The Spider Plant, native to South Africa, is an extremely popular houseplant and good air purifier.
A very effective placement of the Spider Plant during winter is near a window where the greenery is a wonderful contrast to the snowy whiteness outside. Be sure that it is not exposed to cold drafts. Tests have shown that it is a great plant for air purification.
Spider Plant Leaves and Flowers
The smooth-textured grass-like leaves that form from a central rosette will grow to 15 inches on healthy plants. Small white flowers appear during spring and summer usually, but occasionally during winter if light conditions are suitable.
Plantlets that develop from the flowering clusters display as pendants when grown in hanging pots or baskets.
There are several very attractive cultivars of the Spider Plant (Chlorophytum conosum) :
- Variegatum – white-edged leaves up to 15 inches in length
- Vittatum – central white stripes on leaves about 8 to 10 inches long
- Mandaianum – dwarf plant with dark green leaves 4 to 6 inches long
Propagation of Air Purifying Plant
Propagation is easily accomplished by splitting the main rosette of the Spider Plant or by planting seeds that develop after blooming.
This plant produces horizontal stems (stolons) with nodes that develop new plantlet roots. Those roots can be potted while still attached to the parent plant. When the new plant is well established, usually in 8 to 10 days, the runner stem can be cut. If using this method, it’s helpful to pin the stem to the soil to prevent lifting. Another method is to cut the runner and root it in water or good potting medium that is kept moist.
It is not necessary to cut off the runners which will fully develop into a wonderful cascade of greenery.
Care of Durable Houseplant
Spider plants will thrive in a wide variety of conditions. They will tolerate low to bright light, but should be placed in only filtered sunlight during summer. Well-established plants can survive lengthy periods without water, but the leaves will have a faded appearance. It’s best to maintain a regular watering routine, with less during the winter months. Occasional misting is helpful.
Questions are often raised about the leaf tips turning brown. Advice is given that there may be too much or not enough fertilizer or water applied. Another reason suggested by growers is that when the tips are touched by humans or animals, there is a chemical reaction. The plant will not be harmed if the brown-tipped leaves are simply cut away.
Nutrient requirements are not as great with this foliage plant as they are with many others. Apply water-soluble houseplant fertilizer during active growth periods according to directions on the label.
Spider plants are relatively free of serious disease or insect problems.