Native to the coastal regions of South Africa, the spider plant is a charming and hardy plant that never goes out of style. It gets its unique name from its strap-shaped, gently arching foliage featuring lengthwise stripes of yellow and white. Despite being the easiest plants to grow, some spider plants lose their beauty and become less busy, especially when kept in incorrect environments or with improper care.
If your beloved spider plant is showing all the signs of stunted growth or if you feel like it’s not all fuller as it should be, it’s essential to do something about it before it gives up on you. Mimicking the plant’s native tropical environment is typically the best trick to ensure that it regains its bushiness and charm.
Wondering how to make spider plants bushier? This article will explore the common reasons why your beautiful plant may seem a bit sparse and shed light on how to make a spider plant healthier and bushier.
Why is My Spider Plant Not Full?
In general, a lack of nutrients is one of the main reasons why spider plants stop growing.
If you have been keeping your plant in the same pot for years, its root may ultimately deplete the nutrients in the soil, contributing to slowing down its growth. This typically happens in the spring and summer months and can quickly take away the characteristic look and beauty of a bushy spider plant in a matter of days.
Additionally, many other factors may also contribute to poorly growing spider plants. Look out for the following signs in your potted plant to confirm any signs of distress:
When it comes to growth, spider plants tend to adopt a different course than the rest of the plant species. In their growing season, these plants produce pups, eventually growing to become new plants. This growing season typically begins in February and persists until the end of March.
If you feel like your spider plant should be growing more, confirm whether it is in its growth time or not. Stay calm about the spider plants that are not doing well out of their usual growing season.
Spider plants are very sensitive when it comes to watering. Over or underwatering can trigger high-stress levels, leading to disease or poor growth.
The Containing Medium
The medium containing your spider plants and the soil that holds their roots also contribute a lot to their growth. If your plants are not growing as they should be, there might be something wrong with the pot you are using or the choice of soil.
Spider plants require sunlight but in the right balance. Too little or too much of it can make a spider plant sustain damage and may even kill it.
Just like humans, plants also have their very own optimal temperature needs. Anything too cold or too hot for them can make spider plants grow abnormally and poorly.
How to Make Spider Plant Bushier?
Enlisted below are all primary care requirements for a bushier spider plant
Adjust the light requirements
If you prefer your spider plants to grow outdoors, ensure they are placed in lightly shaded areas. These plants are capable of tolerating full shade; however, their growth is likely to be less robust to give the plant a bushier look than most people dream of.
On the other hand, placing them in direct sunlight will scorch their delicate foliage and destroy the spider plant. In general, it is relatively easier to grow these plants indoors, ideally in a place where they can get medium to bright light.
Search for that one bright, east-facing window that gives your spider plants four to six hours of sun for the perfect bushiness.
Make sure the temperature’s right
Spider plants thrive in moderate temperatures- 65 to 75°F during the day and around 55°F at night. Expose them to temperatures below 55°F or above 80°F, and they will start wilting away within days.
So if you are letting your plant friends thrive indoors, try to maintain a similar temperature range every day to give them the best chance at getting bushier. Consider putting the plant outside during early summer when it’s not too cold or hot.
Make sure to protect the spider plants from heaters, drafts, and air-conditioning vents, as they may stress out the plant, making it less bushy.
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Ensure optimal humidity levels
Spider plants are native to humid climates and prefer thriving in an environment with moderate to high humidity. Even though the plant is hard and versatile enough to survive in humidity levels of 40%, they yield better growth when these levels are maintained between 60 to 80%.
To make your spider plant bushy with optimal humidity levels, try the following tips:
- Mist the spider plant now and then to maintain appropriate moisture levels
- Keep a humidifier in your room
- Place a small aquarium in your room where the spider plant lives and watch it naturally raise the humidity level
- Keep a watered pebble tray under your spider plant pot
- Plant your spider plant with other tropical buddies to increase its humidity levels
Use the right type of soil
The choice of soil plays a huge role in deciding how bushier a spider plant will turn out to be. If you are fortunate enough to choose the right one, it can allow the plant to get adequate nutrients, oxygen, and water to grow and thrive. Well-draining soil quickly makes a spider plant happy and healthy compared to compact soil types that only stress it out and reduce its growth.
