The spider plant or airplane plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is one of most popular houseplants for homeowners. They tend to thrive in indirect sunlight with temperatures ranging from 65 to 75°F. The plant is native to coastal South Africa and is known for its arching strap-like leaves that flow out from a centerpoint.
Despite its popularity, not many people are aware of the benefits of the spider plant. Let’s take a look at why you might consider adding this plant to your home if you don’t already have one.
The spider plant is a solid choice for people who might not be the best at caring for their plants. This is particularly true for people that are forgetful with watering.
Spider plants aren’t keen on wet soil and do best when placed in a potting mix that drains well. Too much water can cause root rot that can be detrimental to the plant.
The soil actually should be dry to the touch before watering a spider plant again. This typically means only watering the plant about once a week in most indoor environments. You can use a soil moisture meter if you really want to be precise about when to water. However, this plant is so extremely hardy that a bit of over or under watering won’t do major harm.
If you happen to notice browning of the leaves at the tips, this commonly means the plant is receiving too much fluoride from the use of tap water or low quality fertilizer.
According to the University of Arkansas Extension, the spider plant should be repotted with fresh potting mix and fertilized with a quality liquid fertilizer if leaf browning occurs. Going forward, the use of filtered/distilled water or rainwater should solve the browning problem.
Before my wife purchased a spider plant for our home, she kept telling me how beneficial this plant would be for the air quality of our home. I was a bit skeptical to say the least. After a bit of research, it turns out she was right. I had some apologizing to do!
According to the University of Florida, studies by NASA scientists and subsequent other research has found that certain houseplants, like the spider plant, have the ability to remove toxins from the air indoors. Some of the toxins that were discovered to have been removed from the air with plants are formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, ammonia, trichloroethylene, and carbon monoxide.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) indicates that the spider plant is non-toxic to both dogs and cats.
However, be aware that this plant can cause certain side effects if consumed by a cat. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the spider plant has compounds associated with opium. It can cause a cat to hallucinate and/or bring on an upset stomach that may include vomiting or diarrhea. You should avoid bringing a spider plant into a home with a cat unless you can ensure that they will not eat it.
Pest & Disease Free
Spider plants rarely obtain diseases with no known major diseases associated with this plant. Additionally, pests that may harm this plant are minimal. The pests to look out for are mealybugs, scales, and caterpillars. If detected early, these pests can easily be eliminated by wiping the leaves, washing the plant, physically removing larger pests, pruning, or pesticides.
Despite having the word “spider” in its name, you shouldn’t anticipate this plant attracting much spider activity through the years. The plant gets its name from the spider-like plantlets it forms and not from being a nice home for actual spiders.
Easy To Propagate
A mature spider plant has the ability to produce “spider babies”. These babies are plantlets that grow from the mother plant and can be snipped off to produce a new plant when planted in a soilless potting medium. Look for plantlets that have already started to develop roots to be the ones you cut off to replant.
The below video shows the simple propagation process of a spider plant using plastic cups. After about a month and half they are ready to be replanted in the location of your choice.
The spider plant is also able to be easily split or divided. The plant should be mature and large to consider dividing it. The below video shows how this is done using a gardening knife and a bit of patience with untangling the roots. You can tell the toughness of this plant just by viewing its healthy root system.
Increases Home Humidity
Low humidity can be a problem in the home, especially during the winter when the heating system is routinely running. Low humidity can cause several health problems including dry eyes, flaky skin, nasal issues, and more.
Houseplants, like the spider plant, have the ability to add humidity to the home. According to the University of South Dakota State University, houseplants let out approximately 97 percent of the moisture they take in through a process called transpiration. The humidity creating abilities of the spider plant can help assist in keeping a home’s humidity above 30 percent for comfortable living.
Better Mental Health
A study was conducted in 2015 that compared the feelings of individuals performing both a plant transplanting task and a computer task. The study found that participants were much more at ease and in comfort after the transplanting task versus feeling uncomfortable and artificial after the computer task. The study found that interaction with houseplants, like the spider plant, may have the ability to decrease stress while subduing sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure.
One of the primary spider plant benefits and the reason why most people choose to display one in their home is its visual appeal. There is no doubt the spider plant can elevate the beauty of just about any home. Its arching leaves that slope down make this plant ideal for a hanging basket or even for display in a pot on a tabletop. The natural aesthetics of the spider plant with its green and white colors can help brighten up a room and assist in bringing a little of the outdoors to the inside.