Spider Plant Care: Guide & Tips

Spider Plant Care: Guide & Tips

The Spider Plant produce a rosette of long and thin leaves that look like the legs of a spider. These houseplants look especially nice in a hanging basket and are one of the easiest houseplants to grow.

About Spider Plants

Despite their creepy name, spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are among the most popular houseplants to grow. When grown indoors, these warm-loving perennials will survive even in harsh conditions, and by recreating their native tropical environment by with warm temperatures and humid air they can grow to impressive sizes. These plants grow rosettes of slim leaves that can stretch from around 10 to 20 inches long. The leaves can be solid green or striped in white. Mature plants send out long stems that bear small, star-shaped flowers. If the flowers are fertilized, a small fruit forms. Once the flowers fall off, tiny plantlets form in their place, which ultimately grow their own roots and can be separated to create new plants.

Spider plants are fast-growing plants that can be planted at any time, as long as they are not exposed to frost or extremely arid conditions.

Common Names

Spider plant, spider ivy, ribbon plant

Botanical Name

Chlorophytum comosum 

Family

Asparagaceae

Plant Type

Herbaceous, perennial

Mature Size

1–2 ft. tall and wide

Sun Exposure

Partial, shade

Soil Type

Loamy, well-drained

Soil pH

Neutral

Bloom Time

Flowers regularly

Flower Color

White

Hardiness Zones

9–11 (USDA)

Native Area

Central and Southern Africa

Toxicity

Non toxic

 

Spider Plant pot

Getting to Know Spider Plants

Spider plants are often grown as hanging plants due to the cascading nature of their foliage and their long stems. They also look great when grown atop columns, giving a very Victorian vibe to any space. If you place their container on a shelf or table, make sure the leaves aren’t getting crushed by it. In warm climates, spider plants do well in outdoor planters as well, or even as edging and ground cover plants. 

Regular watering is typically the most time-consuming part of spider plant’s care. Throughout the growing season (spring to fall) you should also plan to fertilize them regularly to ensure a healthy growth.

How to Care for Spider Plants

Basic Care for Spider Plants

Light

Outdoors, spider plants prefer to grow in partial shade. They can tolerate heavy shade, but their growth won't be as fast and they can become a bit spindly. Direct sunlight, on the other hand, can quickly scorch the leaves. When grown indoors, a bright window or patio door that gets indirect sun is the ideal place for them.

Soil

These plants can grow in a variety of soil types, but they favor loose, loamy soil with good drainage. Spider plants prefer a neutral soil pH, but can tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil as well. A high level of salts (usually caused by the use of hard  water) in the soil can cause the leaf tips to turn brown.

Water

Spider plants like lightly moist but not overly saturated soil. Overwatering can cause root rot and is one of the easiest ways to 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. Their fleshy tubers retain moisture well, so inconsistent watering, while not ideal, won't harm spider plants too much.

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 liquid fertilizer during the growing season, following label instructions. Adjust the amount if necessary depending on your plant's growth.

Spider Plant plantlets

Spider Plant Pest and Diseases

Spider plants are generally healthy, but a few common plant pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites, can impact them. 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, should be used on more serious infestations.

  • Spider plants are prone to tip burn, which can be caused by dry soil, low humidity, or a buildup of chemicals that are found in tap water. Keep the soil slightly moist and cut off brown tips if they do occur. 
  • To get rid of the brown discs on leaves, use your fingernail to scrape off the brown residue every few days.
  • Mealybugs can also attack your spider plant.
  • Scale, although uncommon, can also become a problem.

Spider Plant outdoors

How to Propagate Spider Plants

Spider plants are very easy to propagate, and can be so prolific that you'll soon start gifting baby-plants 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 the plantlets in a well-draining container filled with good potting medium, and make sure the soil stays slightly moist 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 in separate pots and voilà!

Spider Plant Did You Know

  • Spider Plants are considered by NASA one of the best air purifying house plant.
  • Spider plants also go by the names “airplane plant,” “ribbon plant,” and “spider ivy.”
  • Spider plants are originally from South Africa.

Spider Plant Varieties

There are only a few varieties of spider plants, including:

  • Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegatum': This variety has leaf margins of cream or white with a dark green stripe down the middle. Its long stems are green.
  • Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum': This plant’s leaves have a center white stripe surrounded by medium green margins. Its long stems are white.
  • Chlorophytum comosum 'Bonnie': This variety is more compact than the main species plant and has loosely curled leaves with green margins and a cream center stripe. It produces little yellow flowers.

Spider Plant air roots

Spider Plants Summary

Spider Plants are arguably one of the easiest houseplants to grow, especially if you live in humid climates. This alien looking plant, has long leaves that reminds us of a spider dangling from its web.

When it comes to automated plant care systems, Spider Plants are one of the plants that usually struggles with them, as they require frequent but very light watering. Only truly smart plant care systems like KORU can adapt to each plant's different needs, helping them to thrive by measuring light, temperature, humidity and soil moisture.