How to Propagate Spiderette Babies (3 Methods)

Spider plants (also known as spiderettes or spider plant babies) are an easy, free, and quick way to increase the greenery inside your house.

A lot of people don’t know how easy it is to propagate spider plants, but once they find out, they suddenly double their existing houseplant collection.

Try telling your friend how easy it is once you’ve done it yourself!

No expert skills are required. Propagating spider babies is super basic. Read on to find out how to do it.

Propagation methods

There are multiple ways to propagate spiderettes. You can either water root the plants, or you can plant directly into the soil.

Similar to pinstripes or butterwort, spider plants are beginner friendly.

Both have their own pros and cons, so let’s discuss which technique is for you.

For these methods to work, you need established spider plants to take the cuttings from.

You can get them from the local garden center, a friend, or a neighbor!

Planting into potting mix

Planting baby spiderettes into pots.
Get those pots ready for some planting!

You can root your spider babies right into potting soil if you want to keep it simple.

First, you’ll need to look for the spiderettes on the adult plant. They look like tiny knobs with roots on them, which are usually on the bottom of each plant.

Use plantlets that have some roots coming out of the stem. This shows that the plant is ready to be propagated. Use established plants with obvious aerial roots. It helps keep them in place.

Get a spray bottle and fill it with distilled, spring, or bottled water. Rain or filtered water both work too. Do NOT use dirty water or polluted water.

Get a small pot and fill it with a quality potting mix. You can use organic potting mix with coco-coir, peat moss, moss, or shredded leaves. It should have multiple drain holes on the bottom.

The pot should be 2 inches or bigger for one plant. Multiple spider plants will need larger pots so they get adequate space to root.

If you see the roots coming out of the drain hole or touching the edges or bunching up on the edges of the container, you need to get a bigger pot. Small plastic nursery pots are excellent.

They’re cheap and you can pick up a dozen for under $10 at most places.

For the potting soil, use houseplant soil. Do not use garden soil. Get something that’s high in organic materials so it can supplement the spiderettes root development.

Choose the largest spiderettes with the knobby protrusions, then snip them off with sterilized scissors or pruners.

You can sterilize it with rubbing alcohol. Fill up the pots about ¾ with a potting mix.

Don’t top them off all the way. They need some growing space between the top of the pot rim and the soil line.

Plant the spiderettes into the soil. Make sure you don’t cover the crown.

You’ll also need a small stick to help anchor the plant because it’ll fall over if you don’t have plant support.

Stick it into the soil somewhere in the middle and then make sure it’s secure.

Gently wrap the spiderette around the stick. You can wrap a single stem or tie it. Plant twine or those free twist ties from the grocery store work perfectly.

Keep the offset somewhere warm and bright with indirect sunlight.

Leave the baby spider plant attached to the original plant until you see new roots forming. When they root, you’ll see the new roots.

Cut the runner with a sterilized pruner and then separate the baby spider plant from the parent.

Baby plants will still root regardless of how you do it. The timing, setup, and environmental conditions are extremely forgiving of mistakes.

Water it regularly with a spray bottle. Keep the soil moist, but never waterlogged.

Never pour water directly into the baby spider plants pot. This will lead to root rot or fungus if it pools due to water pooling.

Keep it moist by spritzing it with a water bottle daily. If you’re watering too often, keep it moist by using a humidity dome.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can use a greenhouse, terrarium, or plant cover instead.

It’s easiest to use a hanging spider plant and then simply cut the babies from the host plant by cutting the runner.

Rooting in water

Glass containers are excellent for propagating spiderettes.
Glass containers are excellent for propagating spiderettes.

Planting in the soil is the easiest way to propagate, but you can alternatively root it in water.

This is much more exciting IMO. Rooting spiderettes in water is also a bit slower than soil planting but doesn’t need soil so you can save yourself the mess of dealing with dirt.

This method is cool if you use a glass container since you can see the plant itself. But you can use any container that holds water to do this.

Smaller glass jars are ideal because they’re easy to clean, manageable, and have that lip to hold the plant in place so it doesn’t topple.

Some people get creative and use everything from bottles to test tubes to yogurt cups.

The steps start out the same: Stick the baby plant in a mason jar or glass of water. Don’t use dirty water.

