Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum, usually called spider plant due to its spider like look, but also known as spider ivy, ribbon plant, and hen and chickens is a species of evergreen perennial flowering plant of the family Asparagaceae. It is native to tropical and southern Africa, but has become naturalized in other parts of the world, including western Australia. Spider plants produce a rosette of long, thin, arched foliage that is solid green or variegated with white.



This clump-forming, perennial, herbaceous plant, has narrow, strap-shaped leaves arising from a central point. The leaves may be solid green or variegated with lengthwise stripes of white or yellow. The leaves are not flat, but appear channeled or folded down the middle. The thick, fleshy roots and rhizomes evolved to store water, allowing it to survive inconsistent watering. These easy-to-grow houseplants look especially nice in a hanging basket and were a favorite in Victorian-era households.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

6 - 24 inches


Width-Circumference (Avg)

6 - 24 inches


Approximate pH

6.0 - 6.5


Types of Spider Plant


Bonnie Curly Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Bonnie’)


The Bonnie is a curly spider plant variety with long, narrow leaves that grow in a waved pattern. This plant is native to southern Africa, but it is a common alternative to the popular variegated Spider Plant worldwide.



This Bonnie plant has solid green, slightly wider leaves than other varieties. Like other Spider Plants, this one may be harder to get your hands on than the variegated options.


Variegated Bonnie Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Bonnie Variegated’)


The Variegated Bonnie Spider Plant is a curly variety with variegated leaves. Its leaves are long and thin, with green stripes on the outside and a cream stripe in the center.



This species is native to South Africa, but it is popular worldwide. Its curly texture makes it a striking focal point in indoor spaces.


Zebra Grass (Chlorophytum laxum ‘Zebra’)


The Zebra Grass plant has long yellow-cream leaves with a green stripe down the center. This plant’s foliage has a similar texture to grass and is likely to stay shorter than other Spider Plant varieties.



Zebra Grass is native to tropical parts of Africa. It produces plenty of baby plants from the ends of its stems, making it a great contender for propagation.


Variegated Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’)


The Variegated Spider Plant ‘Vittatum’ is known for its green leaves with a solid cream stripe down the center. These narrow leaves arch outward from a rosette at its center, creating the classic Spider Plant look.



This plant is native to South Africa and grows well outdoors in Mediterranean climates or indoors around the world. It has earned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.


Variegated Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’)


The Variegated Spider Plant ‘Variegatum’ is similar to the Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’ variety. The only difference is that the leaves are reversed.



While ‘Vittatum’ has a cream stripe down the center, ‘Variegatum’ has cream edges and a green center. This plant is native to southern Africa and cultivated as a houseplant around the world.


Reverse Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum’)



The reverse spider plant is also called Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum.’ Just like the plant name hints, the outline and center of the leaves are the polar opposite of the variegated. The leaves have a soft yellow edge with a forest green center. This sort of spider plant is an effective way to add variety to your garden, and it can get very large. This is the main reason why they are common with gardeners.


Ocean Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Ocean’)



The Ocean Spider Plant is a compact variety with green leaves and thin, cream-white edges. It produces star-shaped white flowers and baby plants from long runners that cascade around the plant. This plant looks lovely in a hanging basket where its leaves are free to grow and spread around its pot.


Hawaiian Spider Plant (Chlorophytum viridescens ‘Hawaiian’)


The Hawaiian Spider Plant is also known as Golden Glow or Golden Light. This plant is similar to the Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum.’ However, instead of a cream center, this plant’s leaves have a yellow hue down the middle.



This plant is a hybrid that is smaller than some Chlorophytum comosum varieties. It produces many plantlets, making it a great choice if you want several Spider Plants to decorate your home.


Chlorophytum amaniense ‘Fire Flash’ (aka Chlorophytum orchidastrum Green Orange)


The Fire Flash Spider Plant is also known as Chlorophytum orchidastrum Green Orange. This plant is a rare variety that looks different than other Spider Plants. It has bright orange stems that produce broad, dark green leaves.



This variety is native to tropical and subtropical parts of southern and western Africa. It produces small, white flowers in the summer and lively foliage year-round.


Bichetii Grass (Chlorophytum laxum)


The Bichetii Grass plant looks similar to the Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’. It has green, arching leaves and cream margins around the outside. The plant’s foliage has a soft, grass-like texture and produces white flowers like some Spider Plant varieties.



A difference with Bichetii Grass is that it does not produce baby plants as most Spider Plants do. This species is the perfect choice if you want the Spider Plant look without the offshoots.


