A Brief Description of the Spider Plant
The Chlorophytum, or spider plant, is a low-maintenance houseplant. They might be one of the simplest and most profitable houseplants to cultivate.
The Spider Plant’s fascinating capacity to swiftly reproduce via human beings is only one of its many fascinating features. The success rate of rooting a “baby,” “pup,” or “plantlet” from the mother plant is usually rather high.
A spider plant blooming in a shiny silver container.
Successfully nurturing your newborn Spider Plant will pay off fast. It doesn’t take long before the infant is sending up its slender shoots, which in turn bear tiny white blooms and eventually more airborne plantlets. One of the most popular and well-known houseplants is the spider plant or Chlorophytum comosum. Due to its low maintenance requirements, rapid reproduction rate, and adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions, this plant is a favorite among novice gardeners. The tiny new plants that emerge on the long trailing branches have been given the widespread name “spider plants” because of this resemblance. This perennial herbaceous plant forms clumps and is indigenous to the coasts of South Africa. Its leaves are slender and strap-shaped and branch out from a central point. The leaves might be a plain green or striped with white or yellow down their length. The leaves have a distinct channeling or folding along the middle, giving them an irregular shape. A 12-15 inch plant in height. The plant has thick, fleshy roots and rhizomes that are adapted to hold water.
The tiny white blossoms of the spider plant.
Although they can appear at any time of year indoors, they tend to appear in reaction to short days and long, uninterrupted nights for at least three weeks, producing long, wiry stems up to 2 feet in length, sometimes with a few little leaves. Towards the tips of the stalks emerge little white flowers shaped like stars. When the plant has finished flowering, it adds new leaves to the tips of its stems, creating new plants. The result of successful pollination is a leathery, triangular capsule-shaped fruit with flat black seeds.
The spider plant is a great houseplant that aids with air purification. Tests on spider plants demonstrate that they are highly successful at removing pollutants from indoor air, such as formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and carbon monoxide. The spider plant has thick, fleshy roots that allow it to adapt to erratic watering.
The spider plant is a low-maintenance houseplant that thrives in moderate to strong light indoors all year. It thrives in settings of moderate humidity and chilly to moderate temperature but can withstand warmer climes if necessary. For general planting, select a high-quality potting soil or soilless medium. When little confined by their pot, plants thrive and multiply. They require regular repotting because of their rapid growth and the risk of root overcrowding
Hanging containers are ideal for spider plants.
Between deep waterings, let the soil dry out a little. Fertilizing once every three to four months is recommended, while you can fertilize more frequently with a dilute fertilizer solution. Keep in mind that over-fertilizing can prevent plant budding and lead to the browning of the plant’s tips. Scale insects and mealybugs are the most common pests of spider plants. Leaf tip burn is a prevalent issue with multiple potential origins. Brown leaf tips can be caused by a variety of environmental factors, such as low humidity, dry soil, salt accumulation, and pollutants, most notably fluoride and chlorine in municipal water supplies. Tip browning can be avoided by watering with distilled or rainfall. Root rot is caused by overwatering or planting in soils that don’t drain well.
In warmer regions, spider plants can be cultivated outdoors as a ground cover.
This plant is also suitable for growing as an annual outside, provided the temperature is low enough. It should be bedded out after the last frost and grown in well-drained soil. The grass-like leaves of the spider plant are a welcome addition to containers filled with other plants. It works great in a hanging basket since its stems can dangle. Growing them outside requires intense light, although full sun might cause sunburn. They function well as a ground cover in partially shaded regions of the garden in warmer climes.
The spider plant can be easily cloned.
Propagating spider plants is as simple as re-potting the “spiders” or plantlets that develop after the blossoms die. The plantlet should be placed on top of soilless potting material in a pot and allowed to root before the stem connecting it to the mother plant is severed. The plantlet can be held in the soil with the help of a bent paperclip or wire until roots form. Another option is to choose a young plant that has begun root development and transplant it. Plants of any size can be divided. You can also start them from seed, albeit the resulting plants might not have the same leaf color as the parent.
The Spider Plant is a perennial grass-like herb that grows in clumps from 25 to 35 centimeters tall and as wide as 60 to 90 centimeters. The plant thrives in the shade of dense vegetation and can be spotted along the bottoms of cliffs, flat rocks, and steep embankments in the mountains and river valleys. It was discovered in a ruined wooded area near a city creek. Soils made of sandstone, shale, dolomite, or granite are among the volcanic and sedimentary rocks on which it thrives. Typically, the soils have a mild acidity.
