Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is an easy-to-grow and perhaps one of the most adaptable house plant. It is so named because of its spider-like look as the baby plants aka ‘pups’, dangle down from the mother plant like spiders on a web. These little babies are mini plants that can be grown into a new plant. Spider plant is best known for its air-purifying ability.
It can be planted in a soil-based, well-draining potting mix.
Regular store bought potting mix works fine for this plant. You can also DIY an organic mixture of compost, peat, loam, and coarse sand at home.
This plant likes being root-bound in a small pot. So don’t rush to transplant them into a bigger pot.
If you see the plant has outgrown its pot, which means; big fat roots coming out from the base of the pot, then you can go for repotting. Choose a pot that is 2″ larger than the current pot.
Spider plant likes evenly moist soil throughout the year; they don’t like to be too dry or too wet. Generally a low to average watering is good for this plant, meaning in any place in India such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi etc, you can try watering this plant every 2-4 days. During the summer months water them regularly and in winter allow them to dry out between waterings.
See here how to water them appropriately.
While watering, soak the soil evenly and generously till the water comes out from below the pot. These plants like to have the soil dry out a little between waterings because the roots tend to hold a lot of water, which can cause root rot if the plant is overwatered.
Spider plant loves humid conditions. Misting them frequently especially in Indian summers will help to keep them moist, as well as prevent infestation of spider mites. You can also try bringing it into the bathroom for a few hours for a humidity boost every weekend.
Sunlight: Spider plants love medium lighting. Keep your plant in bright to moderate indirect sunlit area. Solid green varieties need less light than the green and white varieties. Spider plant should never be put in the direct sun. Direct sunlight can burn their leaves, causing brown tips and spots.
Propagation: A matured spider plant begins to produce flowers, eventually developing into babies, or ‘pups’. These pups can be rooted in soil for growing a new plant. Once the mother plant, has produced too many pups, it is better to remove them as these babies take away the energy from the mother plant.
The best method for rooting spider plant babies is by allowing the plantlet to remain attached to the mother plant until it has its own roots that are clearly visible. Once the pup is well rooted, remove from the mother plant and plant as usual in the soil.
Fertilizer: Spider plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer. It’s best to feed them every alternate month. Use an organic, liquid houseplant fertilizer such as sea weed solution or compost for best results..
Browning of Tips: One issue that is commonly seen in spider plants is that browning of the tips of the leaves. To fix the issue, trim the brown areas and water the plant regularly.
Also ensure that the plant is not kept under direct sun
Pests: Spider Mites are the biggest problem for this plant. You can use an insecticidal solution or neem oil diluted in water as a spray (10ml of neem oil in a glass of water with few drops of shampoo). Repeat every 3-4 days to stop the infestation. Like any other indoor plants, spider plant can get infested with mealybugs and scales as well. You can use Neem oil sprays or soapy waters to stop such infestations.
- By Kaushiki Sinharoy, Team Garden Up