The spider plant, scientifically named Chlorophytum comosum, is a species of perennial flowering plants belonging to the Asparagaceae family. This plant is native to tropical and southern Africa, though it has since been naturalized in other parts of the world due to its ornamental appeal and hardy nature.
Spider plant has been recognized for its unique morphology. It is characterized by its arching, strap-like green leaves, often variegated with white or yellow streaks along the leaf margins. The leaves can grow up to 30-45 centimeters long and 2-2.5 centimeters broad. These leaves sprout from a central rosette, radiating outwards in a manner reminiscent of a spider’s web, hence the common name, “Spider Plant.”
One of the noteworthy aspects of spider plant is its method of reproduction. It bears small, white, star-shaped flowers on long, drooping, wiry stems known as inflorescences. Following flowering, these inflorescences can develop small, bulbous plantlets or ‘pups’, which are essentially miniaturized versions of the parent plant. These plantlets, if given the right conditions, can take root and grow into new, independent plants, a phenomenon known as vegetative propagation.
In addition to its aesthetic allure, the spider plant is noted for its environmental benefits. Numerous studies, including those by NASA’s Clean Air Study, have found that the spider plant is effective in absorbing indoor air pollutants, such as formaldehyde and xylene. This quality makes it an excellent choice for improving indoor air quality and promoting a healthier living environment.
Spider plant’s adaptability and low maintenance requirements make it a popular choice for novice gardeners and experts alike. It is tolerant of a wide range of light conditions (though it prefers indirect light), can withstand occasional neglect, and is resistant to most pests and diseases.
|Scientific Name||Chlorophytum comosum|
|Common Name||Spider Plant|
|Origin||Tropical and southern Africa|
|Growth Habit||Clump-forming, with leaves radiating from central rosette|
|Leaf Structure||Arched, strap-like, often variegated green and white|
|Leaf Size||Up to 30-45 cm long, 2-2.5 cm broad|
|Flowering||Small, white, star-shaped flowers on long inflorescences|
|Reproduction||Vegetative propagation via plantlets (pups)|
|Light Requirements||Prefers indirect light, but tolerant of range|
|Watering Needs||Moderate, can withstand occasional neglect|
|Soil Preferences||Well-draining soil|
|Temperature Range||15°C – 23°C (59°F – 73°F)|
|Air-Purifying Ability||Effective in absorbing formaldehyde and xylene|
|Pest Resistance||Resistant to most common houseplant pests|
Types of spider plant
There are several varieties of the spider plant, each with unique characteristics that add to its visual appeal. Here are some of the most notable types:
- Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’: This is the most common variety of spider plant. It features a broad central stripe of bright white running along the length of its leaves, flanked by edges of deep green. Its long stems bear small, white flowers, eventually developing into characteristic plantlets or ‘pups’.
- Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’: The ‘Variegatum’ variety has a coloration opposite to that of ‘Vittatum’. It showcases white or yellowish margins along the leaves with a central green stripe. Its leaves tend to be slightly shorter and the overall growth is more compact compared to the ‘Vittatum’.
- Chlorophytum comosum ‘Mandaianum’: Also known as the Dwarf Spider Plant, ‘Mandaianum’ is a compact variety with a shorter leaf length and smaller overall size. The leaves are variegated, with a green central band bordered by creamy white.
- Chlorophytum comosum ‘Bonnie’: The ‘Bonnie’ variety is notable for its curly or wavy leaves. The leaves have white stripes down the center, and it also produces white flowers and ‘pups’, similar to other types.
- Chlorophytum comosum ‘Hawaiian’: This type of spider plant is known for its extra-long leaves and arching stems. It features bright green leaves with a broad central stripe in white.
- Chlorophytum laxum ‘Bichetii’: This variety is often mistaken for a spider plant due to the similar growth pattern. It has solid green leaves with wavy edges, giving it a somewhat different appearance from the standard Spider Plant varieties.
Each type of spider plant maintains the species’ general hardiness and resilience, with slight variations in appearance that allow for different aesthetic appeals. They all share the ability to improve indoor air quality, making them a popular choice for indoor gardeners and plant enthusiasts.
