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House Plants - Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

By Edited Apr 25, 2015 3 5

Chlorophytum comosum or Spider Plant is a true classic amongst house plants. It easilly grows under a wide range of conditions and is very tolerant to abuse. This indoor plant is perfect for beginners.

The Spider Plant is native to South Africa, where it grows as a shrub underneath other larger plants. More than two hundred species exist. The leaves are long, slender and grow in rosettes. Most common variegations are green-yellow or green-white. Completely green species also exist. Long branches or stolons originate from the center of the plant and make it look like a spider (hence the name). Small white flowers and new baby plants will appear at the end of these stolons.

The Spider Plant is usually kept in a large round pot or in a hanging basket with the stolons dangling down. If you're in a warm climate you can keep this plant outdoors as well.

Light

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider Plants like to receive medium to high amounts of light but long exposures to direct sunlight should be avoided. Species with green leaves need less light than species with variegated green-yellow or green-white leaves. If the plant doesn't get enough light the variegation will dissappear and the leaves will darken.

Water

The Spider Plant only requires moderate watering and is very sensitive to chemicals. Make sure the plant is never standing in a pool of water for too long or the roots will begin to rot. Let the soil dry out completely before watering again. The roots of the Spider Plant are adapted to periods of drought.

If you notice the tips of the leaves are brown, you might have one of the following problems: (1) There is too much water standing in the pot. Make some holes in the pot to provide better drainage of the soil. (2) The air humidity around the plant is too low. This can be solved by regularly spraying the leaves. (3) The plant reacts to some chemical in the water. In this case you should water the plant with rain water, melted snow, or distilled water.

Soil & Environment

Apply some fertilizer in autumn and spring and add some fresh soil to the pot once a year. The optimal temperature for a Spider Plant is 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F) but it can survive temperatures down to 10 °C (50 °F). Any lower temperatures will cause damage to the plant or kill it. If the leaves are soft and transparent, the plant may be suffering from frost damage.

Spider Plants are known to remove formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde is often found in office furniture and therefore Spider Plants are often advertised as good office plants.

Propagation

The Spider Plant develops new baby plants at the end of its stolons. You can remove these babies and either put them in moist soil or let them root on water. Larger plants can easilly be cut in half to produce two new plants. Make sure you don't damage the roots too much when you do this.

Toxicity

Spider Plants are not poisonous. However, cats may vomit after ingesting some leaves.

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Comments

Jul 13, 2011 2:59am
danmont
Thanks for the article; this is the kind of plants I need for my house as I am always travelling.
Aug 10, 2011 9:45pm
bikesbikesbikes
Spider plants are great, and after a little while you'll have hundreds of them. If only I could get the cat to stop eating them...
Aug 11, 2011 12:13am
almasi
I didn't know the ones with green leaves need less light than the green-yellow ones. Thanks for the info.
Jul 24, 2012 8:20am
Jack_Luca
Great info! I usually end up with brown leaves rather than a plant, but your very detailed care guide may just change that.
Jul 27, 2012 11:50am
Marlando
Hi--I love your articles. They are absolutely informative and well written and I will keep coming back for more as I am an indoor/outdoor gardener at heart. 5 stars from me!
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