Chlorophytum capense


Also known as the bracket plant, chlorophytum capense is another species in the spider plant family. This species is unique from the rest in that it doesn’t produce hanging offspring and has solid green leaves with a white edge.



The flowers might come out similar to those of the other species. However, with the Chlorophytum Capense, the flowers sprout straight up instead of hanging.


Shamrock Spider Plant


The Shamrock Spider Plant has solid green leaves that can be planted outdoors or grown indoors to improve the air quality. This is also one of the rare types of spider plant.

This spider plant is known to thrive if grown outdoors, but there are those who have successfully propagated it indoors. This spider plant is good for beginners as they are easy to grow.


Plant this in hanging baskets to have a great ornamental plant or put it in a pot and place inside your room. Just make sure that it is on well-drained soil and bright, indirect light and the spider plant will flourish.


Purple Spider Plant


The purple spider plant is an annual plant that is fast-growing. Its palmate green leaves are aromatic. The purple spider plant also produces very sweet-fragrant flowers that are violet in color. That is the reason why they have been dubbed as a purple spider flower.


Its botanical name is oxalis chlorophytum, as it has purple leaves which are the oxalis and the green and white leaves are spider plants. If you are worried about this spider plant being exposed to too much light, don’t worry as it grows best in bright indirect light or full sun indoors.


This spider plant grows up to 3 to 4 feet and spreads 1 to 2 feet. It should only be watered if the top inch of soil feels dry.


Atlantic Spider Plants


Known as Chlorophytum comosum ‘Atlantic’ in the botanical world, the Atlantic spider plant has a captivating splunge with small white flowers and ‘babies’ forming on the runners or the long narrow stem.



The Atlantic spider plants are very easy to grow and maintain. All you need would be bright light or shade and moist soil. It can grow up to 19 inches tall if this spider plant is well-maintained.


Spider Plant 'Lemon' (Chlorophytum comosum ‘Lemon’)


One of the most popular and easy to care for houseplants in the world, the Spider Plant is a fantastic choice for any room in the home.



The Chlorophytum comosum ‘Lemon’ cultivar produces a rosette of lush, lime green arching foliage that looks fantastic cascading from a shelf or pouring out of a hanging basket.


Planting Spider Plant

  • Grow in a soil-based, well-draining potting mix. Spider plants like even moisture; they don’t like to be too dry or too wet.

  • Keep plants in bright to moderate indirect sunlight. Spider plants do not appreciate direct, hot sunlight, which can burn their leaves, causing brown tips and spots.

  • Spider plants grow fairly quickly and can easily become pot bound. Plan to repot a spider plant about every other year.

  • Spider plants can be grown outdoors as annuals during the summer. They look especially good along the edge of a container or bed, as long as they are kept out of direct sunlight.


Growing Spider Plant


How to Grow Spider Plant From Seed


Seed propagation isn't very common, since spider plant is so easy to propagate vegetatively by planting the offsets or dividing the roots. But if you want to try planting seeds, and are lucky enough to have a plant that is blooming and producing seeds, then you can experiment with this method.


Spider plant flowers must be cross-pollinated to produce fertile seeds, which you can do by using a small artist's brush or cotton swab to brush across the individual blooms once they appear. Make sure you brush all the flowers to ensure transmission of pollen to all blossoms.


After the flowers fade, you should see some small green seed pods in their place. When these dry, you can pluck them from the plant and break them open to collect the seeds inside. Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in a small pot filled with potting mix, and keep the mix warm and moist until the seeds sprout. Fertility will vary, so make sure to plant lots of seeds to ensure some success.


How to Get Spider Plant to Bloom


Spider plant does not produce showy flowers, so it's rare for growers to worry about non-blooming plants. But if for some reason you want more flowers (perhaps to experiment with seed propagation), you can try giving the plant a bit more light than it usually gets, and make sure to regularly rotate the plant so all sides get even light. You may be rewarded with small white flowers about 1/2 inch across. You can also try skipping repotting, as these plants seem more likely to bloom if they are slightly root-bound.


Fertilizing does nothing to encourage blooms—in fact, withholding fertilizer will probably be more helpful if your goal is flowers.


Spider Plant Care


Spider plants are often grown in containers as hanging plants due to the cascading nature of their foliage and their long stems with plantlets. They also look great when grown atop columns. If you place their container on a shelf or table, make sure the long leaves aren’t getting crushed and the long plantlet stems don’t get so heavy that they pull over the pot. In warm climates, spider plants do well in outdoor planters and as edging or ground cover plants.


