How To Care For The Spider Plant – Chlorophytum

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The spider plant is wonderful house plant, they are tough making them great houseplants for beginners.

The Chlorophytum comosum (the botanical name) is one of the most common yet popular houseplants. It is also one of the “Top Clean Air Plants.”

Spiders not only are tough indoor plants but they make wonderful “test plants” for those looking to learn about house plant care.

“Spider care” is easy and most of the time only flat out neglect can kill them.

Overall, the Chlorophytum is a quick grower putting out “babies” on long stalks, variegated strap like leaves coming from its center of the plant.

Their spider-like long stems leaves come from the plants’ center with usually green edges and a white stripe running down the middle.

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Some varieties have white edges and a green central stripe. When buying “spiders” look for clean, untorn leaves with no brown tips.

Most of the time the Chlorophytum plants seem to find its home indoors in a hanging basket where it makes an attractive display.

As the "airplane plant" throws out long stalks or stems it will produce small flowers followed by the decorative hanging "babies". The plantlets make propagation a simple task.

The young plants when rooted can be replanted and transplanted outdoors and used summer bedding, but when planted this way they will need protection from direct sun.

The Chlorophytum originates from South Africa and grows easily in hydroculture (growing in rocks). Keep it well fed and pot-bound. When its stems fill the pot, and when the white, wormlike rhizomes bulge over the surface, it can divided easily.

Spider Growing Basics – Light

It will grow in most locations though its variegation is most pronounced when the plant is near a window. Keep away from midday sun.

Temperature

Very tolerant of a variety of temperature ranges.

Soil

A good soil mix like one used for African violet care or one used in hydroculture.

Repotting

Likes to be pot bound. It’s all right to remove some of the fat white tubers or rhizomes if they fill surface of the pot.

Separating Spider Babies and Plantlets

  • First, prepare small pots with good drainage layer and soil
  • Place new pot next to parent plant and bend stem until plantlet rests on soil. Peg stem to soil and firm latter around plantlet.
  • When plantlet grows new leaves, cut parent stem close to plantlet with sharp knife.

Diagnosing When Things Go Wrong

  • If leaves are dull and grayish with webs underneath the problem is most likely Red spider mite. Several solutions exist but I like natural pesticides to control insects.
  • Plant looks floppy and dull it probably – Needs feeding use a balanced liquid food.
  • Plantlets pull parent to one side – It’s time to repot the parent and remove extra babies
  • Plant rotting in Center – Overwatering the biggest killer of house plants. Allow plants to dry out before watering again. Beware the plant may die.
  • Leaves transparent and soft – Cold Damage from exposure to low temperatures. Bring plants into a warm area and monitor. It may survive!
  • Tips of leaves turn brown – Too dry or too much direct sunlight. Water more frequently and move out of sun but keep in good light.
  • Leaves grow weak and lanky, become dry and lose color. Too hot and dry. Water more frequently and keep in a cooler plant.

They are really a great house plant to learn about plant care, however, it does require some attention and is an excellent plant teacher! Spider plants are inexpensive to purchase and wonderful plants to learn from.

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