Spider Plant Ground Cover Outdoors: Growing Spider Plants As Ground Cover
By: Teo Spengler
If you are used to seeing spider plants in hanging baskets indoors, the idea of spider plants as ground cover may surprise you. And those who live in warm climates have been using spider plants for ground cover for years. If you are considering spider plant ground cover, read on for all the information you’ll need about caring for spider plants in gardens.
Spider Plant Ground Cover
Spider plants, with their long, slender, trailing leaves, look a bit like green spiders. These are great plants for beginning gardeners since they are surprisingly easy going and very tolerant of less-than-perfect cultural care.
Many people have a few spider plants indoors as potted or hanging-basket plants. But those who live in warmer climates like U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b to 11 can grow these lush beauties in outdoor garden beds or as spider plant ground cover.
Using Spider Plant for Ground Cover
If you’ve ever owned a spider plant, you already know how fast they grow. In time, a plant often develops “babies” – plantlets that grow on the end of long stolons. Once these tiny spider plants touch the soil, they develop roots.
Spider plant babies can be snipped off the stolons and will grow as independent plants. In an outdoor setting, the babies can stay attached to the parent plant. They simply root, spreading the lush foliage into new territory.
Caring for Spider Plants in Gardens
If you’ve decided to use spider plants as ground cover, be sure you plant them in soil that drains well. They are very forgiving of many gardener sins, but they can’t thrive if their roots are in the mud.
On the other hand, you can plant them in the sun or partial shade. The ideal outdoor location in hot climates is filtered sunshine.
Irrigation is important, although precision is not necessary. Water when the surface of the soil is dry, but if you forget one week, the plants won’t die because of it. Their thick roots are made to survive varying amounts of available water.
If you want to fertilize the plants, you can do so in spring and summer. If you don’t, spider plants will probably grow well anyway.
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Read more about Spider Plants
Chlorophytum Species, Spider Plant, Airplane Plant
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Requires consistently moist soil do not let dry out between waterings
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Where to Grow:
Suitable for growing in containers
Soil pH requirements:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Hidden Meadows, California
Long Beach, California(2 reports)
Rancho Cucamonga, California
San Diego, California(2 reports)
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida(4 reports)
Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
On Jun 18, 2014, katterfelto from Winter Park, FL wrote:
One of my favorites! This is a beautiful, hardy, low-maintenance plant that does well in Central Florida, and is ideal for shady areas where grasses and other plants have difficulties. It can't handle full sun, but as long as it's in shade, or filtered sunlight, you can virtually ignore it and it will do fine. Give it a little care and attention, and you'll be rewarded with lush, fast-growing plants ideal for groundcover or as an attractive border for sidewalks and ornamental beds.
While doing some landscaping in the house we moved into, I discovered a few small clumps of solid green spider plants in a sandy, long-neglected flowerbed on a shady side of the house. The bed had been there for so long, it was practically obscured by brambles and dead leaves, and the landscapi. read more ng timbers had all but rotted away. When I first saw the spider plants, I thought they were weeds, but I liked the look of them. They resembled mondo grass, with wider, more tropical-looking leaves. So I cleared everything out of the bed except for these interesting-looking plants, and began periodically watering them and applying a little Osmocote.
In no time, these smallish, neglected plants became beautiful, robust specimens, sending out flowering runners, and making "babies" like crazy. As soon each baby plant had roots in the ground, I would clip it from the runner and transplant it to a different part of the yard. We live in a shady old neighborhood, and our front yard is the only part of the yard to receive full sun. The back and side yards are mostly in shade, and before I discovered the spider plants, I was unable to find anything that wasn't painfully slow-growing that would also thrive in those areas as an attractive ground cover. Now, these shady areas that were once sand and leaves are being filled in with spider plants against a taller backdrop of ferns. It looks beautiful, and it didn't cost me a dime. I just keep transplanting ferns and spider plants. And they just keep making more!
On Mar 19, 2014, BoopsieTN from McMinnville, TN wrote:
I have a question about the babies from the spider plant. I have been trying to root them but seem to have no luck. They will look good for a week or 2 and then the leaves turn brown and dies.
Can anyone give me info. on how to root them for surviving?
On Aug 29, 2008, nbgard from New Braunfels, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I had some babies root in a flower bed in San Antonio, TX. It has over-wintered in the bed and is growing like gangbusters. Had never thought of it for an outdoor plant!
On Aug 28, 2008, drecenra from Orting, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
This is one of the first houseplants that I got when I started gardening. I got starts from my moms plants I am still growing them to this day( about a quarter of the pots in my house have one or more). They are extremely durable, tolerate low light to bright light, and if well established can go long periods without water. Reproduces abundantly. One of my favorite plants, I always have extras.
On May 11, 2008, emcic from Austin, TX wrote:
While this one doesn't have the pretty leaves like the variegated kind, it blooms much easier. I use both as border plants in my area, they die back in all but the most severe winters. I always keep a few inside over winter, just in case.