Meaning of spider plant in Feng Shui
The spider plant holds a treasured position in the realm of Feng Shui. Its flowing, slender leaves, brimming with the vibrant energies of life, echo the elegant yet resilient form of the arachnid creature it is named after.
In the language of Feng Shui, the spider plant is a purveyor of harmonious Wood energy. Wood, one of the five Feng Shui elements, symbolizes growth, vitality, and the progression of life. This makes the spider plant an emblem of expansion, renewal and enduring health.
From a practical perspective, the spider plant is recognized for its potent air-purifying abilities. It cleanses the Qi, or life force, in its surroundings by absorbing harmful toxins from the air, thus promoting a healthier, more vibrant living or workspace. It transforms negative energy, balances the yin and yang, and aids in fostering a space of pure tranquility and well-being.
In Feng Shui, the location of the plant plays a pivotal role. Placing a spider plant in the East or Southeast sector of your home can amplify family health and fortify the energy of wealth and abundance, respectively, in keeping with the traditional Feng Shui Bagua.
Additionally, its cascading, spiderette offshoots can symbolize the abundant potential for wealth and its continuous multiplication. They can represent the perpetuation of good fortune, acting as a metaphor for flourishing success and prosperity. Therefore, spider plant is also called “money plant” by feng shui experts.
Yet, it is not only prosperity and growth that the spider plant signifies. The grace with which it spreads its foliage, a gesture of openness and receptivity, stands as a gentle reminder for us to welcome opportunities with open arms, to embrace change and growth.
How to use spider plant to attract luck and wealth
In the ancient practice of Feng Shui, spider plant is esteemed for its ability to attract luck and wealth. Its lush, arching leaves, symbolic of growth and prosperity, and its air-purifying qualities both contribute to its auspicious reputation. Here’s how you can leverage the energies of the spider plant to attract fortune and abundance:
- Position: The placement of your spider plant plays a significant role in drawing wealth. According to the Bagua, or Feng Shui energy map, the Southeast area of your home or office is the wealth and abundance sector. By positioning your spider plant in this area, you encourage the flow of wealth energy.
- Care and maintenance: A healthy, well-cared-for spider plant reflects a vibrant, flourishing energy. Regular watering, proper lighting, and periodic fertilizing can all contribute to the health and longevity of your plant. This effort put into nurturing the plant is akin to nurturing your wealth, and in turn, a thriving plant symbolizes thriving wealth.
- Propagate plantlets: The small ‘pups’ or plantlets that spider plant produces symbolize growth and multiplication. By encouraging these plantlets to root and grow into new plants, you effectively symbolize the growth and multiplication of wealth.
- Pair with a wealth vase: In Feng Shui, a wealth vase is a powerful symbol to attract prosperity and fortune. Placing a wealth vase near your spider plant can potentially amplify its wealth-attracting energy.
- Gratitude: Acknowledging and expressing gratitude for your spider plant, and more broadly for all the prosperity in your life, reinforces a positive mindset. This positive attitude can in turn attract more wealth and good fortune.
Remember, while the spider plant can serve as a symbol and a tool to attract wealth and luck, your actions, intentions, and mindset play the ultimate role in actualizing your wealth aspirations. The spider plant acts as a beautiful, living reminder of your wealth intentions, helping to keep your focus on growth, prosperity and the positive energy in your life.
Common problems of spider plant
Despite its hardy nature, the spider plant can sometimes exhibit signs of distress due to environmental or care-related issues. Here are some common problems associated with Spider Plants:
Brown leaf tips: This is perhaps the most common issue seen in spider plants. Brown leaf tips can be caused by several factors, including over-fertilization, low humidity, tap water high in fluoride or chlorine, or inconsistent watering. Using distilled or rainwater for watering, maintaining a consistent watering schedule, and ensuring a humid environment can help prevent this issue.
Yellow leaves: Yellowing leaves may indicate overwatering or poor drainage, which can lead to root rot. Ensure the plant has a well-draining soil, and let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings.
