How to Grow and Care for Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Indoors


Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum

Botanical name: Chlorophytum comosum
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Common names: Spider Plant, Airplane Plant, Spider Ivy, Ribbon Plant

Description

Chlorophytum comosum commonly called Spider Plant, Airplane Plant, Spider Ivy or Ribbon Plant is a popular plant, fast growing and easy care, even for a beginner.

Spider Plant is extremely adaptable and will grow in hot or cool rooms, in sun or shade and it will withstand dry air. It is one of the hard to kill plants that will withstand some level of neglect.

Mature Spider Ivy produce numerous long stems which bear tiny plantlets that can be used to propagate new Spider Plants. The young and small plantlets root faster than the large and old ones.

Size

Airplane Plant bears slender, arching leaves which grow from a central crown and can reach up to 1 ft long which make it ideal for a hanging basket, a pedestal, a table, or a shelf where they can beautifully cascade downwards.

Origin

Chlorophytum comosum is native to tropical and southern Africa and naturalized in other parts of the world including western Australia.

Air Purifying

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Chlorophytum comosum was found to get rid of common VOCs like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toulene from indoor air.

Varieties

Several varieties of Ribbon Plants are available with varying variegation form like 'Variegatum' with green leaves trimmed in white and 'Vittatum' with a central white stripe on green leaves.

Where to Buy

Airplane Plant is an excellent addition to any houseplant collection. Various Spider Plants are available online at Etsy. Buy Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) from Etsy.

Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum

Photo Credit: PlantVine

Chlorophytum comosum Care Indoors

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) care indoors is easy when the right growing conditions are provided. Ribbon Plant thrives in bright, indirect light, warmth and consistently moist, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter coupled with regular feeding.

Airplane Plant needs to be kept pot-bound to produce the plantlets that are required for propagation of new plants. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Spider Plant grows best in bright, indirect light inorder to maintain variegation but it can still adapt to lower light conditions.

Protect the Ribbon Plant from direct sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Spider Plant liberally during the growing season and keep the soil evenly moist through out. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist.

Use water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking the plants as they are tropical plants.

Airplane Plants are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in the water; use chlorine-free water only.

Avoid soggy soil as it can lead in root-rot and eventual death of your plant.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Spider Plant indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 120C. Keep the Spider Ivy away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drop in temperature to prevent yellowing and leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Spider Plant. It has no need for high humidity. However, where the air is too dry especially where the temperatures are too high, Ribbon Plant will develop brown leaf tips and edges.

To raise humidity and prevent brown leaf tips and edges, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Spider Plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Take care not to overfeed Spider Ivy as it can hinder the development of the beautiful plantlets that may be needed for propagation of new plants.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainages holes. Let the water run for a few minutes and repeat several times. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Spider Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound. Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger than the current one.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot diseases.

The large Airplane Plants can be split up and potted into individual pots during repotting.

Soil

The best soil for Spider Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Buy quality Potting Mix for Spider Ivy from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Spider Plant involves frequent removal of any dead foliage. Cut back the leaves at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from plantlets or from splits.

How to propagate Spider Plant from plantlets in soil

Peg down the Spider Plant plantlets into soil while still attached to the mother plant.

Cut the stem when rooted and pot in moist free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Use a pot that has drainage holes to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.

The plantlets can also be detached from the mother and planted in moist free-draining soil until rooted and then transplanted into individual pots.

For a full and bushy Ribbon Plant, plant several plantlets in the same pot.

The mother Airplane Plant can also be made more full by planting several plantlets alongside the mother.

How to propagate Spider Plant from plantlets in water

Spider Plant plantlets can also be rooted in water. Detach the plantlet from the mother Ribbon Plant and place the plantlet in a jar of plain water. Ensure the tiny roots at the base are touching the water.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and change the water every 5-7 days.

Wait until the roots are about 4 in. long before transferring to soil.

For a full and bushy plant, plant several plantlets in the same pot.

The mother Spider Ivy can also be made more full by planting several plantlets alongside the mother.

How to propagate Spider Plant from splits

Divide the Spider Plant into several sections while ensuring each section has some roots.

Pot each section in its individual pot in moist, free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Allow the new Ribbon Plant to be well established before transfering it to its permanent spot.

Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum

Photo Credit: Blue Diamond

Chlorophytum comosum Problems Indoors

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) problems indoors are caused by improper care. They include brown leaf tips, leaf drop, yellowing, browning, lack of plantlets, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaf-tips

There are six possible reasons for brown tips in Spider Plant. One possible reason is underfeeding.

Feed the plant every 4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer.

The second possible reason for brown tips in Ribbon Plant is excessively hot air.

Mist the leaves more regularly during the hot season or set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The third possible reason for brown tips in Airplane Plant is underwatering or overwatering.

Maintain the soil moist but never allow the soil to get soggy or to dry out completely.

The fourth possible reason for brown tips in Spider Ivy is overfeeding or accumulation of salts in the soil.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a steady stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage hole. Repeat several times.

The fifth possible reason for brown tips in Spider Plant is bruising by human or animal traffic.

Place the plant away from the line of traffic to avoid bruishing of the leaf tips.

The sixth possible reason for brown tips in Ribbon Plant is bacterial leaf spot disease.

Bacterial leaf spot starts as light spots on the leaf tips which turn brown and eventually black.

The disease is prevalent in hot and humid conditions. Avoid wetting the foliage when watering.

No plantlets

There are two possible reasons why Spider Plant will not produce plantlets. One possible reason is that the plant is too young.

The stem bearing plantlets only form on mature plants. The plants also need to be pot-bound, therefore, avoid frequent repotting.

The second possible reason why Spider Ivy will not produce plantlets is overfeeding. Withhold feeding in order to stress it so that it can put out the plantlets.

Curled leaves, brown spots, yellow edges and leaf drop

Underwatering Spider Plant is the reason for curled leaves with brown spots and edges while some leaves yellow and drop. Water the plant liberally and maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Brown leaf streaks

Too much water during the cold season is the cause of brown leaf streaks in Spider Plant. Reduce watering and maintain the soil barely moist during the cold season.

Pale limp leaves with yellowing and leaf drop

Exposing Spider Plant to too much heat and too little light are the causes of pale limp leaves with yellowing and leaf drop. Keep the plant away from hot direct sunlight and maintain an average room temperature.

Pests

Spider Plant is rarely attacked by pests but a weak plant can be attacked by Spider Mites, Aphids, Scale Insects and Mealy Bugs. Ensure the plant is healthy at all times.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Are Spider Plants toxic?

Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. Ribbon Plants are safe to grow indoors.

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