On Mar 4, 2008, Sansevieria from Orangeburg, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Spider plants are the first and foremost in the hanging basket plant area. They became popular during the Victorian period when decorative foliage plants adorned the parlor of all the finest homes. Flower scapes are produced in the summer with plantlets forming on those stems as the days get shorter in the fall. Of late, spider plant has enjoyed some sort of a 'come back" as they are sold in many stores today (2008).
The Spider Plant is from a South/Western African origin and seems to have been introduced into Europe by the end of the 18th century, most likely by the intrepid plant explorer Carl Peter Thunberg(1743-1828). Thunberg, after whom the flowering vine Thunbergia is named, was a student of Linnaeus who traveled in South Africa during 1772 and ‘ 73 where he collected. read more seeds, bulbs and dried plant specimens for his botanical work. Capetown was a popular resting place for ships heading home from China and passengers often took home souvenir plants on their return voyage just as we take home trinkets from our travels.
On Jan 27, 2008, danas009 from Howell, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I love this fast growing plant. Every spring after danger of frost, I put this potted plant outside in the garden in shade to partial shade, let the watering system water it, and leave it alone. It grows crazy. Some of the babies have been planted around the garden 2 years ago. They are growing great! Not as fast as described in the Florida area, but I was surprised and pleased.
On Nov 24, 2007, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:
I took a "baby/offset" of a green Spider Plant growing in a restaurant called, Circles Grill, 9023 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209. This restaurant has them growing in hanging baskets all around the windows (very pretty).
Spider Plants are easy to care for and have been a staple in houseplants for many many years. Just water, let dry out a bit & water again. I feed mine in spring/summer with Peters plant food.
On May 14, 2007, baagrant from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:
This plant has been returning to my 7b garden for about ten years. I originally had several hanging baskets beneath two Eastern Red Cedars, Juniperus virginiana. Babies fell to the ground and rooted. I left them and didn't mow them down, fertilize them, nor water them. They are near the trunk of the two trees. Spring after spring they have returned, grown, had babies and made me happy. A plant couldn't be more carefree.
On Jul 14, 2006, docturf from Conway, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have grown this plant in coastal South Carolina (Zone 8) for over 15 years. Temperatures as low as 10°F has not stopped it from growing and/or flowering. Excellent, tough plant and makes a great "pass-along" plant. Docturf
On Jul 13, 2006, greenbud from Houston, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have a Spider Plant in a hanging basket outside in the shade of a pine tree. This plant is virtually indestructible. Very forgiving. The little flowers are pretty but unobtrusive. My grandmother always had a few spider plants. They seem to be a houseplant staple here in Houston.
On May 15, 2006, speckledpig from Satsuma, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have many of these which are have been doing very well for years. The plant I have came from my mother hers came from her mother many years ago.
Mine are all in containers, but I'm not against trying them in the ground. It's very easy to root these in water or soil they seem to do just fine in partial to little sun (I have one in my office window which receives no direct sunlight and it's growing like mad!).
On May 12, 2006, roseseed from Cascade, WI wrote:
I have had a spider plant in my house for a while and it sprouted out its shoots and they had flowers and the flowers dried up and turned into seeds and now I have 12 seeds of Chlorophytum comosum. The thing is, I dont know what they require to be propagated or at what depth to place them at.
On May 11, 2006, amyl411 from Rancho Cucamonga, CA wrote:
I'm in So. California where it gets up to 115 degrees in the summer. I have this in the shade outside where it gets plenty of light and gets late afternoon shade. It has done very well for me in the 2 years I've had it. And have gotten approx 10 plants from each one. And had to split it twice in 2 years. I water it every other day. It does get brown ends in the summer but I just snip them off and it doesn't hurt it one bit. It does produce long outward stems with tiny flowers in the warmer weather. During the mid afternoon when the sun hits it, the leaves "lift" up. And goes back down in the shade. Very cute. Highly recommend it for all gardeners. I read somewhere that cats get attracted to this plant because it gives them a "high" smelling or rubbing against it. I do have a few cats that. read more come to do their business but I moved this to a higher place under my tree and it's been no problem.
On Feb 18, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
I've had these plants thriving in my garden with no special care nor winter protection for about three years. I am in NE Fla on the borderline of Zone 8b/9a. These plants have survived temperatures as low as about 28 F on occasion for a few nights in winter. They return each year and spread by their bulblet "arms", though not as profusely as others have reported here. They make a nice ground cover at the base of oak trees and other semi-shady areas in the garden where little else will bloom and flower.
On Oct 20, 2004, Khyssa from Inverness, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
I live in central Florida (zone 9a) and have had good luck with both variegated and the solid green spiders in outdoor flower pots that I simple set in our summer kitchen during freezes.
Two years ago, in the summer, I was given a large galvanized aluminum washtub filled with solid green spider plants that had been kept outdoors under a tree all year round. I set it in the front flowerbed in full sun and watered it regularly. The plants went insane and started sending off babies everywhere that quickly established themselves in the ground.
In late fall I cut off all the babies and moved the tub into a more sheltered spot for the winter. I didn't do anything with the spiders that were growing in the flower bed. By spring it looked like all of the plants t. read more hat had been left out in the open had died but within a couple of weeks of the last frost they all started growing back. Then they started going insane and having babies! Some of the stems were about 3 feet long and branching with 1 or 2 babies on each branch! I now have spider plants acting like a quick spreading ground cover.
