Thursday, November 8, 2012

How to Grow a Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum "Variegatum"

This is my brother's spider plant. For his lifestyle, which is very busy, this is a perfect plant choice for him. It has grown well at his home, so much so, that it has been separated a few times into different pots.

Spider plants are like a profusion of graceful and easy liveliness. They love to extend that liveliness with arching stalks that first produce white flowers and then new young plants that will begin growing at the tips of the stalks. It is easy to imagine them as small spiders or small airplanes. They are also known in some parts of the world as Airplane plants.

There is a more common species that has yellowish-white center stripes known as  Chlorophytum cosmosum "Vittatum".  There are two other Spider plant species that should be easy to find: one with a solid green leaf and one with a leaf that is predominantly white with a minimum of green color in the leaf. Fortunately, they are quite easy to grow.

You will often find them sold as hanging baskets.That is so their new "babies" can grow freely. They have been a houseplant favorite for over a century. They are quite easy to grow and great for a beginner. Their whimsical appearance and tolerance to survive even with some neglect have made them a perennial favorite.

It's been proven that plants do clean the air and some appear to be more effective than others. Spider plants or Airplane Plants are high on the list of air cleaners.  

Quick care instructions--
  • Put your Spider plant in bright indirect light to some direct sun. Full afternoon sun may be too strong but full morning sun would be great. The solid green-leafed spider plant tolerates lower light than the other species because it has more chlorophyll to make food.
  • Plants in a 6" (15cm) pot will use about 1/2 pint (1/4 liter) of water when necessary. ater thoroughly when the soil is good and dry just below the soil surface.
  • For a plant in an 8" (20 cm) diameter hanging pot, let it dry out about 1/2-1" below the soil surface and give it about a pint of water.
  • In a 10"(25cm) diameter hanging pot, they can usually handle about one quart (or almost a liter) of water for a thorough soak. Let them dry out about a 1/2"-1" below the soil surface, too.
  •  Fertilize regularly. 
  •  If their ends turn a little brown, they can be clipped off with a scissors.

  • New plantlets should be allowed to grow out about 2" or more before being clipped from the end of the stalks and can be rooted in water.
  • If they are showing roots 1/2" (almost 2 cm) or longer they can be planted directly in potting soil.  
  • Older plants can be divided into individual plants and repotted into separate pots.


***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click below: Indoor Garden TV show


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