I’m a proud owner of a dozen spider plants, some hang in baskets and others are potted in containers. They’re gorgeous, super-easy to grow, and tolerate low levels of light. More so, I appreciate that a spider plant is forgiving when it comes to watering because of its thick, water-storing roots.
A spider plant prefers if the soil dries out a little before the next irrigation. Inspect the potting mix every 4-5 days; water thoroughly if it feels a bit dry to the touch. Other factors that affect watering frequency include the season, humidity, temperature, location, and size of the plant.
Poor watering habits can take a toll on your spider plant. If you water too much, you’re asking for trouble in the form of root rot. The fungal disease can cause leaf browning, yellowing, wilting, and eventually kill your precious plant.
Even more concerning, underwatered spider plants grow painfully slow and develop unsightly brown spots. The leaves may become yellowed, curled, droopy, and fall over. Eventually, the plant will dry up, wilt, and die.
Given this, you may be wondering how often you should water spider plants. Ahead, I’ll walk you through telling signs that your spider plants need a sip of water. You’ll also learn the cardinal rules of watering your spider plants. Plus, factors that affect irrigation frequency.
- Factors That Impact Spider Plant Watering Frequency
- Golden Rules of Watering A Spider Plant
- How Do You Know If Your Spider Plant Needs Watering?
- How to Water A Spider Plant?
- How to Water Propagated Spider Plants?
- Watering Spider Plants After Repotting
- Final Words
Factors That Impact Spider Plant Watering Frequency
Spider plants are amazing for indoor greenery year-round. But they tend to flourish more and grow faster in warmer seasons. That’s why you should change your watering frequency based on the season.
A spider plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight. Markedly, summer is a season of a growth spurt. You’ll notice that your spider plant will develop more bulb-like roots, new leaves, and plantlets. And, for this reason, you will need to water your plant more water to sustain healthy growth.
First, I make sure to check the soil every 2-3 days to see if it has dried out a bit. Generally, you should water young & vibrant plantlets roughly two times per week in summer. For larger plants, watering once a week should do the trick during the summer months.
In general, spider plants grow slower during cold winter months. In some cases, the reduction in growth rate is dramatic. Accordingly, you should cut back on watering to avoid the adverse effects of overwatering and root rot.
During winter, allow the potting soil to dry out a little more than usual before watering. I find watering young plantlets every 7-10 days is enough. Water larger adult spider plants twice every three or more weeks. This will depend on how moist the soil is.
Growth switches to a higher gear from early spring. You should water your spider plant at least once a week to keep up. Water younger spider plants more frequently than that, preferably twice every week.
You’ll note that flowers and pups start to bloom during summer. As such, you’ll need to crank up watering to twice per week.
Size of The Plant
Larger spider plants naturally require more water than smaller counterparts. With a more established root system, larger plants take in more water. At the same time, it loses more moisture through transpiration, photosynthesis, and respiration.
Even so, younger spider plants grow rapidly during the first year. That means they need more water. You’d be wise to water them at least once per week during the rapid growth phase. Thereafter, water smaller plants 2x in 3 weeks, or until the soil has dried out a bit.
Spider plants feel right at home in cooler temperatures, somewhere between 55 °F (13 °C) and 65 °F (18 °C). Higher temperatures >80 °F (27 °C) tend to increase respiration. In turn, the spider plant will absorb more water and the soil will dry out quicker.
In summer, for instance, you’ll want to increase watering frequency to replenish moisture lost via respiration and transpiration.
In colder conditions, such as winter, the opposite is true. Your spider plant becomes a bit inactive, so it needs less water.
A spider plant loves humidity. But higher humidity reduces transpiration and consumption of water by the plant. In light of this, you will need to water your plant less frequently when humidity is high.
On the contrary, low humidity speeds up water loss from the leaves. As a result, the soil will dry out faster. And, therefore, you’ll have to water your spider plant more often.
Location of The Plant
A spider plant placed in a spot close to a south-facing window will need to be watered more often. Why? That’s because it receives more sunlight. The same is true for spider plants placed close to heat vents, lamps, radiators, and other heat sources.
You’ll need to water your spider plant less often if it doesn’t get much sunlight. For example, if you port it near an east or north-facing window.
Type of Pot
You can pot your spider plant in a terracotta, ceramic, or plastic pot. The type of pot will influence how frequently you should water your plant.
It’s perfect for spider plants. They aerate the soil and prevent water-logging. However, these pots lose moisture faster, so you’ll need to increase watering frequency.