Still trying to determine if your spider plant is happy with its soil? Look out for the following four warning signs that indicate the need to scoop out the old soil and replace it with a better one:
- Discolored leaves of yellow, black, or brown hues
- Foliage falling or dropping off the spider plant
- Presence of brownish spots on the leaves
- The appearance of root rot at the base of the plant
Compact soil promotes root rot by interfering with the drainage procedure of the plant. Hence, ensure you steer clear of any dense soil, such as gardening soil. Instead, go for organic potting soil and add pumice and perlite to make spider plants bushier and fuller.
Additionally, ensure that whatever soil you use has the right pH between 6 and 7.2. Aim to change the soil of your potted plant every year its one way on how to make spider plant bushier.
Water it the right way
There are no set guidelines when it comes to watering your spider plant. Why? Because the watering needs of all spider plants tend to differ based on the temperature, humidity, and sun it has exposure to. However, for those who are confused, there is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Keep a close eye on your spider plant, and as soon as the top two inches of its soil dry out, water it. Keep in mind that overdoing or underdoing it may leave you with a dead spider plant very soon.
Additionally, the plant is extremely sensitive to high chlorine, fluoride, and salt levels. Because these minerals are abundantly found in tap water, consider using rainwater or distilled water to water your spider plants whenever possible.
Pick out the right fertilizer
Spider plants are very durable and usually survive well without fertilizer. However, if you dream of bushier spider plants, try fertilizing them occasionally during their growing season.
Make sure you pick an organic fertilizer that prevents exposing your precious spider plant to foreign chemicals and residues.
Are you looking for the easiest way to make your spider plant bushier? Try pruning it.
Pruning spider plants can support the growth of your spider plant for many reasons. It helps keep pests and diseases away, allowing it to retain a good size and shape while promoting bushier growth and ensuring overall rejuvenation. All you need is a pair of sterilized scissors and some gardening shears.
Pruning spider plants are ideally recommended during the summer and spring seasons, as this is when the plant is experiencing its peak growth rate. Lightly trim the plant by plucking away the dead and yellow leaves to unwelcome any pests and keep your spider plant safer.
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Repot your spider plants frequently
Unfortunately, most spider plants tend to outgrow their pots much faster than other houseplants. This overgrowth may crack the container and keep the plant from getting all the nutrients it needs to thrive.
So when in doubt, change the pot with fresh soil.
Getting a Bushy Spider Plant: Final Thoughts
Spider plants are robust, versatile plants that can make any garden or home look great. As sturdy as you think they are, sometimes these plants may get thin and leggy, especially if not maintained properly.
There are many ways to make a spider plant bushy, but the easiest ones include frequent repotting, regular pruning, and propagation. Remember to follow the general care and maintenance instructions for your spider plant to keep it in top-notch health.
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Why is my spider plant sparse?
The primary reason for spider plants not growing is extreme variation in temperature. A spider plant placed in too high or too low temperatures or a pot with no nutrients is likely to go sparse.
Sometimes, the sparsity is normal because the plant is under winter dormancy, significantly reducing its growth.
How much fertilizer does a spider plant require?
The amount of fertilizer a spider plant requires depends on how mature it is and how frequently you replace its soil. If you overexpose the plant to fertilizers, its spiderettes become tender and burn, whereas its leaf tips turn brown.
As a general rule of thumb, keep in mind to fertilize your mature spider plants every two to four weeks with an all-purpose half-strength fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing the plant when it is in a dormant phase, especially during the winter and fall.
How do you fix a leggy spider plant?
A leggy spider plant is often a consequence of overheating. Check if you have placed your plant in direct sunlight and notice if its leaves are shriveling or drying.
If yes, the air around your spider plant has certainly been too hot, and its compost is too dry to maintain healthy growth. Immediately move your potted plant to a cooler spot and ensure its compost is moist.
Is it wise to cut the shoots off a spider plant?
Yes, it is a good idea to cut the shoots off a spider plant. The longer you let the spiderettes hang on to the leaves, the more energy and food the mother plant will need to share with the pups.
Moreover, too many spiderettes will only cause the mother plant to droop over to the side. So for the sake of the mother and baby plant, try cutting off the shoots and allow the main plant to develop and get bushier.
You may plant the spiderettes around the mother plant in the same pot and allow them to grow and add to the beauty of the plant.