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Spider Plants: A Complete Guide for Growth and Care

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Spider plants need lower light conditions, occasionally dry soil that drains well when watered, and temperatures between 60 and 80 ⁰F (16 – 27 ⁰C) to do well.

Spider plant watering frequency depends on the plant’s size, growth activity, environment, container size and type, and soil composition. Regularly check the soil for dryness and then water deeply, allowing water to seep through the container to ensure no salts accumulate in the ground.

In its natural environment, the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) thrives on volcanic or sedimentary soils made of sandstone, shale, dolerite, or granite. Typically, native soils are mildly acidic, winter weather fluctuates from hot to cool, and frost is mild.

Light:Spader plants grow best in deep shade (less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight) or dappled sunlight (light breaking through tree leaves occasionally). Foliage variegation improves with some light increase, but avoid direct sunlight.
Water:Water only when the top third of the pot’s soil is dry and tolerates drought better than continuously wet soil. See below for details.
Humidity:Spider Plants do well in average household humidity levels – assuming they are at about 50% RH.
Soil:An organically rich, well-draining soil
Soil pH:Neutral (6.0-8.0)
Temperature:Your plant prefers 60–80 ⁰F (16 – 27 ⁰C).
Fertilizer:In the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize monthly with an all-purpose fertilizer for indoor plants, such as All-Purpose Fertilizer (20-20-20).
Pruning:Only prune to limit growth or to harvest cutting for propagation needs
Repotting:Repot when root density compromises watering efforts. The spider plant likes more root compaction, but dense roots will affect how soon water needs to be given.
Space Needed to Plant:12 inches to 3 feet
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
Toxicity:The Spider Plant is non-toxic and safe for humans, dogs, and cats.

Growing Spider Plants

Chlorophytum comosum thrives indoors and is well-liked because of its attractive, slenderly ascending-spreading to recurved leaves in a center rosette. Spider plants are eager propagators but need a least three weeks where darkness is more than 12 hours for the mother plant to grow plantlets.  

Spider plants can also be cultivated outdoors in warmer regions (see zones above), commonly used as ground cover. Wherever spider plants are grown, they must be shielded from direct sunlight. Usually, it takes plants a year to achieve flowering size.

Spider plants can also be grown from seed, which should be sown in warm, shady conditions on sandy, mildly acidic soil in the spring or summer. Keep wet and cover with a thin layer of sand. In most cases, germination occurs within three weeks.

It is advisable to place seedlings outside as soon as they are large enough to handle since they are rapid growers. Plants respond favorably to organic nutrition (compost or liquid fertilizer). The ideal time of year to water Chlorophytum comosum is all year round.

Allow the plant soil to dry out between watering and thoroughly. It is always better to be guided by the soil’s moisture levels rather than a timed schedule.

Spider Plant Light Needs

Many blogs advise bright indirect light, which is not true. Spider plants can be grown as low-light hanging basket plants, and direct or indirect sunlight should be avoided.

Medium-light boosts strappy or striped green and white leaves up to 12-18 in length. The leaves are grass-like, crowded, linear to lanceolate, and often striped white longitudinally, and a deep groove in the middle.

Spider Plant Water Needs

For indoor plants to flourish, gardeners should focus on getting the top third of a pot dry rather than following a watering schedule. Ding informed that the soil’s wetness before watering would prevent indoor plants from developing root rot, the most common cause for their demise.

Avoid watering with tap water, as chlorine and fluorides can cause leaf tip burn. Reduce watering during winter. Mist occasionally to boost the humidity in summer. Do not over-fertilize, as this decreases plantlet formation. 

Spider Plant Humidity Needs

Your Spider plant will do well in average household humidity, and relative humidity levels between 40 and 60% should be maintained. Brown leaf tips are a fair indicator that the air is too dry.

Spider Plant Soil

Managing your spider plant’s hydration needs depends on:

  • How often you water
  • How much do you water
  • But mainly how the potting soil manages available water

Introduction to Potting Soil Basics

You have several options to replicate your spider plant’s natural soil environment. While the spider plant is native to forested moist river valleys, the succulent roots enable the plant to cope during extended dry spells.

