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CHLOROPHYTUM comosum

Image of Chlorophytum comosum

Felder Rushing

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

CHLOROPHYTUM comosum

Plant Common Name

Spider Plant

General Description

Probably the most popular houseplant of all time, spider plant produces a spreading clump of broad, arching, green blades. It is typically grown as a hanging basket specimen because it produces long, pendulous, wiry stems with lots of spidery plantlets at the tips, hence the common name. The most popular variety in commerce is the variegated form, ‘Variegatum.’ The species is native to South Africa where it exists in upland and lowland forests, so it naturally grows well in shade.

The long, sword-shaped leaves of this tropical evergreen form a dense, arching clump. The leaves of common variegated forms have striations of white or ivory. The main plant spreads by rhizomes (underground stems) and also produces asexual stems of spidery, ready-to-root plantlets that break loose, root and eventually become whole new plants. When actively growing, spider plant produces clusters of small, single white flowers. The fruits that follow are triangular, three-celled capsules filled with several large, black seeds.

This is one easy to grow plant. It thrives in spots with partial sun or diffused light and grows best in fertile, well-drained soil or potting medium. It can withstand limited drought but looks best when watered regularly and occasionally fed. The foliage is very sensitive to cold but plants are root hardy to zone 9. In subtropical and tropical areas spiderplant is a popular groundcover. Houseplants should be divided yearly as they tend to outgrow pots fairly quickly.

In some parts of the world this is considered a noxious weed. To learn more about ecological problems associated with spider plant go to the Global Compendium of Weeds page: http://www.hear.org/gcw/species/chlorophytum_comosum/

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10"-16" / 25.4cm - 40.6cm (12)

  • Width

    12"-15" / 30.5cm - 38.1cm (12)

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southern Africa, South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Groundcover, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Self-Sowing

    No