Discover True Houseplant Heroes: Grow Chlorophytum comosum, the Spider Plant!

I adore my houseplants.  I relish the tranquil, serene, and yet simultaneously refreshing atmosphere that indoor plants bring to my home.  Not all houseplants are easy to grow.  Many plants need much higher humidity and light levels than we naturally have inside our homes.  I want to help you find houseplants that are true heroes, eager to grow in the same conditions we have indoors.  Once such hero is Chlorophytum comosum, better known as the Spider Plant.

Here’s one of my Spider Plants, this is Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’.

Spider Plants flourish in light, bright rooms.  If your room is a little more shaded, choose green-leaved Spider Plants and move your Spider Plant closer to a window.  Green-leaved Spider Plants have more green pigments (chlorophyll) in their leaves, which means they can photosynthesise more efficiently in low light levels than white-and-green-leaved, variegated plants.

I use water butts to collect rainwater from my roof to water my Spider Plants (and all my other houseplants).  Bottle rainwater and bring it indoors for 48 hours to allow the water to warm up before you irrigate any plants.  Don’t give your plants icy cold showers!

Once a Spider Plant has matured and is happy with its surroundings and growing conditions, these superb plants will send out and practically hand-deliver new baby Spider Plants to you!  Don’t be too hasty in removing baby Spider Plants (also known as ‘spiderettes’); wait until their root nodules have developed before you consider removing a spiderette.  Spiderettes can be anchored to a small container of peat-free compost and allowed to establish themselves, whilst they’re still attached to their mother plant but I remove spiderettes with root nodules and pot them up.  Take a paperclip or short length of wire bent to form a ‘U’ shape and gently slot the wire over the spiderette to hold the plant in place on the surface of the compost until the plant has rooted.

These spiderettes have not yet developed any root nodules. The baby Spider Plants in this image are dependent on their mother plant and will not survive if they become separated.
These spiderettes are producing their own roots and are now mature enough to be ready to be potted into their own containers. However, these’s no hurry to pot up spiderettes – these baby Spider Plants will be happy to be left alone and will grow on attached to their mother plant.
Here’s a closer look at the root nodules forming on three of my Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’ spiderettes. These baby Spider Plants are now mature enough to be potted up.
Here’s one of my baby Spiderette plants. This plant is rooting in a pot of peat-free compost, whilst it’s still attached to its mother plants.

My Spider Plants are currently showing signs of thrips damage.  I took the picture above for you last night.  I am not sure whether you can see in this image, but these Spider Plants now have white or silvery patches all over the foliage and they’re looking rather lack-lustre.  To control thrips, I am hoping to use SB Plant Invigorator on my houseplants this weekend.  I say ‘hoping’ because to be really effective with this treatment, I need to spray all of my houseplants at the same time, one after the other – which is rather a big job, but it is something I really must do.

Use a piece of wire bent into a ‘U’ shape to secure your baby Spider Plant in place on the surface of the compost. Make sure that you don’t cut too long a piece of wire (when bent in shape, the height of the ‘U’ must be shorter than the depth of compost in the pot). This is simply because if the wire is taller than the depth of compost it won’t have any effect in holding the plant on the surface of the growing medium.
I’ve used a ‘U’ shaped piece of wire to secure a baby Spider plant firmly on the surface of this pot of peat-free compost. This will allow the plant to root and grow away strongly, without any risk of the root nodules losing contact with the growing medium.

If you have a full-sized, mature Spider Plant that is not producing babies, check whether your plant’s container is too large.  Spider Plants have thick roots; these plants need to be fairly snug and secure within their planter before they’ll send out flowering stems.

Repot Spider Plants in springtime.  Choose a container with holes at the base to allow water to escape out the bottom of the pot and enable air to reach the plant’s roots.  These plants don’t want to be grown in containers that are too tall or too large.  Spider Plants are usually happiest grown in a container that’s one size larger than their previous planter, but full-sized plants are likely to prefer to be potted back into the same container.  Gently remove the old compost and pot up using fresh peat-free growing media.

When you’re buying plants, please check they were raised in peat-free compost.  Harriet’s Plants and Plants by There both sell Spider Plants (and other houseplants) that have in been raised in the UK, in peat-free growing media.

To see my houseplant pages and see more of my houseplants (I write extra pages whenever I get time), please click here.

For more gardening advice for February, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Houseplant Plant Sales and Houseplant Events, please click here.

For more articles about houseplants, please click here.

Here’s a link to my plant pages where you’ll find pictures and information about a wide range of houseplants and terrarium plants, as well as fruit, vegetables, trees, shrubs, roses, plants for containers, plants for bees and butterflies, perennials, and cut flowers.

To see my list of snowdrop nurseries, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Snowdrop Garden Openings, Snowdrop Talks, Snowdrop Plant Sales and Snowdrop Events, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Daffodil Garden Openings and Daffodil Events, please click here.

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