Leaf curling or wilting: This is generally a sign of underwatering or exposure to cold drafts. If the plant’s soil is dry and the leaves are wilting, water the plant thoroughly. If the plant is near a drafty window or a cold area, relocate it to a warmer spot.
Slow growth or lack of ‘pups’: If your spider plant is not producing ‘pups’ or plantlets, it may be due to inadequate light or the need for repotting. Spider plants produce ‘pups’ when slightly root-bound, but if the plant is overly root-bound, it might stunt growth. Providing bright, indirect light and repotting in a slightly larger pot if necessary can encourage growth.
Pests: While relatively pest-resistant, spider plants can occasionally attract common houseplant pests like spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs. Regularly inspect the plant for pests and treat any infestation early using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Leaf bleaching: If leaves lose their vibrant green color and turn pale or bleached, the plant may be getting too much direct sunlight. Relocate the plant to a spot with bright, indirect light.
How to care spider plant when growing indoors
Caring for a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) indoors is relatively straightforward, thanks to its hardy and adaptable nature. However, optimal growth and health can be achieved by adhering to the following guidelines:
Light: Spider Plants prefer bright, indirect light, though they can adapt to semi-shady conditions. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, causing brown tips or spots, so it’s best to place your spider plant near a north-facing window or a few feet away from an east or west-facing window.
Water: Water your spider plant thoroughly, but allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out between watering to avoid overwatering. This plant is fairly drought-tolerant, so it’s better to err on the side of underwatering. During the winter months, water less frequently.
Temperature: spider plants thrive in a temperature range of 15°C – 23°C (59°F – 73°F). They can tolerate slightly higher or lower temperatures, but avoid placing them near heating vents, air conditioners, or drafty windows which can cause temperature fluctuations.
Humidity: As tropical plants, spider plants appreciate a humid environment. However, they can adapt to average home humidity levels. If your home is particularly dry, consider misting the plant occasionally or placing it on a tray of pebbles filled with water to increase humidity.
Soil: Spider plants do best in well-draining soil. A standard houseplant potting mix typically works well. Ensure your pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
Fertilizer: During the growing season (spring and summer), feed your spider plant monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. Reduce fertilizing in the fall and winter.
Repotting: Spider plants are fast growers and may need to be repotted every couple of years. When repotting, choose a pot that is one size larger than the current one and has good drainage.
Pest control: Spider plants are generally resistant to most pests. However, keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like spider mites, aphids and mealybugs.
How to grow spider plant from seed
While spider plants are typically propagated through their vegetative ‘pups’ or plantlets, they can also be grown from seeds. However, this method requires a bit more patience and effort. Here are the steps to grow a spider plant from seed:
- Obtain seeds: First, you need to obtain spider plant seeds. You can collect these from a mature spider plant if it has produced seed pods after flowering. Alternatively, you can purchase them from a reputable seed supplier.
- Prepare the potting mix: Use a well-draining, seed-starting potting mix. Fill a small pot or seed tray with the mix, ensuring there are adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
- Plant the seeds: Place the seeds on top of the soil, spacing them evenly. Cover them lightly with a layer of the potting mix, about twice the thickness of the seed.
- Water the seeds: Water the seeds gently but thoroughly, ensuring the soil is moist but not soggy. It’s a good idea to use a spray bottle or a watering can with a rose attachment to avoid displacing the seeds.
- Provide appropriate conditions: Spider plant seeds need a warm, humid environment to germinate. Place the pot in a warm area (20-25°C or 68-77°F), and cover it with a plastic bag or a propagator lid to maintain humidity.
- Germination: With the right conditions, spider plant seeds should germinate in about two to four weeks. Make sure to keep the soil moist during this period, but avoid overwatering.
- Seedling care: Once the seedlings have sprouted and grown their first set of true leaves, they can be carefully transplanted into individual pots. Continue to provide them with warm conditions and bright, indirect light.
- Mature plant care: As the plants mature, water them less frequently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Fertilize them with a balanced houseplant fertilizer during the growing season, and provide bright, indirect light.