Plastic pots keep the soil moist the longest. Consequently, you must not water too frequently, lest you cause edema, root rot, other vices of overwatering.
Ceramic pots sit somewhere in-between terracotta and plastic containers. Spider plants will do amazingly well in well-drained soil in a ceramic pot. Still, check the soil often, so you can water when it has dried out a bit.
Size of Pot
In addition to the type of the pot, size does matter too. Make sure the size of the pot matches the bulk of your spider plant. If the pot is too small for your plant, the soil will dehydrate faster.
The other way around is also true. If the pot is too large, the soil will get too wet and become water-logged. That’s a recipe for root rot.
Because your spider plant needs soil to dry out a bit, you’d be better off with a medium pot. Water your plant based on not only the size and type of the pot but also how often the soil dries out.
Type of Potting Mix
Ideally, the potting mix should be well-drained. This will prevent the soil from getting soggy and hence root rot. Reduce the frequency of watering if the potting medium isn’t well-drained. If it’s too drained, increase the irrigation rate.
Golden Rules of Watering A Spider Plant
Keep the Soil Evenly Moist
Make sure the potting mix is uniformly moist. If the soil is not evenly moist, this will create localized water-logged spots. These wet regions will make your spider plant susceptible to fungal infection.
Water until it comes out of the bottom to ensure uniform moisture. Also, don’t pot a small plant in a container that’s too big. Make sure to dump out the overflow.
Make Sure The Soil Dries Out Slightly Between Watering
This is the golden rule. Spider plants are semi-hardy plants, so they love somewhat arid conditions. Ensure the potting mix has slightly dried out before the next watering.
Use the finger test to check moisture. Poke your finger roughly an inch into the potting mix. If it’s slightly wet, wait a day or two before trying again.
Water Early Morning or Water Late Evening
Irrigating early in the morning or late in the evening is preferable. This way, any drops, spills, or splashes on the leaves will have ample time to evaporate and dry when it gets warmer later in the day.
The longer the leaves stay wet, the higher the risk of diseases getting a toehold. Also, spider plants tend to absorb warm water faster than cold water. This will result in leaf yellowing, brown spotting, and edema.
Do Not Wet The Leaves
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid overhead watering. Damp leaves attract fungi, bacteria, and other disease-causing pathogens. Instead, embrace drip irrigation, or water at the base of your spider plant.
Ensure Water Reaches The Roots
Your spider plant won’t absorb water if the moisture isn’t around the roots. Even more concerning, roots can dry out and die if the soil isn’t fairly moist.
Your spider plant is more likely to die from waterlogging than from too little water. Waterlogging literally drowns your spider plant, but roots do require oxygen. Even with great drainage, waterlogged soil will cause the roots to rot and die.
You won’t miss telling signs of overwatering or waterlogging:
- The leaves may turn yellow and drop off.
- Wilting, wrinkling, and curling.
- Unpleasant odors from bacterial or fungal growth.
- Any sighting of fungal gnats.
- If the soil feels too wet, you should ease up on watering until the medium has dried out a bit.
Use Well Drainage Capacity Soil
Spider plants do well in a well-drained potting mix. Water should flow reasonably freely through a good blend of the orchid substrate, vermiculite, loamy clay, perlite, and coarse sand. Peat moss can help hold moisture for longer, too.
How Do You Know If Your Spider Plant Needs Watering?
You should make a habit of inspecting your spider plant every 4-5 days. At least once a week. Here are a few tried-and-true techniques you can use to tell if it’s time to water:
Finger or Stick Test
Stick your finger or a stick about 1” into the topsoil to test moisture level. The next step is simple:
Break your watering can if the soil feels dry to the touch.
- If you feel dampness, try checking again after a couple of days.
- You should ensure the soil feels a bit dry to the touch before you water again.
Potting Soil Color
You may be able to tell the level of moisture by just glancing at the color of the soil. From my experience, wet soil is usually darker than drier mix. If it’s a light gray, that’s a sign of dryness.
I never use this method alone. My next step is to use a stick, finger, or skewer to check the level of wetness.
Wilting or Drooping Leaves
If you notice any wilting or drooping leaves, it’s time to break out the watering can. However, you don’t want to wait until that happens.
Brown Leaf Tips
Many culprits can be responsible for brown spots on the leaf tips. The most common cause, however, is lack of water. Other reasons include fertilizer burn, temperature stress, low humidity, disease, or cold draft.