On Aug 29, 2004, kareoke from Greensburg, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:
I have a varigated spider plant given to me last year, it produces a lot of baby spiders but i have never had any flowers, in fact did not know that they produced flowers
On Aug 22, 2004, lobiwon from Vacaville, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
The spider plant is an attractive, easy to grow, and is simple to start new plants. I inherited my grandmothers spider plant and have been giving away the "grandchildren" plants for over 10 years now! It grows well in most any condition but from my experience it does best in a partially shaded area.
On Jun 18, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
This is the solid green form of the more well known variegated spider plant.
I bought a large hanging basket of the variegated form of this plant and it contained atleast one plant that was solid green. I've potted up the offsets of that one and hope to eventually have a hanging basket of just solid green spider plants that's as big as my variegated one some day. I also hope it's as easy to grow as the variegated. That one's a cinch! LOVE it.
How to take care of a spider plant indoors
It’s easy to grow a spider plant indoors, as long as you know what to do. “Mist the plant with distilled water that has been sitting for 24 hours,” says NYBG certified horticulturist Bliss Bendall. “If your plant receives a lot of full sunlight, I strongly recommend doing this first thing in the morning when the sun is coming up or an hour or two before the sun goes down. This will ensure it doesn’t burn, get too cold, or become damp and rot.”
Bendall suggests regularly rotating the pot so one side isn’t constantly getting more sun. It’s also important to avoid keeping a spider plant directly on or in front of a heater or air-conditioning unit.
Where to Buy Spider Plants
3-Pack Spider Plants
Save Money When You Buy In Bundles!
10-Pack Tillandsia Air Plants
Easy Care, Just Mist Once a Week!
I have a big beautiful spider plant and a lot of spiderettes. What can I do with all theses spiderettes for winter? I am going to, of course, bring it in for winter but I have so many on the plant I was wondering what to do with some of them so they don't all die.
With regards to spiderettes, it's best to keep them on the mother plant until they have their own root system. If you decide to cut them anyway to root, clip the stem that connects the baby to the mother. If you have not read it, this article should help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/spider-plant/spider-plant-care-gardening-tips-for-spider-plants.htm
Spider Plant Care
Spider plants are quite easy to care for and can adapt to a variety of conditions in your home. Here’s what you need to know about caring for these trailing plants whose leaves dangle downwards.
Spider plants generally do not have very high water requirements. You should water your plant every 8 to 14 days depending on how warm, bright, and humid your house is. Gardening experts suggest that you should wait until the top 2 inches of the soil are dry before you water the plant again.
During the first month, you can gauge how dry the soil gets in between watering and then you can decide the watering frequency accordingly.
In spring and summer, water will be more likely to evaporate faster so you might have to water the plant more frequently.
The most frequent cause of spider plant’s death is excessive watering. Spider plants are susceptible to root rot if they are waterlogged. This is why they need to be planted in a pot with drainage holes.
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) forms mounds of narrow leaves. While spider plants with all green leaves can be found, these are the rarest variety. Most commonly, spider plants are found with a white or yellow stripe down the center of the leaves. The 'Vittatum' selection is the most common with a white stripe. Spider plant spreads by growing long shoots that develop pre-rooted plantlets at their tips and has clusters of small white flowers.
Spider plant's cascading leaves form a graceful skirt in hanging baskets, but can also work great as a groundcover in shady spots in the South Florida landscape. It prefers shaded areas and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, but should be protected from frost.
What About Water?
More importantly, you should understand that lighting isn’t the only problem that you have to deal with.
Watering the plant is also important, so you have to make sure that you provide adequate amounts of water to the plant as well. The spider plant has a pretty strong reputation for being one of the plants that is hardest to kill.
But, without water, all living things are likely to die. If you want to keep your plant healthy and happy, you need to make sure that you do the following things mentioned below.
One of the most common reasons why the spider plant dies is overwatering. You need to make sure that you remember the time and date of when you last watered it.
Before you decide to add water to your spider plant, you might want to check the soil. You need to determine whether the soil is dry before you actually decide to add more water to the plant.
The best way to check the soil is by putting your finger in up to the first knuckle. It will give you a better idea about whether the soil is dry or still wet, allowing you to decide whether to add more water or to wait a day or two before adding more water.
The plant is quite susceptible to root rot if it remains waterlogged. You have to make sure that you only plant it in well-draining soil. Also, you have to ensure that there are drainage holes present in the pot when you plant it.
To prevent the soil from washing out completely, you should cover the drainage holes. Also, use conventional potting soil to provide the best care for the plant.
If you notice a considerable number of brown tips on the leaves, it’s probably due to the quality of water. Instead of using tap water, you should consider using distilled water for the plant.
Last, but not least, you need to be observant. Even though this is an incredibly resilient plant with a pretty strong reputation and it isn’t going to sustain any kind of damage, you need to understand that the plant does have its requirements. If they are not met, you should know that the plant will die.