I was asked this question the other day by a friend, and to tell you the truth – I had no idea what the answer was. So in true Miss Pot Plant style, I’ve done some digging and I’m here to share the honey.
So then – How long can a spider plant live for ?
The simple answer is – a spider plant can live indefinitely, if taken care of properly. With well draining soil, indirect bright light, a regular watering schedule and semi frequent fertilising, a spider plant will likely outlive you. And your children.
Additionally, it’s fairly simple to propagate, so a good plant will not only live on for many years, but can produce many offspring to help you create as many spider plant’s as you desire.
In this article, we’ll review the main care tips you need to follow to keep your spider a happy chappy.
The spider plant (chlorophytum comosum) – the nerd facts
If you can’t work out why the spider plant is named spider plant, then we have serious issues Janice.
For the science buffs, Chlorophytum comosum is a perennial flowering plant, and originates from southern Africa. Interestingly for us Aussies, it’s also native to WA now. Cool beans.
It’s known as a super easy to grow and pretty hard to kill houseplant, which makes it ideal for the plant challenged among us. It can grow to as high as 24 inches, and can a cute little long branched stem of white flowers.
The most commonly found versions for growing in your house included the two variegated cultivars;
- Comosum “Vittatum” – which has green leaves with a broad central white stripe, often found in handing baskets, and;
- comosum “Variegatum” which has dark green leaves with white margins. It tends to be a bit smal
Righto, now you know your spider plant. Now let’s talk about how to keep the bugger alive forever (or until climate change kills us all).
No surprises here; as for most houseplants, you’ll want a well-draining pot and a well-draining potting mix. If you’re in doubt about your mix, add some perlite and that should do the trick.
Medium to bright indirect light is favourable for your spider plant. Keep it away from western windows (or set it back a touch), as direct afternoon sun might burn your wee little spiders away.
Root rot is the enemy of the spider plant. Don’t be a root rotter Janice.
Water your spiders well, but make sure their pot drains and the roots aren’t sitting in water.
Let the plant dry out almost completely between waters, with the exception of summer; water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Another hot tip is to water even less frequently when the plant is young. It’s like making your teenager get a job when they’re at school. It’ll make them more resilient and independent. You can treat it to a bit more water as it matures.
Remember, your spider doesn’t mind a little abuse. Quite enjoys it actually.
You can give your plant a dose of liquid balanced fertiliser every 6-8 weeks during the warmer months. Don’t go overboard. Too much love will just weird your spider plant out. Don’t be needy. Give it some space.
Can you propagate your spider plant?
Absolutely Janice. Simply wait for the mother plant to produce “pups” which shoot out from the soil near the mother plant, remove, and replant into a well-draining potting mix.
Alternatively, you can use a propagation station with some root hormone instead.
You’ll want to wait until the pups are 2-3 inches before removing them though.
PESTS / DISEASES
The spider plant may occasionally be affected by scale or mealybugs. We do find however that its usually pretty hardy and resistant to pests.
TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR SPIDER PLANT
- Tips of leaves are turning brown
Several things can cause your spiders plants leaves to develop brown tips. You may be underwatering, or have positioned the plant in too harsh a light. If this is not the case, the consider using filtered water; some tap water will contain salts and minerals which can burn your spider plant.
- Spider plant won’t grow / is growing slowly
If your spider plant is looking unhealthy or isn’t growing, review the above tips. It’s likely you’re missing something.
Probably the most common cause of poor growth is poor soil, followed by insufficient light. Erratic watering is up there as well. If your spider plant is planted in well-draining soil, gets moderate to bright indirect light and is water when starting to dry out, it should grow very well.
That’s it folks. Your spider plant can live forever if you follow these basic steps. If you can’t keep this one alive, we’re in trouble.
If you have a sexy spider plant at home – show us your honey and post a photo!
Miss Pot Plant Xoxo