A spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a low maintenance plant that makes a fantastic choice for both beginner and experienced indoor gardeners alike.
Also known as an airplane plants, the spider plant is a flowering perennial native to the tropical areas of Southern Africa.
With long leaves that resemble blades of grass, this plant can come in several varieties. One is the “Bonnie” and it has curly leaves instead of the straight leaves the others have. The leaves of most spider plants are a bright green with white striping don the center or along the edges, but some varieties are just solid green.
Many people like to grow spider plants in hanging baskets since the leaves cascade over the sides as they grow. When exposed to a lot of sunlight, the plant will produce tiny white flowers.
Spider plants are great to grow indoors because they are useful for helping to purify the air in your home or office. In a study done by NASA, it was found that spider plants were able to filter xylene, toluene and formaldehyde. And if you have pets, you needn't worry about this plant harming them, because it is non-toxic to animals.
Spider plants are incredibly adaptable, and they tolerate almost anything you throw at them. If you are looking for an easy to grow houseplant, look no further than the spider plant. Keep reading for our tips and tricks to help you easily care for your spider plant.
1. Choosing a container
While spider plants can do well outdoors if planted in the right location (zones 9 through 11 are best), these plants will do thrive indoors just about anywhere.
If you are planting a brand new baby spider plant, choose a pot that is slightly too big and place the knobby little roots into the pot that is filled with lightweight potting mix. Be sure to keep the soil moist as the baby takes root, but do not oversaturate it or you will quickly kill the baby spider plant.
Because of the way spider plant grow, you will need to do some work to help them thrive.
Choosing a container to plant your spider plant in can be a bit tricky though. These plants grow exceptionally fast, and their tuberous roots have cracked many a flowerpot. Ceramic clay pots are not the best choice for growing spider plants.
You don't want to plant them in a pot that is too big for them or it will be difficult for them to get the nutrients they need, but you also don't want to plant in a pot that is too small allowing the spider plant to become root bound.
Instead, when you begin to see roots above the soil level, know that it is time to repot your spider plant. This is simpler than it sounds, but you'll still need to be careful.
To repot your spider plant, carefully remove it from its current pot. Rinse the roots, then slightly trim them.
Choose a slightly larger pot than the one you removed the spider plant from. Make sure the new pot has adequate drainage holes. A small one on the bottom of the pot should suffice.
In the bottom of the pot place a layer of all-purpose potting soil, then place the roots of your spider plant into the soil. Continue adding soil to the pot, making sure it gets around the roots, and ensure all the roots are covered. Water the plant and treat it as you did in the previous pot.
General-purpose soil is an acceptable choice for use with spider plants, but do not use a soil that has fertilizer in it.
2. Temperature and humidity
Since the spider plant comes from a tropical area it does oaky at normal temperatures, but it actually does better when it is allowed to grow at cooler temperatures.
Keep your spider plant in an area where the temperature is between 55°F/13°C and 80°F/27°C.
Again, spider plants are very adaptable and will do well in almost any temperature range, as long as you don't allow them to be exposed to freezing temperatures.
These plants are also just fine in average room humidity. There is no need to mist them or keep a humidifier on them.
Spider plants do best when exposed to bright but indirect sunlight.
Keeping them in a window in a room that is brightly lit is fine, as long as there is some sort of sheer covering on the window so that the plant doesn't get too hot.
Spider plants will easily burn if they are exposed to too much direct sunlight or heat.
While they will live if kept in lower light conditions, they will not to as well. If your Spider Plant is of the variegated variety, it will likely revert to being solid green without enough light. Also, there will be few if any flowers or spider plant babies.
Throughout the spring, summer and fall, your spider plant will require more watering than it will during the winter months.
Spider plants are sensitive to fluorine which is found in tap water. It is a good idea to water your spider plant with distilled water instead, so that it isn't exposed to this chemical.
The soil for your spider plant should remain slightly moist, but never be soaking wet or completely dry.
When watering your spider plant, water the soil evenly and generously without soaking. Allow the water to drain out of the bottom and empty any tray or anything your plant is sitting in.
Allowing your spider plant to sit in this water will result in root rot and will kill your plant.
5. Pests and diseases
The most common problem with spider plants is brown leaf tips.
This problem is generally harmless, but it is unattractive. If you wish to remove the brown tips, you can gently trim them away and then flush the plant roots with distilled water.
To prevent brown leaf tips from reoccurring, make sure you are not using water with fluorine in it to water your spider plant.
6. Final word
Spider plants are a wonderful houseplant. They are durable and adaptable and can handle neglect without dying.
If you are looking for a houseplant that will be easy to grow, a spider plant is a fantastic choice.