The curly spider plant belongs to the species of Chlorophytum comosum. It is a flowering plant that is also evergreen and perennial. It originates from South Africa, although it is now grown in several parts of the world and has become a popular houseplant.
It has long, thin and curly leaves across its structure that have a central green color with surrounding white stripes, although sometimes this can also be reversed. The extent of the curls can differ across different plants with some having an extremely high level of curves and swirls while others have fewer ones.
These leaves generally grow in a downward direction, which is why these plants are commonly grown as hanging plants with the pot hung high up on the ceiling.
Overall, the curly spider plant care requirements are not too complicated, but they are important to be aware of and follow throughout the plant’s lifespan. Through this guide, we will take you through all these care instructions so that you can figure out how to keep the plant thriving. Let’s get started!
Curly Spider Plant Care
Although the curly spider plant is simple to care for, you must not take that lightly and should give it the proper care at all points across several criteria such as sunlight, temperature, humidity, watering, fertilizing, soil requirements and more.
You can get a better idea about these criteria by going through each of them in detail below.
Providing the correct light conditions is quite essential when it comes to any houseplant, including the curly spider plant. This can help ensure the proper growth of the plant.
The curly spider plant can survive in a variety of light conditions, which makes it much easier for you to care for it. Generally, however, you should ensure that you provide bright but indirect sunlight to this plant for several hours a day.
At the same time, you should also bring it into the shade when the sunlight is too strong and direct as this can otherwise cause the leaves to wither and burn.
Keeping this plant on your windowsill or balcony that receives this kind of sunlight can be an ideal choice. If, for some reason, you are not able to provide enough sunlight to this plant at a given time, you do not need to worry as the plant will continue to grow up to a certain extent.
The ideal temperatures for the curly spider plant fall within the range of 55℉ to 75℉. You can expect this plant to withstand slightly lower temperatures of 45℉-50℉ but make sure that you do not place the plant in temperatures lower than these.
Anything higher than the mentioned range can also be quite damaging to the overall health of the plant, causing it to burn or even die. Thus, if it gets too hot where you live during the summer, shift the plant to a more appropriate location.
The curly spider plant tends to prefer surrounding temperatures to be slightly warm and consistent across its lifespan. If you live in particularly cold climates, you should bring the plant indoors during winter so that it does not experience extremely cold temperatures.
In terms of the USDA hardiness zones, this plant is generally hardy in zones 10-12.
Humidity levels are also important to maintain when it comes to the curly spider plant. However, you do not need to worry too much about this since this plant can survive and continue to grow in different levels of humidity.
Low humidity levels of around 40% can work for this plant to a certain extent, although you should ideally aim for slightly higher levels so that it can grow to its fullest capacity.
If the humidity levels are too low, then the leaves of this plant might begin to brown up a bit, which is why you should lightly mist the leaves regularly as well if you live in dry climates.
If the climate you live in tends to be humid, then you can simply keep the plant on the balcony or windowsill for natural humidity levels. If not, you can place the plant in humid rooms such as your kitchen or bathroom.
Buying a humidifier can also help in this case, although it is not too much of a requirement.
You should ideally water your curly spider plant about once a week. However, when you first propagate or receive the plant, you can limit the watering frequency even more, as too much water at this point can slow down the growth rate of the plant.
Once the plant grows a bit, then weekly watering should be sufficient. You should ensure that the soil dries out completely before watering the plant each time. You can check this with your finger each time you are about to water the plant.
Make sure that you regulate the amount of water you feed to the plant each time as well as overwatering can lead to root rot due to the growth of various fungi. Root rot can change the color of the leaves and can also cause them to wither and grow haltingly.
It can help significantly if the pot that you use has a hole for drainage so that all the excess water is removed. Make sure you minimize or stop watering this plant during the winters as this is when it lies dormant.
The soil that you use for this plant should be loose and well draining so that too much water does not collect in the soil. This could otherwise cause the roots of the plant to rot, causing the plant to die in an extreme case.
You can use any standard potting mix from a store for this plant as long as it is well balanced. You can also add some sand, perlite or peat to the soil to improve its drainage capacity.
You must also keep the pH level of the soil in mind. The curly spider plant tends to prefer neutral pH levels (around 7.0), although it can withstand slightly acidic soil as well. You should avoid too much acidity or alkalinity.
