Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum): A Complete Guide

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are one of the most common houseplants to grow, despite their creepy name. The spider plant is one of the simplest houseplants to maintain because of its large form, easy-to-follow care instructions, and prolific reproduction. Furthermore, spider plants are safe and non-toxic for both humans and all pets, including cats. The spider plant is well-known for its curling, leg-like leaves, which are frequently striped in different tones of green.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

A gorgeous plant with flowing foliage that looks well as a hanging plant or on a tabletop or mantel. A healthful addition to your house, the spider plant is also well-known for its amazing air-purifying abilities.

Interesting Science Videos

Taxonomic Classification of Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Taxonomic RankClassification
SpeciesChlorophytum comosum
Spider Plant
[Image source: https://www.gardenersworld.com/]

Habitat and Distribution of Spider Plant

  • While the genus Chlorophytum is native to tropical and subtropical Africa, it has recently spread to other regions, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Western Australia.
  • Carl Peter Thunberg initially described C. comosum (the Latin name for a Spider Plant) as ‘Anthericum comosum‘ in 1794, in a book he wrote while visiting South Africa.
  • The species has since been assigned to other genera, such as Phalangium and Caesia, until being eventually assigned to Chlorophytum in the early 1860s.
  • Its present name, Chlorophytum comosum, means “green plant” in Greek and “tufts of hair,” referring to the way it grows.
  • Chlorophytum comosum is found in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo provinces.
  • It can be found at elevations ranging from sea level to above 1,000 metres. It grows in the undergrowth of forested river valleys, mountainous places, thickets, steep embankments, flat land, and cliffs.
  • It grows on a range of volcanic or sedimentary soils composed of sandstone, shale, dolorite, or granite.

Anatomy and Morphology of Spider Plant

  • Spider plant is a herbaceous, clumping perennial that can grow up to one foot tall and four feet wide. It is typically used as a ground cover or in containers.
  • Its simple, linear leaves are bright, smooth, and typically striped with white bands. They are grouped into rosettes.
  • Small plantlets emerge at the ends of lengthy stolons.
  • The blooms are small, white, and about three-quarters of an inch across. They are borne in racemes.
  • Plants grow 12-15 inches tall.
  • The thick, fleshy roots and rhizomes evolved to retain water, allowing it to withstand infrequent watering.
  • Long, wiry stems up to 2 feet long are developed, sometimes with a few little leaves, especially after three weeks of short days and long, uninterrupted nights, though they can appear at any time of year inside.
  • Small white, star-shaped flowers appear at the tips of the stems.
  • Following flowering, additional leaves appear at the ends of the stems, generating miniature plantlets.
  • If a bloom is pollinated, it produces a leathery, 3-angled capsule-type fruit with flat black seeds.

How to Grow and Care Spider Plant

Spider plants are commonly cultivated in containers as hanging plants due to their cascading foliage and long branches containing plantlets. Growing them on columns also looks fantastic. Make sure the long leaves aren’t crushed and the long plantlet stems don’t become so heavy that they topple the pot if you set their container on a shelf or table. Spider plants grow nicely as ground cover or edging in warm regions and in outdoor pots.

The most time-consuming aspect of caring for spider plants is usually giving them regular watering. Additionally, schedule frequent fertilization for the entire growing season (spring through October). And when its roots are too big for the container, repot your plant as needed.

  • Light: Spider plants like growing in light shade outdoors. They won’t grow as robustly, but they can withstand intense shade. The leaves may get scorched by direct sunshine. An indirect sun-facing door or bright window is great indoors.
  • Soil: They prefer loamy, loose soil that drains well. Spider plants can survive in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil, although they prefer a pH of about neutral.
  • Water: Spider plants prefer lightly wet but not soggy soil. Overwatering can cause root rot, which will eventually destroy the plant. These plants are susceptible to fluoride and chlorine in water, which can cause leaf tips to become brown.
  • Temperature and Humidity: Warm, humid conditions are ideal for spider plants. They don’t like temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This means they should be protected from drafts and air-conditioning vents when grown indoors. Moreover, the leaf tips can brown if the humidity is too low.1 Regular misting of the plant can help to maintain adequate humidity.
  • Fertilizer: Once a month during busy growing seasons (spring and summer) is sufficient for these plants. Too much fertilizer can create brown leaf tips, while too little fertilizer results in poor development.
  • Pruning: Remove any dead or browning leaves as they appear. If a plant becomes too lanky and sparse, remove the plantlet shoots to direct energy to the main plant.

How to Propagate Spider Plant

Spider plants are so easy to propagate and abundant that you’ll want to share them with everyone you know. This is something even beginners can do:

  • It’s time to propagate when the little plantlets on a spider plant’s stem grow roots at least an inch or two long. Cut the plantlets off the stem using sharp pruners, taking care not to damage the roots.
  • Pot them in a well-draining clay or plastic container filled with potting medium, keeping the soil moist (but not waterlogged) until they establish themselves.
  • Place a tiny pot of potting soil near the parent plant for plantlets that have not yet grown roots.
  • Place the plantlet on top of the soil in the new container and keep it moist. Roots should form within a few weeks.
  • Snip the plantlet from the parent plant and let it grow in its new pot.
  • Alternatively, mature plants can be dug out and divided. Gently separate the root ball into parts, preserving as many roots as possible. Next, replant the portions.

