Despite its less than appealing name, the spider plant is a popular hanging houseplant that produces tiny plantlettes that hang from the mother plant much like spiders hang from a web.
The spider plant is easy to grow, it does well in a home environment and can withstand less than perfect conditions without much damage to its overall health.
The plant is also popular for its air purifying capabilities, although you’ll need several of them to purify an entire home.
If you’re looking for a trailing plant that you can keep in a hanging planter, you should consider the spider plant.
To get the most out of your plant, I encourage you to read this quick spider plant care guide that details the most important aspects of growing a spider plant.
Spider Plant Care Tips
Spider plants are easy to grow because of their adaptability to a wide range of conditions. Plus, it’s a plant that isn’t prone to diseases, making its maintenance easy as well.
The spider plant grow to about 24 inches high. Its roots are about 2-4 inches, while its long leaves reach a length between 8 and 18 inches. The leaves are long, but very narrow between 0.2 and 1 inch.
In terms of light requirements, the spider plant is undemanding and it can grow even in semi-shade or partial direct sunlight. In my experience, bright indirect light is the most beneficial for these types of plants.
I would avoid exposing them to direct sunlight for too long as the leaves become scorched if exposed to too much direct light.
In summer, you should water your spider plant liberally. You should aim for even moisture of the soil. You don’t want the soil to be too dried out or too moist. You must prevent the soil from becoming soggy and the roots to rot. In winter, you should cut back on watering to avoid the same issues. You should let the soil dry out before the next watering.
When watering, make sure to water on the soil surface and not over the leaves, otherwise the water will just run off the leaves.
If you’re using tap water to water your plants, let the water “breathe” for a couple of hours for the chlorine to dissipate from the water.
Letting the water sit for a while will also warm it up to room temperature, making sure you won’t “shock” the plant with water that is too cold for them.
Temperature & Humidity
The ideal temperature range for spider plants is between 70 and 90°F. This is a temperature range that we can maintain in our homes throughout the year.
Temperatures below 50 F are still tolerated, but don’t expect the plant to grow at low temperatures. Temperatures below 35 F are dangerous to your plant and may damage your plant if exposed to such temperatures.
The spider plant can tolerate temperatures above 90 F but its transpiration rate will increase as well as its uptake of potentially dangerous micronutrients. Therefore, if possible, do your best to keep the temperature within the ideal range for these plants.
The spider plant enjoys moderate humidity. It’s especially important to increase humidity around the plant during the winter months when the air in our homes becomes too dry for them.
You should mist the plant frequently and you may even take the plant into the bathroom while you’re showering to increase humidity.
A well-draining potting soil mix is all these plants need. Get a high quality potting soil or go for a potting soil designed for African violets.
Look for soil with at least 50% peat. Pine bark, vermiculite, perlite and styrofoam beads are also great for supporting good drainage but also retaining some moisture that’s needed for the spider plant.
You can fertilize up to two times a month during spring and summer as it’s best to keep fertilizing down to a minimum to avoid overfertilization.
You can use a liquid fertilizer or pellets. Avoid fertilizers with a high fluoride and boron content.
Potting & Repotting
Spider plants don’t require frequent repotting. They do well being root bound in small pots since most of their growth is directed to shooting plantlets.
Repot during spring if the roots are visible at the surface of the soil. When transplanting to another pot, pick one that’s at least 2 inches larger than the current pot.
Spider Plant Propagation
Spider plants are not only easy to care for, they are also extremely easy to propagate because of the plantlets that the plant creates in the spring.
The easiest way to go about propagating the spider plant is to set up small pots next to the parent plant and secure the plantlets into the soil. Once they get rooted, you can cut them away from the parent plant.
New plants can also be grown from the small stalks the plant shoots. You can also take plantlets and root them in water and plant them in soil once they develop roots.
Either way, spider plant propagation is easy to carry out and you can create many new pots from the plantlets that grow during the spring.
Different Types of Spider Plant
The standard spider plant is actually all green, without any variegation. But since variegated varieties are preferred by most, it’s rare to find a non-variegated version in stores.
There are a few different variegated spider plants varieties:
Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Variegatum’
This is the most widespread variety of spider plant. It features a white stripe in the middle of each leaf blade.
Chlorophytum Laxum ‘Zebra’
The stripes are located on the edges of the leaf blade and they also have a yelowish-white color. The leaf center is green.
Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum’
This spider plant variety is very similar to the Chlorophytum Laxum Zebra variety, except the edges aren’t yellow-white but white.
Hawaiian Spider Plant
I like this variety best. It has a light green color and although it starts out as a variegated plant, as the plant matures, the leaves turn green and lose their variegation.
Regardless of variety, these plants are easy to grow, don’t require intensive maintenance, and they’re also resistant to diseases and pests.
Spider plants can tolerate a range of conditions, which makes it an ideal plant for any household.
Spider Plant Diseases & Pests
Spider plants have a high resistance to diseases, but they’re not completely immune to them. These plants have a few problems they are prone to. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to have serious issues with these plants.
Overwatering will cause the roots to rot, so make sure you are giving your spider plant enough water but not as much to make the soil soggy.
Browning of the tip of spider plant leaves is fairly common, especially if the humidity is low and the plant is not getting enough water. A build-up of salt and chemicals can also cause tips to brown, so avoid using chlorinated and fluoridated water when watering your spider plants.
Other diseases like scales and mealybugs are much less common, but they can happen, so watch out for sticky surfaces on your plant, and prevent the disease from spreading to other plants by treating the plant, or disposing of it.
Spider Plant FAQs
Although they’re easy to care for and aren’t fussy, there are few more things to note about the spider plant.
Are Spider Plants Toxic for Pets?
The spider plant is listed by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as a plant that is not toxic for pets.
Cats seem to enjoy this plant, especially because of its dangly spiderettes that they can play with. But there is another aspect that explain the allure spider plants have for cats — its mild hallucinogenic properties.
Indeed, spider plants have a hallucinogenic effect on cats similar to that of catnip, which explains why cats seem to be fond of chewing on this houseplant.
Cut off damaged parts down to the base and put the
What is the Lifespan of Spider Plants?
Spider plants can live for decades if provided with the right conditions. Because they’re kept in an artificial environment in our homes, often their lifespan is cut short.
Does a Spider Plant Help Clean Air?
Yes, the spider plant does help clean the air in your home, although you’ll need more than one plant to reap its benefits.
My Spider Plant Lost its Variegation, is this Normal?
If a variegated spider plant loses its white-yellow streaks and turns completely green, you’ll need to offer it more sunlight and the variegation will return.
Spider plants do well in apartments, homes, and offices, and they’re an especially popular hanging plant. Their adaptability to a range of conditions and their easy maintenance make them a go-to plant for beginners and trailing plant enthusiasts alike.
Spider plants can be easily propagated by harvesting the offshoots of the adult plant and planting them in a different pot to start new plants.