You do not need to fertilize the curly spider plant too often. This is because this plant contains pretty thick tubers that can store a good amount of nutrients from the soil for a long time.
If you keep fertilizing this plant frequently, then you might actually end up restricting the healthy growth of this plant. The formation of plantlets will then slow down to quite an extent.
You can fertilize this plant with any fertilizer that has a good balance of the three main nutrients that include nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. However, make sure you dilute this fertilizer with a good amount of water so that it does not prove to be too strong for the plant.
This kind of monthly light fertilizing should only be done during the growing season of this plant, which is spring to early fall. Stop feeding the plant completely during the winter because this is when it tends to become dormant.
The curly spider plant tends to produce small white flowers during the growing season, particularly in the months of spring and summer. However, this is only possible when growing this plant outdoors, where the conditions are relatively free.
Since you have to restrict the size of this plant when you are growing it indoors so that it does not become too wild and big, this can limit the chances of flowers blooming.
Potting and Repotting
You should ensure that you pick a pot or container that is of a suitable size and material for the healthy growth of the plant. You should start with a small pot or mug so that you can restrict the size of the plant.
Make sure that the pot you use has a drainage hole so that it can get rid of the excess water from the soil.
Once the plant grows big enough and you notice that the roots have become too long or the leaves are starting to droop no matter how well you care for the plant, it is time for you to repot it to a larger pot or container so that the roots can have enough breathing and growing space.
While the curly spider plant does not require frequent repotting, it is still important for you to do so beyond a certain size. Make sure you use fresh soil so that the roots can replenish themselves.
You should generally repot this plant during spring right before the growing season starts.
If you notice browning or dying leaves at any point of the curly spider plant’s lifespan, then you should cut these tips or leaves off carefully with a pair of sharp shears or scissors.
If you notice these leaf conditions, you should also try to correct your care conditions in terms of watering, sunlight and humidity.
It is essential to maintain the overall size of this plant, especially if you are growing it indoors as a houseplant. You can, therefore, carry out regular pruning to ensure that the plant does not become too unruly. This can also help maintain the shape of the plant.
Always clean the scissors that you use before you trim the plant.
Pests and Diseases
It is likely that this plant might attract several pests or develop certain kinds of diseases during its lifespan. Root rot is a common disease that can occur if you overwater this plant or if certain fungi get attracted to it.
Sometimes, the tips of the leaves might burn or become brown or the entire leaf might start to lose color by becoming pale. This tends to occur because of unfavorable light, temperature and humidity conditions but it can also be a result of high levels of boron and fluoride.
Some common pests that you should look out for include scales, mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, caterpillars, thrips and aphids, among others. You can try using pesticides, rubbing alcohol, dish soap or essential oils to get rid of some of these.
The curly spider plant can grow up to a height of 8-10 inches whenever you grow it indoors. The height of this plant is not very noticeable since it has curly leaves that can make this plant appear quite short.
If you want to restrict the size of the plant even more, then you can keep pruning the plant on a regular basis. You should also start out with a small enough pot and keep repotting to only slightly larger pots.
Outdoors, this plant can grow slightly taller up to a height of 25 inches.
Generally, curly spider plants can grow pretty quickly provided that you offer it all the favorable conditions. However, since you are likely to be growing this plant indoors in a pot, the plant will grow slightly slower than it usually would outdoors or in the wild.
That being said, you will still need to keep repotting the plant nearly every year, as is standard for most houseplants.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the curly spider plant (or the spider plant in general) is considered non-toxic to both cats and dogs. Thus, even if your pet happens to come into contact with this plant or ingests a bit of it, it is not likely to cause any problems.
In fact, this plant is unlikely to cause any issues to humans either.
Curly spider plants tend to have a long lifespan as long as you take good care of them. Some spider plants can also live up to nearly 20 years. Thus, if you are growing this houseplant, you can expect it to stay with you for a long enough time if you care for them while also continuing to repot them.
However, there are also several issues that can arise that may shorten this plant’s lifespan considerably, such as pests and diseases. If you do not notice and treat these on time, then your plant might die sooner than usual.
