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How to Care for an Airplane Plant

Airplane plant, also known as spider plant, is a popular houseplant valued for its attractive, trailing foliage and ease of care. The plant's common name is derived from the small offsets that appear on the bottom of its trailing stems and resemble small spiders or whirling airplane propellers. These offsets are used for propagation or allowed to remain on the plant for aesthetic appeal. Indoors, airplane plant is grown throughout the country and thrives in typical household conditions. But the plant is killed by even light frosts and is only grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Keep airplane plant in a location that receives partial, filtered sunlight throughout the day. Maintain a constant temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit around the plant for best results.

Use a spray bottle to mist airplane plant about twice a day to raise the relative humidity and emulate the plant's natural environment. Spray the plant with tepid water, as excessively hot or cold water can cause shock.

Apply water about once a week, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Apply the water directly to the soil to reduce the chance of disease. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during winter, when the plant is not actively growing.

Feed the plant once every four months using an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Water before and after applying fertilizer to prevent root burn and release nutrients into the soil. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage.

Prune once a year in late winter just before new growth begins in spring. Remove damaged or discolored foliage to conserve the plant's nutrients, prevent the spread of disease and improve appearance.


Keep airplane plant in a north-, east- or south-facing window to provide the right combination of sunlight and shade.

Low humidity and lack of water can cause the tips of the plant's leaves to turn brown. Increase the frequency of misting and watering if this occurs.

Propagate airplane plant by removing one of the small plantlets from the plant's stems and placing it in a cup of water. Place the cup in an area that receives filtered sunlight until new roots have formed. Plant in a container filled with well-drained potting mix and resume regular care.

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