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Spider Plant

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Produces numerous long narrow leaves from a crown. Low-growing; trailing tropical plant. Produces large fleshy rhizomes. Monocot. Native to Africa. Prefers low lights. Different varieties can be either solid green or variegated. Makes good ground cover or hanging basket. Chlorophytum comosum is a species of Chlorophytum native to South Africa. It is a very popular houseplant. The most widely grown is the variegated cultivar 'Variegatum', with one or two broad yellowish-white bands running along the length of each leaf, but natural, all-green plants are also grown.

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      12.06.2012 22:50
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      Cheap and cheerful house plant

      INTRODUCTION
       
      If you own more than a couple of house plants, the chances are you can probably count a spider plant amongst your collection.  They're everywhere once you start to look for them, in offices, public buildings, living rooms, bathrooms etc.  They are very popular for lots of reasons, hopefully I'll explain why below.
       
      GROWING SPIDERPLANTS
       
      The easiest (but not the cheapest) way to have a spider plant is to buy one from a garden centre, or you sometimes see them for sale at car-boot sales or on market stalls which is undoubtedly cheaper.  Cheaper still than buying a plant is to try to grow from seed, although it is tricky as germination is erratic and if you're waiting for your existing spider plant to flower, then you might have a good few years to wait as they don't flower often.  The best way to propagate more plants from an existing plant is to pot the small plantlets that grow on runners - of which spider plants throw out loads - and separate them from the mother plant once they start to grow their own roots.  My mother-in-law has a spider plant on which I've counted 14 runners - that's potentially 14 new plants you can get for free, then in turn, each one of those new plants will throw out their own runners and so on and so on until your house is re-named as the northern branch of the Eden Project and you have parking issues on your street as coach loads of eco-tourists turn up to traipse into your spider plant filled conservatory.
       
      I usually snip some of my runners off to keep the plant looking tidy, but the ones I do leave are pegged down onto a small pot of compost until they start to grow under their own steam.  These are then cut off and the pots placed on spare window ledges and shelves in the house, or sometimes I give them away.  I keep meaning to go spider plant propagation crazy one year and sell the resulting baby plants on a car-boot sale - I nearly always see someone selling them with tomato plant seedlings and baby strawberry plants (which are also propagated from runners) and they seem to do well.
       
      They are a good houseplant and seem to do well in most indoor conditions (shade, light etc) but I wouldn't recommend planting them outside as they are native to South Arica and wouldn't cope with our freezing winters.  They respond well to a general purpose liquid feed every other week in the summer and a splash of water in the warmer months, but hold off with both over winter.
       
      Here's a good tip - place your spider plants high up and leave the runners to grow.  This will give you a cascading green waterfall effect that covers up boring corner dressers or bare walls underneath shelves, or looks good when put in an indoor hanging basket and allowed to spill out and hang down. Given a basic level of care, spider plants will last for years.
       
      PESTS AND DISEASES COMMON TO SPIDERPLANTS
       
      They are relatively disease free; the only sign of ill health you might see is yellowing of the leaves if the plant is overwatered. If this happens, ease off with the water until the plant recovers.  I water by eye - when I see the plant starting to "drop", I give it little drink.  Conversely, browning leaves means that the plant is too dry so give them more water accordingly or make sure it isn't sitting in direct sunlight from a south facing window.  Also, there aren't many pests that are attracted to spider plants, especially as they are kept indoors.  If however, you do see an infestation of greenfly or small fruit flies, give the plant a spray with soapy water and this will suffocate the pests.
       
      AVAILABLE VARIETIES
       
      The most popular varieties available are variegated (which in other words means that they have different coloured stripes on the leaves) and include white, green and yellow stripes on their leaves.  In the wild, most spider plants are a plain green, but as the variegated types look more attractive in the home and therefore are more popular sellers at garden centres, the plain green varieties are hard to find.  The most common types of spider plant available in the UK include White Stripe and Laxum.  You shouldn't really have to pay more than £2 for a spider plant, but as I said before the best way is to get them for free by propagating a plantlet from a friend or neighbour's plant.
       
      SPIDERPLANTS ARE USEFUL BECAUSE....
       
      Spider plants will clean the air in your home - they filter out airborne pollutants that are harmful to us and convert them into energy to sustain its growth.  Some of the pollutants that they can filter out include benzene and formaldehyde - which are incidentally found in exhaled cigarette smoke.  I can't give any figures, but surely if you have quite a few you in a room your body can only benefit from the improvement to the air quality that they make.
       
