Without a doubt, one of the easiest plants to take care of is the spider plant. As long as you water them regularly and give them enough indirect sunlight they will pretty much take care of themselves.
With that being said, one question that we receive quite often on the blog is, do spider plants like to be root bound?
In this post, we are going to answer that question as well as some other questions other gardeners have asked on the blog.
What Does Root Bound Mean?
Before we can answer the main question of this post, I thought it would be best to answer the question: What does root bound mean?
As a plant grows in a container the roots also continue to grow. However, due to the fact that its growth is limited by the size of the container. Its roots can not grow outwards as they would if it was planted in the ground. Instead, the roots are forced to grow in a circular pattern following the walls of the container.
Over time, as the roots continue to grow, the roots fill the bottom of the container and they continue to grow in a circular format. This what’s called root-bound.
Now that we understand the definition of this term we can now address the question:
Do Spider Plants Like To Be Root Bound?
The answer: Yes Spider Plants do like to be root bound. When a spider plant is root bound or when it feels cramped it knows that in order to survive it needs to produce baby offshoots. For your spider plant to produce those baby offshoots that they are so well known for, you will need to keep it slightly root-bound.
With that being said, if you were to transplant a spider plant into a large container you will have a single large mother spider plant, but it would be very difficult for it to produce baby spider plants. On the other hand, if you were to keep that spider plant in a somewhat cramped container it will produce baby spider plants in order to survive.
The Dangers Of Being Root Bound
Spider plant’s roots grow very quickly and as we have already mentioned they prefer to be slightly root-bound.
However, there are three things to look out for when caring for root-bound plants.
Number one, because the roots grow so quickly and they have nowhere to go, over time they could literally crack the plant’s pot.
Another thing that could happen is the plant’s roots could become so thick that there is little space for water or soil, thus choking the plant.
Lastly and I see this quite often with spider plants is the roots grow so thick that they block the drainage holes of the pot preventing the water from escaping. As we know, spider plants do not tolerate much time in water. Over time the roots will rot and the plant could die.
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How do you know when to repot a spider plant?
When a spider plant is too cramped it can actually choke itself, however, when it is in a pot that is too big, it won’t produce those baby spider plants.
So, how do we know when to repot spider plants?
There are 4 important key indications that it is time to repot your plant.
Its roots are coming out of the drainage holes. If you look at the bottom of the container and you notice that your plant’s roots are coming out of the drainage holes or worse yet they are preventing the container from draining properly it just might be time to change pots.
You can see the plant’s roots above the soil line. Roots are meant to be under the soil. If you see any roots above the soil line it could be an indication that the container is too cramped and your plant needs to be repotted.
Your plant dries out too quickly. It seems like no matter how much you water your plant it is never enough and it looks like it isn’t getting enough water. Well, if that is happening to you, it could be a sign that it is time to change pots.
The container starts to crack. Lastly, and probably the most obvious indication that it is time to change pots is if the container itself starts to crack.
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What kind of pots do Spider Plants like?
Spider plants like to feel cramped, but at the same time you don’t want them so cramped that they end up choking themselves, for that reason, it is important to choose the right pot for the job.
So now let’s take a look at a few suggestions.
Choose the right size. For a young spider plant, I have found a pot with a diameter of four to six inches to be the best fit. It is big enough for growth, but at the same time, it isn’t too big to be root bound.
Stay away from clay pots. Spider plant’s roots grow very quickly and if you choose the wrong pot it could break under very little pressure. I would recommend staying away from clay pots as they tend to crack easier than plastic pots.
Proper drainage is important. Spider plants do not tolerate much time in wet soil. For that reason, it is important to choose a pot that allows for proper drainage but at the same time, the drainage holes are big enough that they won’t quickly be blocked up by the plant’s roots.
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Spider plants are beautiful plants used to brighten up many homes today. The best part is that they are extremely easy to care for.
However, with that being said, there are some cautions to keep in mind when growing them in containers. In this article, we took a look at some helpful reminders as well as a few of my personal suggestions in order that your plants thrive. I hope you have found these suggestions helpful!
Now it is your turn. Please share your experience with growing spider plants in the comments below.