The spider plant is a classic, and for a good reason. What’s not to love about these plants? This leafy houseplant thrives with minimal care. Happy and healthy plants, send out pups so that you can expand your collection or gift plants to friends and family. The long foliage gently arches or curls, adding color and dimension to a space. Keep your plant looking its best by following these spider plant care tips.
Types of Spider Plants
Spider plants, also known as Chlorophytum comosum, spider ivy, and ribbon plant, originate from coastal areas of South Africa. Long, thin foliage grows from a central base in a rosette formation. The leaves grow up to 18 inches long and gently taper to a point. The foliage can be entirely green or feature white stripes that run the length of the leaves. Some of the more popular types of spider plants include:
- Airplane spider plant
- Bonnie spider plant (also available as variegated Bonnie spider plant)
- Fire Flash spider plant
- Hawaiian spider plant
- Ocean spider plant
- Variegated spider plant
- Zebra spider plant
Fire Flash Spider Plant
Most spider plant varieties look incredibly similar and are easy to identify as spider plants, but the Fire Flash spider plant is unique. This cultivar is different because it has stems that transition into broad leaves. The stems and midribs are orange, while the broad leaves are solid green. The Fire Flash is a lovely plant that will stand out in a home. While the Fire Flash looks different, spider plant care is similar across all varieties.
Spider Plant Light Needs
Spider plants are adaptable, and that is most apparent when it comes to their light needs. Bright to medium indirect light is best for spider plant care. These easy-care houseplants like a sunny perch but ensure they do not receive direct sunlight, which will burn the leaves. Spider plants can live in low light, but growth may be slowed, and variegation may appear subdued.
Rotate your spider plant a quarter turn each time you give the plant water. Moving the plant ensures each side receives consistent light and prevents the plant from leaning to one side.
How Often to Water Spider Plants
Water spider plants when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. This plant likes damp conditions, but overwatering is harmful. Spider plants have thick roots known as rhizomes. These tuberous roots store water, so the plant always has a water supply on hand. The rhizomes also allow spider plants to handle inconsistent watering since it has a backup supply.
The tips of the leaves will turn yellow when the plant is overwater. The leaves will droop and turn brown if the plant is underwatered. Hard water can cause the leaf tips to turn brown. Use distilled water or fill your watering can with tap water and leave it out for about a day, so the salt and minerals can dissipate before watering.
Best Soil for Spider Plants
Well-drained soil is best for proper spider plant care. This easy-going plant prefers a potting mix with a neutral pH, although it can handle slightly acidic or neutral soil.
Temperature for Spider Plants
Most homes are warm enough for this tropical plant to thrive. Spider plants like to be above 50° F. Keep the plant away from air conditioning vents or drafty windows and exterior doors, especially during the winter. Wait until the temperature warms up before moving your spider plant to a patio or outdoor space in the summer.
Spider Plant Humidity
Increased humidity is ideal for spider plant care, but this adaptable plant can handle the conditions in most homes. Leaf tips turning brown can be a sign of low humidity. Move the plant to an area with increased moisture in the air or place it near a humidifier or pebble tray.
Spider Plant Fertilizer
A well-fed spider plant will grow lush and leafy and look amazing. Feed spider plants monthly using a water-soluble fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer is best for proper spider plant care. Only feed the plant during the spring and summer when it is actively growing.
Pruning Spider Plants
Remove dead or damaged growth as needed. Brown or yellow leaf tips can be trimmed. Always use clean, sharp shears when trimming the plant. Spider plants with many plantlets may become leggy or have straggly growth. Propagate some of the plantlets, so they can be removed and direct energy back to the main plant.
When to Repot Spider Plants
Repot spider plants when roots emerge from the drainage holes in the pot or if growth slows. Plan to repot your spider plant about every two years. Select a pot with drainage about ⅓ larger than the root ball, so the plant has room to spread.
Do Spider Plants Bloom?
Spider plants bloom! Tiny white, star-shaped flowers appear on offshoots that later transition into plantlets. Multiple flowers bloom along a stem. The dainty flowers have white petals and pronounced stamens. The blooms are not showy, but they are lovely.
Spider Plant Propagation
Spider plants are so easy to maintain that they even do the bulk of the work regarding propagating. Healthy plants send out shoots known as pups or plantlets. Thin stems emerge from the center of the plant, and tiny spider plants grow at the ends of the stems. These tiny plantlets inspired the name spider plant since they resemble spiders as they dangle in the air.
Allow the plantlets to grow several inches before taking action. Spider plant pups can be propagated in soil or water. To soil propagate spider plants, place the plantlet on soil. You can place an empty pot with soil near the mother plant or tuck the plantlet into the same pot as the mother plant. Leave the stem connecting the pup to the main plant. You can use hair pins to secure the stem and hold the plantlet in place. When the new plant is established and has set down roots, trim the stem removing the pup from the main plant.
Water propagate spider plants by snipping the stem that connects the pup to the main plant. Place the base of the plantlet in water and wait. Roots should appear in a couple of weeks. Transplant the plantlet to soil when the roots are a couple of inches long.
Dividing Spider Plants
Spider plants can also be propagated through division. It’s easiest to divide plants when repotting. Gently separate the roots to create multiple plants. Each plant can be repotted in its own pot. Small plants can be potted in the same pot, but remember that spider plants are fast growers and will need room sooner than later.
Are Spider Plants Pet Friendly?
Spider plants are completely safe to have around cats and dogs. Eating any part of a spider plant is not harmful to pets, although eating too much of anything can cause bloating or an upset stomach. The cascading foliage and dangling plantlets may be intriguing to curious and playful cats, so be mindful of where you place your spider plant if you have cats. A high perch or an isolated hanging basket may get the plant up and out of reach.
Spider Plant Styling Tips
Spider plants are possibly the perfect hanging plant. Put this beauty in a hanging basket or hang the pot from a macrame hanger and let the foliage hang and plantlets tumble down. Place a spider plant on a pedestal or narrow table, and the foliage will engulf the table. Plant spider plants in plain pots because the container won’t be visible with all the greenery. Save your decorative containers for upright plants that will not engulf the pot.
Spider Plant Care Tips
If you want a leafy plant that thrives with very little effort, or if you just enjoy arching and curling foliage, then the spider plant is for you. This classic houseplant is adaptable, but this beauty will thrive when the right spider plant care is provided.