Care, history and uses for spider plants in the home, office and garden.
These hybrids have a distinctive white or cream stripe down the center of each leaf. The narrow leaves arch over but the true trailing effect is produced by long stems bearing numerous plantlets. Well grown specimens are striking when displayed from a height or in hanging baskets.
Spider plants are an easy plant to grow and maintain
Native to South Africa they grow wild and tolerate a variety of conditions. This makes spider plants a great choice for beginners to grow and maintain as their naturally hardiness makes them non-demanding and easy to care for. They are especially good for the cleansing the air of pollutants such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide and are recommended in homes that use natural gases and fireplaces to cleanse the air. It is a healthy houseplant addition to home and office.
Spider plants grow in some zones outdoors and are showy in outdoor hanging baskets, making excellent ground covers in flower bed, borders, window boxes, sills and balconies. The plantlets make propagation easy. Young plants can be replanted and transplanted outdoors once their roots have established as bedding plants. They will need protection from direct sun and should be planted in shady areas. Popular since Victorian times for its ornamental style the root of the spider plant is also used in Chinese medicine for treating bronchitis, fractures and burns.
Care of indoor spider plants
Climate: Cool, filtered sun.
Size: The leaves can grow up to 60 cm long. The spread depends on the number of plants growing in the same spot.
Feeding: Feed with standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
Potting: Repot in early spring using soil-based potting mixture but only if the roots have completely filled the existing pot. If you don’t want to move an older plant into a bigger pot, topdress (add soil to the top) instead. Spider plants grow easy in hydro culture (growing in rocks) keep them well fed and pot-bound.
Pests: Scale insects which can be hard to detect. These suckling insects are slightly oval raised with translucent bumps. They can be found along the stems and on the underside of the leaves and leave a sticky feel on the plant. The key to getting rid of them is to treat them all including the ones you can’t see by drenching all leaves and stems until they are dripping wet. Include spraying the crevices where the leaves come out. You may want to try spraying with rubbing alcohol that will help break through the hard outer barrier of the scale and kill it. Mix 1 part alcohol with 5 parts of water. Add a little liquid soap to help it spread.