Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

NOT Spider Plants But Chlorophytum bichetii

I have recently discovered that this post which was initially titled "Spider Plants" needs to be updated. They are infact not Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) but Chlorophytum bichetii!

Why? Because they do not have the arching stalks of  "baby spiders" or plantlets hanging from the mother plant which real Spider Plants have.

These plants are very hardy. Don't give up on them so easily. Eventhough they appear dead, they may not be dead yet! This plant is easy to take care and propagate. It is a good choice for beginners in container gardening and houseplant enthusiasts.

This impromptu post came about after reading the comments of my Blotanical friends; Rosey Pollen, James Missier and Evolutionofagardener about growing this plant. Now, I am writing this post based on my own experience. I hope you find it informative. Please take my word with a pinch of salt as I am not a qualified botanist or master gardener. I am growing this plant in warm, equatorial weather. Here, the plants prefer cool air. Maybe the rules for winter or temperate regions are different. I welcome any comments from your experience / experts which may help me improve.

Botanical name: Chlorophytum bichetii
Family: Liliceae
Common names: Bichetii Grass, Siam Lily, False Lily Turf, Wheat Plant, Loose Leaf Chlorophytum
Misapplied names: Dwarf Spider Plant, Variegated Spider Plant
Origin/Native of: West Africa

This plant prefer the natural lighting of a shade e.g. under the porch or as indoor houseplants placed near a window. However, they do not like direct sunlight. They are not drought tolerant at all but they can even grow underwater in aquariam tanks.

To decorate my interior, I will still plant it in a plastic pot and put the plastic pot inside another beautiful ceramic/clay/ porcelain decorative pot. I find this easier to work with. When my inhouse spider plants look 'tired', I bring them out to the porch to bask in some solar energy, then leave them out, exposed to the open sky to take in some cool and fresh night air and morning dew. Then I bring them in again. An old Indian granny who came to my house for a chit-chat about gardening taught me this.

Propagation is by division of clumps.

1.If your plant is healthy, you can repot it by separating the whole plant into a few portions and repotting it. Actually the miniature plants around the adult spider plants are the babies.

2. The most common problem I experience is root rot due to water logged soil in the pot. If there is not enough water, the plant will also dry up. Use loose sandy soil with good drainage because you need to water it often, i.e. at least once a day in our hot climate. I often lift up the leaves to check the soil condition. I don't water if it is still wet. When preparing the new soil, I like to sprinkle some tiny Japanese humus pellets as fertilizer. These are slow release fertilizer. Don't overdo this as the spider plant doesn't really need or like fertilizer. Over fertilizing can cause immediate yellowing of leaves or burnt-out.

3. When plant look like dying due to root rot, take out the whole plant and wash it thoroughly with clean water, especially around the roots. The chances are good if you can see the bulbs among the roots. Let it air dry for some time (overnight) before putting it into a dish of clean water and wait for it to root and reshoot again. This may take a week or so. Treat your plant as though it is recuperating in a hospital. When healthy, green shoots begin to appear, separate and plant in potted soil. My flowering spider plant in my previous post was salvaged and revived by this method. Luckily I didn't throw the whole plant away.

4. When I see the tips of leaves turning brown, I water it with diluted Chinese tea which is recycled from yesterday's leftover tea. This tea was collected from the tea cups served to my deities during my daily prayers. I learnt this tip of using leftover tea to water green foliage plants from a TV gardening program. Brown tips are an indication of burn out due to over fertilizing or certain undesired chemicals in the water we use.

5. This is one example of a plant that can suffer some neglect. It fact it likes to be left alone. From my own experience, I only apply fertilizer once, i.e. during soil preparation. Thereafter, I don't need to fertilize anymore. When it blooms, you may not notice it because the flowers are very tiny.

6. I like to use rainwater or water that has been left to stand overnight on all my plants. In our city, our tap water has too much chlorine. Sometimes, my children have some leftover water in their water tumbler, so I use this to water my houseplants.

7. Even my mother-in-law takes an interest in this plant. She likes to occassionally pull out all the yellow leaves one by one.

8. In our family, we are very happy if we see green foliage plants e.g. those from the evergreen family, ZZ plant, jade plant, snake plant, aloe vera, night blooming cereus, ferns start to bloom. We regard it as a good sign as these plants are without flowers most of the time.

This post is dedicated to Ms Noelle (azplantlady) from Arizona, USA of Ramblings From A Desert Garden blog. She was my first commenter for my previous post, My Nice Garden is Blooming. I love to read her consultant advice, tips and guildelines told with many beautiful pictures. She is the first person who changed my perspective that all deserts are dry and humid, yellow and bare. Now I see so much beauty in the desert, with cactuses that look like trees and there are so many flowers there.

Today is Foliage Follow-up day, hosted by Pam Penick of Digging. Do head over to her site here to see more fabulous foliage and /or participate.


