Having indoor plants around the house is amazing, right? Placing a plant within the environment of your home is like having a close friend around. It changes the mood and atmosphere of your house, making it more accommodating, especially when you know how to arrange them properly. Spider plants are one of the most adaptable houseplants that make you feel comfortable.
Even though its name sounds like what you should stay away from, spider plants help purify your home’s air quality. Despite its benefits, this plant can be overwhelming to care for, but you will get the best out of them if you do it right. You don’t have to be a green thumb to care for yours. This guide can help you do it effortlessly.
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What is a Spider Plant?
It got its name because of its jagged-like leaves, which dangle down from the mother plant like a spider web. It is a plant of the lily family with long, narrow leaves and long stems that grow plantlets. The plant is native to tropical and southern Africa and is popularly used as a houseplant.
Whether as a tabletop, room plant, or toilet plant, spider plant blooms and sits comfortably with its lovely leaves and soothing smell. This plant declutters the air by removing harmful chemicals and toxins, such as carbon monoxide and xylene. If you are a first-timer looking for where to start from, a spider plant can be your guide into home plants.
Spider plant varieties
Like any other plants, this one has different breeds as well. The green colour is typical of all breeds of spider plants. While some are entirely green, one has a white and green striped pattern. The following are some of the most common varieties:
‘Vittatum’ is the most popular spider plant variety. This ornamental plant has leaf margins of cream or white with a broad vertical and curved dark green stripe down the middle.
Its long white stem can grow up to 30-60 cm long and wide, and it grows best in well-drained soil under a light shade.
Bonnie is more compact than other species. It shares an appearance with Vittatum, but the leaves are more curly. People prefer this plant for its bright, curled, and narrow leaves, which can grow to 45 cm.
After a while, Bonnie develops beautiful yellow flowers. This easy-to-care-for plant is suitable for balconies, bathrooms, and small rooms.
Zebra is a very fast-growing hanging plant. It has yellow edges, which change to white after a while.
For the best result, try to grow zebra plants in full sun or partial shade. Also, you can grow it in a hanging basket over the balcony.
Variegatum is a popular breed among experienced gardeners. It features curved leaf margins of white/off-white/cream with a dark green stripe down the centre line. This variety of spider plant is suitable for offices and living rooms.
This Variegated Bonnie displays arched and deeply-webbed green leaves with creamy white edges. This peculiarity makes it an excellent choice for your living room.
Like the zebra breed, you can plant Bonnie variegated in hanging baskets. It is excellent for new gardeners because of its low maintenance.
Spider Plant Care
They flourish excellently in indirect sunlight or low light. The stripes on the leaves become prominent and blossoming when it gets indirect light.
Avoid watering the plant when the sun is shining directly on it. A sign that your plant is getting too much sunlight is when the plant’s leaves start turning light green.
They can grow in different soil types, but they grow well on water-permeable soil. Also, neutral soil with moderate pH is ideal, but slightly alkaline soil will suffice as well. Keep in mind that excess salt in the soil can cause the leaves edges to turn brown.
Knowing the right way to water your plants is always important. Although spider plants adore moisture, they can’t sit in wet soil for an extended period. Keep your soil moist by watering adequately with distilled or filtered tap water. Avoid overwatering so as not to cause root rot. After watering, let the soil absorb enough liquid before adding more.
Spider plants are pretty sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in water, so if you notice any discolouration at the leaf tips, leave the water to drain away overnight before watering the plant with clean water.
Spider plants prefer temperatures within 18 – 35 degrees Celsius during the day and above 10 degrees at night.
Low humidity environments aid spider plants growth, but they can survive high humidity. Frequent misting can protect the leaves’ tips from turning brown.
These ornamental plants need just a moderate amount of fertilisation. Too much fertiliser can cause brown leaf tips and slow development, so consider fertilising twice a month.
Ensure the soil is damp enough before applying it. It can help if you use water-soluble fertiliser in the growing season, usually in spring and summer. Spider plants naturally slow down in autumn or winter, so avoid fertilising in these periods.
Propagating spider plants
Propagation of spider plants is one of the easiest. With the right care and conditions, your healthy spider plant should start growing baby spiders called spiderettes. Leave the plantlets on their stem until they develop roots.
Spider plants grow best pot-bound, which means they like having their roots in a crowded little pot. When the roots are long enough, gently trim the spiderettes off with their roots intact and transfer them to a container with good drainage. Ensure the soil is moist and drains properly, as poorly draining soil can cause root rot. Continue following the usual care for spider plants.
Potting and repotting spider plants
You can grow your spider plants in containers large enough to hold their root balls. The containers must have adequate drainage holes for excess water and use a loose potting mix. Spider plants need repotting every two to three years.
They are a bit root-bound, and the plant’s roots can sprout through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot and above the soil, which indicates that it is time to repot. To do this, gently take the plant from the container, with its roots intact, and place it in a new and bigger one. Then add fresh potting mix. Keep in mind that the best time to repot is in spring.
Common pests and diseases
Fading spider plant leaves
If you notice that the green stripes on your spider plants turn to light green or start to fade, it may be a sign of dehydration.
Fading leaves may also lose their stamina, causing them to droop to one side. If you don’t take care of them on time, it may lead to the plants’ slow growth and eventual death. A regular watering schedule should get your spider plants back, but ensure you don’t overwater them.
Brown leaf tip
This disease is a common problem of spider plants. When you use too much fertiliser, it causes high toxicity buildup. The best way to avoid brown tips is to leave the contaminated water or fertiliser to wear off the plant. Then, go with filtered water.
Aphids are pests that cause the foliage to depreciate over time. Some of its symptoms include yellow spots on leaves, wilt, and black mould growing. The pests also spread from plant to plant, leading to slow growth and eventual death.
To fix this, spray aphids with potassium salts of fatty acids on top and bottom of the leaves to weaken their protective pest shell.
Thrips are tiny insects that look like tiny threads. They feed by perforating the plants and sucking out the moisture inside, creating streaks. Thrips also infest flower buds and can destroy the entire crop.
Some of the symptoms of thrips include silver or bronze-coloured streaks on leaves, which eventually turn brown and dry.
Spray the affected parts with neem oil. Neem-source chemicals can stay active for seven days. Repeat the treatment two to three times a week to ensure you eliminate all of the pests and any new ones.
Spider mites leave tiny pale specks and white webbing on leaves and buds. They destroy the spider plants by piercing through their cells and sucking out the fluids. A single spider mite can produce up to a thousand offsprings in a month.
To prevent permanent damage to your plant, single out infested plants and spray them with insecticides that kill all stages of pests.
This problem usually arises when spider plants are too close to sunlight. Also, it may happen when the temperatures in a room are above 35 degrees Celsius.
A common symptom is for the leaves’ edges to curl inwards. This problem mainly affects the upper leaves. To fix this issue, place the plants in a cool environment with fresh air.
Aside from beautification purposes, they help to detoxify the environment. It is essential to care for your spider plants to get the best of them. The spider plant needs not much, just enough sun and water, which is why it is the perfect indoor plant for newbie gardeners and those without a green thumb.