Every day, I get up, go downstairs to have breakfast, and sit beside my Spider Plant to eat. Today, I looked up from my bowl and thought, “where do you come from? What kind of life do you live in the wild?” I had a sudden realisation that, this simple little houseplant is a part of my everyday life and I know so little about it.
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are low growing, perennial herbs with long, thin leaves. There are different colour variants of this species, and the one I have has leaves lined with white edges. They grow long, thin ‘runners’, off of which new plantlets grow. Their tiny, white or green flowers are short lived and are only produced by mature plants.
I introduced Archibald (my Spider Plant) in my Propagating houseplants blog post a few weeks ago, and he features in the background of many of my YouTube videos. Archibald is no longer one plant, but actually four plants that live in various rooms in my house. Spider Plants are able to undergo asexual reproduction, meaning they can reproduce by themselves.
The way they do this is by vegetative propagation, a process by which a plant clones itself. Archibald has propagated himself numerous times, hence why he’s slowly taking over my house. In the picture above you can see a few new propagations which are starting to produce their own root nodules.
As well as being a hardy species that can withstand a range of environmental conditions, Spider Plants have also been shown by The NASA Clean Air Study to remove household air toxins. Spider Plants reduce formadehyde and xylene, which are common indoor air pollutants.
When they’re not draping gracefully from our bookshelves, Spider Plants can be found growing in Southern Africa. Because of their ability to propagate vegetatively, they grow in vast mats and produce a lot of ground cover. They’re also naturalised in Australia, so I’ll definitely be giving growing them outside a go when I move over.
I had no idea this little plant was sitting around my house, happily filtering my air for me. After researching Spider Plants for this post, I’ve since sat with my other houseplants and thought, “I wonder what the rest of you are hiding…” and I can’t wait to find out.