Propagating spider plants: how to root spiderettes


For many years now, I have been growing various vegetables as a hobby in my spare time, which is what ultimately led me to studying horticulture. I find it fascinating to watch as plants grow from seed to fruit and to then finally be able to make use of the literal fruits of my labour.

Favourite fruit: Strawberries and cherries
Favourite vegetable: Potatoes, tomatoes and garlic

Spider plants are typically very easy to propagate successfully. Learn all about propagating spider plants by division or by using the little spiderettes.

 Person potting a spider plant
Propagating spider plants is very easy

After a while, common spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) produce so-called spiderettes that make them very easy to propagate. Learn all about the different ways of propagating spider plants and how to do it yourself.

How to propagate spider plants

The most obvious and easiest way to propagate a spider plant is by taking the plantlets that form at the end of the offshoots. Some of these plantlets even grow their first roots while still hanging from the mother plant. Once potted up in their own pot, they are quick to establish themselves. Large spider plants in particular can also be propagated by division. Whilst it is also theoretically possible to propagate spider plants by seed, this method is uncommon and complicated. As there are no suitable pollinators around, you would have to pollinate your spider plants by hand in order for them to produce seeds. Read on for detailed instructions on the different methods of propagating spider plants.

Propagating with spiderettes

Spider plant plantlets, also known as spiderettes, babies or pups, form at the end of the long offshoots where the mother plant blooms. To ensure the spiderettes will survive on their own, leave them attached to the mother plant until they have grown at least five leaves that are about 5cm long.

Four spider plant spiderettes
The spiderettes need to reach a certain size before they can be removed for propagation [Photo: jph9362/]

Removing spiderettes

There are two possible times to cut off spiderettes:

  1. Before planting, cut the spiderette off so that it has about 2 – 3cm of the stem attached. After removing the plantlets, cut the remaining flower stem away from the mother plant completely.
  2. You can also plant spiderettes while they are still attached to the mother plant and then cut them off once they have taken root in their own soil. The advantage with this method is that the mother plant will keep supplying the plantlet with nutrients until you separate the two. Once the spiderette has established itself in its own pot, separate it from the mother plant by cutting the connecting stem. Spider plants propagated in this way often grow more quickly.
Mother and baby spider plants
Spiderettes grow from the mother plant’s inflorescences [Photo: RacheeLynn/]

Planting spider plant spiderettes

As long as the plantlets already have roots, plant them directly in a small pot containing soil. Keep in mind that the roots are not yet fully developed at this stage, so must still grow functional root hairs. Our peat-free Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost is ideal for planting spiderettes. The coconut fibres in this compost increase the soil’s water storage capacity which helps baby spider plants to grow. A spiderette with roots likes temperatures around 20°C and plenty of light. If no roots have formed yet, leave the spiderette connected to the mother plant for the time being and plant it in a small pot while it is still attached. Alternatively, you can propagate spider plants in water. Simply place the spiderettes in a glass of water and move them to soil once roots have grown.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

You can also pot unrooted cuttings. Kept at around 15°C in partial shade, these will begin to take root in about ten days. Keep the soil moist and occasionally mist the plant with water.

Dividing spider plants

The best time for dividing or splitting spider plants is when they need repotting. This type of propagation does require a bit more tact than the others, as the fleshy roots are fragile and can break off easily. For this reason, large plants are better for this method. Follow these step-by-step instructions to divide your spider plant:

  • Remove the root ball from the pot
  • Clear most of the soil from the roots
  • Carefully untangle the roots
  • Divide the plant by pulling or cutting it apart with clean secateurs and/or a knife
  • Plant the new individual plants back into pots with fresh soil
  • Keep at 15°C until the plants are established, then move them to a warmer place
  • Take care of your spider plants 
Root ball of spider plants
Spider plants that are not root bound can be separated from each other more easily [Photo: Olla Yakovleva/]

As you can see, propagating spider plants is relatively easy and can be done in many ways. If you are looking for other impressive and easy to care for houseplants, check out our guide to the monstera plant.

Discover a few more tips on planting spider plants, whether large or small.