Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are popular houseplants desirable for their ease of care and graceful appearance. The long, slender leaves can be solid or variegated, depending on the cultivar, and occasionally produce tiny white flowers, according to information published by the University of Florida. Spider plants also produce plantlets, or baby spider plants, which dangle from the edges of long stems, giving the appearance of a spider hanging from a line. These attractive plants thrive with basic culture practices, even in sometimes adverse conditions.
Place your spider plant in a location where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight per day, but not direct afternoon sunlight, which can scorch the leaves of the plant. Filtered light, such as near a curtained window, or gentler morning sunlight exposure followed by afternoon shade works well.
Chlorophytum comosum can be grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 8 through 11, according to information published by Floridata. It will be killed to the ground by exposure to cold weather in zone 8, but will resprout the following spring. Spider plants will not grow outdoors in climates with freezing weather, which is why they are usually grown as houseplants.
Soil and Water
Spider plants thrive in cool, moist, nutrient-rich soil. Use a good-quality potting soil that contains plenty of organic materials, and water when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Let the soil dry to a depth of 2 or 3 inches in the winter, when the plant goes dormant. Make sure the container has a drainage hole, as overly wet soil will lead to fungi growth.
Fertilizing and Pruning
These fast-growing plants produce plantlets at a sometimes alarming rate, which means they require a lot of food. Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer formulated for indoor foliage plants every two weeks during the growing season. Follow the application instructions on the label for the age and size of your plant. Do not fertilize in the fall. Prune frequently to maintain the size you want and to prevent plantlet production if you so desire.
Watch for spider mites and mealy bugs, both of which can bother this plant, according to information published by the University of Florida. Dust attracts spider mites, so keep the leaves wiped clean or give the plant a good rinsing as you see dust appear. Washing the plant will also rinse away these insect pests, ridding your plant of them without the use of harsh chemicals.