Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Spider Plant As A Houseplant Reviewed

 

Spider Plant With Spiderlings

I have grown up with spider plants or Chlorophytum in the house for as long as I can remember. My Mum always had at least six spider plants in the house all with a myriad of little baby spider plants hanging from the parent in glorious abundance. 

My Mum was a true master of caring for houseplants so that they grew healthy and abundant. All I knew as a child was that they were pretty and indestructible! 


Spider Plants In Our Home

Now I have six spider plants in our home, one in the bathroom, one in the living room, one in the bedroom, two in the dining room/study and one in the kitchen! I could have many more and probably will over time. In the meantime, I give away the little baby spiderettes potted up as gifts.

All mine are variegated, though you can buy all green ones as well. Four of mine are young plants taken from the parent so they do not have any offspring yet. I think they really brighten up a room!

Two are more mature and have beautiful little spider plants or spiderettes hanging down from the main plant. You may need to wait a while for the plant to mature enough to have offspring and a little patience will reward. Once you have a mature spider plant you will always have more! 

 

Mature Spider Plant With Many Spiderlings!

Where To Site Spider Plants.

As when I was a child these plants remain pretty indestructible! Ideally, they like well-drained soil and light but not too sunny position. They do prefer a slightly cooler environment, so I never place a spider plant in direct sunlight on a sunny windowsill or directly above a radiator.

In winter with the central heating on it can be a little more difficult to keep them cool, but as long as they are not directly on top of the radiator or heat source they seem to cope. They are the easiest and most forgiving plants I have ever looked after. 

If any of the leaves go brown I just gently pull them out and if the tip of the leaves only goes brown I just snip off with a pair of scissors. 


Young Spider Plant 

Watering And Feeding Spider Plants

They do need watering well but also like to dry out between waterings. I have a tendency to overwater but this can lead to soggy roots and make them very sick.

If this happens I have found the best thing to do is to take the plant out of the pot, allow it to dry out a little, then repot in fresh dry soil, then water normally, meaning lightly. All mine recovered this way but you do need to catch it early or the plant will be sick.  

The best thing is not to overwater in the first place and always let the soil dry so it is just slightly moist in between waterings. 

The opposite issue is if they get too dry. If this happens you will see them visibly droop and the leaves will start to go yellow and then brown.

 This is easily remedied by giving them a light watering over several days. It may also be advisable to mist them now and again if you know the atmosphere in your home is dry.

If they get to this stage of drought, it is better in my experience not to give them a big drink all at once as it seems to overwhelm them a bit, rather just a small drink to begin.

Then simply pull or trim off any dried leaves and the spider plant will look good as new.  You will soon see them perk up again! 

So with normal care, they respond to watering only when necessary, allowing any excess to drain off and then leaving it until the top of the soil feels dry before we water again. 

We can feed spider plants but they do not need it very often. Mine get a feed perhaps once or twice a month, only in the growing season of spring and summer when I remember and they are fine with that. Any general houseplant feed will do in either liquid or granular form. I give them a far weaker solution than is recommended on the bottle as too much feeding can result in browning of the leaf tips. There is no need to feed in Autumn and Winter. 

I only repot when the original pot has become obviously overcrowded. You will either be able to see the roots on the surface or bursting out of the bottom of the pot, or it will be so congested it becomes tricky to water them.  Then it's time to just pot on into the next size pot into compost that will drain well. This should only be necessary every two to three years.


 


How To Propagate Spiderettes!

I do love the name Spiderettes! Usually in spring when daylight hours increase they start out as tiny white flowers on the parent plant and then develop into a fascinating mini spider plant attached to the parent with a long stem. They can remain like this as they grow bigger for a long time and do look beautiful. 

However, I have found it best to propagate at least some of them before they get too large or too many of them and drag the parent plant down. The one in the first photograph now has a lot of young and really needs some spiderettes propagating this Spring. 

Propagation is so easy. Simply prepare a pot with well-drained soil and without detaching the spiderette from the parent, lower the spiderette roots into the soil, cover and keep watered. Once you see growth and roots developing well, you can snip the long cord from the parent. You can make so many new spider plants by this method! 