Use filtered, distilled, or rainwater. Springwater or bottled water is okay too. Place it in filtered sunlight and leave it there for 7-14 days.

Then you should see the roots slowly emerge over the course of two weeks. The plant can then be removed from the water and planted in a pot of soil after the runners have been snipped.

Plant it the same way as soil rooting.

The glass containers should be positioned with the babies above the rim.

Do NOT let the foliage go into the water. This will make them rot and useless since they can’t photosynthesize. You can use a rubber band or twine to hold them in place.

Make sure the container has enough water during rooting.

Use a marker to mark the edge of the tank or some other way if you don’t want to write on it just to keep the water level constant.

Make sure the containers are replenished regularly so the roots can feed. Change the water if it gets dirty.

Other tips:

  • Choosing spiderettes to use for propagation is important. Choose only spider plants with smaller offsets.
  • Visible aerial roots that have buds are critical to successful rooting. Leave the stem on the parent spider plant. Don’t cut it off. If you leave it, it can continue to produce babies for you to propagate. You gotta keep the golden goose.
  • If you choose to root it in water, be sure to monitor the water quality.
  • Refill it when it gets too low and keep it from going cloudy or moldy. If you notice fungus, there may be too much sunlight. Algae is also possible.
  • If the roots get rotten, you need to replace the entire plant. Change the water if necessary, but use distilled water only. Keep the container warm at temperatures around 70-80F.
  • The offsets will start to produce roots over time. You can check if it is rooted by giving it a small pull (gently).
  • It should hold firmly in place without giving in. This lets you know it’s been rooted. But if it comes out, place it back. Give it some more time. You can reduce rooting time by increasing light, heat, and watering more often.
  • The offsets will continue to grow in water. When you see at least 2 inches of root growth, it’s time to repot them. If you do it too early, they may suffer in the changing environment.
  • The longer you wait, the more established they become so they tend to their new pots more kindly.
  • You don’t have to move them into pots.
  • You can keep them growing in water if you wish. Just be sure to upgrade to larger pots if you want to keep them going.
  • Switch to using a watering can instead of a spray bottle.

By layering

Layering means cutting the baby plant after its roots. The other two methods (water and soil) require you to cut the offshoot first.

Layering means cutting the runners from the parent plant after its roots. That’s the major difference between the techniques.

This propagation method is nice because it allows you to get the babies prepped before you snip them off.

If you want to propagate your spider plant early on, you can do it using the power of layering spiderettes!

This method allows you to keep your spider babies with their runners intact while propagating it. The roots don’t need to be very developed to make this work.

This is how the plant does it natively. In nature, spider plants will produce offsets on their stems. There is no easier way to do it if you don’t wanna mess with it as much as possible.

To divide by layering, be sure to keep the potted host plant next to the baby plant.

You’ll get a new 2-3 inch pot, then put the baby plant inside it while keeping the adult plant on its own.

See how easy it is? No need to dig up or transplant your spiders.

Similar to the other propagation methods, you’ll need a plant with developed runners and baby spiderettes coming out.

Get a smaller planter. Fill it up with a potting mix that’s well-draining with plenty of organic matter for rooting it.

Fill it ¾ full with soil with a small gap between the rim of the pot and the soil surface.

Put the baby spider plant into its pot by dragging the stem across the two containers. The spiderette should be centered in the new pot.

If there isn’t enough “stem” to go across, put the pots closer together or use a smaller pot for the spiderette.

If the offset already has roots, dig out a small hole for the roots to live in, then firmly pack around them.

Use small pebbles to anchor the baby plant in place. A lot of other blogs may suggest using stones that are big enough to weigh it in place but don’t do this.

It just compacts the soil and makes it harder to root in my experience. Smaller pebbles combined with the soil weight are enough.

The pebbles can go in a full circle right around the spiderette. Be sure not to place them directly onto the roots.

Moisten the soil with a spray bottle. Use distilled or filtered water. Do this daily to keep it moist. Use a humidity dome if you want to water less.

When it roots, you can prune the runner using sterilized scissors or pruners. Then you’ll have a fully rooted baby spider plant in its own pot!

Test rooting by gently tugging on it. If it comes out, put it back followed by more time. If it doesn’t, it’s rooted.

