The spider plant, (Chlorophytum comosum) is treasured for its pretty green foliage, its air-purifying capabilities, and its ease of maintenance. To thrive they only need well-drained soil, indirect light, and moderate watering. If you meet these conditions, there is a good chance it will send off “runners” called stolons and produce baby plantlets called spiderettes.
One of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of being a plant parent to Chlorophytum comosum is that you can propagate these little ones for almost nothing and have countless plants for yourself or for gifts. It takes few supplies and it’s simple to do.
There are three methods of propagation, and, if you have kids around, one of the options will teach them a little science!
Equipment / Tools
- 1 Pencil or Dibbler
- 1 Sanitized Sharp Knife, Flower Snippers, or Shears
- 1 Clear Glass Jar (1 for each spiderette)
- 1 Water To Fill Jar
- 1 Soilless Seed Starting Mix
- 1 four-inch Pot (1 for each spiderette)
The water method of propagating spider plants allows you to develop the plant’s roots first, then you plant it with already established roots into the soil. This allows the spider plant to grow faster once it is in the pot. It takes a bit more time to get the plant from cutting to pot but it allows you to watch the roots develop, and can make for very pretty décor in itself. The steps are easy:
- Gather a clean, clear jar and fill it with water. Let the water sit an hour or so to de-chlorinate and to come to room temperature. While this is happening, this is a really good time to get your cutting utensil, whether it be a really sharp knife, flower snippers, or clippers, and use some alcohol to wipe the blade clean.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fill a pot with soilless seed starting mix. Use a pencil or dibbler to make a hole that is deep enough and wide enough to accommodate just the roots of the new spider plant.
- Place the spider plant as deep as the roots and cover with soil. Moisten the starting mix but do not soak.
- Place the newly potted plant in a warm place in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight will kill the tender plant.
- Give it some time for the roots to establish themselves in the soils and expand. Lightly tug on the plant and if you are met with resistance your plant has taken root. If your plant gives, it has not, and still needs more time.
This method is the easiest, but it is the most time consuming to establish roots. Using rooting hormone may speed up the process but it is not needed.
Take a spiderette straight from the mother plant and place it in the new pot till it roots. In 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. The steps to propagating by this method are:
- Clean your cutting utensil, whether it be a really sharp knife, flower snippers, or clippers with alcohol, by wiping the blade.
- Along the stolon of the mother plant carefully remove the spiderettes from the stolon. Do this by cutting right along their base.
- Fill a pot with soilless seed starting mix. Use your pencil or dibbler to make a hole that is deep enough and wide enough to accommodate just the roots of the new spider plant.
- Place the spider plant as deep as the roots and cover with soil. Moisten the starting mix but do not soak. If you would like to use root hormone, now is when to dip the spiderette into the hormone according to the product’s instructions
- Place your newly potted plant in a warm place with indirect sunlight.
- Give it some time for the roots to establish themselves in the soil and expand. Lightly tug on the plant and if you are met with resistance your plant has taken root. If your plant gives, it has not, and still needed some time.
This method is most akin to what would happen in nature. The plant would set out new stolons that would be covered in soil, the spiderette would root and the stolon would break or be cut off, propagating asexually. This is also the easiest method, 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:
- Fill a pot with soilless seed starting mix. Use your pencil or dibbler to make a hole that is only as deep as the tiny starter roots.
- Put the pot right next to the mother plant and place the spiderette into the newly made hole.
- The mother plant will still be nurturing the spiderette while it is rooting, so your main concern is keeping the starting mix moist.
- When the spiderette shows new growth, cut the plant away from the mother plant and you now have two independent spider plants.
There it is. Three easy ways to propagate a spider plant. Each way is simple and effective and will give you results. The process can be done over and over again to reward you with as many spider plants as you can handle or gift.