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So you’ve purchased your first spider plant. Kudos! Welcome to the illustrious world of spider plants, beautiful green foliage, and cute little spiderettes.
With all of the information and your expanding knowledge, I’m sure you are asking yourself many questions. One of those questions is how fast does a spider plant grow?
Common Types of Spider Plants
First, let’s start with the varieties you are most likely to see when you are at a garden center or greenhouse.
Currently, the most popular variety is Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Variegatum.’ This variety is distinguishable from others due to its dark green leaves with white stripes on both sides and green stolons.
The variety that ‘Variegatum’ has overtaken in popularity is the Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Vitattum.’ ‘Vitattum’ was very popular in the 90s.
I remember having spider plants all over our house as a child, with their medium green leaves and center white stripe. The stolons on this variety are yellow or white.
The next variety, Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Bonnie,’ is fast becoming as popular as the ‘Variegatum.’ Though the leaves and stolons resemble ‘Variegatum’, the thing that makes this variety distinct is the fact that its leaves and stolons curve and bend. This helps make the plant compact, which is definitely beneficial if you are low on space.
With all that variegated foliage, it’s no surprise that there is an original all-green variety. This less popular variety is just Chlorophytum Comosum.
The foliage still contains a stripe as in the other varieties, but this stripe is a lighter green to the medium green of the rest of the leaves. This variety accepts lower light better than others due to the fact that it produces more chlorophyll than the others.
How to Increase or Decrease the Growth Rate of Spider Plants
For all of these varieties (and many others), correct lighting and watering can lead to rapid growth. The spider plant is one of the fastest growing house plants available. As with most plants, neglect can cause growth to slow, though the spider plant can handle a bit more neglect than others.
The spider plant is a fairly forgiving plant in terms of lighting, as long as it is not in direct sun, which can cause scorching. It thrives in indirect light, but less light can cause the plant to lose its distinct variegation and resort back to all green, though this will not harm the plant. Less light can also lead to slower growth.
It is less forgiving in terms of watering. It is better to underwater than to overwater the spider plant. Overwatering the plant can lead to root rot with the rhizomes, which are roots that store water.
It is recommended to water once a week at the roots while avoiding the leaves, with that frequency changing to once a month or so in the winter. The soil should be slightly damp when you water again, though in winter, you should be letting the soil dry out a bit more before watering.
How to Identify and Prevent Common Problems
Common signs of problems with watering are brown tips, faded green leaves, and wilting or dying leaves.
Brown tips can indicate that your water has too many chemicals. It is recommended that you use distilled water for the spider plant, especially if you have a water softener.
For faded green leaves, you may need to water the plant more. If they are fading, but also wilting or dying, double check to make sure that the soil is not too moist. You can develop a bad case of root rot fairly easily, which can cause the leaves to die off.
Speaking of roots, while this plant does not mind being root-bound (having its roots contained to a pot smaller than necessary), to encourage growth, you will want to repot it every spring or so using a free-draining pot and regular potting soil to ensure it has the space to spread its roots. This is especially true since the spider plant’s rhizome roots retain water.
These rhizomes can take up a significant amount of space in the pot, so if the soil is still wet ½ inch down several days after watering, you will want to repot in a bigger pot for better drainage.
The spider plant has also been known to stretch a plastic pot or break a clay pot with its roots.
Make sure you keep this plant nice and warm as well. It’s a good idea to bring it outdoors in the summer, whether you decide to leave it in the pot or plant it in the ground. While high summer temperatures are ideal, it does not like the cold or frost.
Take it inside once temperatures start to drop, as it can handle temperatures down to roughly 41°F. Anything below that, including frost, will cause the plant to die.
Also, be careful when the soil is wet, since the temperature won’t need to get nearly as low to cause damage.
The Potential Size of Spider Plants
As far as how big spider plants get, the leaves on the spider plant tend to grow up and then bend downward in an arc. This causes the base of the plant to only reach a maximum height of about 12 inches.
The leaves, on the other hand, can grow up to 3 feet long, giving the plant length downward. The stolons, which are stems that contain offshoots of the main plant called “pups” or “spiderettes,” also grow in an arc shape.
The plant will only start producing pups if it is a few years old.
The Growth Rate of Spiderettes
The pups are one of the spider plant’s ways of propagating. If you’d like to limit the length of the stolons and get rid of the pups, simply cut the stolon up near the base of the plant.
Don’t throw away the pups, though! These little spiderettes can quickly root and grow. In about a month, you could have a plant that is already many inches tall.
Share the wealth of these little pups, and gift them to others!
You can also propagate spider plants in water if you prefer!
Knowing how fast a spider plant grows can be essential to any indoor gardener’s knowledge. Take advantage of the rapid growth and the copious amounts of pups to create a jungle of spider plants in your home!