Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are incredibly popular houseplants, grown mainly for their variegated evergreen foliage. This is mainly due to how easy they are to look after and their forgiving nature - tolerating a wide range of conditions and growing positions. They will even tolerate lack of care - or even some abuse!
It gets its common name from the spider-like plantlets it produces, which hang down from the mother plant like spiders on a web. In spring and summer, plants produce small, white flowers, which eventually develop into plantlets.
How to grow spider plants
Indoors spider plants prefer bright, but indirect light, but will will grow in darker conditions. They enjoy reasonably cool temperatures - around 13-18°C (55-65°F).
Spider plants can be moved outside to a reasonably sunny patio in summer - but make sure you bring them back indoors before the weather turns very cold and frosty in autumn.
Planting spider plants
Plants are not too fussy about compost, but use any good potting compost that drains freely.
Only re-pot plants once they become potbound and watering becomes difficult as a result.
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Houseplant, indoor plant, summer patio plant.
How to care for spider plants
Water regularly when plants are in growth (April to September), but more sparingly when dormant (autumn and winter). Allow the top of the compost to slightly dry out before watering again.
Feed with a balanced liquid feed every 10-14 days during the growing season, from spring to early autumn.
The tips of the leaves may turn brown in dry atmospheres, so mist the foliage regularly, and cut off brown tips with sharp scissors.
Spider plants are easy to propagate, either by division in late spring or by potting up the plantlets into small pots of compost.
The best method for rooting is to keep the plantlet attached to the mother plant and place it in a small pot of compost near the mother plant. Keep the compost moist and, once the plantlet roots, cut it from the mother plant.
Or you can cut off the plantlets and place them in a pot of compost. Place the pot in a plastic bag or propagator. Once the plantlets are well rooted, remove from the bag and grow on. You can even root them in a jam jar of water, suspending them so that the base is just in contact with the water.
|Flowering season(s)||Spring, Summer|
|Foliage season(s)||Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter|
|Soil type||Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy|
|Soil moisture||Moist but well-drained|
|Ultimate height||75-90cm (30-36in)|
|Ultimate spread||Up to 60cm (3ft)|
|Time to ultimate height||2-3 years|