Do spider plants like to be root bound? While it is generally thought that most plants prefer sufficient space to grow, some plants, like spider plants of the Chlorophytum genus, may be more tolerant of being root bound.

Spider Plants with Root Bound

This article will delve into how to grow spider plants, what the roots look like, problems, propagation, and the best planting pots.

Do Spider Plants Like to be Root Bound?

💥 Quick Answer

Yes, spider plants won’t find the situation difficult, if they are a little root bound. However, the roots eventually outgrow your pot, displacing the available soil for spider plant and blocking the drainage holes. When this happens, the best spider plant care is repotting, to support the new growth.


You can gently remove your plant from its pot if you notice its root becoming bound; trim them if necessary before repotting it in fresh soil. By providing your plant with the proper care and attention, you can help it thrive regardless of whether it prefers to be root bound.

– The Appearance of the Roots

The roots of this plant are ones that would be thick and fibrous, almost resembling the hair of a wild man. They spread out in all directions, seeking out any available moisture or nutrients they can find. The color of the roots varies from white to brown, depending on the age of the plant. They are strong and sturdy, anchoring the plant firmly in place and allowing it to grow tall and lush.

The Appearance of the Roots

But perhaps the most striking aspect of the plant’s roots is their ability to quickly and efficiently absorb water and nutrients. They are designed to absorb as much water and nutrients as possible, allowing the plant to thrive even in less-than-ideal conditions. This is useful for indoor plants, which may not have access to the same resources as plants in the wild.

What Are Problems if Spider Plants are Root Bound?

The problems that would happen if this plant is root bound are yellowing leaves and browning tips, pest infestation, and stunted growth. Moreover, accidental overwatering, weakening of leaves, and appearance of small root balls. It would show roots growing out, and the plant tilting to the side. 

Although they would help make your indoor spaces look lively and add a natural feel, they have challenges you should be keen, because if they would become weak and cannot help other plants. These challenges include pest infestation, wilt, browning leaf tips, and yellowing.

– Yellowing Leaves

Leaves turning yellow in the plants may indicate under or over-watering, low light levels, or nutrient deficiencies. The plant leaves may turn yellow at the tips and edges, progress towards the center, and be accompanied by brown or black spots or wilting. If the yellowing is severe, it may indicate a more serious issue, such as root decay or pest infestation. 

– Brown Tips

If you feed your plant with tap water, the tips of your plant’s leaves can develop a problem. This water may contain high levels of chlorine or fluoride, which causes an accumulation of salts in your plants. These salts hinder water and nutrient uptake, leading to leaves turning brown with crisp tips. Rain and distilled water are preferred as they do not contain such damaging amounts of salt.

– Pest Infestations

Pest infestations in this plants can manifest in various ways, including visible insects or evidence of their presence on the plant. Common pests that may infest some plants include aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites. These pests can damage the plant by feeding on its tissues, resulting in yellowing, wilting, or browning of the leaves. In severe cases, the plant may become stunted or may die.

– Stunted Growth

The plant will stop growing, grow very slowly, or lack to develop new leaves. This is because the roots have become so densely packed that they cannot absorb the necessary nutrients and water from the soil.

Stunted Growth

The roots will start to grow around the container in a circular pattern, which can lead to a lack of oxygen and cause the plant to struggle.

– Accidental Overwatering 

When the roots are crowded, it can be difficult for the plant to absorb water, leading to drought-like symptoms. On the other hand, if the soil is too loose and doesn’t drain well, the plant may become overwatered and develop root rot

You know you have an overwatering problem when there are yellow, wilted, or droopy leaves, mushy or smelly soil, and a lack of new growth. The plant may also appear stunted and smaller than it should be.

– Weakening Leaves

Another symptom of the roots to be compacted in this plant is when the leaves become weaker. A lack of nutrients can cause this due to the crowded roots, or it may be a sign of overwatering or drought. If a the bound extends are not getting enough water or nutrients, the leaves may start to wilt and droop.

– Small Root Ball 

the root of a bound of this plant may be small and compact, as the roots have nowhere to grow. An extremely root bound spider plant may require a strong tool to trim the ball since its compactness can break lighter ones. 

The roots of this plant are also unique in that they are able to propagate the plant. When they reach the soil surface, new plantlets will develop, as they would begin to shoot. These plantlets can be carefully removed and planted to produce new, independent plants. This is a great way to propagate your spider plants and have them grow in different areas of your home or increase your pot plant collection.

– Roots growing Out of Holes

The roots of bound plant start to grow out of the drain holes in the pot. This indicates that the roots have become too crowded and need trimming. If you ignore the plant and your pot is made from clay, it can crack, making its contents fall. A broken pot can also be dangerous if you are a pet owner. When the damage happens, and you are not around, the broken pieces can injure your pet’s paws.

– Leaning and Tilting 

A root bound spider plant may also lean or tilt to one side due to the weight of the crowded roots. When the weight becomes too much, it can lead to falling off your planting pot.

Leaning and Tilting

It also affects your plant’s stature, making it adapt to a bending position.

How To Divide a Root Bound Spider Plant?