      SUMMARY
       
      So, they clean the air, require minimal care and are prolific growers that are easy to propagate.  Even those with brown thumbs could keep a spider plant alive.  For their easiness to keep and propagate, cheapness, and their look I give the spider plant 5 stars.  Thanks for reading.

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        04.07.2011 18:18
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        The grandparent of the house plant world

        The humble spider plant. I bet you know someone who has one, or remember them adorning your relative's windowsills and bathrooms. They are somewhat an old fashoined plant, but certainly not out of style. I've seen it said that it's impossible to kill a spider plant, and this has a solid grounding. These are capable of miraculous recoveries from all but the most severe faux pas.

        **What do they look like?**

        Spider plants come in many varieties, the four I am going to talk about in this review are the ones I have experience with. The one everyone will likely be familiar with is Chlorophytum comosum var. Vittatum. this has long narrow green leaves with white central variegation (middle of the leaves is white). The other three I have are the plain green one, C. comosum; this looks the same as the Vittatum, except there is no variegation. The curly one, C. comosum var. Bonnie; this has the same striping as the Vittatum, but instead of the leaves fanning out spider-like, they grow curly forming beautiful spirals. Finally, the reverse variegated one (green middles with white edges), C. comosum var. Variegatum. There are many more but unfortunately these are all I have (so far!).

        **How do I look after them?**

        These plants don't get a reputation for being bomb proof for nothing! They don't much like being waterlogged, but should recover fine after letting them dry out. They are alright in direct sunlight on a windowsill, although sometimes this cause the leaves to bleach out a bit; they appear to be lighter and look less lush. If this happens your windowsill is probably getting a little too much sun. Can be placed in lower light levels but will thrive in a lightsome room. They are very hardy and do fine at most temperatures.

        Spider plants 'like' to be slightly pot bound. They don't need to be repotted a lot, and don't require overly large pots overall. As with all house plants, it is good to avoid watering with straight tap water if possible. The things that make it safe for us are not great for plants, but it won't kill them outright. One thing that can happen is the leaf tips will go brown and a little crispy. This isn't harmful to the plant, though it's not the most aesthetically pleasing. Over watering can also cause this to happen with spider plants.

        If you have an aquarium watering with the water from that will be better (as it should be treated; it will also contain waste which will feed your plant), or you can treat water specifically or use mineral water. As I said though, using plain tap water isn't an awful thing to do, just not the best.

        **Propagation**

        Spider plants can be grown from seeds obtained from seed pods on the mother plant, but the most common method is to pot the baby plants that appear on the end of long stems called stolons. These stems will appear and produce lovely little white star shaped flowers; these will then develop into baby plants which are an exact genetic copy of the mother plant (If you grow from seed, you will get plain green plants no matter what variation the mother plant is, as plain green is the genetic 'default'). You an also create a new plant by root division but I believe this is trickier and stresses the plant. Three's no real need for this since they produce babies readily.

        You can leave the babies attached to the mother plant as long as you want, but care should be taken that the mother plant is not being drained too much and suffering. This can happen if a plant produces numerous stolons. If you want to remove the babies, just snip the stolon and they can be placed in water to root, or straight into moist soil (don't let it dry out completely).

        **My own experiences with these plants**

        These are probably my overall favourite plant. They're so simple, yet so beautiful. I have loads of them, and have them placed in various location of differing light levels, humidity and temperature. They are all doing equally well. I have found cultivating new plants from the babies to be extremely easy, and like to plant several together, so I get bushy plants. My wish is granted quickly by these little darlings! I have given many as gifts and sold literally hundreds of plantlets mail order. I have had a few burned leaves and bleaching from too much direct sun, but found these recovered quickly to their previous lushness when moved to a different location.

        They are also versatile in how they are displayed; when mature, the curly variety is probably best shown off in an elevated position where the spiraling can be fully appreciated. All spider plants look amazing in a hanging basket, especially when heavy with babies. But they are also good sitting on the windowsill or a shelf or anything really! Allow plenty of space for them though, they can get wide! A spider plant should definitely adorn every plant lover's windowsill (and shelf, top of the fridge, top of the cupboards, plant stands, hanging baskets....)

