix. Use your pencil or dibber to make a hole that is only as deep as the tiny starter roots.

  2. Plant Your Cuttings

    Put the pot next to the mother plant and place the spiderette into the newly made hole.

  3. Maintain Moisture

    The mother plant will still be nurturing the spiderette while it is rooting, so your primary concern is keeping the starting mix moist.

  4. Separate Your Plants

    When the spiderette shows new growth, cut the plant away from the mother plant, and you now have two independent spider plants.