Potting and Repotting Spider Plant

Repotting spider plants is only necessary when the roots are clearly visible and the plant is pushing itself out of the pot. If you intend to split your spider plant at the same time, it is recommended to repot in spring. Avoid repotting spider plants in the winter.

  • To repot, begin by selecting a new container. If you wish to retain the plant as is, consider one that is one to two sizes larger. This strikes the correct balance between giving the plant more room and giving it so much space that it struggles to develop.
  • Never choose a pot that is significantly larger than the present container, since the roots may rot from excess moisture and the plant will have restricted development above the soil level.
  • Spider plants require a well-drained, light soil mix when cultivated inside to promote airflow and prevent rot. Look for a houseplant-specific soil mix at the local nursery or online. To achieve the same result, combine two parts potting mix, one part perlite, and one part coconut coir.
  • Watering after repotting is necessary because it settles the roots after being exposed to air and promotes them to expand outwards into new sections of the container. Watering also eliminates any air pockets in the soil, ensuring that moisture reaches all of the roots that require it.
  • After watering, let the excess drain through the container’s drainage holes before relocating your spider plant. If you’ve divided your plants, you can also select locations for your new plants.

Benefits/Uses of Spider Plant

Health Benefits of Spider Plant

A healthy liver: Spider plant root concentrations are used to study hepato-defensive movement. The concentrations of spider plant root serve to reduce the provocative course of the liver, which aids in recovery.

Against cancer: Spider plant foundations were tested against four different human cell lines, namely HeLa, HL-60, and U937, for diverse types of growths. The root extricates then serve to suppress the growing movement via apoptosis or phone passage. However, further investigation and research are required to corroborate this finding.

Therapeutic: According to study, placing spider plants in medical clinic wards reduced patient anxiety. The study indicated that patients who had a spider plant for about two weeks had a better mood and lower cortisol levels, which are associated with stress.

Spider plants are healing because they provide numerous benefits such as reducing depression, anxiousness, anger, and stress.

Effective against cough and cold: The entire plant concentrate of Spider plants helps in diminishing the cough and consequently loosening up the chest clog. In Chinese custom, the concentrate of the spider plant is used against bronchitis and cough-related problems.

Other Uses of Spider Plant

Almost hard to kill: Some houseplants, such as the spider plant, may practically grow themselves. It thrives and adapts quickly to a variety of climatic situations, even when neglected for days, overwatered, or underwatered. The spider plant thrives in both low light and part sunshine, although it is best to keep it in a location with bright indirect sunlight.

Purifies the air: The spider plant is one of the easiest air-purifying plants to grow. It effectively removes dangerous substances from the air, including carbon monoxide, xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene. According to NASA, the spider plant is one of the top three houseplants for eliminating formaldehyde, a common household toxin found in produced wood items, plastic products, pesticides, leather goods, adhesives, clothing and curtains, and so on.

Safe for pets: According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the spider plant is non-toxic to pets. However, it is still recommended that pets avoid this plant and not consume the leaves, since this may pose a risk. The spider plant contains chemical components that are thought to be related to opium, which can cause upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea in pets.

Improves patient recovery: According to multiple studies, introducing the spider plant to hospital rooms improves surgical patients’ recovery rates when compared to patients in rooms without the plant. Patients use fewer pain medications, have lower blood pressure and heart rate concerns, experience less anxiety and despair, and are discharged from the hospital sooner.

Increases Humidity: Spider plants are perennials with a high transpiration rate. It absorbs water from its roots and then circulates it through the stems and leaves. Once the water reaches the leaves, it evaporates into the air, raising the humidity. Increased humidity reduces the incidence of various airborne infections, including colds, coughs, sore throats, and flu-like symptoms. Growing spider plants at home or in the workplace helps to keep infections at bay while also increasing concentration and productivity.

Is Spider Plant Poisonous?

For Children: Spider plants are neither poisonous nor toxic to youngsters. A curious child will be alright if they consume any portion of a spider plant. Touching the plant is harmless because there are no sharp or pointy edges, and the plant produces no poisonous sap. It is preferable to encourage young children to avoid houseplants, but they will be fine if they touch or eat a spider plant.

For Dogs: Spider plants are suitable for use in a dog-friendly environment. The entire plant is non-toxic, thus your puppy or adult dog will be fine if they consume any part of a spider plant. Eating too much of any plant may result in an upset stomach, but this is the worst that can happen.

For Cats: Cats and young kittens will be safe among spider plants. The entire plant is non-toxic, thus it is safe for cats. The lengthy stolons and offsets may lure a curious cat, but touching or nibbling on a spider plant will not hurt it.

Other Animals: Spider plants are harmless to all animals, including pets and livestock. Chewing, eating, or touching the plant will not result in disease or a negative reaction. Spider plants are safe to have around animals.

