Can I Leave the Babies on my Spider Plant? (what no one tells you)

Can I Leave the Babies on my Spider Plant

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Did you know that spider plants are a triple threat?

  • They look amazing as a hanging houseplant.
  • They’re easy to care for and hard to die (the perfect plant for newbies).
  • They purify the air around you.

And due to how they look, they’re also known as the ribbon plant (which I find fitting because of their foliage) or more scientifically, the Chlorophytum Comosum. You’ll never guess that they’re also called the airplane plant.

And they are so cute when placed in a hanging basket and hung up high, especially when you have curly spider plant babies.

With so many spider plant babies forming, if you’re wondering,

Can I leave the babies on my spider plant?

Yes, you can leave the babies on your spider plant. They may even start to grow babies of their own if the shoots take root. If you choose to leave the babies attached to the spider plant, you will need to provide extra nutrients to the mother plant. Or else the baby plants will continue to absorb all of the mother’s nutrients and water.

Now I think the better question would be,

Should I cut the babies off my spider plant?

The choice is yours.

Leaving the plant babies attached to the mother plant is an excellent addition to any indoor area. But sometimes they can look a little messy looking, or make your spider plant too big. If that’s the case, you can prune your spider plant or propagate them.

I love giving away potted spider babies as gifts. It’s a simple yet thoughtful gift.

But do be careful with where and how you cut baby plants.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links, and that means that I may earn a commission if you buy something.

If you’re wondering how to prune a spider plant baby, start with disinfecting a pair of pruning shears.

You can remove the babies by cutting the shoot with a pair of sterile pruning shears. Cut as close to the base of the mother plant as you can. 

After removing the babies, you can either propagate the spider plants or dare i say, discard them.

A better idea may be to gift them to friends and family members. Pair it with a cute animal pot and voila, you got the most perfect unforgettable gift.

Another idea that you can do is to donate them or even give them away for free if you ever feel that you have way too many plants. (Which I think is an impossible feeling btw). But my husband may disagree.

a healthy spider plant, or chlorophytum in a ceramic pot

They also make great annuals if they remain in the shade.  The lighter the leaves, the brighter the shade should be. To keep those lovely white stripes with long stems, keep them in bright indirect sunlight.

It is also not unheard of to purchase one of the darker varieties and use the offspring to create an excellent barrier to a garden or line a shaded walkway.

If your spider plant has recently started producing babies, you may have noticed these little offshoots (or plantlets) growing out of the base of the mother plant.

These baby shoots are a replica of the mother plant and will soon become a baby-bearing spider plant. There are a few different methods to handling these cute little spiderette plants.

How do you look after a baby Spider Plant?

Spider plant spiderettes will grow with low maintenance. The baby spider plant will continue to grow until fully mature, which will take about two to five years.  After the first year in the pot, it is time for an upgrade. A newly rooted spider plant will need to be repotted annually until fully grown.

  • When repotting spider plants, be mindful of their growth pot size. Choose a pot that’s 1/3 larger than the size of the plant. Their roots are fast growers, so try to change the containers when you see the roots popping up in the soil.
  • Keep the pot of soil moist but not too saturated. It is extremely necessary that you use a well-draining soil. You can either use a soil moisture meter if you’re unsure about the dampness level or use a skewer, which I find much more efficient and simple.
  • The spider plant baby will be most productive next to the mother or still attached by the runner. These indoor plant babies also like bright rooms with indirect sunlight. The humidity is not a big deal, but the temperature should be between 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
a baby spider plant root, or spiderettes, hanging off of the mother plant that's further described in the can I leave the babies on my spider plant article.
Close up of baby spider plant hanging over the pot.

If you have too many baby spider plants, you can always use that to decorate your propagation station. I love watching them root in water.

Another reason why I love spider plants so much is because you can plant multiple spiders in one pot. The way their long variegated stems hang off is just too beautiful to not stare at.

Related: Why is My Spider Plant Pale and Limp? (7 timely steps you need to do today)

Can you leave Spider Plant babies attached?