Alternatively, if when still attached to the parent, there are already good strong roots visible on the spiderette, you can snip it from the parent plant and pot on by itself. 

When spider plants are very young they have a more upright habit but as they mature they tend to hang down and so I like to place them on a bookshelf, cupboard or shelf so that they and their spiderettes can show off to their full glory.  

They also look great placed in lovely natural macrame baskets that can be hung in the house. This can make them look even more special. 

I like the white macrame baskets which make them stand out and pick up on the white variegation of the long leaves. This is a lovely selection of macrame baskets to suit many hanging houseplants and spider plants would love them. 

 

 


If you don't like macrame then a hanging pot like these  La Jolie Muse Planters in a speckled white colour is lovely to pick up on the white stripes in the spider plant leaves and will look modern and beautiful.

They are lightweight enough made of recyclable plastic and stone powder to hang with a beautiful spider plant inside. These planters come with drainage holes and a water reservoir to ensure that the plants get what they need. 


 


Spider Plants Are Good For Us! 

Spider plants are well known to be a cleanser of the air inside our homes.  It is a great idea to have one in every room. Our homes have more pollutants and chemicals than are good for us from everyday cleaning products to our technology.

Many of us do not open windows and ventilate homes enough especially when it is cold in winter and central heating can dry out the air. 

I especially like to have a spider plant in the bedroom and also in any room where we use technology. They are perfect for a home office.

Houseplants are fantastic at absorbing carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen and some are very good at cleansing the air. Spider plants have been shown in tests by NASA to be able to clean formaldehyde for the air. Tests were conducted under sealed conditions and those tests showed that one plant per 100 square feet would be required.

However, in the less controlled and much more changeable environment of our homes, this may be a bit different. I think if we have a spider plant per room it can do no harm and only help towards a healthier environment for us.   

Spider Plants are a great house plant gift for anyone starting out in their new home or for a student going to University. They cope admirably with conditions that are not quite optimal for them and can amazingly survive a degree of neglect. 


 Young Spider Plant With A Small Spiderling


They are one of the few plants I do not worry about when I go on a two week holiday and ours were all perfectly fine when we went away for a month once. 

I just watered them well in the weeks beforehand and left them in a shady spot.

If you would like pretty, low maintenance, evergreen and interesting all-year-round houseplant that is healthy for us and looks especially good where it can cascade down from a high surface, or in a hanging basket, then spider plants are well worth considering. 




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18 comments:

  1. I love spider plants. When I lived in California, I had them in two corners of my dining room as hanging plants and they produced lots of little 'spiderettes'. :) I handmade my macramé hangers and wove in beach stones that ocean waves had scoured holes through. It was lovely. I really ought to get another spider plant or two, as I miss them. The only plant I have today is a Peace Lily I've managed to keep going for 14 years - a record for someone like me who has never had good luck with houseplants. :)

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    1. Oh your handmade macrame hangers with beach stones sound gorgeous! I hope you decide to buy some spider plants and they would love those hangers you made. You have done really well with your Peace Lily! Some houseplants are tricky and have special requirements to keep them happy and alive. I am sure you would do well with the spider plants.

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  2. Spider plants are one of my favorites too. When I have the variegated ones I want the plain green and when we have the plain green I want the variegated one. Now I have both! I love houseplants that don't give me any trouble. This one is a winner and so good for our health, especially in the winter months! Great advice on replanting, dividing and multiplying too! Thanks Jasmine!

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    1. I thought you would have some beautiful spider plants! Yes if you love both its best to have both :) In my experience too spider plants do not give any trouble and are good for our health. Yes they are so easy to grow and propagate.

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  3. We have a couple of house plants but not any spider plants. Seems like now we need to get some. We do have some places in the house that need some plants. Thanks Jasmine!

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    1. I hope you decide to buy and display spider plants in your home Sam. I am sure they would look beautiful and they are really no trouble. There are many places in a home where they would grow happily!

