Spider plant is an herbaceous species with a spreading habit. Green and white, narrow, strap-like, recurved leaves sprout from a central clump. Long ‘branches’ (racemes) grow from the rosette center and spread away from the ‘mother plant.’ Small spider-like plantlets grow from the raceme tip. Flowering occurs year-round, although they are insignificant. The tuberous roots are fleshy and succulent-like.
Native to South Africa, the spider plant naturally grows in the understories of forested areas and along rivers in steep valleys. Adapted to grow in low-light conditions, the spider plant is one of the most popular and easy to care for indoor plants. NASA included this plant species in the top 10 plants to filter out pollutants inside the home. In Hawaii, spider plants can grow outside as a bedding or ground cover plant. It makes an excellent hanging plant or container plant. While it tolerates heavy shade and drought, ample water and bright indirect light will produce a healthier plant. Stronger sunlight yields more intense variegation patterns.
Many cultivars exist-some leaves curl more, some plants are more robust, others have differences in the variegation pattern. The botanical name Chlorophytum translates to ‘green plant,’ and comosum translates to ‘hairy’. Propagation is mostly vegetative from plantlets, seedling germination is rarer but possible.
- Container plant
- Indoor plant
- No dangers
High Risk Traits:
- Grows in tropical climates
- Naturalized in several locations (but no evidence from Hawaiian Islands)
- Regarded as an environmental weed in Australia
- Tolerates many soil types
- A geophyte (able to persist from tuberous roots)
- Reproduces by seeds and vegetatively by plantlets that form on inflorescence
- Reaches maturity in one year
- Dispersed by dumped garden waste
- Tolerates fire and resprouts from cutting or damage to foliage
Low Risk Traits:
- No reports of invasiveness or naturalization in the Hawaiian Islands to date, despite widespread cultivation
- Unarmed (no spines, thorns, or burrs)
- Primarily spreads vegetatively, limiting long distance dispersal