How to Propagate Spider Plant Without Babies

How to Propagate Spider Plant Without Babies
Gracie Owens
Gracie Owens she/her - Author at YardPrep October 01, 2023

Spider plants, also known as Chlorophytum comosum, are popular houseplants known for their long, arching leaves and ability to produce "babies" or plantlets that can be propagated to create new plants. However, if you don't have any spider plant babies available, there are still several methods you can use to propagate spider plants and expand your collection. In this article, we will explore different methods of propagating spider plants without babies and discuss the factors to consider for successful propagation.

How to Propagate Spider Plant Without Babies

To propagate a spider plant without babies, you can use stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem with at least two nodes and place it in water until roots develop. Then, transfer the cutting to a pot with well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist and provide indirect sunlight for successful propagation.

Methods of Propagating Spider Plants without Babies

1. Stem Cuttings

One method of propagating spider plants without babies is through stem cuttings. To do this, select a healthy, mature spider plant and cut a section of the stem, making sure it has at least two nodes. Place the cutting in a pot filled with well-draining soil and keep it moist. Within a few weeks, roots should begin to develop, and a new spider plant will start to grow.

2. Air Layering

Air layering is another effective method for propagating spider plants without babies. This technique involves making a small incision on a healthy stem and wrapping it with moist sphagnum moss or rooting hormone. Secure the moss or hormone with plastic wrap and wait for roots to form. Once roots have developed, cut the stem below the new root system and plant it in a separate pot.

3. Division

Division is a common method used to propagate many types of plants, including spider plants. To divide a spider plant, carefully remove it from its pot and separate the root system into smaller sections, making sure each section has leaves and roots. Replant the divided sections in separate pots, ensuring they have adequate soil, water, and light to encourage new growth.

4. Water Propagation

Water propagation is a simple and effective method for propagating spider plants without babies. Start by cutting a healthy spider plant leaf and placing it in a container filled with water. Make sure the cut end of the leaf is submerged in the water while the rest of the leaf remains above the waterline. Keep the container in a well-lit area and change the water regularly. Over time, roots will develop, and you can transfer the leaf to a pot with soil to continue its growth.

5. Leaf Cuttings

Leaf cuttings are another method you can use to propagate spider plants without babies. Select a healthy, mature leaf and cut it into smaller sections, ensuring each section has a portion of the main vein. Plant the leaf sections in a pot filled with well-draining soil and keep the soil moist. With time, new spider plantlets will emerge from the leaf sections, and you can separate them into individual pots for further growth.

6. Tissue Culture

Tissue culture is a more advanced method of propagating spider plants without babies. It involves taking small sections of plant tissue and placing them in a sterile culture medium to encourage growth. This method requires specialized equipment and knowledge, making it more suitable for experienced plant propagators or commercial growers.

Factors to Consider for Successful Propagation

When propagating spider plants without babies, there are several factors to consider to ensure successful growth and development:

1. Light and Temperature

Spider plants thrive in bright, indirect light and moderate temperatures. Provide them with adequate light and maintain temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) for optimal growth and successful propagation.

2. Watering and Humidity

Proper watering and humidity levels are crucial for successful propagation. Spider plants prefer evenly moist soil but can suffer from root rot if overwatered. Additionally, maintaining moderate humidity levels can help promote root development and overall plant health.

3. Soil and Fertilizer

Use well-draining soil that allows excess water to flow through and prevent waterlogged conditions. Spider plants also benefit from regular fertilization with a balanced houseplant fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for growth and development.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Overwatering

Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues during propagation. It is important to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings and avoid keeping the soil excessively wet.

2. Underwatering

While overwatering is a common mistake, underwatering can also hinder successful propagation. Spider plants require regular watering to maintain adequate moisture levels in the soil.

3. Using Incorrect Propagation Methods

Using incorrect propagation methods can result in unsuccessful growth or damage to the plant. It is important to choose the appropriate method for propagating spider plants based on their specific needs and growth habits.


In conclusion, propagating spider plants without babies is possible using various methods such as stem cuttings, air layering, division, water propagation, leaf cuttings, and tissue culture. Each method has its own requirements and techniques, so it's important to choose the one that suits your preferences and resources. Additionally, factors such as light, temperature, watering, humidity, soil, and fertilizer should be considered for successful propagation. By avoiding common mistakes and following proper techniques, you can expand your spider plant collection and enjoy the beauty of these versatile houseplants.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you take a cutting from a spider plant without babies?

To propagate a spider plant without babies, look for healthy stems with no visible babies. Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut a stem close to the base of the plant. Remove any lower leaves, leaving a few at the top. Place the cutting in water or a well-draining potting mix, keeping it moist until roots develop. Once rooted, transfer the cutting to a pot with soil and care for it as you would a mature spider plant.

How can I encourage my spider plant to have babies?

To encourage spider plants to produce babies, ensure they receive bright, indirect light and moderate watering. Avoid overwatering, as it can hinder baby production. Spider plants also benefit from occasional misting to increase humidity. Regularly fertilize the plant during the growing season using a balanced houseplant fertilizer. With proper care, your spider plant will be more likely to produce babies.

Can I propagate a spider plant in water?

Yes, spider plants can be propagated in water. Take a healthy cutting without any babies and place it in a container filled with clean water. Ensure that the bottom nodes of the cutting are submerged. Keep the container in a bright, indirect light location and change the water every few days to prevent stagnation. After a few weeks, roots will develop, and you can transfer the cutting to a pot with soil.

What happens if you don't cut spider plant babies?

If you don't cut spider plant babies, they will continue to grow on the parent plant. While this can create a fuller appearance, it can also lead to overcrowding and limited resources for the parent plant. Cutting the babies allows the parent plant to focus its energy on growth and overall health. Additionally, you can propagate the cuttings to create new spider plants and expand your collection.

How often should I water my spider plant?

Spider plants prefer to be kept evenly moist but not overly wet. Water your spider plant thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. During the growing season, water more frequently, reducing the frequency in winter when the plant is dormant. Adjust watering based on environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity.

Can spider plants survive in low light conditions?

Spider plants are adaptable and can tolerate low light conditions, but they thrive in bright, indirect light. In low light, their growth may slow down, and the variegation on their leaves may fade. It's best to place spider plants near a window with filtered light or provide them with artificial grow lights to ensure healthy growth and vibrant foliage.

How do I care for spider plant leaves with brown tips?

Brown tips on spider plant leaves are often a sign of underwatering or low humidity. Increase watering frequency and consider misting the plant occasionally to raise humidity levels. Ensure that the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves. Trimming off the brown tips with clean scissors can also improve the plant's appearance.