Spider plants (Chlorophytum comocum) are famous indoor plants that make a great addition to hanging baskets inside your home. Their long foliage that acts like a ribbon spreads over the edges of the hanging basket, creating a spider-shaped plant.
This plant is loved by cats, which makes it ideal for your home. It requires periodic trimming or pruning to remove extra leaves, yellow leaves, and spider plant babies. Some add spider plant babies to ensure that it grows bushier, but in this case, it’s spiraling out of control.
This article will guide you through how to prune spider plants to ensure you have a healthy indoor plant.
Benefits of pruning a spider plant
When you decide to prune a plant, it doesn’t come out of the shadows, and you have a reason which benefits the plant as a whole. While most gardeners don’t like to prune their plants, many benefits can come from it, such as aiding the plant in using their resources for the appropriate processes.
So, what are the benefits of pruning a spider plant?
It makes the plant clean — The important part of pruning this plant is ensuring it grows in a clean environment free from pests and diseases. Once a plant starts to overgrow, it attracts pests and insects, which can result in attacking the plant and causing diseases.
Promotes healthy leaf growth — Pruning excess leaves to remove excess tissue that can slow down the plant’s growth rate. Once you remove the tissues, the remaining tissue doesn’t have to fight for food to grow, thus can grow faster into healthier and large flowers.
Improves plant health — Also, removing the dead, diseased, or infected tissues and brown tips from the spider plant ensures it doesn’t spread and, at the same time, helps the plant put its energy into healthy tissue.
Pruning prevents nutrient deficiency in the plant — Excess leaves and spider plant babies tend to feed on more nutrients than required, which can cause the plant to lack nutrients. Cutting them off ensures the plant has enough nutrients to feed the whole plant equally.
What is the best time to prune spider plants?
When choosing the best time to prune spider plants, most people argue for a certain period in the season. Of course, you can wait till that time, but what if there are other reasons?
If your spider plant is healthy and doesn’t have overgrowth issues, you decide in the late or early spring. It is the same time as repotting a spider plant. During this dormant period, you will give it a chance to grow, whereas there are reasons that can make you prune at different times of the year. Check them out:
- Overcrowded leaves
- Overgrown spider plant babies
- Lack of nutrients and the leaves start turning yellow or brown.
The plant can be weak due to temperature changes, attack by pests and diseases, or stress from root problems. On that note, you should avoid too much pruning of the plant. It is necessary, but if you cut more than required, it can kill the plant when it’s weak.
Essential tools to prune spider plant
Tools are essential in this process of pruning. One bad mistake with a tool can kill the plant. Here are the tools to use when pruning:
Pruning shears — This is the best tool to cut the plant leaves roots. It can make a smooth cut without damaging the rest of the plant. Make sure the shears are sharp and sanitized. Sanitizing ensures that you don’t transfer diseases from other plants.
You can also use a knife or a pair of scissors. Whichever tools suit you best, ensure that you sharpen and sanitize to prevent any problems from occurring.
How to prune a spider plant
As we discussed earlier, you know pruning has a reason behind it. So, before you start pruning, ask yourself why you are pruning. You have an answer.
Different methods to prune a spider plant vary depending on the reason for pruning. After you find your “why,” follow the steps for proper pruning. Here are the different pruning methods:
Always remember to sharpen your tools before you start pruning.
How to prune to improve spider plant health
A plant can sustain its health long before a disease attacks it. You can prevent it by ensuring your plant is healthy and has enough nutrients. But, this is something you can either prevent or solve from whichever period you are in.
On the other hand, once diseases have attacked your plant, you must find a way to solve this problem and prevent future attacks. One of the methods is pruning affected tissues from the plant. Here is how you prune affected tissue;
- Sharpen your pruning shears, then sanitize them to remove germs and bacteria.
- Find the tissue affected by diseases. The tissue might be yellow or brown. If the plant has a somewhat green color between brown and yellow, it is getting too much exposure to the sun. Move it to a shaded area with 4 to 6 hours of sunlight.
- Use the pruning shears to cut off the unhealthy leaves. Cut it close to the base of the plant to ensure you remove all the affected tissue parts. Check through the cut tissue to ensure no affected parts remain on the plant.
- Remove all the affected leaves from the plant and dispose of them.
- If the leaves are still turning yellow after pruning, remove the plant from the pot and check the condition of the roots. Trim the root tips and outer sides and remove about 1 inch of the roots to ensure they have enough space. Add new soil before you return them to the pot, then keep the soil moist and away from direct sunlight.
How to prune to remove spider plant babies
Spider plants have a habit of reproducing tiny plants known as spiderettes, pups, or babies. These babies can be used to propagate a new spider plant, but at the same time, they use all the nutrients from the mother plant, which leads to nutrient deficiency.
If you want to plant another spider plant, you can prune these babies to propagate. Other than that, you don’t need them in your plant. It’s best to prune them off to ensure you have a healthy plant.
- Sharpen and sanitize your pruning shears, knife, or scissors.
- Identify the baby plants. These tiny plants have a similar appearance to the mother plant, and they have their stem.
- Use your pruning shears to cut off the baby plant stem at the base of the plant. You can discard the baby plant or trim the stem and propagate it.
- Ensure you remove all the baby plants from the base of the main plant.
How to care for the spider plant after pruning?
Pruning is essential to a spider plant; however, this process causes stress to the plant, which is not ideal. Therefore, you must care for the plant after you have finished pruning. It includes proper observation and placing it in the required growing conditions.
First, ensure you have your plant in a warm area with no direct sun exposure. At this time, it doesn’t require extreme conditions because they add stress to the plant. Also, avoid sudden changes in the conditions such as temperature and light.
Secondly, ensure you water the spider plant to keep it moist. Feel the soil moisture content with your fingers before watering to ensure the soil has enough water. You should avoid overwatering and underwatering.
Should you cut the brown tips off spider plants?
Yes. You should cut off brown tips on the spider plant with a sharp tool. The brown can be caused by root rot, diseases, and being burnt by the sun. Removing them prevents the spread to other parts of the leaf.
Should I cut spider plant babies off my spider plant?
Yes, when you are pruning, you must cut the spider plant babies because they use the plants nutrients, causing them to lack enough nutrients. Once you cut them, you can choose to propagate or throw them away.
Do spider plant leaves grow back?
Yes. The spider leaves will grow back after pruning them off the plant. If the leaves overgrow, you can cut them to keep the plant clean.