Spider Plant – How to Care for Chlorophytum Comosum

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The spider plant (Chlorophytum) is an easy to take care for house plants that take low maintenance, grow well and are really hard to kill. This makes it perfect for the beginner plant lover. Chlorophytum never really goes out of style, thanks to its formidable stamina and beautiful foliage.

The spider plant is adaptable to every environment and is also easy to propagate. As it doesn’t have high requirements can place it almost anywhere, whether at your study table or as a hanging plant.

Not only is are these pretty, they are also famous for their incredible air purifying qualities. They make a healthy addition to your home.

Bonnie Spider Plant

Quick Summary

All the relevant info at a glance. Read the whole article for more in depth information about Spider Plant / Chlorophytum, caring for the plant and how to keep it happy and thriving in your home.

Spider plant can also bloom occasionally. It can develop white flowers at the end of their long pointed stems. .

Plant name: Spider Plant, Chlorophytum, airplane plant, ribbon plant, and spider ivy

Native to: South Africa

Lighting: bright indirect sunlight is ideal, will grow in no ideal conditions too

Care: watering roughly once a week spring to fall, occasionally in winter, average warmth

Common Problems: not really prone to pests, browning leaves

Toxicity: Considered Non-Toxic to Humans and Pets, however can have mild hallucinogenic effect when ingested (read more here)

Common Spider Plant Varieties

The most common varieties of spider plants are the variegated forms;

  • Vittatum
  • Variegatum 
  • Mandaianum

We’ve got a handy article about most common chlorophytum varieties with photos if you want to add wonderful spider plants to your collection.

How To Care For Spider Plant

Spider Plant Care

The spider plant is one of the easiest plants to take care of. With proper care, this cute plant will produce tiny plantlets, which can be potted and will grow into new individual plants, thus making your spider plant collection even bigger. They make a great gift to your family and friends.

In summer, spider plant tend to be thirstier than in the winter season when you only need to water them sparingly.

Bringing the Plant Home

Your plant will need a while to adapt to the new environment, so don’t be concerned if it doesn’t look it’s best in the first days or weeks in its new home.

Although the chlorophytum isn’t prone to pests, it’s still best to place the plant in quarantine when you bring it home in case it does come with a uninvited guest or two.

Light – Where to Place Your Plant?

Spider plant loves a well lit spot with indirect sunlight. With proper light exposure, it can bloom to the full peak and spread its spiky leaves evenly. It will grow in places that receive less light too.

Exposure to direct sunlight will make the green fade on the leaves and turn the leaves yellow.

An ideal place for the thi plant is near the window where the it gets weaker sunlight and can absorb it without being burnt.

Watering and Misting Leaves

Spider Plant Care - How to Keep you Chlorophytum Comosum happy and thriving
Spider Plant @ dropStock

Spider plants require a good amount of water, but don’t require a strict watering routine, meaning the plant won’t die if you miss out on a watering. This is one of the reasons why a spider plant is a good beginner plant). Generally watering once a week in summer to fall and a little less in winter is enough.

They can tolerate a little over-watering however consistently overwatering can kill the plant.

You can mist leaves occasionally in summer.

Overwatering Spider Plant

If you are overwatering the spider plant, it will let you know. Leaves will start turning brown and will eventually die off. Stop watering the plant and wait until soil completely dry before resuming watering, less frequently naturally.

Under Watering Spider Plant

Having dry soil between watering for a while is OK, but if the spider plant goes without water for too long it can become damaged. When spider plant doesn’t have enough water, its foliage will start to fade to a lighter colour.

Humidity & Temperature

Spider plant tolerates many different humidity levels, it will do well in high humidity as fairly well as in rooms with dryer air.

If the air humidity is too dry, the leaves can be misted to help with humidity levels.

Spider plant prefers warmer temperatures. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 35°F (just above 0° C) but won’t really grow or thrive with temperatures lower than 65° F (18° C). Ideal temperatures for spider plant are in the 70°-90° F range (21°-32° C).

Cleaning and Pruning Spider Plants

Trimming Dried Leaf Tips on Spider Plant @ Alavanta

Pruning is essential for every house plant, whether they are indoor plants or outdoor plant. This will help the plant on good leaves and not wasting nutrients and energy on the leaves that are done for.

Use a sharp, sterilized blade or pruner. Remove all discoloured, disease affected and dead foliage.

If you are seeing dry brown tips on leaves, trim the tips of leaves off.

If your plant has collected dust, you can either rinse it off with water or dust the leaves with a soft cloth.

Fertilizing

The spider plant will enjoy moderate fertilization, so you can add adding fertilizer to your plant care routine. The fertilizer will help your plant grow faster and stronger – however not adding fertilizer won’t kill your plant. Adding fertilizer during growing season once a month will be enough.

There is no specific fertilizer the chlorophytum prefers, so you can use an all plants one (we always recommend organic if possible).

Over-fertilizing is an issue with spider plants and it can cause more damage than underfeeding. If your plant tips are suddenly becoming brown, overfertilizing can be the cause (there are other cases for brown tips too, so keep that in mind). If over-fertilizing is the cause, reduce the amount of fertilizer you are adding.

Repotting

Once your plant becomes too big for its pot it’s time to repot! Check the roots at the bottom of the pot, if they are showing (and there are many), this indicates the need for a bigger pot. Choose a slightly larger pot with drainage holes.

Gently remove the plant from pot, remove old soil (manually and rinse it off with water), trim roots if necessary.

Soil

Spider plant does not like sitting in wet soil for too long so it needs a well-draining soil, leca or the mix of potting soil with leca.

Propagation

There are so many things to love when it comes to spider plants and their care. Another thing too add to the list is their easy propagation. It’s one of the easiest plants to propagate.

Spiderettes on Mother Plant @ Imaginechina-Tuchong

The mature plant produces spiderettes at the end of their long stiff stem. Cut off the small spiderettes and plant them in the moist soil. It’s best to use propagating soil, a soil mix sold in most gardening stores (and similar). Soon your little plant will grow actively.

Another method is to place the spiderette in a glass of water for 2 weeks. When little roots appear you can transfer them to soil.

Toxicity

Chlorophytum comosum is considered non toxic to humans, cats and dogs. (animal toxicity information ASPCA)

However it can cause mild hallucinogenic effects when ingested by cats and cats can be attracted to this plant because of its long foliage that is fun to play with. Discourage your cat from playing with or nibbling at the spider plant.

* There have been no life threatening health issues reported with Spider Plants. Keep in mid toxicity information on plants can change. This is something that is best talked about with your veterinarian. Even with non toxic plants, nibbling plants should be avoided and keeping plants away from pets, especially if they like to eat them, is best.

Common Spider Plant Problems and Pests

Spider plants are generally healthy plants, not really prone to any disease. They can get pests, but aren’t prone to them either.

Aphids may attack a weak plant and ironically, spider mites.

Other Common Issues

Brown Tips on Chlorophytum Plant

The most common issue is the browning of tips of the plant, but it can be prevented with proper care.

Some possible causes for this issue are low humidity level, fluoride content in water, Salt build-up from over fertilizing, high sunlight exposure, and water stress form under or overwatering.

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