  1. Spider plants are definitely on my list. They seem to prefer partial sun at my house (full sun will cause the leaves to bleach out) but they are tough little plants and can tolerate a variety of conditions (and neglect!). I've had them so rootbound that they jack themselves out of the pot, and then you know it's time to repot them. You can separate them as you said and make a lot of plants that way. They are easy to grow and I like them.

  2. I didn't know how to call that plant, we have lots of those back home =)

  3. I love spider plants too, although the cats really love them most of all, so I don't currently have one as I have no space to hang one up away from curious little paws and teeth. I don't think I knew they were members of the agave family!

  4. I believe Spider plants are know to clean the air... purify the air in a room... what a good deed! They are ever growing and loyal plants. Lovely and informative post Autumnbelle!

  5. The ferns look so lovely on the window sill. It is wonderful to have greens around the garden. In Ikea, they like to match green ferns with white. But I like them in brown too - just like what you have done.

    Happy gardening and enjoy the weekend!

  6. I have a lot of spider plants at home and use them excessively to add colour indoors as well, even accessories by Bonsai Landscaping n wall murals with them. They are hardy n long lasting and great for beginners. We use ground water ie boring water to water our plants here at home...the tap water has a lot of chlorine here too.

    Nice post.. thx for sharing ur experience with these plants!

  7. Yea Belle, this plant is hardy. I love it because it add colours and characters to garden.


  8. This Spider plant I know, I got plenty. They are so usefull inside and look lovely. Finally a plant suited for my clima :)

  9. I must confess that I killed mine. I do neglect my houseplants but I forget that they need alittle more care than my orchids. Yours look really good - and they are so good at removing toxins in the room they are growing in. The keep the air nice and fresh.

  10. Gardening is very much trail and error and observation plus a few tips from fellow bloggers TV and books, you don't have to have qualifications for any of that but it won't hinder if you do.

  11. The spider plant is very common in Malaysia.

  12. Ashamed to admit, that mine, in a South African garden looks quite hard done by! Yours looks luscious and subtropical. Wonderful gardener Autumnbelle!

  13. I would like to have one in my garden this coming summer, MB

  14. Hello Autumn Belle,

    Thank you very much for your kind words :-)

  15. That variegated spider plant is so pretty. Thanks for adding your post to Foliage Follow-Up!

  16. Thanks for all the great tips I'm sure my spider plant will be happier from now on!

  17. Oops I got one of this plant given to me by my niece and did not know its name until today lol. Oh my dear my spider plant!. TQ so much

  18. I first became acquainted with this plant as the quintessential, ubiquitous house plant in shared student dwellings. It seemed to survive anything - too much water, too little water, getting knocked over and never re-potted, etc. I'm glad you brought them up, since I don't have one at the moment and think I'll find someone to give me a cutting. Using Chinese tea is an intriguing tip! Barbara

  19. I always liked the spider plant. I love the little runners that hang down. I may look for a sunny spot (I have very few) and start collecting some spider plants and other houseplants.

  20. Another fine and informative post and I am so glad you gave MORE info, I needed this! Thanks for all the effort you go to to teach everyone about spiderplants etc!


  21. Thanks for such an informative read Autumn Belle! I've been thinking of adding to my tiny collection of just two indoor plants and I think I might just give one of these a go!

  22. I have lots of those too, you cannot just kill them. They have storage roots that even when left unwatered for a long time will resurrect again! Even when the stray chickens eat all the leaves, they will still recover from extreme harrassment.

  23. I like it too - hardy and easy to maintain. happy gardening!

  24. Hi Autumn Belle! Spider plants are wonderful...a favorite of mine! Yours are beautiful - I like the broad leaf variety. I also like your idea of planting in memory of your loved ones. I give plants as gifts, but haven't planted in memory...I think this is a practice I'll adopt!

  25. Your spider plants are looking healthy and green! They are beautiful planted in their decorative pots! :)

  26. I LOVE spider plants and it seems they live forever. They are wonderful plants to keep.

  27. Hi,everyone! I am pleasantly surprise that so many of us have this plant and like it too. Thank you very much for coming here with so many more interesting facts about this wonderful plant. Cheers!

  28. Happy New Year, Autumn Belle!

    I have also kept some spider plants in my garden. Used to hang them up in pots. These days I plant them as soil covers for my taller plants ~ to create a layering effects. They are sturdy plant that need little care, yet beautiful to look at.

  29. JC, You have a good idea here which I hope to try one day.

  30. Thank you for the amazing, very detailed information on spiderplant.
    I guess you will be very surprised if l let you know that my spider plant died (root rot) as I had neglected it these few weeks.

  31. Hah, it happened to you? Yes, I am very surprised! But never mind, these things do happen. You must be pretty busy lately.

  32. Hi everyone,

    Does any of you know that where can I buy the Spider Plant seeds (Chlorophytum comosum)in Kuala Lumpur? Actually I need it for my research.


    1. Mehrnaz, I'm sorry I have not seen Chlorophytum comosum seeds for sale in Malaysia. They sell the whole plant at our local nurseries. I hope someone can help you on this matter.


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