SPIDER PLANT: How To Care For The Chlorophytum Comosum

spider plant care

Spider plant care is easy – One Of NASA’s 10 Clean Air Plants

The spider plant or sometimes called the airplane plant makes for an excellent house plant. Their toughness makes them great houseplants for beginners.

The Chlorophytum comosum (the botanical name) is one of the most common yet popular houseplants. NASA considers spider plants one of the houseplants known as the “Top Clean Air Plants.”

These sturdy indoor houseplants make spiders plants wonderful “test plants” for those looking to learn about house plant care.

“Spider plant care” is not only easy, but 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 leaves on long stems originate from the plants’ center with usually green edges and a white stripe running down the middle.


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 as a hanging spider plant in a 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.

Replant and transplant young plants when rooted outdoors for use in summer bedding, but when planted this way plants 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 stems fill the pot, and when the white, wormlike rhizomes bulge over the surface, plants will divide easily.

Spider Plant Care: Growing Basics – Light

Plants will grow in most locations, but its variegated leaves look most pronounced when plant’s get plenty of light near a window. Keep away from the midday sun.


Very tolerant of a variety of temperature ranges.


A good well-drained soil mix like one used for growing African violets or one used in hydroculture.


If you wonder about “how to care for a spider plant” – don’t! And don’t worry about plants becoming pot bound. It’s all right to remove some of the large white tubers or rhizomes if they fill the 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 stems until the plantlet rests on the soil. Peg stem to soil and firm latter around plantlet.
  • When plantlet grows new leaves, cut parent stem close to plantlet with a sharp knife or clippers like these classics.
  • Try planting several “spiders” into hanging baskets.

The Care Of Spider Plant: Diagnosing When Things Go Wrong

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  • If leaves become dull and grayish with webs underneath the problem comes most likely from Red spider mite. Several solutions exist for control such as predatory mites used as a spider mite killer.  Personally, I like natural pesticides to control insects.
  • The 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 is rotting in the 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 with distilled water and move out of the 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.

Spider plants do make great house plants for learning about plant care. They are forgiving plants. However, they do require some attention and make excellent plant teachers! Don’t confuse the inexpensive spider plant with the “Spider flower” (Cleome hassleriana) – easy to grow, inexpensive to purchase and wonderful plants to learn from.

Image: source

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