Spider Plant (Chlorophytum homo sum)

The gift that keeps on giving. Seldom do you see a spider plant that does not have some “babies” attached. Ideally suited to hanging baskets, these plants will even grow in a styrofoam cup.  Eventually, they will reach a mature 2 to 2 ½ feet and even up to 3 feet. Spider plants can become root bound, where the roots fill the post and will occasionally need repotting.  These plants sprout dangling babies, which can be cut off and planted in their pot or styrofoam cup when roots form.  Spider Plants can be left outdoors all year in USDA zones 9-11. For more information on USDA zones, see the following website: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

Typically spider plants are grown for their foliage, but they do have a greenish-white flower.  There are three foliage patterns to look for,

  1. All green leaves
  2. Leaves with green borders and a striped center
  3. Leaves with light borders and a green striped center

According to NASA researchers, Spider Plants effectively remove common household air toxins from formaldehyde and xylene.  They are also useful in reducing indoor air pollution.

Caring for spider plants is easy. These tough plants tolerate lots of abuse, making them excellent candidates for newbie gardeners or those without a green thumb. Provide them with well-drained soil and bright, indirect light and they will flourish. Water them well but do not allow the plants to become too soggy, which can lead to root rot. In fact, spider plants prefer to dry out some between waterings.

Special Note: The ASPCA lists Spider Plants as non-toxic for both dogs and cats. But, the Spider Plant attracts cats in part because it is mildly hallucinogenic. Because cats are more likely to play with the plant, they’re more likely to eat it and, therefore, suffer from an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.