Growing spider plants from seeds can be a rewarding endeavor, giving you the chance to observe and participate in the entire life cycle of these resilient and beautiful plants. Remember, seeds might not always inherit the exact characteristics of the parent plant, especially variegation, but they will surely offer an enriching gardening experience.
How to get spider plant to bloom
While spider plant is primarily prized for its attractive foliage and ease of care, it can also produce delicate white flowers under the right conditions. These blooms eventually give way to plantlets, or ‘pups’, which can be used for propagation. Here’s how you can encourage your spider plant to bloom:
- Provide adequate light: Spider plants need bright, indirect light to bloom. Place your plant near a north-facing window or a few feet away from an east or west-facing window. However, be careful not to expose it to direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
- Maintain optimal temperature: Spider plants prefer moderate temperatures between 15°C – 23°C (59°F – 73°F). Extreme temperatures or sudden fluctuations can stress the plant and hinder blooming.
- Fertilize appropriately: During the growing season (spring and summer), feed your spider plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer once a month. Too much fertilizer can lead to salt buildup, which can prevent blooming, so ensure you’re following the instructions on the fertilizer packaging.
- Allow the plant to become root-bound: Spider plants often bloom when they’re slightly root-bound, which means the roots take up most of the space in the pot. If your plant is young or recently repotted, it may need some time to become root-bound before it starts blooming.
- Ensure proper watering: Keep the soil of your spider plant moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering or underwatering can cause stress to the plant and prevent it from blooming.
- Provide a rest period: In nature, many plants have a rest period in the cooler, darker winter months, after which they produce blooms. You can mimic this rest period by reducing watering and withholding fertilizer during the winter months, then resuming regular care in the spring.
While it’s possible to encourage your spider plant to bloom, you have to note that not all spider plants will bloom indoors, and the primary appeal of these plants remains their lush, arching foliage and their air-purifying abilities. If your spider plant appears healthy and is growing well, it’s doing its job, even if it doesn’t produce flowers.
Benefits of having a spider plant in your home
In the tapestry of Feng Shui, spider plant is a symbol of good fortune, well-being, and harmony. Not only does it bestow aesthetic appeal to your living space, but it also imparts several benefits that are conducive to cultivating a positive, healthy and prosperous environment in your home.
Balance of energies: Spider plants emit harmonious Wood energy, an essential Feng Shui element that represents growth and vitality. Their presence can bring balance to your space, fostering a sense of peace and equilibrium.
Air purification: Spider plants are known for their remarkable air purifying abilities. They absorb harmful toxins like formaldehyde and xylene, cleansing energy in their surroundings. This promotes a healthier and more vibrant living environment, boosting your physical well-being.
Prosperity and fortune: The lush, arching leaves of the Spider plant, symbolic of growth and prosperity, along with its abundant offspring or ‘pups’, embody the continuous multiplication of wealth. Placed in the wealth sector (Southeast) of your home, it can amplify the energy of abundance.
Health and longevity: Positioned in the East sector of your home, the Family and Health area according to the Bagua map, the spider plant can help fortify family health and ensure longevity, owing to its strong life force.
Stress reduction: Green plants, including spider plant, have been found to reduce stress and induce feelings of calm. The Spider Plant, with its soft, cascading leaves, can create a serene atmosphere, ideal for meditation or relaxation.
Adaptability and resilience: The spider plant’s hardiness and ability to thrive under various conditions symbolize adaptability and resilience, encouraging you to embrace these qualities in your life.
Connection with nature: Cultivating spider plants allows you to nurture a relationship with nature within your home. This bond can ground you, reminding you of the natural cycle of growth, transformation and renewal.
In conclusion, spider plant stands as an enchanting symbol of balance, vitality, and prosperity within the realm of feng shui. Its graceful arching leaves, reminiscent of delicate spider webs, weave a web of positive energy that permeates any space it inhabits.
Its vibrant green foliage not only uplifts the spirit but also stimulates creativity and productivity, making it a perfect companion for offices, living areas, or meditation spaces. Spider plant’s remarkable ability to propagate easily symbolizes the abundance and growth it brings into one’s life, making it an auspicious plant for wealth and fortune.