Don’t let the name scare you! Spider plants are quick to adapt to any environment and have very few problems, making this plant black thumb approved. They make for lovely window plants or an exquisite plant friend in the office. Learn proper spider plant care, benefits and answers to any questions you may have.
Spider Plant Overview
The spider plant gets its name from the little “pups” that resemble a spider’s body and may also produce tiny white flowers off the long stems. The pups and flowers tend to bloom in the Summer. Spider plants were originally groundcover in the tropical rainforests of South Africa and moved into our homes in the 19th century.
NASA research found that the spider plant has air purifying capabilities. This plant can remove up to 90% of the potentially toxic chemicals floating around. Stress can be limited and mental health boosted when the air is purer in a room.
Types of Spider Plants
The South African tropical rainforest houses around 65 different species of spider plants. There is only a handful that we have brought into our homes though. We outlined a handful of the most common spider plant types below.
Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Variegatum’ (Airplane Plant)
The most common of all spider plants, the chlorophytum comosum ‘variegatum’ has streaked leaves. The middle of each leaf is light yellow while the outline is forest green. The plant has lots of charm to fill up space in a room. This variety of spider plants acts as the best air purifier.
Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum’ (Reverse Spider Plant)
As the name implies, the outline and the middle of the leaves are the opposite of the variegatum. The outline of the leaves is a pale yellow while the middle is forest green. This type of spider plant is a great way to mix things up — they also grow quite large!
Chlorophytum Laxum (Zebra Plant)
The zebra spider plant looks quite like the ‘reverse variegatum’ but has a much brighter yellow outline on the leaves. This variety does not grow as tall as the others — instead, it tends to grow wider rather than taller. They may be a little difficult to find at any given nursery, so check online where to find this unique spider plant.
Chlorophytum Comosum (Bonnie Plant)
This spider plant variety unfolds curly leaves and curly offspring. The bonnie spider plant looks much like a variegated spider plant, but just curly! They are definitely harder to find than the other common types of spider plants, but people tend to buy plant cuttings to start their own bonnie spider plant.
How to Care for a Spider Plant
As we mentioned earlier, spider plants are black thumb approved, meaning there is no need to stress when caring for them. However, if you find your plant browning or not looking as perky as it should, check our guide to reviving a plant. To avoid any plant harm, follow our spider plant care guide below.
Sunlight: Although not picky with lighting, spider plants thrive best in bright light, as they are known for being window plants. Since they are not selective with their lighting choices, they will do just fine in partial direct sun conditions as well. Be careful that your spider plant does not get too much sun — this is noticeable if the leaves begin to burn.
Water: When you receive your new spider plant baby, water occasionally rather than weekly. The best rule of thumb is to let them fully dry out between waterings. Check the soil with your finger every so often and once the soil has completely dried out, it’s time to water again! Once your spider plant fully matures, you’ll find yourself watering the plant more often.
Temperature: Spider plants like sun, but they also prefer cool temperatures ranging from 55-–5ºF. They are very much an indoor plant since they prefer cooler temperatures but don’t worry if they’re placed in slightly warmer temperatures. Avoid temperatures of 50ºF and below.
Toxicity: The plant is posed as non-toxic, but it can potentially be harmful to cats and if eaten can lead to an upset stomach and vomiting.
Pests: Spider plants are tough when it comes to pests, but they are susceptible to some pest infestations. Aphids, mealybugs, Whitefield and spider mites can eat your spider plant, but this can be avoided by misting your plants every once in a while. If the problem worsens, you may use natural insecticides made with vinegar to get rid of them.
Problems: The most common problem for spider plants is the tips of the leaves can shrivel and turn brown or black. Overwatering is usually the problem, not underwatering. Be sure to let the soil dry out completely before watering again.
Spider plants are from the tropical rainforest, so they prefer humidity. Placing your plant in a more humid room, such as a bathroom, will encourage your plant to flourish and avoid brown or black tips.
Repotting: Wonderful news — spider plants don’t need to be repotted often since much of their growth is through their leaves and plantlets. A major sign that the spider plant needs to be repotted is if the root ball rises above the rim of the pot. Spring is an ideal time to repot spider plants.
Propagation: If you’re unsure how savvy you are at propagating a plant, spider plants are the easiest plants to start with. All you need to do is pot the plantlets, which are easy to spot. The plantlets look similar to miniature versions of the spider plant. Regularly care for your newly potted plantlet to successfully propagate a spider plant.
Common Spider Plant Questions
Have a question about your spider plant? Check out these frequently asked questions and find your answer. If you don’t see your inquiry, feel free to post it in the comments section below.
Why is my spider plant turning yellow?
Yellow leaves often mean there are excess minerals or fertilizer in the soil, meaning you may need to repot the spider plant in more neutral soil. Leaves also turn yellow due to lack of light.
Can you cut brown tips off plants?
You may cut off the brown tips of spider plants by following a few precautions. First, make sure to use sharp scissors to make a precise incision. Second, if most of the leaf is brown, it’s best to cut off the full leaf. Lastly, when cutting, replicate the shape of the leaf with your cuts and leave a small amount of brown tip behind to avoid opening a fresh wound.
How do you save an overwatered spider plant?
Move your plant to a shady area, even though spider plants prefer sun. Then remove all dead or dying leaves. Next, check if the pot your spider plant is in has proper drainage and if possible, create air space between roots. Remove any dead or dying roots as well. Lastly, water the soil once dry to touch. You may treat with fungicide if needed.
What is the best fertilizer for spider plants?
All-purpose, complete, water-soluble or granular time-release fertilizer is fitting for spider plants. Be cautious in over-fertilizing your plant, as the leaves will brown. Use fertilizer sparingly.
In the market for a stunning, easy to care for and air purifying plant? Don’t worry, we’ll sign you up! If you’re looking for a new spider plant to care for, see all of ours here. You’ll definitely need one for every room! Since the propagation is straightforward, you can produce countless spider plants by simply getting one.
If you’re forgetful when it comes to caring for houseplants, check out these houseplant care printables to be the best plant parent out there.