Plants 101

How To Care for a Spider Plant

Read on for simple instructions on how to care for a spider plant.

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If you have worked in an office, entered an ordinary medical practice, or watched a commercial featuring everyday people, you have probably seen a spider plant.

These ubiquitous houseplants pop up everywhere, known for their forgiving nature and easy plant care. Spider plants rank as one of the most approachable plants for beginners. This easygoing house plant also makes a great gift.

If you are unsure about how to care for a spider plant indoors or are brand-new to being a plant parent, a spider plant is a great place to start.

Read on for simple instructions on how to care for a spider plant.

About the Plant

The spider plant is native to South Africa. This popular plant holds many names, including the airplane plant, ribbon plant, and spider ivy.

Thin ribbons of spiky leaves sprout from spiraling rosettes in the very center of this plant. The most common spider plants you will encounter are the variegated ones. There are solid green spider plants that feature no variegation.

Variegated means the individual leaves feature intriguing designs; on a spider plant, it is primarily stripes. Look for a Vittatum spider plant with an off-white line running down the center of its leaf. The Variegatum species features an off-white line, but this one traces the perimeter of each bright green, spiky leaf.

In addition to being hailed for their simplicity, NASA’s Clean Air Study categorized spider plants as air scrubbers capable of reducing harmful pollutants in the air. Carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, and other dangerous substances are found to filter through the structure of houseplants like a spider plant.

How Much Light Does a Spider Plant Need?

How much sun does a spider plant need? Ideally, your spider plant lives in a location with bright to moderate indirect sunlight. This plant does not like to be blasted by the sun’s rays and rather prefers to soak up ambient light.

For this reason, spider plants fare well in offices and other places where direct sunlight is not necessary. You will know if your plant is receiving too much light if it starts to show signs of scorching, like brown spots on the leaves.

How To Water Spider Plants

Good news! You can water your spider plant while you water the rest of your houseplants. Spider plants do not require additional watering or much special attention to their moisture levels.

Try to water your spider plant about once a week. Letting the soil dry out a little between waterings is a good idea. If you start to see fungus growing, yellowed leaves, or root rot occurring on your spider plant, you may be overwatering.

Spider plants can be sensitive to tap water, as our common household water carries many minerals, salts, fluoride, and other substances in varying quantities. If you see your spider plant start to show brown tips, consider switching to fresh rainwater or distilled water.


Average humidity serves a spider plant well. While a humidifier or occasional misting helps any houseplant grow and thrive, a spider plant will still be fine without additional moisture aides.


The average indoor temperature of your home or office makes a great environment for your spider plant. This tropical plant prefers to live in a consistent air temperature between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 to 27 degrees Celsius.

These indoor temperatures also support the majority of indoor tropical houseplants. This fact makes the spider plant an excellent starter plant or an effortless addition to your collection of indoor plants.


Choose a well-draining potting soil mix to help your spider plant achieve even moisture levels. A mixture primarily based on soil is best, with perlite or other substances helping to aerate the soil. Most mass-produced potting mixes support a healthy spider plant.

Pay attention to the rapid growth of your spider plant. If you see your plant start to droop, it may have become root-bound or outgrown its pot. Make time to fully re-pot your spider plant into a larger pot about every other year to help it thrive.

Fertilize your houseplant following standard household fertilizer instructions, just as you would for your other essential indoor houseplants. Plan to fertilize one or two times each month.

Common Problems

Spider plants pose a few enormous issues when nurturing this plant. Most of the common problems associated with spider plants are quick to resolve.

Tipping, or tip burn, is the most common issue with spider plants. Luckily, this issue is mainly cosmetic and poses no threat to the plant. Snip off browned edges and consider switching from tap water to pure, distilled water to avoid brown tips in the future.

Another aesthetic problem with spider plants is these small, brown discs that can pop up on leaves. Sweep them away with your fingernail to reduce this blemish.

Like your other houseplants, keep an eye out for common indoor plant pests. Mealybugs, scales, and aphids can be carried into the house and quickly move from one plant to another.

Level of Difficulty

Spider plants represent one of the simplest plants to nurture and grow. You will be good to go if you already have a basic knowledge of houseplant care and a few thriving plants. Basic watering, soil, fertilizer, light, and moisture needs are all you need to know about how to care for a spider plant.

Pay attention to your spider plant to see if a few simple tweaks can help it live even happier. Re-pot a drooping spider plant you have had for more than a year. Consider adding some fertilizer to perk up your plant. A few minutes of touching up some cosmetic blemishes, like brown tips, make a big difference for your spider plant.

How to Care for Spider Plants: Conclusion

Spider plants are everywhere and for a good reason. This striking, spiky plant makes a statement without much elaborate plant care. Their variegated leaves promote visual interest in neglected bookshelves and office waiting rooms. Find these ordinary but fascinating spider plants anywhere you purchase houseplants, from big box stores to online retailers and hardware stores.

Words By The Sill

Empowering all people to be plant people—a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of plant experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.

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