When you have the growing conditions right for your spider plant, it’s going to have babies. No pollination required. The Chlorophytum comosum species is asexual. Male, female, it doesn’t matter.
Let it grow slightly pot bound, keep it well nourished, then within a year, or shortly after, it will produce little baby spiderettes.
What if Your Spider Plant Doesn’t Produce Babies?
Then it is not because you have a male plant. That’s a myth! It’s either because it’s under one year old, or there’s something off with the growing conditions.
A good way to tell that your growing conditions are ideal is to monitor the speed of growth. Spider plants are fast growers. If yours is growing on the slow side, the slow growth is usually contributed to over or underwatering, lack of sunlight or a poor soil medium.
A situation that will need to be corrected before the plant produces offsets. The reason being, if the mother plant is struggling to survive, the baby spiderettes will not a stand a chance.
Addressing the Watering Issues for Spiderettes
Over and underwatering will stress the parent plant and the offsets. Given the offsets are so young and delicate, they cannot cope with stress.
If in doubt with your watering frequency, err of the side of caution by cutting back on watering. It’s easier (and safer) to water a thirsty plant than it is to try to dry out an overwatered plant, or worse, treat root rot.
That is likely to not only kill the baby plants, but also the parent plant. Root rot destroys the entire plant. Not just its off-shoots.
If you’re around your plants a lot, then water it when only when it wilts. Spider plants wilt when they need a drink.
If it’s standing bolt upright, it already has plenty of moisture in the soil to keep it hydrated. Watering when it doesn’t need a drink is the surest way to drown a spider plant.
Watering is the main concern with these plants, however, there are other conditions the plant will need to thrive.
The purpose here is to make sure the parent plant is adequately cared for. While the offshoots are attached to the parent plant, forget doing anything different to care for the spiderettes.
Take care of the mother plant and it’ll naturally care for its babies. They do this in the wild and they will do the same indoors when the conditions are optimal.
Helping the Parent Plant Care for Its Babies
A checklist of spider plant care requirements to help it care for the babies
Direct sunlight will lead to fast wilting. Water will evaporate faster than the plant can use it. And, the edges can scorch from the higher heat. The preference for the spider plant is indirect sunlight.
Aim to keep the temperatures in the room the spider plant is growing in the 55oF to 80oF range. The parent plant will survive temperatures slightly outside of those ranges; however, they will not be thriving.
That may be why you see some of your spider plant babies dying. The parent plant being stressed before the spiderettes are propagated can stress them.
Humidity is not a huge deal for spider plants, but it does help. Especially if you have a plant that isn’t looking its best. The ideal locations for them are in the bathroom or kitchen because they have a preference for high humidity.
If you have your spider plant in a different room such as your office or sitting room, alternative methods for increasing humidity is to use a humidity tray, or you can buy a cheap plant humidifier to place beside the plant.
These spray a fine mist intermittently, increasing the localized humidity levels without making the room you’re using uncomfortable for you to use.
Explore the Possible Causes of the Untimely Death of Spider Plant Babies
Cutting It Away Too Early (or Too Late)
When you remove a spiderette plays a crucial role in the plant’s health. Cut it too early, and the roots may be too shallow to support the plant’s nourishment requirements.
Root it later, and the plant will be stronger, which can mean cuts develop callouses rather than rooting in the potting soil.
With the above in mind, the best time to propagate spider plants is in spring and summer season, just as the babies are beginning to form roots.
The younger you divide the baby plants from the mother plant, the better the chance of them rooting becomes.
Refer to our guide on how to divide spider plants
A quick summary on division:
There are three ways to go, each of them have equal success rates. Water propagation, soil propagation, or soil propagation while they are still attached to the parent plant.
Whichever way you divide the spiderettes, they will eventually be potted up in soil. That is when you need to be careful with watering.
On that topic, for those new to propagation, start the baby spider plant in soil. Water propagation is slightly trickier because there is a possibility of transplant shock occurring when you transfer a spider plant that has gotten used to growing in water to growing in a soil medium. You can lessen the chance of that happening by starting the roots in soil from the get-go.
As mentioned earlier, watering is the primary cause of sickness in spider plants of all ages.
With the young tender offshoots, the roots are more susceptible to rotting. Root rot will send them to the compost pile.
The simplest way to avoid the risk of root rot setting in is not to water them heavily but instead, mist the soil frequently. They need moist soil that is never wet. Just slightly damp. To provide that environment, ditch the watering for a sprayer with a fine mist setting.
As a rule of thumb, for young plants, mist only, and frequently. Just enough to keep the soil moist.
For parent plants, water those in the morning so they have plenty of accessible water throughout the day, but not much in the evening when the lights go out.
Planting Baby Plants in Their Own Baby Plant Pots
When the time comes for potting up the propagated baby plants, avoid using a clay pot. Spider plants grow so fast they could break them.
Opt instead for a free draining planter with free draining soil without any fertilizer. The best soil for spider plant care of all ages is loam, peat, and teeny bit of compost. Nothing that can introduce flouride though as that can severely damage the young tender roots of spiderettes.
Your plant pot does not need to be overly large. Baby spider plants only need around 1-inch of room to grow. They flourish when allowed to grow in a slightly root bound pot, so that one inch of growth space in the new pot can last for several months.
FAQs on Caring on Preventing Your Spider Plant Babies Dying…
What About Fertilizing? Do Spider Plants Need a Feed?
Spider plants are hardy. They do not need fertilizer, but they do grow faster with a little feed now and then. There is not a specific formula of fertilizer for the spider plant. Any all-purpose house plant fertilizer will do.
Liquid formulas are better for the spider plant as powder formations can clog the soil, making water uptake difficult. That can result in signs of underwatering, despite the soil being moist.
Where you need to be careful with fertilizing spider plants is the frequency. These only need a feed in moderation and only during the growing season (spring and summer).
Do All the Spider Baby Plants Need a Separate Pot?
How many baby plants you put in a pot depends on the size of plant you want to grow. The advantage of potting up your own propagated baby spider plants is that you get to determine the size potential of your plant, rather than a nursery.
The more baby plants you put in the one pot, the bigger and bushier the spider plant will (eventually) become. It’ll also mean it’ll outgrow its pot sooner. If you’re okay with repotting spider plants frequently, try putting a few baby plants in the one pot.
Watch the drainage hole though because once it becomes pot bound, the roots will start seeping through the pots’ drainage hole. That’s when you know it’s too root bound, therefore requiring a bigger pot.
On that same note of potting up baby spider plants together, you can also add more life to the parent plant by dividing and rooting the baby plants in the same pot. This can make the parent plant eventually spread much bigger than it would do as an individual plant.
Will New Spider Plants Reproduce?
Yes. Every spider plant reproduces naturally when grown in the correct conditions. That is why growers focus on propagating and dividing. The more you pot up in the one pot, the faster the spider plant becomes pot bound.
Spider plants produce more babies when they are pot bound. If you don’t want more babies and only want to focus on maintenance, use a larger pot to allow for more soil aeration.
Preventing the plant from becoming root bound slows the reproduction stages.
To grow the healthiest spider plant babies, focus on letting the parent become slightly pot pound and provide the mother plant with the specific care it needs and it will produce offshoots and care for them naturally so you don’t have to.
Take care of the Mama plant and that’ll nourish the babies until they’re ready for division.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.