There are several methods that you can follow when it comes to propagating a curly spider plant. You can do this by making use of the plantlets or spiderettes of a mature curly spider plant and then planting them either in water or soil.
Let’s take a look at each of these methods in further detail below.
You will first need to gather the following materials for propagating a curly spider plant.
⦁ Sharp shears or scissors
⦁ Pot or container
⦁ Potting soil mix with perlite, sand, peat
⦁ Rooting hormone
⦁ Healthy and mature curly spider plant
⦁ Vase or jar for water-based propagation
⦁ Scoop or spoon for the soil
You can go through the following steps for propagating a curly spider plant using water.
⦁ You will first need to cut the plantlets off a healthy curly spider plant using scissors or shears. Take a mature plant and cut the plantlets from the base. Make sure each of these is around two inches in size.
⦁ You should now take a clear vase or jar and fill it with clean water. Place the plantlets inside this water and keep the jar in a spot that receives indirect sunlight.
⦁ Make sure you change the water on a daily basis so that the roots can develop healthily without any fungal or bacterial infections. You should also keep an eye on the jar so that mold does not appear.
⦁ Within a few weeks, the roots will start to grow well. At this point, you can shift the plant to a pot filled with fresh soil.
Go through the following steps to propagate a curly spider plant directly in the soil.
⦁ Take a pot or container and fill it with a proper soil mix. Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole, so that water does not gather in the soil.
⦁ You can now directly plant the plantlets in the soil by cutting them off completely at the base, dipping them in rooting hormone and then placing them in the soil. Water the plant lightly and start introducing it to sunlight on a gradual basis.
⦁ Another method of planting is to place the pot right next to the mature plant and plant the plantlets in the soil without cutting them off the main plant. Once the roots start to grow in the new pot, you can then cut them from the main plant.
⦁ You can then place the pot in a suitable location in your house and continue to care for the plant regularly. It might be better to limit the watering frequency at the beginning before you start watering it regularly.
Curly spider plants are highly effective in cleaning and purifying the air around them. This can reduce the pollution levels to a certain extent in your house by reducing the levels of harmful chemicals such as xylene and formaldehyde apart from simply removing carbon dioxide.
Thus, the air around you can become healthier to breathe. This conclusion was possible because of the Clean Air Study that NASA conducted.
Apart from purifying the air, the curly spider plant can also serve an aesthetic purpose as it can add color, shape and texture to your room and house. To enhance this even more, you can also hang the pot with this plant from the ceiling, especially since the leaves grow downward and in curls.
Why Is My Curly Spider Plant Losing Color?
If you notice that your curly spider plant is losing color, then this might be a result of an error in the care conditions. For instance, if the humidity around the plant is too dry, then this can cause the plant to brown up. Extreme temperatures, too much sunlight and overwatering can also cause this.
Fluoride (might be present in tap water) and boron are also potential causes behind this.
If you notice this issue, you can cut off the browning tips or leaves. You might also need to repot the plant and provide proper conditions.
What If the Curly Leaves Become Straight?
It is possible that the curls on your curly spider plant might become too straight and start looking like the straight variety of this species. In order to maintain the curls, all you need to do is ensure that you take care of the plant just right instead of undergoing it or even overdoing it.
Make sure you allow the plant’s soil to dry out completely before watering it again as this can help keep the curls in place.
Will My Plant Die If I Overwater It?
If you overwater your plant or water it too frequently, your curly spider plant might develop root rot which could then create problems to the overall health of the plant.
For instance, the plant’s leaves could start losing color, they could start drooping or withering or the plant might not grow at its usual speed. If you notice this early on, then you can prevent your plant from dying by simply getting rid of the dying leaves.
You should also remove the plant from the soil carefully and trim off any dead roots. You can then repot the plant in fresh soil and keep providing sufficient care to it.
Can I Get Rid of Brown/Yellow Tips?
Yes, you can and should get rid of brown or yellow tips using sharp scissors or shears. Make sure you do not cut off too much of the leaf as this could prevent it from growing back. Only remove the brown or yellow parts.
Through this guide, we have taken you through all the criteria involved when it comes to the curly spider plant care requirements.
Apart from these care conditions, we have also covered how you can grow this plant on your own, what purpose it serves and some other questions that you might have about the health of your plant. Happy growing!