The Curly Spider Plant is also known by a few other names. These include:
- Bonnie Spider Plant
- Variegated spider plant
- Chlorophytum Comosum Bonnie
- Airplane plant
It is the sibling of the very popular Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum). But the two differ in that the Curly spider plant has swirling, curly leaves (which is how it got its name), which the standard spider plant has straight foliage.
While the difference is small it causes a significant variation in terms of looks as the Bonnie spider plant is much more compact and forms a circular shape at it gets bushier.
That said, they have similar colored green leaves and white variegations, which are among its most attractive features.
The Curly Spider Plant is an evergreen perennial that is very easy to care for. Plus, it purifies the air as well. It is native to South Africa but is also commonly found in parts of Australia.
While mainly grown for its foliage the plant does flower. However, this only happens when grown outdoors. Indoors, it rarely does so you likely won’t see it bloom if you keep it as a houseplant.
Curly Spider Plant Plant Care
Bonnie Spider Plant Light Requirements
The Curly Spider Plant is easy to care for when it comes to lighting because it will do well in wide range of conditions.
That said, it grows best in bright, indirect light. But won’t mind low light as well. With the latter, the plant will grow slower but you won’t see a huge difference In its color unless you leave the plant in a very dim or dark location.
This gives you a option since some owners don’t like letting the Curly Spider Plant grow too long or get too dense quickly. Thus, regulating the light will let you slow its growth without any ill-effcts.
However, avoid leaving it under direct sun for long periods of time. It will be able to tolerate 1 to 3 hours but anything more on a regular basis can affect its leaves.
While this won’t kill the plant or harm its health, you’ll notice differences in its foliage color. And in extreme or intense light, you may see brown spots or burn marks on the leaves as well.
Outdoors, partial to full shade are ideal. Again, keep the plant away from full or strong sun.
Bonnie Spider Plant Temperature
The Curly Spider Plant is a tropical plant that will happily in most homes. That’s because its ideal temperature is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This coincides with what we humans enjoys most.
Thus, you don’t need to do anything or adjust the thermostat to keep the plant happy.
Ideally, try to keep the plant in climate conditions that are above 50 degrees. It is not cold hardy and will not be able to tolerate or survive long periods of frost or freezing temperatures.
This means that you can keep it outside all year long in a pot, hanging basket or in the ground if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. The sunny and mild winters will keep in healthy.
On the other hand, it becomes an annual outdoors below Zone 9. Therefore, most owners usually keep it indoors except during the summer.
The Curly Spider Plant enjoys moderate to high humidity between 40% to 70%. Although it will do well in average room humidity (30% to 50%).
That said, in the lower part of that range, it is a good idea to monitor your Bonnie Spider Plant at least initially. This will let you see how well it adapts to the low end of that range.
If you see any brown leaf tips starting to happen, it is a sign that the plant needs more humidity.
Thus, you can move it somewhere else that provides more air moisture like the bathroom or certain areas of your home.
Another option is to mist the plant regularly or invest in a humidifier.
How Often to Water Curly Spider Plant
When it comes to watering, your Curly Spider Plant is low maintenance. It only needs light watering which makes it perfect if you have a very busy schedule or find yourself forgetting to water your plants.
Since the plant is drought tolerant, you don’t have to stress whenever the latter happens.
On the other hand, the worst thing you can do for your Curly Spider Plant is to overwater it. Adding moisture too often is the one thing that can harm the plant.
Instead, let it dry out a bit between waterings.
I like to wait until the soil is dry 50% of the way. A simple way to test this is to insert a wooden stick into the soil all the way until the bottom of the pot. When you take out the stick, you’ll see where the water line is as signified by the wet area on the stick.
Once the wet part is under halfway the height of the pot, it is time to water.
Because your Bonnie Spider Plant enjoys most soil, it is a good idea to drench the root ball until it is saturated with moisture. Then, allow it to start draining.
Make sure any excess water drains out completely before returning the plant to its spot. This will ensure the roots get the water they desire but don’t end up standing in water.
Finally, in case you notice browning leaf tips and humidity is not the issue, check to see how much chemicals there are in your tap water.
The plant is sensitive to too much minerals in water. Chlorine and fluoride are two of the common ones that local municipalities add to the water system. And, some localities will have a lot of these minerals in their tap.
This can cause browning of leaf tips.
If this happens, leave the tap water out overnight at room temperature to allow the chemicals to evaporate by morning. This makes it safe for your Bonnie Spider Plant.
Alternatively, you can collect rainwater and use that. Or, use filtered water.