The enlarged elongated tubers and fine roots that make up a Spider Plant’s root system give the plant its hefty stature. The tubers are conical in shape and range in size from 5 to 10 centimeters (2-4 inches) in length and 0.5 to 1 centimeter (0.2 to 0.4 inches) in diameter (0.2-0.4 in).
In this case, the side shoots are the identifying feature. The spiderettes develop into leaves and roots at each node along the stolon. The Spider Plant can be easily propagated through vegetative means using spiderettes.
Bark / Stem
Flower stalks are stiff, wiry, and mildly scabrous, and viviparous plantlets grow at their tips to generate fleshy aerial rootlets. Vegetative stems are short and robust with very short internodes. Tiny green buds are either completely contained in the rosette at the plant’s base or quickly lengthen on the wiry, arching flower stalks following development. The bark does not fit the bill.
Aware of that?
Due to the rapid growth and high reproductive potential of these plants, your “original baby” could have several offspring within a year.
Some of you may be wondering what you should do with all these new plants. They can be kept in place for several years as part of the mother plant, or you can easily and inexpensively take some to give to friends and family.
The Spider Plant, like other houseplants, is good for your health, and it also has the added benefit of removing harmful chemicals and gases from the air in your home. And all it takes is some basic maintenance and watering on occasion.
Even while Spider Plants require considerable care to reach their full potential, they are surprisingly forgiving if you forget about them from time to time. This is because it stores food and water in its thick, white roots (called rhizomes) for later use.
Before we go into the crucial maintenance recommendations, let’s take a quick look at some of the varieties you might encounter.
Varieties of Spider Plants
Among the many “cultivars” (varieties) available, the four most frequent are described here.
This is a ‘Vittatum’ strain of Chlorophytum comosum.
The most widely grown Spider Plant variety up to the late 1990s, this was the first variegated cultivar. The leaves have a moderate green color with a wide white stripe through the middle. It’s a popular way to demonstrate the proliferation of little plants known as “Spider Babies” on fully grown specimens. The Babies are hung from long stems that are colored a pale yellow/white.
The Chlorophytum Commune This “Variegatum” variety is more recent than the “Vittatum,” and it features dark green leaves with white edges. In general, it’s a more compact variety than its predecessor. The offsets’ lengthy green support stems are also green. It is a beautiful plant that has mostly supplanted the ‘Vittatum’ in department stores and garden centers.
The Chlorophytum Commune The leaves of “Bonnie,” like those of the standard “Vittatum,” are green with white stripes but curl and bend. Both the flowering stalks and the baby plants inherit the curly appearance of their mother. Since it stays relatively small, this Spider Plant species is perfect for those who desire one but don’t have a lot of room to display it.
The Spider Plant may have originated from a species called Chlorophytum Comosum. Its leaves have a uniform green color with a thin band of lighter green towards the middle. It’s the rarest of the variants while being the most fitted to low-light conditions. This kind is not often carried by garden centers, so if you want one you may have to look around.
Its “Tarantula Leg” rhizomes give it a “Spider” association, which may have led to its popular name being mistaken for “Rabbit’s Foot Fern.”
You may discover that your Spider Plant is not included after comparing its leaves to the examples provided here. This is probably because novel cultivars of these ubiquitous houseplants are regularly introduced to the market, and you happen to have a less ubiquitous variety. Chlorophytums come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have relatively similar maintenance needs, so the advice below should be useful regardless of the specific variety you choose.
Image from the Spider Plant Care Guide featuring a Spider Plant amongst other houseplants in a public setting.
If you want your Spider Plants to preserve their unique patterns, you’ll need to give them some bright light. The all-green variant (which lacks variegation, to begin with) will adapt to a dim setting, albeit at a much slower rate of development. A person should constantly seek shade when possible when outside.
If you give your plant enough of water during the growing season (Spring to Fall), it will flourish in its new environment and, with any luck, produce many Spider Babies.
In the winter, when development is slow no matter what you do, it’s best to water sparingly so that the plant doesn’t rot from oversaturated roots.
Conditions of humidity are unimportant for spider plants.
These hardy plants do well with infrequent feedings of a houseplant fertilizer, but consistent feedings of at least once a month will promote the healthiest growth. In the winter, neither newly planted Spider Babies nor established plants should be fed.
The ideal temperature for healthy development is the average warmth of a regular home. While your plant may benefit from some outdoor time throughout the summer, it should be brought inside before the first frost.