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          29.03.2011 12:38
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          Easily overlooked but little potential beauty of an indoor plant for home or office

          Chlorophytum, the so-called 'Spider plant' is pretty much your archetypal house-plant, being found on kitchen windowsills, canteens, and in offices and communal workspaces up and down the country. It's an easily-overlooked plant, particularly as it has reputation of being very hardy - which it is; but unfortunately it's difficult-to-kill nature means that specimens often don't grow or get shown to their best advantage.

          The plant will be familiar to most people. It grows as a loose rosette of long, strap-like, thinnish leaves, pointed at the ends and banded lengthwise along the length in stripes of pale green and yellowish white. The plant does produce inconspicuous whitish, star-like flowers, borne on upright stalks but is better known for its prodigious capabilities for vegetative reproduction: on long horizontally-growing stems are produced individual, new plantlets each a few inches high, complete with embryonic root-systems. If the spider plant is grown in a hanging basket, the horizontal stems arch downwards, giving the plant I suppose what you might call a vaguely 'multi-legged' appearance - hence the 'spider' name. If not severed from the parent plant, the new plantlets will keep growing larger (nourished via the 'umbilical' connecting stem) quite happily - or they can be cut free and potted up separately.

          A well grown spider plant - with associated plantlets - can be a thing of surprising beauty. They can grow to a couple of feet in diameter given favourable conditions, although most home-grown plants, as they tend to be neglected, don't reach this size. They need good light to develop strong colours on the leaves, but don't tolerate direct sunlight.

          Spider plants turn up quite predictably for sale as very small specimens at coffee mornings and jumble sales, and at car boot sales too as they're so easy to propagate from the plantlets. They do occasionally turn up at garden centres but your best bet for getting hold of one is to try and acquire a specimen from a friend or relative who already has one that's producing plantlets.

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          10.09.2010 13:50
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          spider plant, Chlorophytum, Green Lily

          One of my faithful houseplants, which have been with me for many years and have needed hardly any care, is the Spider Plant or Green Lily as it's called in German, a much nicer name in my opinion. I'm going to use it henceforth. I can't remember when I got it but I know that it's been standing on the same spot for 35 years.

          The plant is native to Africa but has been naturalised in other parts of the world. Together with the gum tree it's the most popular plant in offices, at least in Germany, thanks to the fact that it doesn't need much looking after.

          It's of the genus Chlorophytum (lily family), it has grassy green-and-white striped leaves that are 20-40 cm (8-10 in) long and 5-20 mm (0.2 appear -0.8 in) broad. Entirely green plants can also be seen. Occasionally stolons (flower stems) which produce tiny white blossoms and plantlets grow out of it. These can be cut off and put into a glass of water until they've developed roots and then potted or they can be potted directly. I prefer to put them in water first, especially as a present for children, so they can watch the roots grow.

          The Green Lily is said to be the perfect plant for beginners, it's tolerant of neglect and usually thrives wherever you put it. I water mine once a week or rather, I 'coffee' it. After making filter coffee I pour water through the coffee powder a second time which, when it has become cold, I then use for my plants. They love it! You better believe it. A woman who worked in a coffee bar told me that often in the evening gardeners came to take the coffee dregs home that had accumulated during the day to muck their flowers with. If I go away on holiday for two weeks, I don't ask my neighbour to look after my plants, the Green Lily can survive this period of time without being watered.

          Despite my doing everything right, my Green Lily hasn't produced stolons for many years and recently has looked a bit down. The leaves didn't stand upright any more but were hanging down limply and the green of the leaves had a greyish tint. So I decided to invest a bit more care in the plant than the weekly dose of liquid and gave it a pot of fresh soil, a modest gift considering that I'd never done it before.

          Then I appealed to the plant's competitive spirit. I had seen wonderful, healthy plants in the corridors of a hospital with a lot of stolons and plantlets. I cut off some clandestinely and put them in the pot with my old plant. The clandestine part is important for the success, I learnt that from my grandmother. Of course, I could have asked someone, I'm sure nobody would have denied me some plantlets of a Green Lily, but it's not the same. No secret, no magic. Lo and behold, the cure has worked. After some months I can't say any more which parts of the plant are new and which are old, the leaves all look alike, a healthy green, and are standing upright. Now I'm only waiting for new stolons.

          I don't talk to my plants or sing to them, but I send friendly thoughts in their direction. I touch them when I pick off dried up leaves. My husband eyes me suspiciously when he sees me doing this. I've read of a film star whose vibrations are so negative that flowers drop their blossoms when she enters a room and milk becomes sour. Do I believe such mumbo jumbo? Not a bit! Yet, . . .