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Curly Spider Plant Potting Soil
The Curly Spider Plant thrives in light, well-draining soil. It also needs the soil to hold some moisture (but not too much of it).
Therefore, there are a few ways you can create the prefect potting soil for your Bonnie Spider Plant.
The simplest one is what I use. It is a mix of:
- 3 parts potting mix
- 1 part perlite
You can then add some compost in there and worm castings.
Another option you can go with is to mix:
- Succulent soil
- Peat moss or coco coir
While you can get away with regular potting soil, I don’t like using it on its own for my Curly Spider Plant because I’ve found that standard potting mixes can hold a little bit too much moisture for the plant.
So, adding perlite to that improves drainage.
Also, avoid using cactus or succulent soil on its own for your Curly Spider Plant. Both cacti and succulents prefer drier soil while the Curly Spider Plant likes moist soil.
This means if you use only cactus & succulent soil it will dry out your Curly Spider Plant.
As such, you can add peat moss or compost to help retain an extra bit of moisture to keep the plant healthy.
Bonnie Spider Plant Fertilizer
Feed your Curly Spider Plant with a balanced or all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Apply this once a month during the spring and summer, making sure to dilute the dose to half strength on each application.
It is not a heavy feeder so the more important thing here is to avoid overfeeding the plant.
Fertilizer salt build up is never a good thing as it can damage the roots which will eventually affect the leaves.
Also, if you plan on propagating your Curly Spider Plant, too much fertilizer will reduce the production of plantlets.
The curly spider plant is a fairly small, compact plant because of how the leaves grow. As they curl up they allow the plant to maintain a ball-like shape.
This limits its length and size although it can still turn into bushy sphere if you let it.
In general, the plant will grow to between 6 to 10 inches tall which makes it perfect for tabletops or hanging baskets.
That said, while it won’t grow very long, pruning is a good idea because if you let the Bonnie Spider Plant get very thick and dense it will look like a big ball of frizzy hair that has not been combed.
When this happens, not only does it look puffy, but also very messy. The tangled curls likewise make the beautiful stripes less obvious. Since the variegations are one of the plant’s best features, it’s a shame to let them go unnoticed.
Thus, I prefer pruning the plant every so often to keep it long but not overly thick or dense.
This lets you appreciate the individual curls along with their green and yellow-white stripes.
How to Propagate Curly Spider Plant
There are many ways to propagate the Curly Spider Plant. The two most common are through its plantlets and division.
Of the two plantlets are easier to propagate. But they take more time.
The reason I say that is healthy Curly Spider Plants will produce plantlets at their own time. You cannot tell when they do or won’t. So, this just happens naturally.
And when plantlets do grow, you’ll need to wait until they’ve grown a few leaves and some roots before you can sperate them and pot them up individually.
Eventually, these will grow into individual plants.
Thus, it does take a while. And, it is not completely in your power.
On the other hand, division is faster. And you get a semi-grown plant immediately.
You can likewise divide the current parent plant to several new plants. But there’s a limit to how many because the Bonnie Spider Plant is a fairly small plant.
With division, all you need to do is:
- Take the plant out of its pot
- Then separate the parent plant into 2 or 3 sections. You can go to 4 as well but you’ll have much smaller resulting plants, at least initially.
- Plant each of the separated sections into their own containers and care for them like you would the parent plant.
How to Repot or Transplant Curly Spider Plant
In general, you’ll need to repot your Curly Spider Plant once a year. Although, only use this as a guideline.
Instead, see what the plant is telling you.
Once the plant is pot bound, you can repot. There’s no reason to do so before that unless there is an emergency or you want to change the soil.
On the other hand, avoid letting the plant stay pot bound because it will eventually stress your Curly Spider Plant.
The plant has thick, fibrous roots which will need more space. So, once you see these roots coming out of the container, it is a sign that to repot.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Curly Spider Plant is not toxic to cats, dogs and humans. This makes it safe to keep around the house without risk of accidental ingestion and toxicity.
Bonnie Spider Plant Problems & Troubleshooting
Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids and scales are among the most common pests you may need to deal with. If there’s a lot of moisture or high humidity, fungus gnats may also come around.
While not a regular occurrence, pests can happen so you do need to regularly inspect the plant and keep it healthy.
Use insecticidal soap and neem oil to treat these bugs.
While not immune to disease, the Bonnie spider plant rarely gets diseases. Although, the most common on is root rot. This can come in many forms but they are all caused by one thing, overwatering.
Too much water prevents the roots from getting enough oxygen. This lack of oxygen is what ultimately leads to rotting roots.
Therefore, avoid letting the plant stand in water.