Is your spider plant too big and you want to slim it down a little? Reducing the size of a spider plant is quite easy, but keeping it small can deteriorate the health of the plant.
Pruning is an effective way to reduce the size of a spider plant if you need to make some more space. This can be repeated throughout the year to maintain a small size, and you can also opt to purposefully lower the conditions for growth (temperature, humidity, etc) to reduce growth rate, but this does have some risks.
How To Make A Spider Plant Smaller
If you need to make your spider plant smaller for any reason the first thing to do is prune the leaves.
This will reduce the size right away. and from there you can use a few tips which I’ll get into shortly which will help to maintain the new smaller size.
Pruning Spider Plants
Pruning spider plants is quite easy if you’re just doing maintenance to reduce the size.
Take a pair of sterilized pruning sheers and first remove any leaves that have died. If there are some leaves that are turning yellow, leave them to die fully as the rest of the plant can absorb nutrients as the leaf dies.
Once these leaves have been removed, you can prune leaves at the base of the plant if they are too large. When doing this, try to keep the overall pruning down to less than 1/4 of the leaves each time.
How To Keep A Spider Plant Smaller By Slowing Growth Rate
Once you’ve pruned your spider plant it will grow back to its original size relatively quickly. You can opt to prune again or tackle the growth rate to make things easier.
In order to prevent this, you’ll need to slow down the growth, which can be achieved in several ways. This method is not fool-proof, and you can quite easily kill off your plant if you change the conditions too quickly or to extreme levels, so be careful if you decide to employ these tactics.
Spider plants don’t need much sunlight but they do prefer bright, indirect sunlight in an ideal scenario.
If you move your spider plant to a more shaded area it will grow much slower, just don’t overdo it as it still needs some sunlight for maintenance.
Complete fertilizers – those containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – are ideal for promoting growth in spider plants, especially during the summer months.
Nitrogen specifically is used for leaf growth, so you can either use a low-nitrogen fertilizer or simply no fertilizer at all.
During the winter I would recommend not fertilizing regardless, but if you want to slow down growth during the summer you can also stick to using no fertilizer, or low-nitrogen fertilizer.
Spider plants are typically watered when the top few inches of soil are dry.
You can experiment with reducing the amount of water that you provide to slow down growth but don’t stop watering entirely. Spider plants will put up with less water, but if you don’t water at all it can lead to some serious problems.
A lot of houseplants go dormant during the winter as temperatures fall. This is no different for spider plants, so consider lowering the ambient temperature by placing it in a different location.
When doing this, use a thermometer as you’ll need to keep the temperature to a minimum of 50°F (10°C) as anything below this can cause serious issues for the plant and eventually lead to loss of the plant.
Avoid areas where the temperature fluctuates a lot as well, such as places where heating is used often.
Why You Should Consider Repotting
Spider plants will grow up to 12 inches (30cm) in both height and spread, and this takes around 2 to 5 years.
This isn’t a particularly large size, and if your spider plant is growing quickly and becoming too big for whatever space it is in then this is a good sign that it is thriving. Why prune the leaves when you could repot the plant into a new container and find somewhere with a bit more room?
After all, 12 inches (30cm) is not a massive amount of room to find.
My Preferred Strategy
I like to let my spider plants grow as big as possible and repot when necessary, but if I needed to reduce the size I would just regularly prune the leaves.
It is risky to try to reduce the growth rate, and while pruning is more work it is the safest option in my opinion.