Chlorophytum comosum is commonly known as spider plant, a name which is derived from the appearance of its plantlets, which seem to dangle from the mother plant like spiders from a web. Spider plants are appreciated for their simple care requirements, ability to tolerate relatively low light conditions and easy propagation.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to care for a spider plant!
|Name(s) (common, scientific)
|Spider plant, ribbon plant, airplane plant, hen and chicks, spider ivy, Chlorophytum comosum
|Tolerates low light
|When slightly dry
Spider plant natural habitat
Spider plants are naturally found in South Africa. They form part of the undergrowth in a pretty wide range of habitat types, which get varying amounts of rain and are subject to pretty varied temperatures as well.
Its adaptation to different habitat types probably explains why Chlorophytum comosum works so well as a houseplant.
How to care for a spider plant: Light and temperature
Spider plants are known for their ability to grow in lower light conditions but actually prefer bright, indirect light. This means a West- or East-facing window (in the Northern Hemisphere) is probably the best location in your home to place a spider plant.
Be sure to avoid too much direct sunlight as this will quickly damage the leaves. A thin curtain can help prevent the brightest sun from reaching the plant.
Spider plants can withstand a relatively wide range of temperatures and should do just fine in the average home. They can even survive very low temps, although they will go dormant below ~50 °F/10 °C. This makes them a good choice for those slightly colder windowsills that most of our tropical houseplants won’t appreciate.
Humidity-wise, spider plants aren’t too demanding and average room humidity should usually be sufficient.
How to care for a spider plant: planting
As with all spider plant care aspects, planting one isn’t complicated at all. Well-draining, normal potting mix with some extra sand or perlite in a pot with drainage holes should work well.
Keep in mind that the leaves and pups of this plant trail down, which means that a hanging pot might be a good idea if you want to prevent a messy look.
Spider plants respond well to being root-bound so it’s not necessary to immediately repot once the plant grows larger. If you do want to repot, you can do so during Springtime.
How to care for a spider plant: watering
Spider plants prefer relatively moist soil, but to prevent root rot make sure the soil never stays soaked: it’s better to let it dry out slightly between waterings. This means part of good spider plant care is giving plenty of water during Spring and Summer when the plant needs a lot of moisture to keep up with its fast growth. Then, lessen the amount during Winter when growth is much slower.
If your tap water contains fluoride, keep a close eye on your spider plant. They are known for not responding well to it, so if you’re noticing any damage try switching to distilled water or rainwater instead.
How to care for a spider plant: fertilization
Spider plant fertilization is similar to many other houseplants: fertilizer is appreciated during the growing season but be sure not to overdo it.
A diluted regular fertilizer can be given about every other week or so. Stop fertilizing during Autumn and Winter.
Propagating spider plant
Their easy propagation is part of what makes spider plants so popular. A healthy, mature spider plant will bloom and subsequently produce the typical pups that the name was derived from (also sometimes referred to as ‘spiderettes’).
To propagate your spider plant, simply locate one of these pups, separate it from the main plant and stick it into a separate pot. Water normally. Yes, that’s it! Spider plant care for spiderettes is no different than for the mother plant.
The pup should quickly develop its own root system and continue to grow like a normal spider plant.
Tip: If you’d like to know more about spider plant propagation and how to do it, have a look at the spider plant propagation guide.
Buying spider plant
Spider plants are very popular and you should be able to find them in almost any plant store or garden center. Because so many people own them, you might even be able to find a relative or friend who owns a spider plant and take a pup from theirs to grow your own.
Are spider plants toxic to cats and dogs?
The ASPCA lists spider plants as non-toxic to both cats and dogs, although the plant is said to work as a hallucinogenic and may upset your pet’s stomach if it eats large amounts.
It’s on the list of cat-safe houseplants because you can relatively safely leave it around your feline friends. In fact, cats really like it: read more over at Why do cats like spider plants so much?