How to Grow and Care for Spider Plants

Our spider plant care tips will show you how easy it is to help these plants flourish.

When it comes to spider plant care, less is often more. You don't even need a green thumb to grow spider plants indoors or outside in the garden. Here are some expert tips to help your spider plants thrive, including how to plant them and ways to handle common problems for these popular houseplants.

How to Plant a Spider Plant

While spider plants are often sold in plastic containers, these temporary pots are unattractive and inefficient, preventing air from circulating and eventually causing the plant to rot. Take these steps after purchasing your plant.

  1. Remove your spider plant from the plastic container as soon as you bring it home from the nursery.
  2. Repot the plant in something porous, like a terracotta planter with a drainage hole. Never let your plants sit in standing water.
  3. Use orchid bark or peat moss at the bottom of the pot before adding soil. This ensures maximum drainage.

Because they are root-bound, spider plants only need to be repotted approximately once every other year.

Caring for Indoor Spider Plants

It's easy to grow a spider plant indoors. "Mist the plant with distilled water that has been sitting for 24 hours," says NYBG-certified horticulturist Bliss Bendall.

"If your plant receives a lot of full sunlight, I strongly recommend doing this first thing in the morning at sunrise or an hour or two before the sun goes down. This will ensure it doesn't burn, get too cold, or become damp and rot," Bendall adds.

Bendall suggests regularly rotating the pot so one side isn't constantly getting more sun. It's also important to avoid keeping a spider plant directly on or in front of a heater or air-conditioning unit.

Sunlight Requirements

On average, spider plants are not low-light plants. "Spider plants appreciate bright to moderate indirect sunlight. But that doesn't mean they can't survive without sunlight," Bendall explains.

"Established spider plants can accommodate different types of light if they are watered specifically for the particular condition they're kept in," continues Bendall.

Keep in mind that spider plants tend to get sunburned easily. "If you water spider plants when the sun is high or directly shining on the plant, they will burn," adds Bendall.

Watering Requirements

Every spider plant has its own water needs. Bendall's rule of thumb is to wait until the top two inches of soil are dried out but not entirely dried through.

"During the first month, once a week, gauge how dry the soil is getting in between watering to get a feel for how quickly water evaporates from [the] soil in your home or office." During the spring and summer months, the water will likely evaporate faster, so you'll need to keep a closer eye on it.

Also, be cautious about overwatering if there is a lack of humidity in the place where your spider plant grows. This is known as water stress. Knowing how often to water can be tricky, so buying a soil moisture meter ($13, is an inexpensive and easy way to eliminate the guesswork.

"When watering the plant makes it feel heavier than before you watered it, let the water drain through the holes for at least one to two minutes. Over time, you'll get used to the change in the weight of the plant and be able to know when it's time to water," Bendall says.

When in doubt, it's best not to overwater spider plants. "Wait a day or two and test the soil again. It's more detrimental to overwater than to wait longer between watering," Bendall adds.

How to Fix Common Spider Plant Problems

Yellow or Green Leaves

If you overwater your spider plant, it may or may not be viable. If the leaves start to turn yellow or lime green, don't worry, but proper care is essential.

"Take the plant to a place where it can receive a little more shade, and be sure the topsoil is dry before watering again," Bendall says. Then, remove all the yellow leaves.

Brown Leaves

If you notice the leaves turning brown, the plant has likely been overwatered, probably with tap water. The high salt levels in tap water are toxic for tropical plants like spider plants. Switch to distilled water if possible.

If just the tips of the leaves are brown, your spider plant is probably fine. You can even trim them. "Go for it in the growing months [of] spring and summer," Bendall explains. However, avoid trimming your spider plant in the winter.

"During colder seasons, the plant goes dormant and needs all of its chlorophyll to feed itself and survive," Bendall says. "If you must trim the leaves, just know it can be risky. Be sure to trim off the brown tips with sharp, sterile pruning shears or use a florist knife. Cut at an angle to recreate the sharp tip shape of the leaves. It'll scab over and be like nothing ever happened."

Wilted Leaves

If the leaves are fully wilting, your spider plant may be too far gone. Bendall suggests giving it 10 days to see what happens. If no progress is made, the plant is probably not salvageable.

What to Do With Spider Plant Babies

Sometimes spider plants sprout little babies. If you are growing the plant indoors, Bendall suggests leaving them alone.

"They are called pups and are like newborns. While the pup is still attached to its mother, plant it in its own container in lightweight, easily drainable soil. Wait to detach until the pup is established on its own, and then cut them apart. You'll be able to tell it's established once there is new growth."

Bendall also recommends planting a few babies in the same pot. "This also works for a mature plant you want to fill out and thicken a bit more. Don't do this hydroponically, but rather grow them in lightweight drainable soil."

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are spider plants good for anxiety?

    It's well-known that houseplants provide a certain level of relaxation. Studies have shown that stress levels can improve when simply looking at plants. This is no exception for spider plants, which are fairly easy to care for and pretty to look at.

  • Do spider plants attract bugs?

    Despite its name, spider plants don't attract spiders or other bugs. It can, however, suffer from insect infestations (like most plants). Common spider plant infestations can come from scales, aphids, mites, and whiteflies.

  • Do spider plants need to hang?

    It's not necessary to hang spider plants, but doing so shows off their naturally cascading leaves and gives the plant extra room. If you decide to place your spider plant on a surface instead of hanging it, make sure not to crush its leaves.

  • Do spider plants help clean the air?

    While studies have shown that houseplants like the spider plant can remove toxins from the air, there is some disagreement on whether they completely purify the air. Nevertheless, bringing a few spider plants into your home can help cleanse the air and improve air quality.

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  1. Chang, C., & Chen, P. (2005). Human Response to Window Views and Indoor Plants in the Workplace, HortScience HortSci, 40(5), 1354-1359. Retrieved Jun 1, 2023, from

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