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Spider Plant: 7 Essential Plant Care Tips

The Essential Plant Care Guide for Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum variegatum

A staple house plant since at least the early 1900s, spider plants purify air and are relatively easy to grow with proper plant care  – perfect for a first-time plant owner! These plants, also known as ‘spider ivies’, have leaves resembling blades of grass  that grow from the center of the plant. Depending on the variety, the leaves can grow up to 3ft (0.9m) long.

While areas with access to bright, indirect light will encourage new growth and striped leaf patterns (depending on the type), this plant thrives in the humidity of your bathroom. The steamy atmosphere after a hot shower or bath echoes the humid South African rainforests, the plant’s native environment.

Spider plants can be planted directly into the ground as beautiful (and interesting) ground cover – just be sure to shelter them from direct sunlight! They do best in Hardiness Zones 9-11, as they cannot handle any frost. These plants thrive in loose, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. Be sure to check the soil type in your garden before planting to ensure it meets the needs of the plant.

They produce small, white or green flowers in clusters, blooming during late spring to early fall. At the tip of each flower, a small bunch of leaves will form, creating a mini-spider plant, called a “pup” or “spiderette.”

They are non-toxic to humans and animals; however, cats (and dogs!) have been known to play with and nibble on the long leaves. So, if you don’t want your plant to be disturbed, it is best to keep it away from your pets!

Plant Care

1. Light
  • Prefers bright to moderate indirect sunlight
    • Will tolerate lower light conditions
      • However, the striping on leaves in variegated types will become more prominent when exposed to brighter, indirect lighting
    • Hot, direct sun will scorch the leaves, causing brown tips and spots
2. Water
  • Allow the soil to dry to the touch between waterings
    • Lix’s Pro Tip: I water mine about once or twice per week
  • Sensitive to fluoride, which can be found in tap water
    • Lix’s Pro Tip: using distilled water will avoid leaf tip burn
3. Temperature & Humidity
  • Prefers temperatures between 55-80°F (13-27°C)
  • Maintain moderate humidity levels
    • Brown leaf tips may indicate that the air is too dry
    • Lix’s Pro Tip: mist the leaves to combat low levels of humidity, especially during the winter months
      • You can also bring your plant in the bathroom during your shower for a quick humidity boost!
4. Potting & Repotting
  • Use a well-draining potting mix
  • Grows relatively quickly and can easily become root bound – plan to repot about every other year
5. Pruning & Propagation
  • Little to no pruning is necessary
    • When grown outdoors as ground cover, you may need to trim the leaves in order to prevent overgrowing
  • Mature and healthy plants may produce ‘pups’ or ‘spiderettes’ – offshoots from the adult plant that can by propagated to create new plants
    • Allow pups to reach approximately 2in (5cm) in diameter before removing them from the mother plant
    • Place them in a container of water for 1-2 weeks, then plant them in soil!
6. Fertilizer
  • Feed up to twice a month in the spring and summer using a 10-10-10 mixture
7. Pests & Diseases

As I have said, there are many different varieties to choose from, including…

  • Vittatum: broad white stripe bordered by green edges; slightly curved leaves
  • Variegatum: broad green stripe bordered by white edges; slightly curved leaves; needs lots of sunlight to maintain its variegation
  • Bonnie: similar to Vittatum, but the leaves are much more curled; needs very little light
  • Zebra: yellow edges that will eventually turn white
  • Hawaiian: small in size; bright green leaves with champagne tones; also known as ‘Golden Glow’

Images of my Spider Plant

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