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  4. As you know, I don’t have much of a green thumb. So, years ago, when my husband brought home a reverse variegated spider plant as a gift for me, I was more than a little surprised. But, as you explained, it’s a hardy, undemanding houseplant, and one that doesn’t require (or even like) direct sunlight, which is a key criterion for us, since our house has overhanging eaves. I’ve brought mine back from the brink more times than I care to admit! But, eventually, I learned not to overwater it and, more recently, have stopped forgetting to water it, and the leaves rarely droop:yellow/brown now (just as you described the recovery after a watering “course correction”). Mine has yet to develop “spiderettes,” but hope springs eternal, so I’m grateful for your simple instructions for propagating them. Thanks for another beautifully written, helpful, and informative post, Jasmine!

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    2. Thank you for your kind words Margaret. I am glad you found the article helpful. Yes I have found spider plants very forgiving. Some plants would not cope with over or under watering but spider plants tend to come back as long as you do your best to rectify it for them. I am not sure how old your spider plant is, but if it has not yet developed spiderettes try giving it a feed twice a month from Spring - just for Spring and Summer and keep the watering constant and hopefully it will reward you!

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  5. Wow, what beautiful spider plants you have! I've never had a spider plant in my own home, but I have definitely seen them. I think the name always made me hesitant. In my mind, I thought they might attract spiders but looking at your photos, and reading your name for the baby spiderettes, I realize they are named that because of their looks, or perhaps the way they "carry" their young. The variegated is gorgeous! As I read, I found myself looking around my home to see where I might place one. I surely appreciate your thorough explanation on care and propagation. I never would have known to clip the brown from the ends of the leaves. Sure wish we lived close to each other so I could adopt one of your beloved spiderettes.

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    1. Oh Thank you so much, I do love our Spider Plants. Yes I wish I could send you some of mine, as you see I now have plenty of spiderettes ready to grow on and would have loved you to have one! No they do not attract spiders.Although I love everything nature I am not fond of spiders in my home so I wouldn't have chosen a plant that attracted them. You are correct its more the shape of the plant that gives it the common name. I am sure there will be a good place in your home for a spider plant :)

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your article. I have a spider plant as well, and it's survived for a couple of decades. Your tutorial on how to propagate the plant was very informative, I had no idea about that! I'll have to give that a try. What I found most interesting is that you mentioned they handle shady spots well - good to know! Mine is by the TV in the family room (to help keep the air clean like you mentioned) - but I'd like plants in some of my other rooms that don't get enough light - good to know I can put a spider plant in them! Cleaning the air is the most important thing to me, which is the main reason I have plants - you're right about watering plants - my mom taught me that - I water all our plants only once a week, that's it. Never over watering is the secret.

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    1. Thank you Barbara I am glad you found the information on propagation of spider plants useful. It is so easy to do. Yes they need to be in indirect sunlight ideally. The best thing to do is to simply try them in the spots you would like a plant and see how they do. They will tell you if they are not happy. It is a great idea to have one near the TV.You are also so right about not over watering!!

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  7. I love this post! I have always loved spider plants but I don't do very well keeping houseplants alive. I have known that spider plants have been proven to help air quality. I am book marking this page... so I can try again with spider plants, using your tips.

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    1. Thank you Dawn!:) Yes do try again with Spider Plants, they are a great houseplant to start off with and any mistakes can usually be sorted so the plant survives. Start off with a small healthy spider plant and find a good place for it in your home. Water as I suggested, feed only in the spring and summer and you should be OK.Happy to help if you have any further questions.

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  8. Ps Your plants are gorgeous! I have never seen one as full of babies as yours.

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    1. Oh Thank you Dawn! Yes I love it when they have spiderettes, so pretty. They are so little trouble for such a reward! :) In Spring I will be detaching some of the spiderettes to make more plants, wish I could send some over to you!

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  9. I have had spider plants in all my homes for many years. The one I grew in Ireland from a 2 euro plant had over 50 spiderettes when I left after 3 years. I gave them and the mom to friends. The one I have now has about 15 spiderettes and I've already given away a few and started a new one in the kitchen. One great thing is that they are not bad for cats and dogs so another reason I always have at least one.

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