          The Green Lily is a healthy plant for the people living with it, it has been shown to reduce indoor air pollution. The NASA compiled a list of air filtering plants as part of the Clean Air Study which researched ways to clean air in space stations. The Green Lily came second.

          When I go to Tenerife in December, I see many Green Lilies, there they live outside all year long. They're planted round the flower beds beside the streets. But they're small plants. Many years ago I saw a really big specimen, in fact the most sumptuous Green Lily I've ever seen, with a ring of stolons full of plantlets hanging under the ceiling in the ticket hall of Niagara Falls. Can anyone tell me if it's still there?

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            12.03.2008 22:23
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            a brilliantly hardy plant

            Spider plants are very hardy plants and make a lovely house plant that especially like cool but damp rooms like bathrooms.

            Spider plants are a hanging plant so look lovely in a tub on a shelf or hung on the wall, they have very long thin leaves that are a gark green on the outside getting lighter as they go into the middle which is almost white.

            They dont flower but look beautiful anyway so are good house plants for people with hayfever.

            Spider plants have big thick roots which store a lot of water so dont need watering as regularly as most house plants, once a week should be enough but you will know if your plant is dehydrated as the leaves will become pale and droopy.

            Spider plants produce off spring on stalks that hang from the plant, the babies will grow on the end of the stalk quite adequatley but this puts a lot of strain on the plant and uses the plants water to survive. You are better off cutting the stalk off from plant and baby then potting baby in a seperate pot, before you know it you will have another adult spider plant.

            You will never need to buy a spider plant again as most plants have in excess of 10 babies a year and because the plant is so hard all will survive.

            Spider plants realy do make great house plants.

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              07.03.2006 23:28
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              A good houseplant for beginners

              The Spider plant, a member of the Liliaceae family, is one of the easiest plants to grow in the house. It originally comes from South Africa and was first introduced as an indoor plant in the middle of the 19th century.

              The Spider plant has long thin leaves some 30 to 46 cms long and up to 2.5cms wide. They are usually green with a band of white or off white down the centre. The plant produces insignificant flowers on long protruding stems that are soon replaced by tiny plantlets. These can be easily propagated by placing them into small pots of compost or via hydroculture.

              Although these plants have become popular house plants they also make very attractive fillers for hanging baskets.

              Size
              ****
              A healthy plant will fill a 12cm to 50cm pot

              Temperature
              ***********
              Spider plants will tolerate a wide variety of temperatures but anything approaching freezing conditions should be avoided.

              Soil
              ***
              Loam based number two should be fine

              Atmosphere
              **********
              This is a very tolerant plant but maintaining good ventilation is a good idea.

              Repotting
              ********
              Every two years

              Watering
              *******
              2 to 3 times a week should be sufficient although this plant will survive significant periods of drought even though some of the outer leaves will die off during the process. You can also feed the plant every 14 days.

              Pruning
              ******
              Not much is required apart from the removal of dead leaves.

              Humidity
              *******
              If you want to give your little spider a healthy glow then give it an overhead spray during the summer months and never leave it in direct sunlight.

              Life Expectancy
              ************
              These plants are immortal

              Price
              ****
              If you can't find one of these plants for pennies or less then you're simply not trying. A friendly neighbour is bound to offer you a cutting.

