Spider Plant

Description:
Spider plants have long blade like leaves that form from the center of the plant and have pointed tips. The leaves or blades can get up to 3 foot long and resemble blades of grass.

The plant can be found in solid green or green with white edges and white with green edges. Narrow stems grow from the plant and can reach up to 5 feet in length. The stems will produce small, dainty white flowers and baby plants that can be propagated.

While mostly used in containers or hanging baskets, they can be planted directly in the ground. When planting in the garden or flower bed, they need to be sheltered from direct sunlight.

Spider Plant

Spider Plant

Lighting:
Spider plants can grow in a variety of lighting conditions, except direct sunlight. They do best when kept in indirect lighting and even grow well in artificial lighting. A Spider plant that receives at least 12 hours of bright, indirect light per day will produce more babies.

Watering:
Throughout the summer Spider’s should be watered regularly and soil kept evenly moist. But, during the winter months the soil should be allowed to dry out briefly between waterings.

Water the plant on the soil surface and not on the leaves, water will just run off the leaves and not soak into the soil. Spider plants also like slightly warm or room temperature water, cold water could damage the roots.

The plants long, tuber like roots store water, but are also the main problem with watering this plant. The roots quickly take up space in the pot and prevent water from soaking through to the center of the roots.

To make sure that the plant receives enough water, you can sit the plant in a sink and allow the water to soak into the plant from the bottom up. Then let the plant drain before rehanging it.

Most homes humidity is too low during the winter months for these plants. Frequent misting them will help keep an infestation of spider mites from attacking the plant.

Soil:
The perfect soil will drain well, but also retain moisture. A good high quality potting soil or soil formulated for African Violets is a good choice.

Fertilization:
Spider plants don’t need a lot of fertilizing. It’s best to only feed them several times a month and dilute the feeding solution to half of the recommended strength. During winter months the feeding times can be reduced to once per month.

Propagation:
When the Spider plant babies form roots they can be cut off of the mother plant and planted in pots. They can also be rooted in water if you suspend the plant and just let the roots of the baby sit in the water.

Small pots filled with soil can also be set beside the parent plant and the baby secured into the dirt. Once the baby has rooted itself into the soil, cut it away from the parent.

Tips:
Spider plants like to be root bound and will grow much better if there’s just a little extra room around the roots. Potting a small plant into a large pot can actually kill the plant!

The soil moisture can let you know when the plant needs re-potting. If the soil is dry down to 1/2 inch within several days after watering, it’s probably time to re-pot.

If the plants leaves begin to feel sticky it could be a sign that the plant is infested with either scale or aphids. Both of these plant pests secrete a sticky substance.

Some varieties of Spider plants can be very sensitive to the chlorine found in tap water. And, sodium can also damage the plant. If you’d prefer you can water your plant with distilled water, filtered water or allow tap water to sit over night before using it.

Common Name: Spider Plant, Airplane Plant, Ribbon Plant
Genus: Chlorophytum
Family: Agavaceae
Plant Type: Perennial
Origin: South Africa
Humidity: Average
Temperature: 65-75 °F Day 50-55 °F Night
Height: 3 foot
Color: Green, green and white
Insects and Diseases: Spider mites, scales, aphids and whiteflies

Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved

6 Comments

  1. joanne stokes
    Oct 5, 2010

    I have several airplane plants that I have planted outside around a tree. They are beautiful. Do I need to dig them up and put in pots and bring inside for the winter? This is the first time I have done this and I hate to loose them. If I leave them in the ground and they die back this winter will they come back this spring?

  2. Joe Cox
    Oct 9, 2010

    It depends on where you live :) Spider plant’s can take pretty cold weather (for a house plant) but if it freezes in the winter where you are they will die.
    I think Zone 8 is about where you can start to expect them to live over winter.
    If you treat them as annuals you can grow them outside almost anywhere. Just keep the mother plant inside and plant a few of the spiders outside every spring.

  3. Suzanne Staff
    Feb 20, 2012

    I am a first timer at growing these wonderful plants.Can I use a milk jug to grow them in?If so,how many can I put in it?

  4. Jo Neesam
    Oct 10, 2012

    Should I trim the longer growth? Or leave natural?

  5. Kathy
    May 13, 2013

    Are spider plants poisonous to Cats, dogs or other household animals?

  6. Trisha Shelhart
    May 25, 2013

    My spider plant produced babies and i cut them and gave them to friends. I havent gotten any more babies in months….why?

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