How to Propagate Spider Plants from Babies

Love having new plants for free?  This project is for you.  It is super easy to propagate spider plants from the babies that the mother plant sends out on the ends of long arching stems. 
To get plants for free, learn how to propagate spider plants from their babies. It's easy to do and fun as well.

Spider Plants – botanical name Chlorophytum – are one of the easiest of plants to propagate.  I first became familiar with this popular plant in Australia when I lived there.  They were plentiful and I loved the little offshoots that the plant put out when it was mature. In most areas of the country here in the USA, it is considered one of the popular indoor plants, or grown as an annual outside in the summer.

Chlorophytum are referred to by many nicknames – spider plant, airplane plant, St, Bernard’s Lily,  ribbon plant, even (incorrectly) hens and chickens which is the more generally known nickname of a popular succulent

Spider Plant Flowers:

Although this plant is grown for its pretty foliage, it does have small flowers, too. The plant sends out fine white delicate flowers in the summer and small baby spider plants grow out of these flowers.  The flowers are quite small – only about 1″ in size and look a bit like a miniature lily.

Spider Plant flowers look a bit like a miniature lily.

Spider Plant Babies:

It is not uncommon for a well developed Spider plant to send out an offshoot that sends out its own offshoot.  This results in a cascade of babies hanging down below the mother plant and each of her child plants. I find that my plants send out lots of babies if the mother plant is slightly pot bound.  Once the roots are no longer vigorously growing, the plant gets busy on producing the babies. Once it does this, it tells you that it’s time to propagate spider plants.Spider plant baby with their own babyThe plantlets are easy to grow for one simple reason – as they mature, they develop a tuberous root system right on the plant, much like an air plant.  Those roots are just waiting to be planted in soil!

Spider plant grow easily because they have a built in root system. Find out how to do it at Spider Plants from the Babies

I started to propagate spider plants with a gorgeous, and very large spider plant. A friend of mine from Australia was visiting and remembered how much my husband liked the plant.  On a trip to a garden center, we found this mature plant and she bought if for us as a gift.Get new plants for free by learning how to propagate spider plants from their babies.

The mother plant had a ton of babies, even some with their own babies, so it did not suffer at all even losing a lot of them.

A mature spider plant often has babies with their own babies hanging below it. Find out how to plant the babies at cut off some of the babies.  I chose well developed ones that had a good root system showing and also chose some with babies of their own starting to form.  This will ensure that my new planter looks like this one soon! Spider plant babies just waiting to be planted. I had several old planter with decent soil in it that held strawberry plants that I had managed to kill, so I just tilled up the soil with a garden fork so that it would drain well.  It had some roots and weeds and those just got pulled out and tossed in the compost bin. (I’ll probably have strawberries soon growing in there with my luck.) I chose several of the largest babies with babies of their own and put five of them into my pot and tamped down the soil. 

Spider plant babies, planted and ready to root and start growing.A fresh watering came next, and then I hung the planter in the shade of my crepe myrtle tree near a seating area.  It will get overhead watering until the roots have taken well.  It won’t be long at all until my new planter looks quite like the mother plant.    Easy peasy.  About 10 minutes and a free plant. Who can beat that? Spider plant in a tree planterI had babies left over but they did not have babies of their own.  I wanted some of these. They will root and then grown in a new bed under a pine tree. The bed gets filtered light.  I love green and white variegated plants and don’t want to spring for the cost of hostas or liriope muscari variegata, so they will give me that effect at no cost. 

Even here in my zone 7b garden, the babies spring back each year.  I’ve had them in one other bed for the last three years, in spite of snowy winters.  I hope these come back too! Spider plant babies make new plantsThe babies take about 10 days to 2 weeks to root.

Spiderplants are so easy to grow from babies. Find out how to do it at plant care:

Spider plants are very easy to care for.  Just follow these easy tips:Spider plant care

  • Plenty of light for good leaf color  (but not too much direct sunlight
  • Keep them slightly pot bound to flower and produce the babies
  • Re-pot in the spring when the plant is quite root bound
  • Don’t fertilize too much, you won’t get many flowers and you need them for the babies
  • Keep evenly moist.  Water when the soil is dry about an inch down in the pot.
  • Display in hanging baskets for best effect
  • Propagate from babies
  • Will grow to about 1 foot tall with runners cascading down about 3 feet or more.
  • A nice bonus is that spider plants purify the air in your home!

