Spider Plant Care – How To Grow Chlorophytum Comosum

The Spider plant comes from South Africa.

It was introduced in England around the 19th century as a houseplant, although these days it’s widely grown in Western Australia.

The botanical name, Chlorophytum comosum, doesn’t have any special meaning as it simply translates to ‘green plant’ which hints at the green leaves of the plant.

Chlorophytum Spider PlantPin

Other common names and nicknames for the Spider plant include:

  • Airplane plant
  • St. Bernard’s lily
  • Ribbon plant
  • Spider ivy

The plant comes in three main varieties. The variegated species is the most popular, found in households around the world.

The second variety called Shamrock is quite rare and has a bright green color.

The third variety of the Spider plant has curly leaves and curly plantlets and that’s why it’s called the Bonnie Curly Spider plant.

Growing The Spider Plant

The Spider plant grows up to 24” tall. Its roots don’t grow much, only up to 4” in length. The length of the leaves varies a lot, between 8” and 18” inches.

Because of its origins, the Spider plant doesn’t need a lot of water but it does need plenty of sunlight.

While sunlight is a definite must, the plant prefers temperatures ranging from 70° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit. [1]

The clusters of flowers are branched. Although initially dense, the greenish-white flowers die off fast.

When fully mature, inflorescences are scarce. This makes the elongated leaves the plant’s main appeal.

The plant thrives when the soil goes a bit dry in between watering sessions.

It doesn’t really need any fertilizer to grow but any green plant fertilizer added during the summer will help the plant develop faster.

The Spider plant doesn’t need a lot of grooming. However, the occasional pruning to bring it closer to the base may help.

How To Propagate Chlorophytum

Propagation is usually done by planting plantlets or spiderettes soon after they develop strong roots. Another way to propagate the plant is by root division.

Caring For The Chlorophytum Plant

The Spider plant is one of the easiest plants to take care of even if you have no gardening experience.

They’re already accustomed to harsh conditions and they’re also solid enough to allow for plenty of mistakes.

If you’re the type that forgets watering the plants then you’re in luck.

This species doesn’t need too much water. It needs bright, but indirect, light in order to flourish.

It can also survive direct sunlight but it’s not required.

Spider Plant Pests, Diseases, Or Problems

A very common problem is salt buildup in the soil. This is usually a direct cause of fluoride-rich water. This may cause the leaves to brown. However, this doesn’t kill the plant.

The Spider ivy doesn’t really attract any specific diseases or pests. But if kept in unsatisfactory conditions, it can become a target for spider mites or other insects.

Aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and mealybugs can creep their way into your flower arrangement and start eating away at your Spider plants. If that happens, rinsing with water is worth a shot before turning to insecticides.

A natural insecticide may also be tried if you’re not a fan of chemicals. A vinegar-based insecticide may do the trick if the pest problem is not urgent.

Tips, Tricks, And Suggestions About Airplane Plants

If you experience browning leaves, flush the soil of salts.

You can do this by using rainwater or distilled water. Do this periodically every couple of weeks to avoid salt buildup altogether.

Just because the plant likes some dry soil and can retain plenty of water doesn’t mean it likes a scorching environment.

If you can’t increase the humidity in the air, try spraying the Spider plant with water in between watering.

When planting spiderettes, it is best if you root them close to the mother plant.

Allow them to root first and then cut them from the mother plant.

After the plant grows enough and develops fleshy roots, you may also want to repot it.

When the roots are fairly visible above the soil, watering becomes difficult and a larger container is preferred.

Every couple of years, propagation by root division is the best way to give the old plant new life.

Best Ways To Use Airplane Plants In Design – Indoors Or Outdoors

The Spider plant can be grown both inside and out.

Although the leaves grow quite long, the Spider plant always looks impressive when placed on interior edges or hung above windows.

Due to the reach of the plant, using it in floor arrangements may not be a good idea.

The plant also helps improve air quality which is another reason for its popularity as a household plant. [2]

Buying Tips

Variegated Spider plants are common in garden centers, and online stores.

They’re easy to find and very easy to propagate. But if you’re looking for other varieties, you may not find them in everyday nurseries.

You probably have a better chance of ordering mature plants or babies online from specialized shops or popular online marketplaces.

What Are The Most Popular Spider Plant Species And Varieties?

The variegated Bonnie Spider plant is a very interesting species.

It comes with a creamy white stripe down the middle of the leaves and plenty of curls and twists.

A variety called the Zebra Grass Spider plant is also in high demand due to its white-edged leaves.

This one has rather straight leaves but long enough to look great when hung overhead.

Last but not least, the Hawaiian Spider plant is another interesting variation.

Unlike other Spider plants, it doesn’t show any hint of white.

However, as the plant ages, it develops different shades of green down the middle, at the edges, and at the tips of the leaves.


Although it’s one of the easiest household plants to take care of, the Spider plant has many varieties.

Luckily, all varieties of the plant can be propagated in the same way, which makes it easy to create a complex and impressive arrangement in just a few years.

Just note that not all Spider plants also make flowers which is why they’re not the go-to choices for hanging arrangements.

[1] https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/shrub_fact_sheets/chlcoma.pdf
[2] http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/houseplants/houseplants-that-clean-the-air.html