Airplane Plant or Spider Plant
Chlorophytum comosum (solid green) Variegatum (Variegated)
- Type: Herbaceous Perennial
- Common Name: Spider Plant
- Zone Outdoors: 9 – 11 Indoors: Any
- Height: 1 – 2 Feet
- Spread: 1 – 2 Feet
- Bloom Time: Flowers Freely
- Bloom Description: White
- Sun: Part Shade to Full Shade
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Low
- Suggested Use: Annual, Rain Garden
- Flower: Insignificant
- Leaf: Colorful
- Tolerates: Drought, Heavy Shade, Dry Soil
Indoors, airplane plant or spider plant needs bright indirect sunlight and watering well when in full growth. Keep moderately moist and temperatures above 45°F. Ideal temperatures are between 55° and 70°. Do not over fertilize as heavily fertilized plants may not form as many new plantlets. Your plants will not run short of nutrients; its tubers store reserve food. Cut off yellowed foliage and brown tips which will occur unless conditions are perfect. Plantlets form when the airplane plant or spider plant receives short days and long, uninterrupted nights for at least three weeks. The plantlets can be repotted to form new plants. This plant has fleshy tuberous roots, so it will need to be divided and repotted before the roots burst your container, especially plastic containers. In warmer areas where outdoor cultivation is possible, grow in light shade in well-drained soil.
Airplane Plant or Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is native to South Africa. It has linear leaves that are green or striped white. Flowering stems bear loose panicles of small, white, starry flowers. Plantlets are formed at the flowering nodes. When plants are full, they have an interesting, graceful, cascading habit. ‘Variegatum’ has margins of white or cream. ‘Vittatum’ has recurved leaves with a central white stripe and green margins.
Plants are susceptible to root rot if waterlogged, whiteflies, spider mites, scales and aphids. Leaf tips turn brown from too little water, too low humidity, too much salts and excess of fluorides in the water. The foliage will also scald if placed in direct sun.
In warmer climates or during summer months in colder areas, spider plants are well-suited to use in planters or as a ground cover. The plantlets will cascade over a wall or planter forming a fountain effect. The variegated cultivars brighten up any shaded locations. It can be used as an edging along walks or in front of shrub borders. As an indoor plant, it is used primarily in baskets. It tolerates artificial light very well and therefore makes an excellent plant for offices and commercial settings.
Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Society Plant Finder