Planning to have your own spider plant but want to know how long it lives?
Well, spider plants can live for an indefinite period when they are kept in a home, as long as the correct conditions are met and the plant is consistently watered and fed. Many people report keeping these plants for upward of thirty years and, unless the conditions are unsuitable, few people seem to lose them.
In this article, we’ll explain, in detail, how long spider plants live, and what to do to prevent them from dying.
How Long Do Spider Plants Live?
Spider plants seem to be able to live indefinitely, and nobody appears to have found that they will die after a certain number of years, so it really comes down to good treatment. If you can take care of a spider plant and ensure that its needs are met, it should thrive in your care, even if it is old.
It’s difficult to know if spider plants die of old age because if they are not thriving, there is always the chance that another condition has changed and upset them. A spider plant that is dying back could be doing so because of cold weather, lack of light, improper watering, nutrient deficiencies, etc.
Nobody would know for sure if their spider plant had died of old age, but some people claim to have had the same plant for fifty years or more, so it seems that spider plants don’t really have a limited lifespan, and they will keep surviving as long as they are cared for.
Added to this, spider plants produce many pups throughout their lives, and since these are genetically identical copies of the plant, they are theoretically the same plant. However, if you cut one free and plant it separately, you have a new, fresh plant – that is identical to the old one.
Whether this would count as the same plant in terms of years lived is up for debate; many people would categorize it as new because it is a pup. However, it isn’t significantly different from the plant growing a new leaf, so this further complicates the question of how long a spider plant can live for.
What Will Kill A Spider Plant?
Certain things will kill a spider plant very quickly, even if old age won’t. On the whole, spider plants are hardy and long-lived and do not die easily. This makes them popular with people who are new to growing and those who want houseplants that need minimal care. Of course, these plants do still need the proper amount of attention.
A spider plant is most vulnerable to being overwatered, and you should avoid doing this at all costs. Your plant will not be happy if it gets watered too heavily or too often. Its roots will quickly begin to rot beneath the soil and if they are not allowed to dry out, the plant will die within a few weeks.
Many people make this mistake, and the more the spider plant wilts, the more they water it. Unfortunately, this only makes the situation worse, so be sure you let your plant dry out a bit in between waterings, or it is likely to die regardless of how old it is.
Other things can also kill a spider plant, although they will tolerate sub-optimal conditions pretty well. If you do not give the plant enough light, it may turn pale and eventually die. Equally, if you never feed it or change the soil in its container, it will eventually run out of food, which could kill it.
On the whole, spider plants are not fussy about their environments and will continue to thrive for years on end.
What Should I Do If I Think My Spider Plant Is Dying?
If you think your spider plant is sick, the first thing to do is check the conditions. Your plant is very unlikely to be dying of old age, so find out what is actually causing the wilting. Many of the issues above can cause premature death in a spider plant, so let’s explore what you should do about them.
First, check whether you have overwatered it. The soil should be dry to an inch below the surface before you add more water to the container, and it should not feel mushy or wet for more than a day or two after it has been watered.
If you think the plant has been overwatered, remove it from its container and put it on some clean newspaper. Remove all the wet soil from the pot, and brush or wash the rest off its roots.
Inspect the roots. They should be pale in color and firm to the touch. If they have turned dark or mushy, the plant is suffering from root rot. Sterilize some scissors and cut away all of the mushy roots, discarding them.
Use a clean, absorbent cloth to gently pat the remaining roots dry, and then leave them to air for a couple of hours. This will allow the water to evaporate.
Wash the plant’s container and add a thin layer of gravel to the bottom to improve the drainage, and then fill it with compost. You can then repot the spider plant and water it very lightly. Place it in bright but indirect sunlight and keep an eye on it for a few days; it will hopefully recover.
Lack Of Light
If the plant is in a dark spot or it is winter, it may be suffering from too little light. Try moving it closer to the window, but avoid too much direct sun hitting the leaves, or they may burn. See if your plant perks up.
Lack Of Food
Because spider plants can last for so long, it’s easy to forget how long they have been in their current container. Over time, the plant will deplete the nutrients in the container, and gradually it will run out of food.
You can solve this issue by giving your plant an occasional dose of fertilizer, or re-planting it in fresh compost every couple of years. This will ensure it has the nutrients it needs.
Spider plants are pretty hardy and will tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but they can still be damaged by the extremes. If your spider plant gets exposed to frost or accidentally left on or near a heater, it may start to shrivel up and die.
Unfortunately, all that you can do if this happens is move the plant to a more temperate environment and hope that it recovers. Remove any damaged foliage with sterile scissors and keep the soil moistened (but not sodden).
How Do You Propagate A Spider Plant?
If you think your spider plant is dying or you just want more spider plants, you may wish to take a cutting from it. This is very easy to do. You will need some sterile scissors, a new container, and some potting compost.
Identify a healthy-looking pup. These pups will sprout out from the main plant on a tough stalk, hanging down, and a lot of small leaves will form a tight cluster. You will see roots on the underside of these balls of leaves, and a spider plant can produce lots of pups at once, especially if it is happy.
Prepare your pot with fresh compost, and then use your sterile scissors to cut the pup off the main plant. Scuff up the top of the compost to ensure that the pup’s roots have good contact with the soil, and gently push the pup into the surface a little way. Do not cover up the leaves.
Water the new plant lightly and place it in a cool, bright location. Water it every few days, making sure it has time to dry out and wait for roots to develop. Soon, you will have a brand new spider plant.
If you are struggling to get the plantlets to root, it is possible to use the same method but to leave the pup attached to the main plant until it has rooted. This can be tricky if your spider plants are hanging, but it is possible if you have them on a shelf.
Wait for the baby to form roots and start growing independently, and then cut the stalk attaching it to the main plant. It should now be strong enough to survive by itself.
With this method of propagation, you could theoretically keep a spider plant alive for generations, or possibly forever. As long as the baby plants continue, the adult will – in some sense or another – still be alive, even if it does eventually die of old age.
It is hard to say how long spider plants live because these plants do not really have a set lifespan, and they can last for many years or possibly forever if the conditions are good. Many plants do not age the way that people do, and even for those that do, their lifespan can be difficult to estimate.
As long as your spider plant has everything that it needs, you will have it for many, many years.