Spider Plant

Two spider plants hanging from two small orange pots in a greenhouse
© IZZ HAZEL/Shutterstock.com

Written by Em Casalena

Published: January 5, 2023

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One of the easiest indoor plants to cultivate, even for beginners, is the lovely spider plant. Additionally, it’s one of the most fascinating plants one can start growing indoors. With the added benefit of air purification properties, the spider plant is quite valuable outside of just aesthetics.

This unique plant grows long, green leaves that generate plantlets (also known as spiderettes) that can be rooted and divided from the parent plant. It also has long, thin leaves that grow in rosettes and hang over the edge of containers or wherever it may be growing.

Do you want to grow your own spider or airplane plant? In this very in-depth article, we’ll break down absolutely everything you need to know about the this cool plant and how to grow your very own!

The Benefits of Spider Plants

There are so many benefits to Chlorophytum comosum outside of simply being pretty houseplants. The major advantage of this plant is without a doubt its capacity to filter and purify the air within your home. This plant’s non-toxic properties make it the best choice for eliminating airborne toxins including formaldehyde and xylene. These plants are also the greatest option for allergy sufferers due to their purifying properties.

Spider plants are an excellent addition to any house or company that can have dry, stagnant air since they have the potential to increase the humidity in any interior environment. If these plants are placed near windows, you’ll notice that there is more condensation on them. Additionally, spider plants have healing properties. According to several studies, placing a airplane plant in hospital rooms helps surgery patients recover more quickly than those in rooms without the plant. There were found to be fewer complications with blood pressure or heart rate, less anxiety or melancholy, and patients were discharged from the hospital sooner. Learn more about the many benefits of spider plants here.

The Different Varieties of Spider Plants

Despite sharing the name “spider plant,” not all of them are the same. Under the umbrella of the Chlorophytum genus, there are several whole species of these plants. In South African forests, there are various different species and varieties of species of airplane plants. Every variation has a distinguishing trait that distinguishes it from other variants of a similar type. Variegated, non-variegated, and curly spider plants are the three main categories of these plants. There are a ton of uncommon types available, such as the Solid Green spider plant, which has no variegation, and the Ocean spider plant, which has vivid bluish-green leaves. Discover more about different rare varieties of spider plants here.

Variegated spider plants are definitely the most popular of all spider plant varieties. In addition to the traditional deep green leaves, variegated plants also display diverse leaf hues. They have unique patterns like stripes, spots, and almost web-like patterns. While simple green varieties are less widespread, variegated versions of this plant are the most prevalent and diverse. The leaves of different variegated types might also be straighter or curlier. The curly, wavy-pattered Bonnie spider plant and the cream-striped Vittatum spider plant are two common variegated forms. You can read more about variegated spider plant varieties here.

A very large spider plant growing out of a pot on a bathroom windowsill

With the right care, spider plants (pictured) can grow extremely large leaves, complete with many spiderettes!

©Nick Beer/Shutterstock.com

How Large Do Spider Plants Get?

Chlorophytum comosum grow up to a modest size, depending on their variation, but they also grow quite fast. Under ideal conditions, the plant’s leaf rosette will reach a height of 12 to 15 inches and a width of the same in six to twelve months. In general, a mature plant can only grow to that height. Chlorophytum comosum’s leaves can, however, grow up to two feet long or even more. The long cascading leaves in a hanging basket might grow exceedingly long if given sufficient care. The leaves of the this plant normally develop upward before bending and arcing downward as the plant grows larger. The base of the plant may thus only increase in height by a maximum of 12 inches, but its leaves can keep growing. Learn more about the various sizes of airplane plants here.

Do Spider Plants Grow Flowers?

Yes! Surprisingly, many plant enthusiasts are completely unaware that the beautiful Chlorophytum comosum plant can actually produce flowers, despite the fact that many of us have seen images of them. Many people are unaware that these plants may really produce flowers since they are so used to thinking of them as nothing more than leaves and green stalks, for which they are popular. 

If given the right care, these plants can eventually produce pretty small white blooms. Most people don’t even notice that their plants have bloomed since they require such little maintenance and because their flowers are often relatively little and transient. Although this plant doesn’t produce very showy flowers, its blossoms are nevertheless rather cute. However, flowering is a problem for many airplane plant varieties, and special care should be taken if you want to get them to flower. Discover more about how spider plants flower and reproduce here.

Are Spider Plants and Airplane Plants the Same Thing?

Yep! Chlorophytum comosum are also known as airplane plants. They have a few other names as well, including the ribbon plant, spider ivy, the common spider, and hen and chickens. They are more commonly known as spider plants by plant enthusiasts. Read more about these plants and their unique features here.

