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The search for the spider plant.

December 31st, 2012 by Jon Leonhardt

Chlorophytum comosum varieties cultivars

Everyone has heard of the spider plant right? The airplane plant?  Chlorophytum comosum for all the plant people.  Ok right everyone knows what I am talking about. There are different types of spider plants.  So I decided to see how many different varieties there were out there.  This is what I have found.

Chlorophytum comosum all green spider plant

Lets start with the most basic all green version.  This was actually the hardest to find!  Just because its all green doesn’t make it boring.  Its got a great color of green and because its all green without the variegation it is actually a healthier plant.  All variegated plants are weaker due to the fact that the white part on the leaf doesn’t produce chlorophyll.



Variegated Spider Plant  Chlorophytum comosum Variegatum

This plant here is Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum”.  The most commonly found version of the spider plant.  The leaves have an interesting variegation kinda streaky.



reverse variegated spider plant Chlorophytum comosum Reverse Variegatum

Now this one is probably the second most common airplane plant. Chlorophytum comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum’. This one has a green center with white edges.



Chlorophytum comosum zebra spider plant

This one looks a lot like Chlorophytum comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum’ but has a yellower edge that eventually turns to a white. I bought it under the name of Chlorophytum laxum “Zebra” I find that it seems to stay a little shorter then then rest.



Chlorophytum comosum hawaiian spider plant (2)

I recently found this Chlorophytum comosum but was told its called the Hawaiian spider plant. The coolest part of this plant is that the plant will start out with variegation and finally turn all green again. Then producing the babies, with variegation again.  These if potted will grow into a large plant that is variegated before turning all green again. If the babies are left on the plant they will eventually turn green as well.  So the plant will have various different combinations going on!


All of the spider plants prove to be super easy to grow being able to survive what most plants can’t.  There are other varieties out there, but seem harder to purchase.  There is a “bonnie” which has more curly leaves. But many people say its just a stressed plant.


16 Responses to “The search for the spider plant.”

  1. Grenville Dixon says:

    I once bought a plant which was labelled Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’. It eventually produced flowers, then seeds.

    I planted the seeds and this resulted in having plants with all green leaves. Does this mean the latter are Chlorophytum comosum?

    • Jon says:

      Correct. Most plants with variegation can only be propagated by cloning, cuttings, and division. Seeds will almost always produce regular green plants, exception being annuals.

  2. C.Wright says:

    Hi, I was searching through your blog and noticed your really cool varietys of spider plants, and I currently have a mature green specimen and a specimen recently identified as ocean.. I wish to make to make an order for 2x plantlets of each variety, as I feel these plants are amongst the greatest indoor plants and would be so exited to own all possible variations. Please email me.

  3. C.Unger says:

    You’re correct that there is a spider plant cultivar with curled leaves, but curly leaves are genetic, not an environmental condition. I own this plant and have been breeding it with other straight-leafed, variegated cultivars for several years. Both the curliness and variegation are recessive, but I’ve gotten a few offspring with wavy leaves and light variegation after many, many crosses.

    • C.Stewart says:

      Hi! Could you tell me more, or do you know any resources regarding how to breed different cultivars of the spider plant?

  4. Robert Leblanc says:

    i used to live in a house and we had spider plant that would reproduce via vine like branch with a small version of the mother plant. when we moved into an apartment we got someone to give a a sample a spider plant 2 in fact and we planted them in pots, but they haven’t produce any of those vine branch like those in our old house. could it be that those are 2 different kind?

  5. Clay T says:

    Chlorophytum “Bonnie” is definitely a separate variety. In addition to the curly leaves, the babies are held on gold or yellow stalks. I know commercial growers that produce it by the acre.

  6. Andrea M says:

    I think I might have a spider plant because it looks like the plants you have found, except that it has purple lines on the edges of the leaves. Can you please help? I also need to know what type of care is needed for this plant.

  7. Autumn says:

    You’ve got a couple scientific names mixed up. The variety with a wide white center that you’re calling ‘ variegatum’ is actually ‘vittatum’. ‘Variegatum’ is green with a narrow white margin. There is no Chlorophytum comosum cultivar called ‘reverse variegatum’. That is an error that’s been repeated on the Internet by people who haven’t fact-checked their sources.

    The curly, variegated cultivar is called ‘Bonnie’, and the variegated cultivar that becomes green is called ‘Hawaiian’. There is also a solid green variety with cirked leaves, and a variegated variety with just a sliver of white down the center. I don’t know whether either of the last two have been named, but I grow all of these varieties.

  8. Autumn says:

    “solid green variety with CURLED leaves” #%&$ auto-correct! 😉

  9. Hi Autumn, l’m a) trying to collect all the types and b) write a basic book on houseplants that are easy to grow. any possibility that you could email me pictures of each variety you have grown….. is it just me, or does anybody else find it odd, that such a common house plant doesn’t have much information about it online!??? thanks jeremy :)

  10. michelle says:

    Hello, I am writing to ask for a little HELP!!!! PLEASE
    Ive bought a few spider plants a Bonnie a all green one I also have one I bought that has a bonnie and a all green on in the same pot :) the one I bought I don’t know what to do I received it and it was a mess the postal people just don’t care about FRAGILE signs at all :( anyways I know now that I have to use distilled water or else ill be stuck with a lot of brown tips and yellowing leaves.. My hope is to be able to get the 1 bonnie I bought that was beaten half to death in its box to look as beautiful as the rest of mine do. ive only had it a short time but I’m embarrassed by the looks of it. I talk to her daily and I make sure I tell all my beautiful plants how beautiful they are LOL thou it may sound crazy my mother used to talk to all her plants and they did amazing.. if there’s a way I can show you a picture of all my ones that look amazing and then show you the bonnie curly I’m so worried about. I have also been told that they wont grow the baby plants until they are atleast a year old well I have found that to be a fib because I planted two babies and one has already started to have a yellow vine with a baby plant growing and its doing and looks so awesome I don’t want to touch it but cutting anything off.. I thank you for allowing to me join this group and I hope someone’s able to help my 1 bonnie curly that’s scaring me I don’t want to lose one of the easiest plants to grow LOL but I’m so sad and worried. Thanks so very much :)

  11. michelle says:

    I also am not to computer friendly and please forgive me I don’t know what the website block means I am truly sorry. I was not and I’m still not rich so where I’m from computers are not that easy to come across so I’m not that smart with all this computer stuff. Please forgive me thanks alot

  12. Jon says:

    Pot them up with some potting soil, water them well the first time as some potting soil takes a lot of watering to become moist… Sometimes I’ll let the soil sit in a bucket with some water first till it’s good and moist. Cut off any brown tips with an angle cut. Spider plants are very tough and will recover quite quickly. A window with bright light, and water when dry is all you will have to do. When the baby spiders (That hang) start growing roots you can cut them off and plant in the same pot to fill it in quicker.

  13. brian says:

    I have 2 spider plants that are heirlooms. One is solid green, the other is variegated. My grandmother bought the mothers to these plants in the ’70s, in the late ’80s I took babies and planted them up for my mom. Now 27 years later I’m still taking babies from those. I also acquired a curly one. I got a couple babies from a friend. They are a year old and look beautiful, and they stay nice and compact.

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