Pest/Diseases on Spider Plant

AphidsSmall, soft-bodied insects that cluster on new growth, causing leaves to yellow and distort.Regularly inspect plants for aphids. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations.
WhitefliesTiny, moth-like insects that gather on the undersides of leaves, sucking sap and causing yellowing and wilting.Introduce natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations.
Spider MitesNearly microscopic pests that spin fine webs and feed on plant sap, leading to stippled leaves and webbing.Increase humidity to discourage mite infestations. Use a strong jet of water to dislodge mites. Apply neem oil.
MealybugsSmall, white, cottony insects that congregate on stems and leaf axils, sucking sap and causing stunted growth.Remove mealybugs manually with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil for severe infestations.
Scale InsectsSmall, oval-shaped insects that attach themselves to stems and leaves, sucking sap and causing yellowing.Prune heavily infested areas. Use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control scale.
ThripsTiny, slender insects that feed on leaves, causing silvering, stippling, and distorted growth.Introduce beneficial insects like predatory mites or pirate bugs. Use reflective mulch to deter thrips.
Fusarium WiltFungal disease causing yellowing, wilting, and eventual death of the plant, often starting from the base.Plant resistant varieties. Avoid overwatering and soil compaction. Remove and destroy infected plants promptly.
Botrytis (Gray Mold)Fungal infection causing grayish-brown spots and fuzzy growth on leaves, stems, and flowers.Improve air circulation and reduce humidity. Remove infected plant parts and avoid overhead watering.
Powdery MildewFungal disease appearing as white, powdery spots on leaves and stems, often in humid conditions.Increase air circulation. Avoid overhead watering. Apply fungicidal sprays or neem oil as a preventive measure.
Scale insects in spider plant
[Image source: https://plantura.garden/uk/houseplants/]

Spider Plant Varieties

Spider Plant VarietiesSpecial Characteristics
Spider Plant– Common variety with long, arching leaves – Produces long, trailing stems with small white flowers – Variegated varieties have white stripes on leaves – Easy to care for and adaptable to various conditions
Variegated Spider Plant– Variegated variety with creamy white stripes on leaves – Compact growth habit – Suitable for hanging baskets or as a tabletop plant
Curly Spider Plant– Compact variety with curly leaves – Leaves are shorter and more tightly clustered – Ideal for small spaces or as a desk plant
Hawaiian Spider Plant– Variegated variety with green and white stripes – Compact growth habit with shorter leaves – Tolerant of low light conditions
Zebra Spider Plant– Variegated variety with bold white stripes – Leaves have a distinctive striped pattern – Suitable for adding contrast to indoor displays
Reverse Spider Plant– Features green leaves with creamy white edges – Reverse color pattern compared to traditional variegated – Adds a unique touch to arrangements
Golden Spider Plant– Variegated with golden-yellow stripes – Brightens up indoor spaces with vibrant foliage
Bonnie Curly Spider Plant– Curly leaf variation of the traditional spider plant – Compact growth with tightly curled leaves – Adds texture and interest
Bonnie Green Spider Plant– Green variation of the curly leaf spider plant – Similar compact growth habit with curly leaves – Ideal for those preferring solid green foliage
Variegated Bonnie Spider Plant– Variegated version of the curly leaf spider plant – Features curly leaves with white variegation – Combines unique traits of both types

Interesting Facts on Spider Plant

  • The spider plant got its name from its spider-like appearance, which consists of arching leaves and dangling stems that resemble spider legs.
  • This plant gets its name from its spiderettes, which are small plantlets that hang from the mother plant on slender, spider-like stems.
  • The Spider Plant is not only visually appealing but it is also known for its air-cleansing properties. It enhances indoor air quality by absorbing noxious substances like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene.
  • One of the most remarkable qualities of spider plants is their capacity to reproduce quickly. They grow long, arching stems with young plantlets called ‘pups,’ which are easily replicated into new plants.
  • Spider plants are regarded as auspicious in Feng Shui because they are thought to bring positive energy, prosperity, and good fortune into a room. Placing them at the southeast corner of the room is thought to attract fortune.
  • Spider plants are well-known for their flexibility as houseplants and their ability to thrive in water.

Video on Spider Plant Grow and Care

YouTube video


  • https://www.fnp.com/article/spider-plant-benefits-that-will-make-your-jaw-drop
  • https://www.southernliving.com/spider-plant-benefits-6833414
  • https://www.floweraura.com/blog/spider-plant-health-benefits
  • https://medium.com/@intern_27615/5-benefits-of-spider-plant-bb754feb1fd3
  • https://facts.net/nature/plants/20-surprising-facts-about-spider-plant/
  • https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/houseplants/2019/spider-plant-indoor-care
  • https://www.thespruce.com/spider-plants-chlorophytum-definition-1902773

About Author

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Jyoti Bashyal

Jyoti Bashyal, a graduate of the Central Department of Chemistry, is an avid explorer of the molecular realm. Fueled by her fascination with chemical reactions and natural compounds, she navigates her field's complexities with precision and passion. Outside the lab, Jyoti is dedicated to making science accessible to all. She aspires to deepen audiences' understanding of the wonders of various scientific subjects and their impact on the world by sharing them with a wide range of readers through her writing.

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