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Spider Plants (Chlorophytum)

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Spider Plant (Chlorophytum) in a blue pot Lynee Brotchie/Photolibrary/Getty Images
The spider plant is among the most popular and easiest to grow of all hanging or trailing houseplants. While these exceptionally hardy plants will survive in less than perfect conditions, in perfect conditions they are stunning. A mature plant will form tight rosettes of arching leaves with a profusion of hanging plantlets on long stems, up to 3 feet, somewhat like a bushy green mane. Although there is a pure green variety, the most common variety seen in garden centers in the green-and-white striped 'Variegatum.' Mature plants have small white flowers.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Undemanding. Spider plants prefer bright light, and tend toward scorching in direct sunlight. However, they will grow in conditions ranging from semi-shady to partial direct sun.
Water: Water liberally through the summer. Mist occasionally. During winter, cut watering back.
Temperature: Do not let fall below 50ºF or expose to cold drafts.
Soil: Spider plants like fast-draining, well-aerated potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed weekly during the summer with liquid fertilizer or use pellets at the beginning of the growing season.

Propagation:

Spider plants are one of the easiest houseplants to propagate: simply pot up the small plantlets. Make sure the young plantlets have developed roots. Alternatively, mature plants can be divided during repotting.

Repotting:

Although it is a fast-growing plant, spider plants do not need yearly repotting as most of their growing energy is directed toward producing plantlets. Repot in spring if the root ball protrudes above the rim of the pot.

Grower's Tips:

Native to South Africa, spider plants are an essential part of any hanging plant collection. Pot them into simple baskets, provide it with ample water and food, and within two years, you should be rewarded with a full display. Alternatively, they can be positioned atop columns for a beautiful display. Note that plantlets will not form on immature plants. The most common problem is underwatering and feeding during the growth season—these are robust plants.
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