How to Plant and Grow Spider Plant

With several long, narrow leaves that curve outward from a central growing point, it's easy to see where this popular houseplant gets its name.

Spider Plant

BHG / Juli Lopez-Castillo

Spider plants have long, arching leaves that can be green or striped green and white. Small flowers form at the end of the leaves of mature plants, which can then form plantlets to start new potted plants.

Spider plants are easy to grow, tolerate all light levels, and don't mind if you miss a weekly watering. Spider plant, also called airplane plant, grows well in containers or hanging baskets. This clump-forming perennial is hardy only in Zones 9-11 outdoors, one of the reasons it's so popular as an indoor plant.

Spider Plant Overview

Genus Name Chlorophytum comosum
Common Name Spider Plant
Plant Type Houseplant
Light Part Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width 6 to 24 inches
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Winter Bloom
Propagation Division

Where to Plant Spider Plants

Spider plants look best hanging where their long leaves can hang freely over the sides of their planters. If you place them on shelves or a tabletop, be careful that they don't get so big and heavy that they topple over. Grow them indoors in most climates and outdoors in the warmest spots.

How and When to Plant Spider Plants

Because spider plants are native to tropical places, they appreciate humidity and warm temperatures. They do great in a bathroom, where they soak up the steam from showers. Plant them anytime from a plantlet or from seed. Snip off plantlets from a mother plant and place them on top of a smaller pot filled with potting mix. Moisten the mix, place it in indirect light, and wait for the roots to grow.

Spider Plant Care Tips

Spider plants are great for new gardeners because they're forgiving of neglect. Water them and plant them in well-drained soil and place them in bright spot near a window, and they'll do fine.


A spider plant likes bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight as it has the potential to scorch the leaves. Spider plants will grow in low light, but they'll grow slowly and may not produce plantlets. In low light, striped spider plant leaves may lose their variegation.

Soil and Water

Spider plants prefer it if their soil dries out a bit between watering. Check the soil every 4 or 5 days. If it's dry to the touch, water the plants thoroughly until excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot. If possible, use rainwater or distilled water for spider plants to keep their leaves from discoloration.

Temperature and Humidity

Humidity and warm temperatures are best for spider plants. Keep them away from fans, air conditioners and cool drafts. Temperatures above 50ºF are best for these tropical plants. If your home is dry, a few mists with water each week will be beneficial.


Fertilize spider plants monthly in spring and summer
using a water-soluble fertilizer. Follow the label recommendations for application. Brown leaf tips are a sign of over-fertilization.


Prune away dead leaves when you see them. If your plant seems to be slow in growing, pull out plant shoots to focus the plant's energy on new growth.

Potting and Repotting Spider Plant

Use pots that aren't much bigger than the plant root for spider plants—about 1/3 larger. Planters should have good drainage holes. Repot spider plants in fresh potting mix every two to three years, but keep the planter on the small side again.

Pests and Problems

While spider plants are usually trouble-free, they are occasionally bothered by whiteflies, spider mites, scale, and aphids. Good air circulation, adequate water, and bright light prevent most insect pests from finding a home in spider plants. If they do show up, wash them off with a strong spray of water in a shower or outside.

How to Propagate Spider Plant

Healthy, thriving spider plants send up long wiry stems with little plantlets at the end. The plantlets can be removed and placed on top of moist potting soil, where they will quickly take root, forming a new plant. Another option is to tuck the plantlet into the soil around the mother spider plant and create a container full of spider plants.

Types of Spider Plant

Orchid spider plant

Orchid spider plant in front of window
Jay Wilde

Chlorophytum orchidastrum 'Green Orange' has deep green lance-shaped leaves that more closely resemble those of Chinese evergreen than a common spider plant. Its orange leaf stem and central vein glow in bright indoor light.

Solid green Spider plant

Spider plant and globe on table
Dean Schoeppner

Chlorophytum comosum, with solid green leaves, is much less common than variegated forms. Grow it just as you would one of the striped varieties.

Variegated spider plant

Variegated spider plant
William N. Hopkins

Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum' has bright green leaves with a central white stripe. The width of the stripe varies from nearly the entire width of the leaf to a narrow band along the main leaf vein.

Variegated 'Bonnie' spider plant

spider plant bonnie chlorophytum comosum
Denny Schrock

Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegated Bonnie' has curled green leaves striped with creamy white.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do spider plants symbolize?

    In Asian cultures, spider plants are believed to bring luck and good health. Spider plants' sturdy and long vines represent stability.

  • Do spider plants purify the air?

    Spider plants do have an air-purifying quality. In large numbers, spider plants can purify the air in a home or office, but it would take dozens of plants in an average size home to make any major improvement.

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