Growing spider plant babies

If you want to plant multiple baby plants, you can do it. Plant them next to each other in a larger pot.

You can also place them next to the original one to flesh it out if you have voids or empty spaces.

Baby spider plants need more water so water it often to keep it moist, but never wet.

Use well-draining soil for potted plants, NOT garden soil.

When the new roots emerge, it indicates that the spider plant baby has successfully rooted to its new environment.

You can now move it to a normal care routine as with your adult plant or transplant it to another pot.

Tips, hints, and how to

Newly planted baby spider plant in a planter.
Newly planted baby spider plant in a planter.

Check out this section for some more tips on propagating spiderettes.

If you’ve still got Q’s, feel free to ask me direclty.

Can you propagate spider plants without babies?

You’ll need at least a small knob growing from the original host plant in order to propagate it.

If you don’t want to wait, use the layering method for quick results.

Otherwise, perhaps planting in water is easier.

You can start getting the baby to root without actually separating it into its own pot.

Where do you cut spiderettes?

Cut the spiderette runner from both at the base of the plant. Use sharp scissors that have been sterilized when pruning.

For regular pruning, remove all discolored or damaged foliage as needed.

Spiderettes should be cut back to the base from the parent plant and the baby plant.

How long does it take for spider plant babies to grow roots?

Spider plants will produce babies within 1-2 weeks.

When put into soil or water, you may see new roots form in as little as 2-3 days. Sometimes it can take up to 4 weeks to see results.

Warmer temperatures with more light speed up the root development.

How long does it take for spiderettes to root in water?

This largely depends on ambient conditions like temperature, humidity, sunlight, and more. Generally, you can expect the spiderette to root in water within 1-2 weeks.

Where do you cut a spiderette to propagate?

Spiderettes should be cut at the base of the plant where the runner connects to the baby spider plant and the parent plant. Cut at the base of both plants using sterilized pruners.

Should I water spiderettes before they root?

Yes, spiderettes should be watered during the rooting process for soil and layering propagation methods.

Obviously, you don’t need to water if you’re rooting in water, but you do need to change the water partially if it gets murky or algae forms.

The soil and layered baby plants need to be sprayed with moist water daily until they’ve rooted. Then you can switch to regular watering can routines as you do with your parent plants.

Is it OK to cut off spider plant babies?

Yes, it’s completely OK to cut them off if you’re propagating by soil or in water.

It’s actually necessary to cut them before you put them in water or in their own pot.

If you’re propagating by layering, you’ll cut the babies after they root.

If you’re growing in soil or water, you’ll cut them before they root.

Or if you don’t want any more babies because you have enough, you can snip off the knobs.

But why would you do that? Give them to your friends or neighbors~!

Can you leave spiderettes on the plant?

Yes, if you leave the spiderettes on the host plant, they’ll turn into baby spider plants with runners attached to the parent. Cut off the runners after the babies root to divide it. This is how they propagate in the wild. But be prepared for more baby spider plants!

When can I take cuttings from a spider plant?

You can take cuttings from a parent plant when it’s established and fully developed.

This is usually done in the spring or summer when it’s actively growing. Doing it in the winter when it halts growth may harm the plant.

Remove the babies when they have their own roots underneath.

When its roots are at least 0.5 inches, it’s ready to be propagated

Do spider plants like their roots to be crowded?

Spider plants don’t like their roots being crowded, but can tolerate it for a while before you need to move them to a larger tank.

When they come out of the holes on the bottom of the pot or they bunch into the corner, you need to change the pot to a bigger one.

Use hanging containers for spider plants because they allow for more space.

Plants grow and produce plantlets when they’re slightly pot-bound, so some crowding is good.

But they easily crowd, so watch out for that.

Further reading/references

Propagating spider babies is simple

Spiderplant outside in garden.
Spider plants are easy to propagate.


Spider plants are ideal for beginners because they’re so easy to care for. Propagating them is even easier.

For a lot of people, diving your plants is a PITA. You gotta mess with soil, uproot the plant, and do all sorts of work while hoping not to mess it up.

For spider plants, the 3 different propagation methods (layering, soil, or water) make it easy to choose what works for you.

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