What is a Spider Plant?
The common name of the Spider Plant is not beckoning if you're a little squeamish to the creepy crawlies, But don't pass this one up so fast! Less intimidatingly, if you need to fill air space it is often called an airplane plant too! This airy indoor plant is typically hanging in baskets, its long leaves draping down. It's arching stems flow over the edges like a ballerina poised in a stance. At the end of each slender stem are baby plantlets with more lime green, variegated leaves. They add lushness and interest to the plant making the top-ten-favorite-list for many.
These plants bring thoughts of the lush jungles of Southern Africa to your home, the place they are native to. It is one of the best air purifying plants, meaning it will keep your house looking and feeling fresh! Many people choose to put these in macrame slings, but they also do well on top of shelves and in indirect light. It even can go out to your patio in the summer if it is partially shaded. And bonus, you can propagate them into new plantings for yourself, friends and family. Hence why it's a great 'pass-along' plant.
Bloom: Small clusters of white, delicate flowers bloom on tall, arching stems of the plant. Fading flowers are succeeded with leaves that appear and flourish into plantlets. Flowering can occur in either the spring or summer, but are not consistent. The flowers often don’t last long, so snap a picture while they are around! Once the flowers leave, they will make way for “spiderlings,” or propagatable new plant offshoots!
Toxicity Level: This plant is non-toxic to pets, cats, and dogs, according to the ASPCA website. However, studies have found that this plant may give off a mild hallucinogenic impacting cats. Cats tend to swat at the stems while playing and consequently consume them. Thus, gastrointestinal issues may occur. Luckily, these plants can be hung to avoid any curious critter from snacking on them when they shouldn’t be!
Air Cleaner: This green variegated leaved plant is perfect for filtering toxins in the air. Formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene are the toxins it removes. So, breathe deeper with this plant in your air space! Make room for this indoor plant in all areas of the home suitable to its light needs to get the full benefits so it can keep your home fresh and healthy.
Great for People:
- Who claim they don't have a green thumb
- Who like to 'share the love' with plants
- Who have hanging space or shelving so the stems can be on full display
- Who like variety and variegated leaves
Great for Spaces:
- Such as rooms with bright indirect light (southern and western exposures)
- That have stale air and need some refreshing
- With capacity for hanging plants or that have tops shelves that need some greenery
- That need a fun, variegated vibe
How to Care for a Spider Plant
Light preference: These adaptable indoor plants are one of the simplest to grow. It grows in several conditions, although it prefers bright, indirect light. Rotate your houseplant a quarter turn each time you water to provide adequate light on all sides. The leaves stripes will stay more vibrant the better light it gets, and it will create more spiderettes for you! Too hot of a space or too much direct light will result in burning, however, so be careful!
Water/Humidity: Water when you receive the plant. Water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Depending on the temperatures and light in your home, water every 10-14 days. Check the soil moisture each week for dryness. If your water is particularly hard, consider using distilled, filtered, or rain water. Spritz each week to raise the humidity and keep these plants happy.
Ideal Temps: Spider Plants perform best with temperatures between 60-90°F (15°-32°C). They like higher humidity but not standing water. Be careful of putting these plants in a place where they might get chilly, such as near a window in the winter or by an air conditioning unit. Too many cold drafts can harm the plant and stunt its growth. A good spritz once a week will keep them from avoiding leaf tip burn.
Plant Food/Fertilizer: See our available organic fertilizer. Fertilize once per month in the spring and summer for optimum growth and plant health. Don’t use food in the fall and winter, the plant needs time to recuperate and won’t need the extra food!
Repotting Frequency: Spider Plants prefer being pot bound, but more moisture is needed to prevent the roots from drying out. When you find your plant needs more moisture frequently, it's time to repot. When transplanting, use a well-drained potting mix. Split the plant up into smaller portions to 'spread the love' or accommodate it in a larger container.
Cleaning: As the plant develops an abundance of stems with leaflets, remove them and propagate. Too many become tangled and can zap the main plant of energy. If brown tips occur, trim off with a sterile pruner and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
While they may be cute, don’t let too many spiderettes hang off of the main plant, it will take a lot of the plant’s resources to maintain! Instead, keep an eye on the spiderettes and watch for little knobby protrusions. These mean the plant is ready to root! Snip the spiderette by the runner, and place it in some soil with healthy drainage. Rooting hormone can help this process, but shouldn’t be needed at this stage. You also can propagate the plant in water. Place the spiderette in a glass of filtered or diluted water for a few weeks while the roots develop, then move to soil. Make sure that the water glass is changed every few days, and keep it in bright indirect light to encourage growth!
Common Issues of the Spider Plant
- Leaf tip burn may occur if the Spider Plant is not receiving enough humidity or moisture. Therefore, modify the watering program and make sure that the plant isn’t in harsh sunlight that may be hurting it.
- If leaves turn black or brown, then overwatering may be the culprit. Check the soil and make sure the plant has proper drainage so it doesn’t develop root rot or other issues.
- If you find reddish-brown tips, it's a good indication of too much fluoride in the water. Switch to filtered water or use rainwater.
Complimentary Plants with your Spider Plant:
Variegated English Ivy is another superb air quality plant that is a hanging vine. Combine with your Spider Plant since it's a more undemanding beginner plant and requires similar humidity. This plant's variegated leaves drape over the container and provide a lush elegance to any space.
For another air space or shelf plant, try this popular requested plant! The Golden Pothos prevails at removing several toxins from the air. This indoor plant is an easy-care plant to maintain. Its beautiful draping leaves spill over and gives you that tropical green space to achieve inside your home.
For more information on caring for your new indoor plant, check out our comprehensive care guide here.