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Chlorophytum

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  • Indoor Plants
Chlorophytum orchidastrum 'Green Orange'
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Chlorophytum comosum is native to tropical forests in South Africa. This species is well adapted to the alternating dry and rainy seasons in its natural habitat, thanks to its roots, which store water. It is a herbaceous plant that produces rosettes of linear, flexible, arching leaves. It also bears long spreading and arching stems (stolons, or runners) at the ends of which appear tiny white flowers, followed by plantlets with adventitious roots.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Chlorophytum comosum 'Mandaianum' is a dwarf cultivar with dark green foliage marked with a yellow centre stripe. Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegatum' is a very popular cultivar with white-margined green foliage. Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum' has leaves with a creamy white centre stripe and green margins.

Common name

Chlorophytum / Spider plant

Latin name (genus)

Chlorophytum comosum

French common name

Botanical family

  • Liliaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

This plant tolerates indirect light (north-facing window), and even low light for a short period, but grows more vigorously, with better colouring, in bright indirect sunlight (avoid direct light around noon). It does well near a west- or east-facing window. It prefers a moist, warm location, with normal room temperatures (18-21ºC), and a minimum of 7ºC. Provide it with fairly high humidity, especially when temperatures are higher. In winter, it can be kept a bit cooler.

Easy to grow?

This is an easy-to-grow houseplant that will live for several years. It is highly tolerant and adapts to a variety of environmental conditions. It blooms regularly and frequently.

Watering and fertilizer

Water frequently and abundantly during the active growing period (March to October), because this plant quickly absorbs water from the soil. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings, however. During the rest period, water less frequently, but enough to moisten the soil mixture. Fertilize three or four times during the growing period with indoor plant food or all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20. Do not fertilize it in winter.

Pruning and maintenance

Remove damaged or dried leaves and stolons to encourage leaf growth.

Repotting

This plant becomes potbound quickly. It should be repotted annually in a good potting mix for indoor plants. The plant produces more stolons when the roots are slightly potbound.

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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