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                09.09.2001 22:04
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                Eighteen years ago my husband's Aunt died. She was a dear lady and her plants were her pride and joy. As we cleared her house I packed as many as I could into the car and brought them home with us. Spider, as he became known, went into the conservatory. Well, it's not exactly a conservatory, more a sort of lean-too veranda, but "conservatory" has a rather more elegant ring to it, don't you think? Well, Spider came in for some healthy neglect pretty well straight away when I spent much of the following months in hospital and it was spring before he got more than the occasional sip of water. He's a survivor, though and he came through it all. Spider plants, or Chlorophytum, to give them their correct name have been grown indoors for over two hundred years. There's a good reason for this - they're not a fussy plant and they have a reputation for being air-cleaners, although their speciality is formaldehyde rather than tobacco smoke! They like to live in a well-lit place but not in direct sunlight. So far as temperature is concerned they're not frost hardy. I've found that a touch of frost will brown the leaves but the plant will come through once it's had a hair cut. Spider was fortunate that his previous owner died in September. He'd had a summer of being well-watered and otherwise pampered and then he came to us for a winter of sparse watering and general neglect. I repotted him in the spring, as the growth of the roots had started to push him up out of his pot, and began to pamper him again. This is an ideal routine for him. Add only a little misting with water if the air is particularly dry and he achieves plant heaven. In the summer he threw out cascading wiry stems in addition to his green and cream arching leaves. First there were tiny white flowers (rather unprepossessing, but I wasn't going to complain!) followed by tiny plantlets. You can propagate the pl
                ant by pegging these plantlets down and severing the wiry stem once the roots are established. This doesn't take long at all - generally a few weeks in the summer and the new plant will start growing away. At this stage they can be severed from the parent. Spider rapidly became the proud patriarch of a brood of young Spiders and it looked as though we were aiming for world domination. Visitors (including, on one memorable occasion, a meter reader) went away clutching a plant pot and reciting a set of instructions. We got postcards telling us how they and their offspring were doing. Soon the house became too small to accommodate the growing Spider clan and we had to decide whether to move house or let Spider spread himself into the garden. He settled first in the hanging baskets, taking particular delight in sprouting through the bottom of wire baskets and trailing, on occasions, nearly to the ground. He looked wonderful with trailing Lobelia and Petunias and more than content with Busy Lizzies, but his supreme moment was when he met scarlet geraniums. Tubs were his next conquest and his favourite spot was the edge of the balcony so that the young Spiders could trail over the edge and play in the wind. Our first fatalities came when the young Spiders reached ground level and attempted to colonise the flower beds. The resistance of the native Slug Thugs proved too much and they were finished by the aphid attacks on the weakened plants. Further generations have been sternly prevented from straying into that foreign land. First Aid for the sturdy plants is rarely necessary, provided that they are given a weak feed with every watering. If this is forgotten the brown tips to the leaves soon remind me of my failings. Amputation of the leaves and a stern smack on my wrist soon corrects this. A cooler temperature (although not near to freezing) but with sufficient light is needed in winter or the leaves become limp and yell
                ow. Don't be tempted to over-water in winter when the plant is not growing or the leaves will develop brown streaks. If the leaves become curled and there is yellowing and leaf fall this is an indication that the root ball has dried out. A good soaking, but not to the extent where Spider starts asking for swimming lessons, will correct this. Because Spider is so easily propogated you will almost inevitably be offered one by a friend at some point. Failing that I find that there are any number of them for sale at village fetes, usually for less than a pound. At a garden centre you shouldn't expect to pay more than £3 or £4 for a mature specimen. As I look out into the garden I can see between thirty and forty of the Spider Clan, all looking glorious in the summer sun. Old Spider himself, huge now, sits in his own tub near the geraniums. Auntie Helen would have been so proud.

