This clean green plant machine ensures that your lungs remain clean and fresh and asks very little in return. The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is one of the easiest plants to keep alive, so whether your fingers are purple, blue or yellow rather than green, you can do it! It likes a drink of water a couple of times a week but if you forget about it for a while, it will overlook the slight and carry on purifying without complaint. This makes the spider plant an ideal office companion.
According to NASA, the spider plant removes 95% of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrates from the air. Then, it starts on chemicals that are found in carpets, insulation, cleaning products and copier ink so if you’re looking for the purest air in the house, stand over your plant pot!
Colours and shapes
The spider plant’s spear-shaped leaves can reach a length of 45cm. The small, elegant white flowers grow on stalks from the heart of the plant, resembling lilies. The young plants grow on the stem, and can easily be removed and set up in a pot of their own. The spider plant’s roots are thick and fleshy and retain a lot of moisture, which means it can survive without fresh water for a while.
It may be a bit predictable, but this plant symbolises caring. Literally, by purifying the air and symbolically too, if given as a gift wrapped in a ribbon.
The spider plant was originally groundcover in the South African tropical rainforest, where you can find no fewer than 65 different species. It’s a member of the asparagus family, and is part of the same genus as the agave. It arrived in our living rooms in the 19th century.