Even though this article is focused on watering the spider plant, the guidelines can be applied to any houseplant. We’ll be reviewing the technical aspects of potting soil’s water and air management capacities, different substrates, and everything that contributes to growing healthy indoor plants.

In growing any plant indoors, six factors relating to potting soils need consideration:

  • Moisture management – a balance between drainage and moisture retention
  • Air Management – avoidance of anaerobic conditions
  • Nutrient management – an ability to store and release essential plant nutrients
  • The role of microorganisms in plant resilience and needs
  • Plant requirements for acidic or alkaline soil (pH requirements)
  • Plant anchorage – ensuring the media isn’t so light that the plant cannot remain reasonably erect in winds

The Essential Elements of a Good Potting Soil

Our physiological composition allows us to go without water for a maximum of three days and without food for three weeks (depending on our physical reserves). Plant roots, like humans, need access to water and air; if submerged in water for an extended period, roots will drown.

Balancing Moisture Retention and Aeration

A carefully graded soil allows the water to drain to the bottom of the pot, where it builds up a little before escaping from the drainage holes. The fractional difference between added and drained water amounts to the water retained in the soil.

If the soil is healthy, it contains micropores that trap air even when flooded, allowing it to retain air essential for the plant’s continued health. These two soil attributes are field capacity and saturation porosity.

  • Field Capacity is the water content remaining after saturation and drainage.
  • Saturation Porosity is the air content remaining in the soil after saturation and drainage.

What Temperatures do Spider Plants Need?

Spider plants thrive at temperatures between 60–80 ⁰F (16 – 27 ⁰C). They are native to South Africa, where temperatures can fluctuate but night frost are seldom heavy.

How do I Fertilize my Spider Plant?

Plants respond favorably to organic nutrition (compost or liquid fertilizer), which should be applied monthly during the growing season. A diluted liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer will boost growth.

While cutting fertilizer in winter is advised, watering should be consistent throughout the year, even in winter. This is unlike most other house plants that require less watering in winter, and overfertilization inhibits plantlet formation.

Should I Prune my Spider Plant?

Feel free to prune your spider plant; it will not harm you. Usually, it’s unnecessary unless your pet spider has grown too large and needs to be cut down a tad. Pruning has no other benefits unless you’re harvesting pups that develop when nights are longer, i.e., in winter.

If your spider plant is in constant ambient light, it is less likely to grow plantlets.

When Should I Repot my Spider Plant?

Generally, pot plants need repotting every other year, but that’s not a rule. The rule is that pot plants should be repotted when roots emerge from the drainage holes at the bottom.

How Much Space does a Spider Plant Need?

The space spider plants need all depend on where you grow them. Outdoors as ground cover, you’ll be glad to know that a single plant can quickly cover three feet.

As a hanging basket or a dest pot in a low-light environment, your itsy-bitsy spider will need about 12 inches of space, depending on your pot size.

Propagating Spider Plants

Mature spider plants will produce “pups.” These are new plant offshoots from the mother plant that you can trim off and nurture to grow an entirely new plant.

To propagate, cut off the small plant from the mother, and place the bottom end in a glass of water. You should see roots develop in less than a month. When roots have emerged, plant the pup in soil and water regularly.

Can I grow Spider Plants Outdoors?

In warmer regions (USDA Hardiness Zones 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b), spider plants are commonly used as ground cover under trees. They love the shade and don’t mind being the tree’s drip line.

In cooler regions, they should be grown in pots where they can be assured of average minimum temperatures above 50 ⁰F (10 ⁰C).

Are Spider Plants Dangerous to Pets?

Yay! Finally, a plant that isn’t a risk for your pets and loved ones. Anthericum Comosum has no toxicity warnings.

In Summary

The spider plant develops small white star-shaped flowers in loose panicles. The little plantlets are formed on the stolons at the nodes. Flowers are erect to typically arching-pendulous, are white and a quarter inch small with six spread tepals.

Plants generally don’t flower in their first year, so don’t move them about or increase darkness durations in the hope of triggering flowers.

Generally, a composition of 75 percent inert aggregate and 25 percent organic material is a good starting point for potting soils. Take the time to measure your mix’s field capacity (water retention capacity) and saturation porosity (air availability) using the guidelines provided.

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