Spider plants are one of the lowest-maintenance house plants and one of the most beloved for their easy care and unique appearance. They have long, thin pointy leaves that arc up and over their growing container, mimicking the legs of a spider. Spider plant leaves are striped lengthwise and can vary in color from dark green to pale green, yellow, and white. Although spider plants require minimal care, it is beneficial, as with any plant, to provide them with appropriate light for health and growth. So many indoor gardeners want to know is how much light does a spider plant need?
Spider plants need 8 – 10 hours of indirect light per day. Some spider plants can thrive with as little as 6 – 8 hours of natural sunlight. Long periods of direct sunlight should be avoided as it can damage the foliage.
Read on to learn more about spider plant lighting and care needs.
Best Lighting For Spider Plants
Spider plants are happiest in indirect or low lighting conditions as these most closely imitate the light they receive in their natural growing environment. Although they will remain healthy in either lighting environment, spider plants will have varying responses depending on the light source.
If the goal of the plant caretaker is to grow a spider plant to a larger size, it will thrive in bright, indirect light. In addition to promoting growth, indirect light helps to enhance the vividity of leaf color and stripes. If caring for a spider plant with the intention of growth and color enhancement, it is best to keep the plant in a location where it is exposed to 8 – 10 hours of bright, indirect light per day.
As mentioned, spider plants typically tolerate low light without any adverse effects. However, if a spider plant exists in a room that only receives low light, it will experience much slower growth than in indirect light.
These conditions may also cause leaf color to appear duller. Although less common, it’s important to note that spider plants in extended low light conditions may be at higher risk of disease or nutrient deficiencies.
Effects Of Direct Light On Spider Plants
While spider plants are adaptable enough to survive some conditions of direct light, if exposure is extended, direct light may sunburn the spider plant’s leaves, causing browning on the tips.
In extreme conditions, long-term direct light can affect the moisture consistency of the soil, resulting in inconsistent hydration and distribution of nutrients. Avoiding south and west-facing windows can help to ensure that a spider plant is not getting too much direct sunlight.
Effects Of Artificial Light On Spider Plants
If your only option is to grow a spider plant in a room with no natural light source, regular indoor lights can minimally support the plant, although this is not ideal for the long term. A preferable option in this growing scenario is to acquire some indoor grow lights that will imitate the bright indirect light that spider plants enjoy.
In recent years, indoor grow lights have become more affordable and accessible for at-home gardeners. When selecting an indoor grow light for your spider plant, it’s imperative to research and select options that will provide enough light without scorching its leaves and drying out the plant.
Additional Care Needs For Spider Plants
Some may be surprised to learn that spider plants can survive outdoors in warm climates where temperatures do not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Even those who live in more seasonal environments may choose to move spider plants to low-lit outdoor areas during warmer seasons to promote growth.
Remember that spider plants are hardy and fairly easy to care for. However, there are still steps to ensure a spider plant lives a long and healthy life.
Spider plants prefer to dry out between watering either fully or so that at least the top half of the soil is completely dry. Watering schedules will vary depending on the light the plant is receiving and the humidity in its growing environment, so it is most important to base watering needs on the dryness of the soil. If the leaves are browning or drooping, this can be a sign of overwatering.
Spider plants can grow successfully in most potting mediums and will thrive in soil that holds moisture but is fairly loose and well-draining. A soil that is heavier on sandy materials than clay is ideal for providing these conditions.
Soils containing peat moss or vermiculite will further support your spider plant’s health. If the goal is to promote plant growth, mixing some worm compost into the soil can be helpful when repotting the plant every 1 – 2 years.
Spider plants will typically grow healthily with minimal or even zero fertilization, but adding nutrients can help support growth or aid the plant back to health if it appears to be browning or droopy. Most all-purpose houseplant fertilizers applied monthly will do the trick. Another option is to apply an NPK fertilizer every one to two months.
NPK is a fertilizer containing nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). NPK fertilizers come in varying ratios; however, the best combination for spider plants will have a balanced mixture such as 10-10-10. Whatever nutrient source one selects for their spider plant, it’s crucial to not over-fertilize to avoid negatively affecting the plant’s health.
Spider plants have natural hardiness towards pests. However, they can be susceptible to some, including spider mites and aphids. These pests will appear so tiny at first that they may not be caught until the infestation is more severe.
Check spider plant leaves periodically to try and mitigate pests before they become a major issue. If pests are found on your spider plant, natural insecticides such as neem oil, diluted vinegar, and diluted (nontoxic) dish soap can all aid in alleviating these infestations.
Pruning & Propagation
As spider plants grow, their leaves can begin to curl somewhat uncontrollably, and mini spider plants known as spiderettes can start to take over. Periodically trimming spider plant leaves can help maintain the plant’s health and appearance. The best time to prune a spider plant, or propagate its spiderettes, is during spring or summer.
If simply pruning the spider plant, the best practice is to use sharp scissors or pruning shears and cut excess growth at the plant’s base. At this time, remove any brown or dry leaves so the plant can focus its energy on healthy growth.
Spiderettes can be identified as miniature spider plants that have developed from the plant flowering and producing this new baby plant. Spiderettes should be carefully cut off the mother plant and rerooted in water or fresh soil.
If rooting a spiderette in water, don’t forget to transfer it to a pot of soil once its root growth is visible. Propagated spiderettes are fantastic as housewarming gifts or used to expand your indoor garden.
Final Tips For Spider Plant Care
Spider plants are cherished houseplants for the many reasons shared in this article. In addition, spider plants are nontoxic to humans and animals. Do note that dogs and cats tend to be drawn to the flavor of spider plants, so pet owners may want to place these plants where animals will not eat the plant to the point of no return.
Regardless, for indoor gardeners with at-risk family members, this is a glorious plant to grow and ensure that children and furry loved ones will remain safe if the plant is accidentally ingested.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
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