A spider plant is a houseplant famous for its virtual indestructibility and ease of propagation. Spider plants are grown in households all over the world, and they also do well in many gardens, depending on the zone in which the garden is located. Many garden supply and plant stores carry spider plants, and people also exchange spider plant babies with each other, taking advantage of the plant's readiness to duplicate itself.
This plant is more formally known as Chlorophytum comosum. It has a central cluster of blade-like leaves which put out white to yellow stems that develop a sprawling growth habit. The stems periodically flower, creating nodules with new leaf growth, and the nodules will eventually generate adventitious roots, becoming entirely independent plants. Some people like to allow the stems to trail with their new growth rather than separating out the baby spider plants, creating a cascade of foliage.
Spider plants are native to Africa, but they grow in a wide variety of conditions. The plants tend to prefer strong indirect light and periodic watering, with a fertilizing every now and then. Excessive sunlight and too much water can kill a spider plant, but this can take a long time, and it takes serious effort on the part of a gardener to totally kill a Chlorophytum comosum, thanks to the natural hardiness of this plant species. This makes spider plants popular in offices and common areas, regions where plants often suffer from neglect.
Most spider plants sold and cultivated as houseplants have green leaves striped with white or yellow. The flowers are small and delicate, with a cream to yellow color, and the plant tends to flower and produce new shoots in the fall. In a household where temperature and lighting conditions remain stable throughout the year, moving a spiderplant to a cooler, darker location can encourage it to produce new growth.
Spider plants tend to grow best when they have room to spread. Upper reaches of shelving and refrigerators are classic locations for a spider plant, since the high altitude allows the plant's stems to droop down towards the floor. As the baby spider plants appear, they can be left on the stem, or placed in pots filled with soil and a light fertilizer until they root, at which point the stem can be cut and the baby spider plant can be moved to another location in the house, or given away.