Spider plants are one of the easiest houseplants to care for, but don’t worry if yours develops a few brown leaves. If your plant has yellowing leaves, gets too large for its container, or puts out lots of baby plants, it’s probably time to prune. Use clean shears to snip away leaves near the base of the plant. Then remove some of the baby plants to keep the main plant healthy.
The spiderettes that the plant produces are nutrient hogs. When they are hanging from the mother plant, they soak up a lot of the fertilizer and the water. This is to allow the spiderettes to quickly grow roots and be planted in their own pot, but if you leave them attached too long, your main spider plant may begin to suffer from a lack of nutrients. Removing the spiderettes and trimming the plant will help ensure that it remains healthy.
Another reason to prune your spider plants is brown tips. This can be caused by too much direct sunlight as well as having too much fluoride or chlorine in the water that you are giving to the plant. Tap water in cities will contain these chemicals; and as a result, the leaves will become brown.
How to Prune
When you prune a spider plant, any leaves that are being removed should be removed from the base of the plant. Spider plants are hardy, and without pruning, they can grow up to three feet in both diameter and length, so removing some of the foliage from the base will not hurt the plant at all. Remove any discolored or dead leaves. When you repot your spider plant, you may need to trim the roots as well, but this should only be required once every year or two. This is a simple trim to check for root rot, don’t cut too far back on the roots.
Removing the baby spiderettes is rather simple. You will need to remove the stem that connects the two plants. Start by trimming the stem off close to the base of the mother plant. Once the spiderette is free from the mother, you can remove the stem from the baby as well. You should trim as close to the spiderette as possible when removing the stem.
Pruning and Propagation
In nature, spider plants propagate or reproduce in much the same way as many berry plants.
The plant produces numerous runners (commonly called spiderlings or spider babies).
When the spiderlings come in contact with soil, they take root and become new plants.
When pruning your spider plant, look for spiderlings and clip them off at the end of the shoot.
Grab a pot (with drainage holes) of loose soil and sit the spiderling in the soil.
It will soon take root and turn into a mature spider plant without rooting hormone or other treatments.