No need to get in a spin with our top Spider Plant care tips.
Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are among the most recognisable of houseplants. They have a reputation for being easy to look after and are able to thrive even under the hands of a consistently forgetful waterer. It's often said that even the blackest of green thumbs will have a tough time killing this plant. It's not surprising then, that Spider Plants are the houseplant of choice for time-poor plant lovers and beginner growers alike.
Shop hard to kill houseplants here.
Spider Plants: A brief history
Although native to tropical regions of Africa and Australia, the Spider Plant has been grown indoors for at least 200 years. By the end of the 18th century, the Spider Plant had found its way to Europe, via the Swedish naturalist and prolific plant hunter Carl Peter Thunberg. The plant flourished during the Victorian period, where it was a popular addition to hanging baskets. Among the Victorians, it was affectionately known as the Ribbon Plant after its attractive, variegated foliage.
The Spider Plant's shaggy foliage and easy-going nature proved popular in the 1970s and it has been in a perpetual state of revival ever since. The Spider Plant is no one-hit wonder. This low maintenance plant has cropped up in our living rooms, again and again, thanks to it's fast growing nature, ease of propagation and range of styles now available. These days this houseplant staple looks fabulous spilling over a hanging basket or tumbling down a shelving unit and makes a rewarding office plant.
Spider Plant facts
- Scientifically known as Chlorophytum comosum, the Spider Plant is also referred to as Airplane Plant, Ribbon Plant and Spider Ivy.
- The tapering leaves can grow up to 45cm in length.
- Don't be alarmed if your Spider Plant suddenly sprouts long stems. During the growing season, Spider Plants produce long, stooping scapes adorned with petite, white flowers.
- Spider Plant flowers eventually turn into the plantlets or 'spiderettes' that have inspired the plant's common names. The offsets, to use the horticultural lingo, branch off from the mother plant like baby spiders dangling from a thread.
- There are more than 200 species of Spider Plant and some tower at more than a metre, though indoor varieties are unlikely to reach that size.
How to care for a Spider Plant
Light: Spider Plants aren't particularly fussy. A well lit spot away from direct sunlight is preferable but they can adapt to a shady position. However, if you notice the leaves losing their variegation, you might want to give the plant more light.
You can grow Spider Plants outside during the summer months, but remember to bring them in before the cold and frost sets in.
Soil: A free-draining potting compost will do.
Water: During the growing season, water regularly (as much as twice a week in hot temperatures). Remember to reduce watering in autumn and winter. If you're unsure, check the top two inches of soil are dry before watering your Spider Plant.
When it comes to repotting, you'll notice the secret to their longevity lies with their thick, fleshy roots which are incredibly adept at retaining moisture.
Feed: Feed with an organic fertiliser once every couple of weeks during the growing season.
Common Spider Plant problems
Brown tips: Brown tips aren't worth losing sleep over but they are a sign your plant isn't 100% happy. In most cases, brown tips are a symptom of dry hot air. Mist your plant or group it with other plants to increase the humidity and cut away the tips if you think they are an eyesore.
If brown tips are a recurring issue, find out how to beat them once and for all in this article.
Brown streaks: A sign of over watering. Remember to reduce the H20 your plant receives in winter.
Curling leaves and brown spots: This could mean the soil around the plant's roots has dried out and is a more common problem during the hotter months. Ensure plentiful water during spring and summer.
Pale, limp or yellowing leaves: A sign your plant is overheating and not getting enough light. Move to a brighter position away from a radiator.
Spider Plant propagation
The great thing about the Spider Plant is once you buy one, you rarely need to buy another of the same variety as Spider Plant propagation is super easy. And there are numerous ways to multiply your Spider Plant, which all yield impressive results. The Spider Plant's prolific nature makes it great for sharing with friends and family. It's also handy when you're looking for last minute gifts for plant lovers.
How to propagate your Spider Plant
- Peg the plantlet in some soil and cut the stem once it has rooted.
- Divide the mother plant at repotting time.
- Cut off the plantlets and pop the base of the plantlet in a glass of water, once rooted pot up.
Spider Plant varieties
Vittatum is thought to be the first variegated cultivar and displays lime green leaves with a bold white stripe down the centre. This was the most common variety up until the 1990s.
Variegatum is a newer and more compact option. The variegation is reversed with a deep green middle edged with white.
Why not jazz things up with the curly-leaved Chlorophytum Comosum'Bonnie'? It carries the traditional green colour with the white stripe in the centre but the foliage springs from the base in fun, unruly coils.
Chlorophytum comosum A rarer Spider Plant with multi-tonal green leaves. This Spider Plant lacks the white variegation of the others, making it better adapted to shadier positions.
Where to buy Spider Plant
You can find the Spider Plant for sale from independent sellers and nurseries on the Candide Marketplace. Grow your Spider Plant family here.