Leaf wrinkling often goes hand in hand with wilting. A spider plant wrinkles its leaves in a natural instinct to protect itself from over-dehydration. So, make sure to water your plant promptly at any sight of wrinkling.
Leaves Turning Brown or Yellow
Both excess and too little moisture can cause the leaves of a spider plant to turn brown or yellow. If you don’t water immediately, the leaves will wilt, dry out, and eventually drop off.
Leaves Drying Out and Falling Off
When the leaves of your spider plant start to dry out and fall off, know that you’ve gone far too long without watering it. This usually happens after leaf yellowing, brown spots, and wilting. Use a sheltered spot to water and nurse your plant back to health.
Measure The Weight of The Pot
You should already be familiar with the weight of your spider plant when well-watered and healthy. If it’s too light, something must be wrong with it. And the culprit is almost always inadequate moisture.
Use A Moisture Meter
For an avid gardener like me, a stick or finger test isn’t always enough. I have invested in a reliable moisture meter. Mine is a workhorse of an instrument because it measures both moisture level and pH.
How to Water A Spider Plant?
Watering from Above
- Avoid overhead watering. Leaf dampness makes your spider plant prone to diseases.
- Use a can with a narrow nozzle that won’t splash water all over the leaves.
- Water gently early in the morning or late in the evening. Make sure the water comes out of the bottom (if it’s porous).
- Empty out the run-off after around 10 minutes.
- Check back every 4-5 days. Water again if the soil feels a bit dried out.
Watering from Below
Watering your spider plant from below is the best and most recommended way. For best results, use a saucer with pebbles to aid irrigation.
- Simply put the saucer underneath the container/pot.
- Fill it with fresh water when it’s your plant needs water.
- Let the pot sit in the water until the soil is evenly moist. This can take several hours up to a day.
- Dump out the sauce when the soil has reached recommended moisture.
If drip-irrigation is your method of choice, we recommend using a self-watering pot. I love that it’s incredibly helpful and saves time. Say goodbye to underwatering or overwatering.
- Invest in a high-quality self-watering pot. Preferably one with a meter or see-through side.
- Fill the reservoir with fresh water and the pot will do the rest.
- Refill the water reservoir every other month or so.
How to Water Propagated Spider Plants?
If your spider plants are healthy and happy, they will grow thin and long stems, jutting from the center. Each stem will have plantlets or tiny babies on the tips. You can propagate these plantlets to increase your collection without spending a penny.
To spur the growth of roots:
- Set the plantlets in a cup of fresh, non-chlorinated water for around 5 days.
- The existing roots on the plantlets will extend and become stronger. New roots will also emerge.
- Alternatively, you can plant the small babies in a separate potting mix.
In either case, make sure the soil is uniformly moist. You should water twice or more a week. This is especially the case during the warmer summer months.
Once the roots have gained a firm footing, you can return to your normal watering routine. This can take up to a year before the plantlets are fully-grown and settled. A few tips to keep in mind:
- Allow excess water to drain out at the bottom. You can empty out the saucer to prevent water-logging.
- Keep the soil evenly moist until the roots have fully established. Even so, avoid applying too much water.
- Mist the propagated plants daily to keep humidity at optimal levels.
- Never use softened or chlorinated water.
Watering Spider Plants After Repotting
As you may know, you’d want to re-pot your spider plant after every one or two years. The biggest reason is to revitalize the plant with a well-drained and fertilized potting mix. After a long while, your potting mix will be rife with salts and chemicals that can burn your spider plant.
Prepare the New Pot
Make sure the new container has perforations to improve aeration and let out excess water. Spider plants can’t tolerate waterlogged soil.
Set Up a Saucer
Invest in a decent saucer and add some pebble. This will come in handy during watering.
Make sure the new potting mix is evenly moist until the roots have re-established. Check the soil after a day or two. If it has dried out a bit, water again.
Choose Your Watering Method
Once the roots have settled back and they’re working without a hitch, it’s time to get back to your normal watering routine. You can use a self-watering pot or simply water from the bottom (highly recommended).
If you have no choice, you can always water from above. See to it that water doesn’t splash on the leaves. Early morning and late evening watering is preferable.
Spider plants are susceptible to overwatering and underwatering. You must check the soil to make sure it’s dried out a bit before watering again. Use finger test, check leaves for yellowing & brown spots, or simply measure moisture level with a meter.
Sources: University of Florida, Clemson University)