Plant Profile: Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is one of those rare and fascinating plants that just so happens to be low maintenance. This species offers owners much more than what they bargained for with its unique ability to regrow itself. While this plant is often adored as a hanging statement piece in our homes, it is much more than meets the eye. The Spider plant landed itself in NASA’s Clean Air Study and is noted for its ability to remove numerous pollutants from the air (making for a better night’s sleep) .


The Spider plant is native to South and West Africa, and is recognized for its narrow white and green striped leaves. This plant belongs to the asparagus family (Asparagaceae) and was first introduced to Europe in the 18th century. It didn’t take long for the Spider plant to gain popularity in the Victorian era and was quickly found in hanging baskets in homes as an ornamental plant.


To maintain your luscious and bountiful plant, you’ll need an organic nutrient rich base. Along with a nourishing mixture, including compost and coco chips into your soil will allow oxygen to reach your plant’s roots and aid in aeration. Given that this plant prefers its roots not to remain wet for extended periods of time, you can use cactus mixture as the base for your mix. If you use cactus or succulent soil from the store, be sure to add worm casting to balance this mix and help enrich the soil while also retaining some moisture.


When potting your Spider, aim to transition this plant during the spring and summer months. This plant prefers to be a bit more snug in its pot (even a little root-bound) so you won’t want a container much larger than what it was previously in. One sign that your plant will need a new home is if its baby spiders are becoming smaller or producing less. 

You’ll want to water this plant more during its beginning stages of its life or when first re potted. Check the top two inches of the soil with your fingertips and beneath your plant to be sure it’s not wet before adding water. If you see browning tips, this could be a sign of salt or chemical build up from your water. This species is particularly sensitive to fluoride and chlorine and will start to show burnt tips if irritated. When this happens, allow your water to sit overnight to help evaporate any potential chlorine.


While a warm and tropical environment is ideal for the Spider plant, we know this is not always attainable. Given the humid nature of this plant’s native climate, be sure your plant is far from any air vents or windows during the winter to avoid any cold drafts. Browning tips on your leaves are also an indication that your plant is in need of more moisture. Your plant will thrive in conditions with higher humidity and bright indirect light. An ideal place for the Spider would be in a bathroom in your home next to a large window. The spider plant will also enjoy some outdoor space as long as it doesn’t get hit by the sun directly for too long.


When it comes to the Spider plant, you can skip the typical propagation technique and plant your plantlets directly into new soil! The Spider plant is celebrated most for its planets or  “baby pups” that can be found popping up all around your parent plant. If your mini spider plants growing from your parent plant have roots, this is an indication that your plantlets are ready to be transferred directly into new soil. This process saves much more time than your typical leaf in a jar propagation station!

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