Spider Plantsare the unruly wild child of the houseplant world.
Those long stems, with babies and flowers at the ends, just spray out any which way they want to! These hanging plants, with fleshy rhizomatic roots, need a bit of room to show off their arching displays. Spider Plants are one of the most easy care houseplants around, are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, adaptable and durable as can be. If you’re “houseplant challenged” then Spider Plants, aka Airplane Plants, are for you. I love these plants for all their wackiness and actually grow them outdoors in a shaded spot. They’re as easy to care for outdoors as they are in the garden.
Here’s what you need to know about caring for these trailing plants whose arching leaves look like large blades of grass. Most importantly, they adapt to a wide variety of conditions in your home.
Water: Low to average. Depending on how warm & bright your house is, this might be every 10-14 days. Water them when they’re almost dry & be sure to let the water drain all the way through the pot. If your water is high in salts, consider using distilled water. When I was a plant maintenance technician, I preferred to take hanging plants to a sink when watering time came around. This took the guess work out of when the water would come spilling out.
Light: Here’s where Spider Plants are most adaptable. They prefer nice bright light (like a west, north or east window) but will do fine in lower light conditions. Just know that if you have 1 of the variegated varieties, it’ll revert to solid green. A south exposure is fine too just as long as it’s not in a hot window. It’ll burn baby burn. They’ll actually do fine in good strong artificial light & for more about that subject it’s best to refer to our book Keep Your Houseplants Alive. Be aware that they probably won’t produce as many babies without natural light.
Soil:Spider Plants are not too fussy in regards to soil. Just be sure to use a good organic potting soil which is labeled for houseplants or indoor plants. It’s very important that it drains well.
Fertilizer: Easy does it. Use an organic,liquid houseplant fertilizer at recommended strength in late Spring & then again in mid Summer.
Pests: I’ve seen them with mealybug & scale. Propagation: Spider Plant babies are miniature duplicates of mama & very easy to propagate. For more on this, along with pest control, use our houseplant care book Keep Your Houseplants Alive as a guide.
Tips: Spider Plants, whose botanic name is Chlorophytum comosum, like being potbound so don’t rush to transplant them.Don’t let too many babies hang on the mother plant. Remove some of them because they’ll zap out some of the energy out of mama.
They’re considered to be non-toxic to pets and as you will see in our book, many houseplants aren’t. Nonetheless, you don’t want Spider Plants to be used like crunchy grass with Fluffy or Fido munching away on them.
The biggest benefit that Spider Plants have (okay,this is tied with easy care) is that they’re super duper air purifying warriors. They take in toxins we don’t want to breathe making the air around us cleaner. If your room is large, you’ll definitely need a few of them.