Your plant should be fine down to about 41 degrees Fahrenheit (five degrees Celsius) if the soil is dry. Damage is more likely to occur if the soil is damp or if temperatures drop below this. A strong frost will kill the plant overnight if it is exposed to it. After two to five years, a properly cared-for Spider Plant will need to be repotted every spring into a larger container. The same compost you use for your houseplants or garden can be used here. Check out our repotting instructions if you’re unsure of how to repot your plant successfully.
Do not repot your plant into a bigger container if you are concerned about its size and are unable to relocate it. A new plant can be started from a cutting in a matter of minutes.
Propagation Spider Plants can be quickly and easily multiplied by the use of offsets, sometimes known as “Spider Babies.” It is common practice for some to split the plant in two when they report it. Three different ways of spreading Spider Babies are detailed below:
First, you can remove the babies from the flowering stem and push them straight into a container filled with moist compost if they’ve been hanging on the parent plant for a while and have their roots (see photo below).
No rooting hormones or other similar products are required. Don’t put it in direct sunlight, but make sure it gets plenty of water and is in a bright area. Water consistently, and you should see new leaves emerge in a matter of weeks.
Young spider plant with established roots
The second technique involves removing the young plants from the blooming stem and suspending them in a water-filled container if they haven’t yet established roots. Only the root zone should be in the water at any given time; the leaves should be kept dry. After a few weeks, you should see roots (like in the image below), at which point you can proceed with the first set of instructions.
Young spider plants are rooted in water.
The third approach, as explained above, is the simplest. Still attached to the flowering stalk, the offspring can be “pegged” into the earth nearby (and therefore the parent). After a few weeks, they will have taken root and you can remove them from the blooming stem.
In about a month, you will get results similar to the one depicted below, regardless of the approach you choose. These spider plants can double in size in just a few months. Incredibly, spider plants can be easily multiplied.
Increasing Rate of Development
One of the quickest-growing houseplants is the Spider Plant. It will explode into growth and continue to churn out new leaves at a very rapid speed if you provide it with the optimal light and water conditions described above. Within a year or less, it’s not uncommon for a cutting to develop into a fully grown adult plant capable of producing its plantlets.
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The extent of one’s height or width
Spider plants often grow to be no more than 30 cm (12 in) tall and wide. This is especially true if the plants have cascading stems (discussed further below) that give the impression of great length.
Flowering When the plant is mature, it will send up a flowering stem that is covered in tiny white flowers. There isn’t much of a perfume to the little blossoms. After a few of weeks, the blooms fade and are replaced with Spider Babies.
Controversies Associated with Spider Plants
It’s not easy to destroy a spider plant, but if you’re not careful, your plant could develop some unsightly symptoms if it’s not getting the care it needs.
The leaves of spider plants are tipped with brown.
If it is located over a radiator where the air is very hot, or if it is not being fed enough, this will happen. During the active growing months, you should attempt to feed it once a month. Cut off the brown tips before they turn black permanently.
Leaves are wilting because of the drought
In comparison to their greenhouse-produced counterparts, plants cultivated outdoors are universally hardier and more resilient. Simply put, they have “toughened up” and adjusted to the outer environment, which is marked by lower temperatures and greater air movement (wind).
It appears that “ideal” indoor conditions are detrimental to the long-term health of some houseplants, including Spider plants. This means they are content living in a permanently heated environment with minimal air circulation.
In our experience, young plants grow extremely quickly and robustly in these ideal indoor settings for roughly six months to a year. The plant seems to slow down and the leaves can be weak or even split lengthwise when they reach a fair size and produce their first flowering stem. They might as well have already given up at this point.
We do something terrible to them by releasing them into the great outdoors for a period of two or three weeks in late spring or early summer when the threat of cold snaps has passed, and this helps tremendously. The waxiness of the leaves and stems increases and the leaves become thicker. To put it another way, the plant’s vigorous beauty is restored. If you are unable to place your plants outside, try placing them next to an open window for a portion of each day.
spots of brown on the leaves (normally in Winter)
Watering issues have arisen. Since the plant is not actively growing throughout the winter, less frequent watering is sufficient.
leaves turn brown and yellow and curl, and eventually fall off.
Not enough water during the growing season is to blame. When the leaves of your spider plant become very pale and droop, it’s a sign that the soil has been allowed to dry up completely and then left that way for a few weeks.
Once again brought by insufficient moisture and excessive sunshine. Make an effort to water your plant more frequently, or if that’s not an option, try relocating it to a darker area of the room.
We Won’t Allow Spider Eggs to Develop
Your Spider Plant is probably too young at this point. Only mature plants, and thus only plants in a sufficiently large pot, will produce flowers and, by extension, offspring. It’s time to move the plant into a larger container if it’s still in the original, smaller pot it came in.
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