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                  08.09.2001 04:56
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                  Doo yoo know, I’m just after reading that Spider Plants - otherwise known as Chlorophytum, - that these gorgeous plants “…do well near an south window and enjoy filtered light.” What makes this of special interest to myself is that I presently have in my kitchen, no less than five Spider Plants; and one in particular, which is thriving beyond all expectations, is indeed on a corner shelf (therefore it is receiving ‘filtered’ light) and facing the kitchen door (which itself faces south). When I recently redecorated my kitchen (not a regular occurrence in the auldmac/Glasgow Girl household) I wondered if my ‘grand scheme’ might not spell the death knell for the few wee plants I had managed to keep alive after my neighbour moved house (more on this later). I painted the one wall of my ‘galley’(spin-doctor speak for minuscule ) style kitchen a deep sea-green, to contrast with the pale, summary green of the opposite wall and much to my surprise, the overall effect was and is rather pleasing to the eye. When that was finished, I added some pine shelving, to house my recently burgeoning book collection and, as I mentioned earlier, my small but much loved collection of house plants. The long shelves were for my books, with a little room on the end of each for one or two good looking specimens (plants that is). To finish off the re-vamp, I had two gorgeous little corner shelves, just right to fit in the corners of the wall which surrounds my kitchen’s only window. As I said earlier, my up-stairs neighbour moved house and as a result,I lost what had been a reliable source of all-the year-round heat, which had suited my plants no end. The reduction in heat, especially in overnight, regulated heat, had had a noticeable effect on my plants. They lost fell back in their growth rate and their fine appearanc
                  e, and although they did not actually die, they showed every sign of doing so quite soon. I’m not sure why I decided to give my kitchen a ‘new look’, it might have had something to do with all the ‘Home Invaders’ type programmes I had been watching on television during my enforced break from learning - (I would not be at all surprised if those 'things' have a subliminal content). - all I know is that the third week of the ‘holidays’ I found myself, with paintbrush in hand, staring at the kitchen wall and thinking, “Something’s got to give.” Give it did - and less than three weeks later, I had my ‘new’ kitchen. I’d had the paint in the house for ages so – although I ‘slagged-off’ the ‘House Invaders’ folks for saying this very thing, “It didn’t cost me a penny” for the paint. The shelves I bought weeks beforehand, when the local DIY shop was closing down and everything was “Less Than Half Price”. As a result, the whole thing hardly even dented the bank account … wait a minute, I don’t have a bank account – well not one with any money in it at any rate. (Nice word that, r-a-t-e ) To get to the main topic of this opinion, - among the plants I had had to move out of the kitchen (while I was painting) were my Spider Plants. They had already been showing signs of wilting along with the others and the move out of their familiar kitchen environment, even though it was not a good as it once might have been, might well have been ‘a move too far’. However, whether it was the fact that they like the repositioning they have received, -from the work-top - up on to the corner shelves at each side of the south-facing window, or wether they liked the new ‘green look’
                  of their respective corners, I'm not quite sure. All I know is that my Spider Plants are now the prize of my collection, with the two which sit to either side of the window now flourishing, as I said earlier, beyond all expectations. Leaves that were wilting are now ‘standing up for themselves’ and even those which are upright, against the corner walls, appear happy to be there. I thought at first, the way I had ‘lifted’ the leaves so that they rested against the walls at their back, would not suit them as there was no direct light in those corners – I was lucky - it would appear and they like their ‘enforced’ repositioning. The only real ‘maintenance’ they appear to need is regular watering, but not too much – an even temperature – not too hot, - feeding about once every two months – again, not too much feeding and – plus - whenever I see a leaf which has lost its colour, I remove it. Something I picked up at a car-boot-sale has aided my plant maintenance regime and that is a wee set of ‘watering cans’ made of some sort of terracotta and which sit inside the ‘neck’ of the plant pot. I simply keep these ‘topped-up’ and thereafter, they providing a steady supply of water to each plant. If that’s what’s meant by ‘plant maintenance’, it could be said, I maintain them rather well. When you think about the way these great little (maybe not so little soon?) originate from some of the world’s hottest countries such as Africa, South America, Australia and Asia, it’s really amazing how easy and rewarding they can be to grow. For anyone who has no idea what they look like ( "Just Visiting" - from another planet perhaps ?) - their leaves are long, slim, and sort of lance-like, and they usually have parallel veins of white along th
                  eir length. One of the reasons so many people like to grow these attractive plants is because of their ‘babies’. These sprout from the centre of a ‘clump’ of leaves – and it can be quite exciting the first time you find one ‘giving birth’ in your kitchen – or your living room – if that’s where you like to keep your houseplants. There are flowers, which precede the babies - although they are rather unattractive. The stems which hold the flowers can grow to some 30-60 cm with flowers of 2cm or more being produced. The small plantlets or ‘babies’ as I like to think of them, can ‘weigh down’ the steams making them hang, pendant fashion. What is an added bonus for a poor Glasgow Girl is that the wee babies need only to be fixed down into a plant pot with some potting compost to give yourself a whole new Spider Plant. If you - like me - are keen on collecting ‘useless information’ – then you might be interested to know that other ‘common names’ for the Spider Plant include Airplane Plant, St.Bernard's Lily, Spider Ivy and Ribbon Plant. I suppose most folks would put them in a basket, and I also suppose that, if I had a front-door house, I would have mine out there right now – showing off my ‘babies’ to the neighbourhood, but for me - to paraphrase an old adage, “East, West – my Kitchen’s Best”. GG