Regular watering is typically the most time-consuming part of spider plant care. Throughout the growing season (spring to fall) also plan to fertilize regularly. And repot your plant as needed once its roots have outgrown the container.


Light


Outdoors, spider plants prefer to grow in light shade. They can tolerate heavy shade, but their growth won't be as robust. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. Indoors, a bright window or patio door that gets indirect sun is ideal.


Soil


These plants can grow in a variety of soil types, but they favor loose, loamy soil with sharp drainage. Spider plant prefers a fairly neutral soil pH but can tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. A high level of salts in the soil can cause the leaf tips to turn brown.


Water


Spider plants like lightly moist but not soggy soil. Overwatering can cause root rot and ultimately kill the plant. These plants are sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in water, which can brown the leaf tips. So if possible, use rainwater or distilled water for container plants. The fleshy tubers retain moisture well, so inconsistent watering, while not ideal, won't harm spider plants too much.


Temperature and Humidity


Warm, humid conditions are ideal for spider plants. They don’t like temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This means they should be protected from drafts and air-conditioning vents when grown indoors. Moreover, the leaf tips can brown if the humidity is too low. Regular misting of the plant can help to maintain adequate humidity.


Fertilizer


These plants like a moderate amount of feeding, roughly once a month during the active growing seasons of spring and summer. Too much fertilizer can cause brown leaf tips, but too little fertilizer will result in weak growth. Use an all-purpose granular or water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season, following label instructions. Adjust the amount if necessary depending on your plant's growth.


Harvesting


Healthy spider plants may eventually produce “pups,” which are offshoots from the adult plant that can be removed and replanted to start new plants. For the best results, allow pups to reach approximately two inches in diameter before removing them from the mother plant. Alternatively, set the still-attached pups into pots of soil placed next to the mother plant. Once the pups have rooted themselves to the soil, they can be cut loose from the mother plant.


Pruning and Propagating Spider Plants


Pruning


Remove dead or browning leaves as they appear. If a plant is becoming too leggy and sparse, remove the plantlet shoots to redirect energy to the main plant.


Propagating Spider Plants


Spider plants are easy to propagate and so prolific that you'll want to share them with all your friends. Even a beginner can do this:

  1. Once the small plantlets on a spider plant's stem develop roots that are at least an inch or two long, it's time to propagate. Using sharp pruners, carefully cut the plantlets off the stem, keeping the roots intact.

  2. Pot them in a well-draining clay or plastic container filled with the potting medium, and make sure the soil stays moist (but not soggy) until they become established.

  3. For plantlets without developed roots, place a small pot filled with potting soil near the parent plant. Place the plantlet on top of the soil in the new pot, and keep soil moist. Within a few weeks, roots should develop. Snip the plantlet from the parent plant, and continue growing in the new pot.

Alternatively, mature plants can be dug up and divided. Gently pull apart the root ball into sections, keeping as many roots intact as possible. Then, replant the sections.


Potting and Repotting Spider Plant


Grow spider plants in containers that are no more than 1/3 larger than the root ball. Ensure that the containers have ample drainage holes, and use a loose potting mix. Spider plants will typically need repotting every two to three years. You'll know it's time when you see roots protruding out of the drainage holes and up above the soil line.


The best time to repot is in the spring. Gently remove the plant from its old container and position it at the same depth in a slightly bigger container. Then, fill around it with fresh potting mix.


Overwintering


It's best to cut back on the fertilizing schedule in the winter, as these plants will naturally go semi-dormant. Keep watering and misting the plant regularly, though, as spider plant needs to be kept moist during the dry winter months.


Pests and Plant Diseases


Spider plants are generally healthy, but a few common plant pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites, can impact them. Depreciated foliage is a common sign of an infestation. A natural and effective way to combat some infestations is simply to rinse the plant with water. An insecticide, or a natural remedy such as neem oil, can be used on more serious infestations.


Common Problems With Spider Plant


Spider plants rarely cause serious problems, and those that do occur are usually quite easy to solve:


Plant Is Too Sparse


The natural impulse when a spider plant appears to be struggling is to increase its water or fertilizer rations, but in the case of spider plant, that's the wrong approach. Instead, the solution may be to repot and divide a plant that has become overly root-bound. These are fast-growing plants, and if yours begins to suddenly struggle after months of being a healthy plant, it likely needs more room for its roots.


Cutting away some of the baby "plantlets" can also help, as this redirects the plant's energy into producing more shoots.