A potted spider plant soaking up some indirect sunshine indoors

Spider plants (pictured) grow quite well as indoor potted plants.

©iStock.com/Greenseas

How to Grow a Spider Plant Indoors

These plants require loamy, well-draining soil, moderate sunshine or dappled shade, bright and indirect light, and a neutral pH soil level. Regular flowering occurs with these plants, and the little white flowers develop into spiderettes that may be cut off and used to create more plants through propagation. 

Most kinds of spider plants can tolerate somewhat low light levels. These plants will, however, grow more quickly in environments with more light. Avoid direct sunlight since it might burn the plant’s leaves. These plants are perfect for growing in hanging baskets due to their fountain-like habit of sprouting and trailing plantlets. Select a container that is no larger than a third the size of the root ball of your plant. Fill the container with an indoor potting mix that drains well. Learn more about growing stunning indoor spider plants here.

How to Grow a Spider Plant Outdoors

While Chlorophytum comosum plants are more often grown indoors, they can also be grown outside with the right conditions. Due to their remarkable tolerance for poor gardening techniques and neglect, these plants are great plants for beginning gardeners. Those who live in warmer regions can plant these delectable blooms in outdoor garden beds or as a groundcover plant. Maintaining these plants outside is not too difficult if you’re in the right hardiness zone, and your routine shouldn’t differ greatly from what indoor plants require. The most crucial thing to remember is to provide enough warmth for your plant because it cannot withstand cold or frost. In order to give the roots time to expand, new plants should be grown inside first and then transplanted outdoors. Outdoor plants should be grown in slightly acidic, well-draining soil. Most spider plants can only survive outdoors in USDA hardiness zones nine through 11. Discover more about how to grow these plants outdoors here.

A potted spider plant being watered with an orange spout

Spider plants (pictured) require regular watering but are tolerant of some neglect.

©iStock.com/Simplylesia

Spider Plants: Watering

In general, it is advisable to water airplane plants once or twice a week, depending on how warm it is and whether they are exposed to too much or too little sunshine. Before watering, use your finger to feel the soil to see if the top layer has dried off. If the soil is quite wet, wait another day or two before watering it again. You may also tell when the soil requires fresh watering by using a soil moisture meter. Read more about how much water and humidity your spider plant needs here.

Spider Plants: Light

Spider plants have certain temperature and lighting needs that must be met in order for them to thrive, despite their reputation for thriving in low-light settings. These plants need both bright and indirect sunlight to survive. Make sure your plant gets six to eight hours of indirect sunlight every day, or a little bit more in the winter. This plant is indigenous to the forests of southern Africa, where it grows well under large trees. As a result, the plant receives moderate to strong indirect light as well as some shadow from the forest canopy in its natural habitat. Therefore, if we want this plant to thrive indoors, we must supply it with an environment comparable to that of its native home. Learn more about spider plant light requirements here.

Spider Plants: Soil

Spider plants depend on their roots to grow and sustain themselves. As a result, for the plant to thrive, a nutrient-rich growing media is required. If these plants don’t get enough nutrients from the soil, they’ll probably die. Another crucial factor in selecting soil is the soil’s ability to drain. Sand doesn’t hold any water at all, yet garden soil is one of the heaviest substances. It thus drains quite slowly. Airplane plants like soil that drains well and isn’t always wet. However, it also needs to have plenty of nutrients for the development of the plant. Use soil that can drain well, has a lot of nutrients, and is rich in fertilizer as a general rule. By doing this, you may make sure that the soil retains water for a long time without drowning your plant. The pH range of your soil should be 6.0 to 6.5. Discover more about soil and fertilizer for these plants here.

A group of spider plant cuttings soaking in a glass of water

Spider plant spiderettes (pictured) can be propagated easily with just a glass of water.

©iStock.com/jaanalisette

How to Propagate Spider Plants

Propagating a spider plant is quite an easy (and fun!) process. To propagate these plants, you must make use of their spiderettes. As it multiplies, this plant has a long stalk and tiny white blooms. These little flowers eventually mature into baby plants called spiderettes. You may leave these baby spiderettes on the stem until they develop roots, which are visible as little protrusions at the base of the spiderette. You can then grow these spiderettes in soil, water, or by using the mother plant’s stolons. You can propagate your plants almost any time of the year. However, the easiest and quickest times to accomplish this are in the spring, summer, and fall. One can also propagate these plants by dividing them up or planting seeds. Read more about how to propagate spider plants here.

Common Spider Plant Problems

Spider or airplane plants are quite hardy when grown indoors. That being said, it can suffer from a few different issues. Brown leaves, black leaves, brown tips, pale or yellowing leaves, and drooping leaves are common problems with many different possible causes. Learn more about how to diagnose spider plant leaf problems here.

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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

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