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Spider plants are one of the oldest plants out there to be collected for houseplant purposes. They were one of the original plants to be brought into popularity in people’s homes.
Spider plants are from the coastal areas of South Africa. So they really do not mind a well-draining mix. They do not need a lot of care and in a lot of places, they are considered invasive. They have been taken from South Africa and spread all across the world. In Australia, they are on the invasive plant list because they will essentially sprout little plants next week each other and continue to grow. We do have an article on invasive plants if you’d like to check that out and learn more about why spider plants are invasive but today we are going to talk about how to care for them.
There are 4 varieties of the spider plant( Clorophytum comosum) on the market right now. We have your standard all-green variety and then we also have a reverse variegated, variegated, and curly spider plant also known as a Bonnie spider plant. All of these are very popular, very inexpensive, and very commonly found all around the world. Make sure that you are keeping them inside and not planting them outside to keep them from spreading invasively.
Because spider plants have these very thick, tuberous, rhizomes they do not need a lot of water very often. So when you do water your spider plant wait until it is completely dried out it’s looking very sad. Then you give it some water. The plant will fill its tuberous rhizomes(little potato-like tubers) and hold on to that water. This enables the roots to sustain that plant for a really long time. Generally, you just don’t have to water it that often. Even in very hot conditions, it will be perfectly fine. In some cases, it may only need watering just once a month. So there is no need to go overboard because it’s very low maintenance and an easy care plant as far as the watering goes. Just set it on a shelf and let it grow.
Spider plants can handle a variety of temperatures. They can handle it when it’s slightly chilly, almost freezing and they can handle it when it is very hot and very humid outside like in tropical conditions. They are from South Africa. It is very warm down there a generally does not snow so spider plants are not frosting hardy. Just keep that in mind when you are placing them in your room or if you bring them out in the summertime. You can leave them out until the fall time then bring them in before that frost date. Do not set them out when it’s still frosty.
As far as humidity goes spider plants are not very temperamental about it. They are coastal plants that prefer higher humidity. They are used to having a lot of water around them. Not on them. They like to have quite a bit of humidity in the air. If they do not have enough humidity you will notice that their tips are going to get brown and a little crunchy. This is perfectly fine. You can just chop those off. Some people even like to chop and shape their plants while doing this so you can’t even tell there ever was crisping.
Generally, you can just go right across in a horizontal manner and just chop off the little brown tips. If you do not want your plant to have brown tips you can just give them a higher humidity. Spider plants are very easy to care and this is not something that they necessarily need in order to make it and continue to push out new growth for you.
When you are potting up your spider plants into their pots just try to do a well-draining mix. Do not something that is going to retain a lot of moisture. They do not need anything like sphagnum moss in there and you do not have to do some type of Calathea mix.
Generally, just 50% per light and 50% potting mix will be perfectly fine for it. They are not picky. As long as they are not sitting in a puddle of water they will be perfectly fine. If you do give them something with quite a bit of bark in it or some type of an aroid mix then it is probably going to be a little bit too airy. They won’t be able to retain enough moisture.
Spider plants have some fine roots along with their tubers so you do want to give them something smaller, finer-grained, to kind of grip on. Because they are from the coast something with perlite or sand to go with the soil will help them grip on a little bit better as well as give them drainage so that the water will just run through. They can soak it up and then be done and not rot.
We talked a little bit about how spider plants are invasive and they are invasive because they are so easy to propagate. Spider plants will grow a whole bunch of little plantlets from one giant stem. It can take up to 2 years for a spider plant to reach maturity and start pushing out that long stem. The stem will have flowers and it will plantlets. They can produce seed pods from those flowers and they do not need their flowers pollinated in order to make those spider plantlets. The flowers will produce seed pods if they are pollinated but the little plantlets will grow from that stem for you regardless.
They will start off as one tiny little leaf and continue to grow from there. They will get bigger and will become an entire plant. To get them to root you can put them in a little glass of water while they’re still attached to the plant or you can remove them from the plant entirely. You can reproduce them in a propagation box. You can also just take the stem and tuck the little plantlets back up while still attached to the mother plant in the pot. Just pin it down in there and then it will grow roots making your plant bushier than it already is.
Spider plants do not need a lot of light. If you give them full direct sun sometimes they can burn depending on how bright that sun is. However, they are from South Africa so they do tend to grow more quickly if you give them more light. If you pull them back and put them on a dark bookshelf away from the light they can still grow as well. They just grow much slower. You will not pass away though. They are very hearty plants. They survive the coast of South Africa and they can definitely continue growing in your home on a dark bookshelf.
These plants are very easy to care plants. There is a reason they have been such a popular plant for so long. There is a reason they were one of the first plants someone was brave enough to bring into their home to grow in a collection. They are very hearty and great for beginners. The only caveat is trying not to water them too much. Hopefully, this helps you a little bit to make your spider plant a little bit happier. If you have been undecided about getting spider plants maybe this will encourage you to get one. You will not regret having big beautiful variegated plants hanging around your home and you don’t even have to do much to keep them alive.