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Chlorophytum comosum aka Spider plant | care & propagation

One of the pillar plants in the houseplant world, the Spider plant has been part of our homes for many many decades now. It’s easy to care for and once it starts growing you’ll find yourself with many new baby Spider plants. In this post I’m going to share care tips to keep your Spider plant happy and thriving!

Spider plant Varieties

Scientific name: Chlorophytum comosum

There are different varieties of Spider plants. The most common ones that you can find in stores and garden centers are C. Vittatum, C. Variegatum and C. Bonnie.

As you may know, they got the name “Spider plant” after the way they look. They push out baby chutes, looking like spiders climbing down their web. They are such cool plants that can decorate your space in many different ways. You can place them on your desk, table, shelf, hanging down the wall…

With their baby chutes, they actually look like hanging plants, but without them, they are cute table top plants.

When should you water your Spider plant? | Watering

The right watering is extremely important because Spider plants can’t withstand being overwatered. That’s why it’s important to let the soil dry out between watering.

Spider plant is very interesting. On the outside it looks fragile with its thin leaves, but actually it has really thick roots that retain water.

Before watering check the soil with your finger. Tap it all around the plant, and if you feel like the soil is dry its time to give your Spider plant a good soak.

I like to bring it to the sink or shower and thoroughly water it, giving it all the water it wants.

The key here is not to water it with just a glass of water, but giving it water a few times. Just to be sure water reached all parts of the root system.

Let the soil dry out between watering and then water thoroughly.

When you let the soil dry out, over time it can get harder and unable to absorb the water. If you notice this has happened, try using a stick of some kind and gently loosen the soil.

It’s important to have your plant in a pot with drainage holes.

This is important because the plant can’t drink all that water, and if there are no drainage holes, the water will remain in the pot. This will eventually cause root rot, and you’re gonna have to say good bye to your Spider plant.

Having drainage holes also prevents built up of salts and minerals in the soil.

How to water your Spider plant?

If you’re asking yourself if you should water it from the top or from the bottom – there is no right answer. You can choose the method you prefer. You can also switch it up from time to time.

I’d only advise bottom watering if your plant has a developed root system. The plant will absorb the water it needs through the drainage holes. After half hour you can toss out the remaining water (if there’s any).

If you choose watering from the top, be sure to throw away the excess water that comes out through the drainage holes. Especially if your plant is in a decorative pot or has a plate underneath where excess water can retain.

Of course, you don’t need to do that right away. You can also wait for half an hour and then toss it out.

I’m saying half hour because I find that if I don’t do it almost right away (but still giving the plant time to absorb the water), I’d forget to do it.

How much light does the Spider plant need | lighting

The Spider plant is often found on those “low light plant” lists and “plants for dark corners” type of lists.

There’s one thing I always like (and need) to pint out – all plants need light. You can’t stick a plant in a lighless corner and expect it to live and thrive.

Some plants can survive in those conditions, yes, but those are not optimal conditions for plants.

Said that, if you want your Spider plant to grow and thrive, give it light.

Spider plants enjoy bright indirect light! But, they can also be in front of a northern window with considerably less light than east, west or south facing windows.

If you choose to place it in front of your south facing window, it’s important to protect it from direct sun rays. Direct sun rays can damage and burn its leaves.

In my opinion, the best is to have a light white curtain that will diffuse direct sunlight – giving your plants bright indirect light.

Now, if you choose to place it in a medium/low light area keep in mind the soil will take longer to dry out, so you’ll need to water it way less often. What I mean by medium and low light, I describe more in detail in my post – 2 things you need to know before buying your first plant!.

How to propagate Spider plants? | propagation

Spider plant is known for this, as it’s practically the reason we call it Spider plantits baby chutes. And that’s what we use to propagate it!

It’s really easy to propagate the Spider plant because the baby chutes have already formed roots. All you need to do is to cut the “umbilical cord” and place the baby chutes in soil. You can also place them in water if roots are shorter and after they develop, plant them in soil.

Before cutting them, make sure their roots are developed and at least an inch or two long (so you have a better chance of success).

Plant them separately or together, depending if you want a bigger/fuller plant or more single ones.

Just be careful not to pot them with too much soil (in a container that’s too big). The thing is, baby roots are small and before they develop, they can absorb only a small amount of water.

The thing is, water will be retained in the soil, but the plant won’t be able to absorb all the water, and by the time the soil dries out – roots could start to rot.

How often should you fertilize your Spider plant?

I fertilize my spider plant once a month during the growing season (from March to October). It’s a routine I use with most of my plants.

To fertilize it, I use a complete houseplant liquid fertilizer diluted in water. Before fertilizing your plants, follow the instructions of your fertilizer and use accordingly. It’s better to under fertilize than to over fertilize – more is not better when it comes to this.

Is Spider plant toxic to pets?

The Spider plant is considered non-toxic to cats and dogs by the ASPCA. But, I also came across sources that said the Spider plant can have mild hallucinogenic effects on cats and that excessive consumption can cause vomiting or diarrhea. So, I find it better to keep my Spider plants out of reach of my cats. Especially because they find its leaves extra appealing (shape similar to grass).