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                    05.09.2001 07:25
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                    The spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) is one of the easiest houseplants to have around the home. They are attractive, quick growing and require little care. They can be placed anywhere in the home as they are very adaptable to their surroundings, tolerating hot or cool rooms, sun, shade and dry air. About the only thing that will kill a spider plant is outright neglect over a long period of time. So if you're one of those people who never remember to water your plants, then give the wilted specimen on your window sill a drowning when you finally do notice it, the spider plant is the plant for you. My sister can kill a plant as soon as look at it, yet even she has managed to keep her spider plant alive for the last three years. I myself have spider plants in nearly every room of my house; from kitchen, through lounge to bathroom, and I have not paid for a single one of them. No, I'm not a prolific plant shoplifter, but once you have one spider plant you will end up with more - don't fight it, it's nature! Spider plants, if kept a little pot bound, grow long, thin, white stems, which then produce little white flowers. Once these flowers have died off, "plantlets" begin to grow all along the stem. When these new plants reach about 4 inches they can be removed from the stem and placed in their very own pots. Voila! More spider plants for FREE! Alternately, you can leave the plantlets on the stem, as this also makes a very attractive feature in a hanging basket, or cascading over a shelf. Sometimes the plantlets cause the mother plant to lean over to one side, and although this can look quite nice, if you prefer your plant to stand erect then it can be solved by simply cutting off the plantlets and re-potting the adult plant. As I've already mentioned, spider plants will put up with some neglect, but if you want to maintain a good, strong, healthy plant then there are a few things you can do to keep t
                    hem in tip-top condition. They can tolerate some direct sunlight, but being placed in partial shade makes the variegation of the leaves more pronounced. The room's temperature should be about 68 degrees Fahrenheit; although I have quite a few in my kitchen, which can get very cold in the winter, and they still seem to thrive. Your plant will let you know if it is in too cold an area as its leaves will turn transparent and soft. This happened to one of my plants but I was unable to save it; however, if caught in time the plant will return to health once moved. During Spring and Summer these plants just suck up water, so water them as often as you can, although never leave them standing in too much water as this leads to root rot. During the Winter they require little watering, just enough to keep the compost slightly moist. If the leaves of the plant begin to look very floppy and dull then they need feeding, any houseplant food that can be mixed with water will be fine, and should be given to them about once a fortnight. A good spray with a misting bottle not only cleans off any dirt and dust from the leaves but also helps with the humidity of the plant, as does standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles. However, never use any "leafshine" products to clean the leaves as this can scorch them. Spider plants flourish when they are a bit pot-bound, but when the plant begins to push the potting compost above the edge of the pot, then they need to be potted on, and this is best done in the Spring. If your plant has any plantlets hanging from it then you can also pot these up at the same time. I find that potting three or four babies in one pot together gives for a bigger, bushy adult plant. If well looked after a spider plant can live for many years, growing from 2 to 2½ feet wide and anything up to 3 feet long if kept in a hanging basket. However, they can still suffer from a few problems, one of the most common being the tips
                    of the leaves turning brown. This is generally caused by either the plant spending too long in direct sun, in which case move it to a shaded area, or by not watering the plant enough, which is easily solved with a quick drink. As regards water, the spider plant does not like the fluoride in tap water, preferring either rainwater or distilled water. Leaving a small bowl outside to catch rainwater is one way of ensuring your plant gets what it needs. Although not a plant that suffers from pests often it can become home to some horrible little creepy crawlies now and again. If the leaf edges look as though they have been nibbled away then greenfly have been feasting on the plant. Also, if the leaves look dull and greyish and show signs of webs on the underside of the leaves, the culprit is Red Spider Mites. Both of these can be solved with a good blast from a houseplant insecticide until all signs of the little varmints have gone. However, both myself and a friend tried the more environmentally friendly way of disposing of plant pests, with good results. First I removed the plant from its pot, throwing the compost and the pot into the bin. I then thoroughly washed the plant, roots and all, under a slow running tap, until there was no sign of compost or wriggling things on it. Next I gave it a quick dip in cold water with just a drop of washing up liquid added, and it was just a quick in, wiggle around and straight out dip. Once the plant had dried off I re-potted it in a new pot with fresh compost and sprayed it often with the mist bottle. The plant survived and there were no more signs of the pest that it had been infected with. There have been times when I have tried this but the bugs have persisted so I still resorted to the insecticide, but it is worth a try as it generally works wonders. If you follow all these simple steps then you will have a healthy, beautifully sculptured houseplant that will enhance any room. Not only that, but the
                    spider plant will pay you back for all the care you lavish upon it in a way that is very beneficial to your health. All houseplants will filter toxins, pollutants and the carbon dioxide we exhale, replacing them with oxygen and naturally purifying the air that we breath. The spider plant is in the top three of houseplants that do this, and so by owning one you are not only improving your home, but also your health.

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