Spider Plant

OFFICIAL NAME

Chlorophytum comosum

ALSO KNOWN AS

Airplane Plant, St. Bernard's Lily, Spider Ivy, Ribbon Plant

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Southern Africa | Tropical & Subtropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

An absolute classic. The Spider Plant is beloved for their easy going nature and ability to produce spiderettes, or little mini spider plants, that are ready to propagate at will.

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

easy going, pet friendly, bright indirect, mid-size, bushy or dense, clusters, cascading, hanging, shelf, tropical, subtropical, goldilocks, ribbon-like, variegation

No items found.

Spider Plant

The basics

Water Needs

Always water thoroughly, but allow the top inch or two to dry out completely before watering again. Reduce watering in winter, allowing the soil to get up to 50% dry.

Water

Preferred Light

Although very adaptable, bright, indirect light is ideal for the Spider Plant. Susceptible to leaf burn in long stretches of direct light. Can tolerate lower light conditions, but be sure to adjust watering (and lower expectations for their growth).

Light

Humidity Needs

Can adapt to average room humidity, but will thrive in higher humidity, especially in the summer or hot, dry conditions (like near a heater). Your Spider Plant will also appreciate occasional misting to help remove dust from their leaves and keep brown tips at bay.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents. The lower leaves are likely to yellow.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to around 2-3 ft tall with a similar spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

A low bushy cluster of densely packed leaves that burst up from the soil (no stems in sight) and cascade over the edges of their pot. Distinguished for the stem offshoots they send out with little mini plants suspended in mid air. Works best in a hanging planter or on a high shelf to accommodate those spiderettes.

Format

Leaf Look

A cheerful tuft of bright green ribbons. Each slender leaf is accented with a white stripe down the middle.

Leaf Shape

Did You Know?

It might not be obvious why this plant is called a Spider Plant until you've seen their unique offshoots—which pop out from the plant like a spider suspended on the end of their web! These little mini plants are often called spiderettes.

Fun Fact

Water

|

Allow top inches of soil to dry between waterings.

Water Needs

Always water thoroughly, but allow the top inch or two to dry out completely before watering again. Reduce watering in winter, allowing the soil to get up to 50% dry.

Light

|

Bright, indirect light.

Preferred Light

Although very adaptable, bright, indirect light is ideal for the Spider Plant. Susceptible to leaf burn in long stretches of direct light. Can tolerate lower light conditions, but be sure to adjust watering (and lower expectations for their growth).

Humidity

|

Extra humidity appreciated in drier spaces.

Humidity Needs

Can adapt to average room humidity, but will thrive in higher humidity, especially in the summer or hot, dry conditions (like near a heater). Your Spider Plant will also appreciate occasional misting to help remove dust from their leaves and keep brown tips at bay.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents. The lower leaves are likely to yellow.

Toxicity

|

Non-toxic. Completely pet safe!

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Size

|

An in-betweener. Not too big, not too small.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to around 2-3 ft tall with a similar spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Cascading leaves create a mane-like look.

Overall Look

A low bushy cluster of densely packed leaves that burst up from the soil (no stems in sight) and cascade over the edges of their pot. Distinguished for the stem offshoots they send out with little mini plants suspended in mid air. Works best in a hanging planter or on a high shelf to accommodate those spiderettes.

Leaf Shape

|

Long ribbon-like blades in bright green with a white stripe.

Leaf Look

A cheerful tuft of bright green ribbons. Each slender leaf is accented with a white stripe down the middle.

Fun Fact

|

This plant is named after their spider-like offshoots.

Did You Know?

It might not be obvious why this plant is called a Spider Plant until you've seen their unique offshoots—which pop out from the plant like a spider suspended on the end of their web! These little mini plants are often called spiderettes.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in a rich, very well-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for indoor plants or make your own mix. You can try a 1:1:1:0.5 mix of potting mix, orchid bark, perlite, and activated charcoal. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

These ambitious growers are fairly quick to fill out their pot and become rootbound. Try to repot every year in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing the soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests.

Propagation

When they're thriving, Spider Plants send out offsets, or pups. If you’ve seen a Spider Plant that has a very long stem with what looks like a mini spider plant on the end, that’s a little pup—also called a spiderette! In this case, you can cut off the pup and place directly into potting mix or monitor in water while waiting for roots. You also can leave the pup attached to the main plant during this process. You’ll wait until they have a root system of their own and then detach from the mother plant. More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why are the leaf tips on my Spider Plant browning?

Symptom

Leaves turning brown just on the edges or tips. These edges may gradually change from yellow to brown, crispy, and possibly a bit curled.

Cause

Browning just on the edges of tips is usually a reaction to low humidity. Since many of our houseplants have tropical origins, they also thrive in humid conditions. Our average indoor humidity is usually adequate, but some plants are simply more sensitive to changes in humidity than others. You may notice this more acutely when conditions are particularly dry—like when you turn on the heater in winter.

Solution

Try to accommodate your plant's needs by locating them in more naturally humid places, like the bathroom or kitchen, or grouping a bunch of humidity-loving plants together. But the only way to truly guarantee increased humidity is to get a humidifier!

Once you've addressed the problem: If the brown tips bother you, you can trim them back. Do your best to follow the shape of the leaf to help them look natural. Also, try to cut just short of the discolored edge so it doesn’t expand.

More on leaf changes here.
1/2

Why are the leaves on my Spider Plant wilting and yellowing?

Symptom

Multiple leaves are wilting and turning yellow—particularly the older, lower leaves. You may also notice stunted growth and mushy stems.

Cause

The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot (turning brown and mushy).

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
1/2

Why does my Spider Plant have patchy, pale spots?

Symptom

Larger grey or pale patches on a few leaves. The spot may look dried out and somewhat bleached.

Cause

When your plant is exposed to the hot sun, it begins to evaporate more moisture from the leaf surface than the plant can replace. Leading to bleached areas or large grey patches on leaves.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings. While this should prevent further burning, the spots will not "heal", so it's up to you if you'd like to prune off the affected leaves.

More on leaf changes here.
1/2