Tips of Leaves Are Burned


Spider plants are among several types of houseplant that are especially sensitive to the chemicals or salts that are found in treated tap water. If your plant begins to show these burned tips, it's best to shift to watering with collected rainwater or untreated bottled water.


Brown tips can also occur if a spider plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Remember that these plants prefer indirect light or shady conditions.


Benefits of Spider Plant


Spider Plant health benefits


The roots of the Spider plants have wonderful medicinal value. In Chinese tradition, the roots of spider plants are used for the treatment of bronchitis, burn, and bone fracture. Listed below are few of the health benefits of using spider plant:


1. Healthy liver


Root extracts of spider plants are used to study the hepato-protective activity in rats. The extracts of the spider plant root help in reducing the inflammatory process of the liver thus help in healing.


2. Potential prebiotic


Spider plant leaves helps in establishing the intestinal microorganisms thus acts as a potential prebiotic substance for a healthy bowel movement and healthy stomach.


3. Anti-cancerous


Roots of spider plants have been researched against 4 different human cell lines mainly HeLa, HL-60, and U937 for different types of tumors. The root extracts, thus, helps in suppressing the tumor activity by apoptosis or death of the cell. Although further detailed experiments are yet to be done.


4. Cure cough and cold


Spider plant absorbs water through its root and circulates through its stems and leaves. When water reaches the leaves; it will evaporate & increase the humidity. The increased humidity decreases the airborne disease like cold, cough, sore throat and flu. Whole plant extract of Spider plants helps in reducing the cough and thus relaxing the chest congestion. In Chinese tradition, the extract of the spider plant is used against bronchitis and cough-related problems.


5. Bone healing and burn


Chinese tradition uses spider plant extract for healing fractured bone and burns.


Other Interesting benefits of Spider plant


1. Almost Hard To Kill


There are some houseplants that can pretty much grow themselves, the spider plant is one of them. It can thrive well and easily adapt to various climatic conditions even when neglected for days, overwatered or under-watered. The spider plant grows well in both low light and part sunlight but it is suggested to keep this plant in a spot with bright indirect sunlight.


2. Purifies the Air


The spider plant is considered among the easiest air-purifying plants to grow. It is effective in removing harmful chemicals from the air, such as carbon monoxide, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene. According to NASA reports, the spider plant is among the top 3 types of houseplants that are great at removing formaldehyde, which is a common household chemical and generally found in manufactured wood products, plastic products, pesticides, leather goods, adhesives, clothing and drapes, etc.


3. Safe for Pets


According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA), the spider plant is listed as non-toxic for pets. But it is still advised to keep pets away from this plant and do not let them eat the leaves as that may pose a potential risk. The spider plant contains chemical compounds that are said to be related to opium, which may give the pet an upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea.


4. Speeds Recovery of Patients


According to several pieces of research, adding the spider plant to hospital rooms speeds up the recovery rate of surgical patients compared to patients in rooms without the plant. The patients require less pain medication, do not suffer from blood pressure or heart rate issues, experience less anxiety or depression and are released from the hospital sooner.


5. Increases Humidity


The spider plant is a perennial with a high transpiration rate. It absorbs water through its roots and then circulates the moisture through stems and leaves. Once the water reaches the leaves, it evaporates into the air and increases the humidity. The increased humidity decreases the risk of several airborne diseases, such as cold, cough, sore throat and flu-like symptoms. Growing spider plants at home or office helps in keeping these diseases away and helps increase the concentration and productivity.


Apart from the amazing benefits, the spider plant looks very appealing as a houseplant. It can be planted in a hanging basket or any usual pot to add a bit of greenery to the home. The spiderettes that outgrow from the mother plant and dangle down the pot enhances the beauty of the plant and make it look even more attractive.


6. Removes Toxic Substances from Your Home


This houseplant is the easiest species to grow. It effectively removes harmful and poisonous chemical substances such as xylene, carbon monoxide, toluene, and formaldehyde from the atmosphere.


It is excellent at eradicating formaldehyde, a household chemical compound found in leather goods, plastic products, clothes, adhesives, manufactured wood products, etc. It helps minimize carbon monoxide levels, thus reducing anxiety, constant headache, and common colds. It can prevent severe health risks such as loss of attention, vision impairment due to toluene.


Uses

  • Spider plant helps clean indoor air.

  • Spider Plant is the most useful and highly ornamental indoor plants.

  • The plants have been used medicinally by the Nguni, particularly for pregnant mothers and as a charm to protect the mother and child.

  • It is used in traditional systems of medicine including Ayurveda, Unani, and homeopathy.

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