To divide a root bound in the spider plant, you must remove it from the container first, and then gently loosen the roots. Moreover, make sure you would carefully cut and divide the roots, and place it in new pots. To see a healthy growth, provide it the right care. 

After noticing some slow growth and poor health in your plant as a result of being root bound, consider dividing it. 

– Remove it from the Container

To successfully divide a root bound spider plant, the first step is to remove the plant from its container. Gently loosen the soil around the roots and remove as much soil as possible. This will make it easier to see the roots and separate the plant while ensuring you do not transfer bacteria to your new growth if the old soil is infected.

– Gently Loosen the Roots

If the roots are tightly stuck, it is okay to use a tool such as a blunt knife to help you get the plant out. You can also use your palm to gently hit the sides of the plant pot until the roots become loose. When doing this, a pro tip is laying your plant pot on a flat surface with a reasonable height, such as a table, for an easy time when working on the plant.

– Carefully Cut and Divide the Roots

Next, using a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, carefully cut the roots, dividing the plant into multiple smaller plants. Each division should have a good amount of roots and at least one healthy leaf. If the plant is severely root bound, it may be necessary to trim some of the roots to encourage new growth.

– Place in New Pots

Once the plant is divided, plant each division in a container that is appropriate for its size. The container should have drainage holes to allow excess water to escape and prevent root rot.

Place in New Pots

Make sure to use a well-draining potting mix, and be careful not to over-water the new plants.

– Provide Proper Care

Note that dividing root bound plants can be stressful for the plant, so it’s important to provide them with the right conditions for recovery. You can start by soaking them in water before planting them to give them time to heal. 

Plant propagation can lead to dehydration, and giving your plant a recovery period is the best way to pamper it. After planting, consider providing them with the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer.

One of gardeners’ most frequently asked questions is how they can make their spider plants bushier. Of course, fuller foliage is more appealing for ornamental plants. 

By providing the plant with adequate light, fertilizing it regularly, and repotting it as needed, you can help it grow and maintain its health. Pruning the plant and propagating it can also help to promote bushier growth and a fuller shape. 

Spider plants thrive in bright, indirect light but can also withstand low-light conditions. However, it is important to avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves and cause the plant to become stressed. A healthy spider plant can live between 20 and 50 years. They are easy to grow and can tolerate many conditions, making them a popular choice for indoor growing.

What Are the Significant Pots For Spider Plants?

The significant pots for spider plants to get out of root bound would be a larger pot size, and the material should be of clay. In addition, don’t forget that the pot should have drainage holes available, and the pot should a lighter color. 

– Larger Size

Spider plants prefer to be slightly pot bound, meaning they should be slightly cramped in their pot but not so cramped that the roots are crowded. A pot whose size is too small can lead to root bound plants, while a pot that is too large can result in overwatering and root decay. A pot that is about one to two inches wider in diameter than the current pot is a good starting point.

– Clay Material

You can grow your plant in several pot materials, including clay, plastic, and ceramic. Clay pots are porous and can help to regulate moisture levels in the soil, but they can also be heavy and fragile. 

Clay Material

You can get your clay pot customized with varying patterns for enhanced aesthetics for your indoor space. Plastic pots are lightweight and inexpensive, but they do not offer the same level of breathability as clay pots. They are also durable and come in different colors. However, those made of poor-quality plastic fades with time, making them unappealing. 

Ceramic pots are also a good choice for spider plants. They are attractive and offer some breathability, but they can be heavy and breakable.

– Drainage

Proper drainage is essential for healthy spider plants, as they are prone to root decay if overwatered. Look for pots with multiple drain holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away from the roots. Consider returning the pot to the retailer if you realize it does not have these holes. 

Alternatively, you can choose to drill the holes and remember to be careful when dealing with fragile material like clay, as it can end up breaking the whole pot. When designing the holes, ensure they are not too wide to prevent soil from coming out through them. Small holes are also not preferable as they can get blocked by dirt and plant material.

– Light Colored Pots

Most gardeners use their pot colors for aesthetic purposes only. However, the pot’s color can impact your spider plant’s growth. Dark-colored pots can absorb heat and may cause the soil to dry out faster. When not properly monitored, your plants can suffer from dehydration. Light-colored pots reflect light and can help keep the soil cooler, which helps keep your plant hydrated for prolonged periods.


Some gardeners often express root bound as a horrible thing that can happen to plants. This expression can terrify you and probably discourage you from pot planting your desired spider plant varieties for fear of what might happen. Here is a summary of this plants and root bounding:

  • Spider plants become root bound when they overgrow their pot sizes, and it is up to you to keep checking them to ensure they do not become too much bound.
  • Root bound does not mean you leave your plant to die. Instead, you save it by repotting it in a larger pot.
  • Root bound occurs in potted plants and not in those planted in a garden. It is because those in the garden have unlimited space for expansion.
  • The material used in making the planting pots contribute to their weight. If you have to move your spider plants often, consider choosing a lightweight one.
  • You can easily know when your plant is unwell by identifying signs such as withering and yellow and brown leaves.

Spider plants do not like to be completely root bound. Using the information in this article to ensure you enjoy having these babies decorating your indoor environment for decades, you can identify when your plants are getting bound. Why would you let your home look dull on the inside when you can grow a spider and keep it for decades? 


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