Leaving the shoots alone on your spider plant is perfectly okay. It does absolutely no harm to the plant or the environment. The pot may get a little heavy to hang, but a pot pedestal can fix that.  Sometimes the baby spider plants will flower while attached to the mother plants, giving an extra boost to the aesthetics of the plant.

Different plant owners have their ideas on what to do with the baby shoots.  The babies can stay attached for years, and the only change is the adult plant will need more nutrients to support the babies. Consider fertilizing twice a month consistently and watering with distilled water. 

a man watering the hanging spider plant with a watering can

Tips for healthy spider plant babies: 

  1. Pick a method and stick with it
  2. Fertilize on a schedule
  3. Maintain good even moisture throughout the drainable soil
  4. Be consistent with giving spider plant care
  5. Maintain a constant temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit  

How long does it take for a Spider Plant baby to root?

You should start to see healthy roots in 7-10 days from when they are planted—whether you place the shoots in water directly or soil.  Leaving the babies attached to the parent plant makes no difference in the time frame it takes to develop roots. 

Placing a saucer of water underneath the baby spider plant can help speed up the rooting process. Just make sure that the water is touching the bottom of the offshoot. There are lots of schools of thought on raising the humidity with misting. Misting has minimal effect on this tropical plant since it’s not too sensitive to moisture.

The better the care for the spider plant is, the faster it will produce quality shoots with healthy roots. Check out this video on pruning a spider plant with tons of babies. 

What do I do with my baby Spider Plant?

One of the most important steps to care for baby spider plants is harvesting. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the best way to gather the baby spider plants is to allow the baby to grow for at least two inches in diameter before removing them from the mother. 

The alternative is to leave them attached to the mother and plant them in a pot sitting close by the mother plant. Once the new spider plant takes root on its own, it can be removed from the mother. You do not need to worry about removing the baby spider plant too early. 

There are two ways to get the spider plant to take root.

a spider plant sitting on a windowsill receiving indirect sunlight as part of its spider plant care

You can place the plantlets in water for a few weeks until the roots start growing, or you can plant them directly in potting soil.  Both ways work equally well if the spider plant was harvested correctly. 

A few things to consider when caring for spider plants are:

  1. Use a lightweight potting mix
  2. Do not forget the drainage holes 
  3. Do not overfertilize; Twice a month is okay sometimes
  4. Keep the babies out of the sunlight
  5. During spring and summer, keep the soil moist
  6. Scratch off brown discs with your fingernails
  7. Check for mealybugs 
  8. Do not fertilize in the winter months

Why will my Spider Plant not produce babies?

  • The most common reason a spider plant is not producing babies is the plant is too young. It takes two to five years for the spider plant to fully mature. It may take several seasons if the plant is a new offspring of an already mature plant before seeing the first babies.
  • Another common reason is the type of water that the spider plant is receiving. Spider plants are a little picky when it comes to their water, too much fluoride or chemicals, and the plant does not like it. Switch the tap water over to bottled water that was processed through osmosis or distilled water.
  • The root conditions are unfavorable to the spider plant; too loose or too tight of planting can restrict offspring. A spider plant needs to be tightly fitted into its pot but not completely root bound either. The plant needs some room to grow and take on nutrients.  Root disease can also affect the production of offshoots.
  • If the temperature is not within the 65-75 Fahrenheit range, the plant may not think it is time to produce its offspring. The lighting conditions are another contributing factor; make sure the spider plant has enough indirect sunlight. 
a close up of a hanging spider plant, or chlorophytum comosum

Final thoughts on Can I Leave the Babies on my Spider Plant?

You can leave the babies attached to the mother plant. If everything is properly maintained, the babies will start to produce their own babies, making great gifts.

With a tightly packed spider plant, even moisture, and a suitable temperature, you can maximize the re-production of shoots.

These plants can live anywhere from 16-25 years on average. They are the easiest indoor plant to care for, even if you forget to water it once and a while. 

Remember a happy plant is a happy heart.