To show how quickly spider plants will grow, check out this plant. :It started from a single baby and I kept it indoors over the winter in a six inch pot.  In early spring, I planted it in this large planter and it’s enormous now and has dozens of small babies. When I say plants for free, I really do mean it!spider plant with babiesHave you tried to propagate spider plants from their babies? How did you make out?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  19 comments for “How to Propagate Spider Plants from Babies

  1. Mayte Graell
    08/14/2016 at 6:31 pm

    Me encantan.las plantas arañas…en.mi Panamá la conocemos como mala madre….porq tira los hijos fuera d casa jaja. Felicitaciines por tan.completo reporte….

  2. Aida
    05/27/2017 at 6:16 am

    Do you pull it out from the root, or cut the shoot and where?

    • Carol
      05/27/2017 at 11:35 am

      Hi Aida. For my project, I cut the largest spider babies on the ends of the long runners about 1 inch from the plant and trimmed the runner back to the baby. The bottom of the baby has unformed roots. Those are planted in the soil and will grow into roots. Carol

      • Kamryn
        06/17/2018 at 10:04 pm

        Ok so you cute them from the long thing do you cute them with knives or scissors

        • Carol
          06/18/2018 at 2:34 pm

          Yes just cut the long beige colored stem. The baby should have roots for best success (the larger ones). Plant the rooted end in soil and trim off the long stem. Carol

  3. Patrice Firgens
    07/28/2017 at 8:11 am

    My spider plant has brown leaves on the babies! Is it that I’m watering it to much? I’ve attached a photo. Thank you

    • Carol
      07/28/2017 at 11:49 am

      Hi Patrice. If the leaves are brown and limp, then it could be too much water. If they are brown and dry looking, then they might need more humidity. The photo did not attach so I can’t see it. CArol

      • Marsha Smith
        05/22/2019 at 12:39 pm

        This is a great question. Helped my students very much with out vegetative plant propagation.

  4. robin
    03/09/2019 at 12:16 pm

    I said I wouln’t do this ever again; but something still wants me to propagate!! Why can’t I stop?? This Will be my last; I’m pretty sure!!

    • Carol
      03/09/2019 at 6:40 pm

      Too funny. I am the same. Those babies are so much fun to propagate. I just do a batch of them every fall so I will have large spider plants in the spring.

  5. Minka
    08/09/2019 at 11:12 pm

    What on earth is “slightly pot bound”? Can you cut a leaf straight across and plant in soil?

    • Carol
      08/10/2019 at 10:23 am

      When a plant is slightly pot bound, the roots start to fill up the soil area. Spider plants won’t grow from the leaves, you need to plant the entire babies that grow on the runners that come out of the mother plant on the long stems. Just plant the babies in soil.

  6. Darla
    09/24/2019 at 11:14 am

    So – I can’t keep the whole big mother plant over the winter? I have an unheated greenhouse, a small basement, and a sunroom that gets too much heat from the woodstove. If I propagate some babies before winter, where do I keep them in the house this winter?

    • Carol
      09/24/2019 at 12:10 pm

      I keep my babies near a south facing window. The basement would be too dark, I would think for them. The unheated greenhouse might work, but it would depend on your planting zone.

  7. Rosa Jean Clark
    10/12/2019 at 9:46 pm

    Shoots can be cut after removing the babies or do you leave them and new babies grow? Please advise

    • Carol Speake
      10/13/2019 at 4:11 pm

      I normally cut them off.

  8. Liz
    10/27/2019 at 8:28 am

    I fondly remember the hanging spider plants that became so popular in the 70’s, and really wanted some in my life again. I found some babies broken off from a larger plant on the floor of a garden center, and they let me have them for free! Now they are in water and setting out roots. I’ll be potting them up soon and hope they do as well as yours did. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. dianna davidson
    01/30/2020 at 11:59 pm

    My Spiders are growing in the ground, in the yard.

    Do I cut the babies’ stem from the mother plant? And how CLOSE to the roots do I cut the stem? Then I just plant the roots in the ground?

    • Carol Speake
      01/31/2020 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Dianna. I usually leave a little piece of the stem attached but you can remove it completely. The baby will grow either way. Yes. Just plant the exposed roots in soil. Larger babies are the best, since they have more roots.

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