Known for their thin, arching leaves and adorable little “spiderettes”, spider plants are some of the most popular house plants out there. Although individual varieties vary in appearance, all spider plants are members of the species Chlorophytum comosum.
These plants are native to much of Africa, growing in tropical forests. However, you can now find them across the world as houseplants.
In Kenyan homes, the spider plant is mostly hang on the side of the window in the house and also verandahs. Hosea Kipngetich a plant expert from the Irish Gardeners in lower Kabete breaks down ways of taking care of this plant.
Care for Spider Plant
To keep these plants happy, you’ll want to provide a warm environment, with a temperature between 65-85ºF. They are tolerant of various humidity levels but prefer moderate to high humidity.
Although they like lots of bright light, they prefer indirect rather than direct sunlight.
“To help your plant thrive, plant it in a well-draining soil mix and water when the top few inches of soil is dry.” Says Kipngetich.
These plants can grow in a variety of soil types, but they favor loose, loamy soil with sharp drainage. Spider plant prefers a fairly neutral soil pH but can tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. A high level of salts in the soil can cause the leaf tips to turn brown.
Spider plants like lightly moist but not soggy soil. Overwatering can cause root rot and ultimately kill the plant. These plants are sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in water, which can brown the leaf tip.? So if possible, use rainwater or distilled water for container plants.
Temperature and Humidity
Warm, humid conditions are ideal for spider plants. “They don’t like temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This means they should be protected from drafts and air-conditioning vents when grown indoors.” Says Kipngetich.
Moreover, the leaf tips can brown if the humidity is low.? Regular misting of the plant can help to maintain adequate humidity.
1. Tolerant of Lead
While some plants cannot grow in soils contaminated with heavy metals like lead, spider plants can. One study has shown that spider plants can grow well in soils that contained up to 500 mg lead per kg of dry soil.
Another study showed that spider plants might be helpful plants for lead phytoremediation. They remove lead from the soil and also have the benefits of high biomass and low cost.
2. Easy to Propagate
One of the best things about spider plants is how easy they are to propagate. If you’ve ever seen a healthy spider plant, you may know that it can produce hundreds of plantlets.
These plantlets, also known as offsets or spiderettes, grow at the tips of the plant’s leaves. They form after the plant produces flowers.
If you leave offsets on the mother plant long enough, they will form roots. At this point, all you need to do is remove the plantlets and place them in soil.
3. Okay for Most Allergies
Both fragrant plants and those with certain types of pollen can lead to runny noses and headaches. While the plants do produce flowers, they are tiny and don’t have much of a fragrance. With that said, some people are sensitive to the pollen the flowers produce. Therefore, it’s good to test out any sensitivities before adding one of these plants to your home or office.
4. Safe for Pets
Before choosing any plant to improve indoor air quality, it is crucial to know whether that plant is safe for your pets if you have pets.
Fortunately, one of the best spider plant benefits is, it is pet safe. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) clearly states that spider plant is safe for cats and dogs.
Depending on where you are and the size that you want to grow, the cost of taking care of the spider plant varies.
In Kenya, the spider plant is commonly sold at the side of the road, you can also find it in paper bags already packed with the special soil. When packed, it goes for Sh450 to 1500 depending on the size.
Social media sites and online stores like Instagram, Facebook and websites like Jumia are platforms where you can find the plant being sold.