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How to Care for a Spider Plant

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are sometimes also called Airplane plants. Spider plants form arching clumps of grass-like leaves and they get their common names from the baby plantlets that form on dangling stems. Spider plants also have tiny white flowers on long arching stems. Spider plants are one of the most adaptable and easy to grow houseplants that there is. Here is how to care for a spider plant.


  1. Image titled Care for a Spider Plant Step 1
    Pot your spider plant correctly.
    • Use a good houseplant potting medium, not garden soil.
    • Repot it in a larger pot each spring or divide the old plant into several smaller ones and repot them in a fresh potting medium.
  2. Image titled Care for a Spider Plant Step 2
    Place your spider plant in the right light.
    • Put your spider plant in an east, west or north windowsill any time of the year.
    • Put the spider plant in a south window during the winter months or 12” (30.5 cm) away from a south window in late spring and summer.
    • Provide bright fluorescent or other lighting and spider plants will do fine.
    • Provide light shade to deep shade for spider plants that are used outside.
  3. Image titled Care for a Spider Plant Step 3
    Water the spider plant correctly.
    • Use room temperature water.
    • Use distilled or purified water, if possible.
    • Let the pot surface feel dry to the touch before watering.
    • Water until water drains from the bottom and empty drained water from trays promptly.
  4. Image titled Care for a Spider Plant Step 4
    Fertilize spider plants once a month in the spring and summer with houseplant fertilizer mixed according to label directions.
  5. Image titled Care for a Spider Plant Step 5
    Keep spider plants between 40º and 85ºF (4.5º to 29.5ºC).
  6. Image titled Care for a Spider Plant Step 6
    Groom spider plants by trimming off dead leaf tips or leaves with scissors.


  • Spider plants are excellent for cleaning the air of tiny air pollutant particles. They were even grown in space capsules for air cleaning.
  • You can divide spider plants that are too large by pulling or cutting the root ball into several sections, each with some leaves, and repotting the sections.
  • Spider plants have white tuberous looking roots that store water and food for the plant.
  • Spider plants can be used outside in the summer or in frost-free climates as “spikes” in containers, as groundcover in partial shade, or as hanging baskets.
  • Share your spider plants with friends by plucking off plantlets and rooting them in a cup of water or pushing the bottom of plantlets into moist soil and keeping the soil moist until they root.
  • There are several cultivated color variations of spider plants. There is the plain green type and various forms of white or cream markings, such as stripe in the middle of the leaves or at the edge.
  • When propagating the baby plants, it can help to place a cotton ball or wad of napkin in the glass of water to keep the roots from being immersed. Leaving the baby attached to the mother to begin with will ensure the baby can use the mother plant's resources to fuel root growth.


  • Spider plants are poisonous to cats although other animals seem to have no problems if they eat them. It would be wise however, to prevent all pets, including birds, from eating them.

Things You’ll Need

  • Houseplant planting medium
  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Scissors for grooming

Sources and Citations

  • Editors, Sunset Magazine, Sunset National Garden Book , Menlo Park, CA, Sunset Books, 1997 pg 245.
  • Hessayon, Dr.D.G., The Houseplant Expert, London, England, Expert Books, 1994, pg. 114

Article Info

Categories: Indoor and Patio Plants