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Chlorophytum comosum

Previously known as:

  • Anthericum Comosum
Phonetic Spelling
kloe-roe-fy-tum koe-MOE-sum
Description

Spider plant is an herbaceous perennial houseplant in the Asparagacea (asparagus) family. Its native region is tropical West Africa to Cameroon and Ethiopia to South Africa.  

It is commonly grown as a houseplant for its adaptability to many conditions. Spider plant prefers medium light levels  yet can tolerate deep shade. It is intolerant of direct sunlight. It grows best in moist soil and medium air humidity, though it is tolerant of drought and dry soil. Keep temperatures above 45 degrees F. Avoid watering with tap water as the chlorine and fluorides can cause leaf tip burn. Reduce watering during winter. Mist leaves occasionally in summer. Do not over-fertilize as this decreases plantlet formation. Spider plant propagates easily by plantlets or division. Stolons and plantlets are light dependent and develop when the mother plant receives short days and long, uninterrupted nights–less than 12 hours of light a day–for at least three weeks.  

Spider plant does particularly well in hanging baskets or other containers where the leaves and stems can cascade down the side. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Green linear leaves are often striped white
  • Long stolons produce plantlets and flowers

 Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Milky Way'
    Cream leaves edged in green.
  • 'Picturatum'
    Leaves have central yellow stripe
  • 'Variegatum'
    Leaves edged in white or cream.
'Milky Way', 'Picturatum', 'Variegatum'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#white flowers#white leaves#interiorscape#hanging baskets#cascading#stripes#herbaceous perennials#division#striped leaves#fantz#ebh#ebh-h#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#hsc#hsc-f#plantlets
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Milky Way'
    Cream leaves edged in green.
  • 'Picturatum'
    Leaves have central yellow stripe
  • 'Variegatum'
    Leaves edged in white or cream.
'Milky Way', 'Picturatum', 'Variegatum'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#white flowers#white leaves#interiorscape#hanging baskets#cascading#stripes#herbaceous perennials#division#striped leaves#fantz#ebh#ebh-h#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#hsc#hsc-f#plantlets
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Chlorophytum
    Species:
    comosum
    Family:
    Asparagacea
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    W. Tropical Africa to Cameroon, Ethiopia to S. Africa
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Cascading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small capsule after flowering.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small white star-shaped flowers form in loose panicles, the stolons sometimes bearing plantlets at nodes. Flowers erect to typically arching-pendulous, white, 1/4 in, tepals 6, spreading, free.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Strappy green or striped green and white leaves up to 12-18 in long. Sessile, crowded, linear to lanceolate, grass-like, often striped white longitudinally, 12-15 nerved and a deep groove in the middle.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Leaves emerge from a short, compressed stem. Stolons are long and green, producing flowers and plantlets.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Walkways
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heavy Shade