Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) on a desk

How Long Do Spider Plants Live?

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) on a desk

You see spider plants almost everywhere nowadays,there’s been one sat next to the stairs in my parents home for the last 20 years and it doesn’t look aged at all. So it got me thinking, how long do spider plants live for?

Spider plants are perennial plants and have an indefinite lifespan, many of these plants end up outliving their owners. With good care, they can easily live for 50+ years and they often become family heirlooms thanks to their longevity.

They’re also pretty hardy and one of the top air purifying plants, hence the reason for them being so popular in office spaces. If you’re curious as to what makes them masters of survival, check out the information I’ve put together below.

Why Do Spider Plants Live So Long?

As they are native to the African subtropics, spider plants have thick, white roots (rhizomes) that are there to store water and nutrients for long periods to ensure the survival of itself. This is what keeps the plant alive in those times you forget to water it.

Another reason is that it rapidly reproduces creating “pups/plantlets” that hang from the parent plant until its ready to drop. It will then root itself in the soil and become part of the mother plant if you leave it there, otherwise you can use it to grow a completely new spider plant. 

Now, whether you consider this to be a continuation of the same plants lifespan, or a completely new plant, is a different debate. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Common Problems With Aged Spider Plants

Although these plants have an indefinite lifespan, you can start to notice their age once they’ve started picking up a few blemishes or the tips of their leaves begin to brown as these will stay with them for life. This can make them lose some of their cosmetic appeal but most ailments can easily be resolved or avoided altogether.

The browning is caused by something known as tip burn, this is something aged spider plants are prone to. This can be brought on by a number of things such as low humidity, insufficient watering or after long exposure to chemicals in tap water. Just trim away the tips that are brown and eventually they will grow back, otherwise you might find that the burn spreads further down the leaves.

Another thing you might start to see on an aged spider plant is brown discs on the leaves. These are usually brought on in similar fashion to the browned tips. Simple scrape away the brown residue as soon as you notice it and your plant should be fine.

As spider plants are such avid reproducers, there’s always the chance that it starts to take over your room a little too much unless you keep on top of the plantlets. This can cause your spider plant to look very bushy and taking up more space than you want it to. Simply remove them once they’ve dropped from the mother and either use them as a gift, plant them elsewhere, or discard them if you have no use for them.

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How Long Do Spider Plants Live Indoors?

Once a spider plant is taken out of its natural environment, its life is in your hands. They’re a pretty hardy plant so you can get away with a lack of care, even for it to thrive requires little effort on your part.

The primary issue when caring for spider plants is temperature, it does not fare well in freezing temperatures so you need to ensure it’s in a environment with a consistent temperature of around 13-25C all year round to avoid sending it into shock.

How Long Do Spider Plants Live Outdoors?

For a spider plant to be able to survive outdoors it needs a tropical environment to thrive. It will cope well through summer in most parts of the world but once the cooler winter temperatures start to arrive you will need to bring the plant indoors to ensure its survival.