Curly Spider Plant vs. Spider Plant: 6 Differences

Did you know that there are over 200 varieties of spider plants? That’s right, this seemingly simple plant has more to it than meets the eye! One of the more popular varieties among indoor gardeners is the curly spider plant, but what makes it so special?

Curly spider plants are smaller than most spider plants and typically prefer slightly cooler temperatures. In addition, they’re rarer and hence a bit more expensive. They also produce yellow flowers instead of white ones and sometimes come in non-variegated forms.

The curly spider plant’s uniqueness causes it to be highly sought after by gardeners. If you want to learn more about how it differs from its siblings, read on. 

1. Size Matters

First and foremost, size plays a pivotal role in distinguishing the curly spider plant from other variants. Curly spider plants, scientifically known as Chlorophytum comosum ‘Bonnie,’ are favored by indoor gardeners precisely for their diminutive stature.

Unlike their larger counterparts, these compact plants reach a modest height of 8 inches (20 cm), making them ideal for spaces where larger species might struggle to fit. Notably, their reduced size allows for the use of smaller pots, sparing you the concern of overgrowth – a common issue with larger spider plants.

In contrast, standard spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) can tower anywhere from 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm) in height, proving bulkier and taller. This disparity implies that the smaller and curlier variant, the curly spider plant, offers more versatility when it comes to indoor placement.

2. Temperature Preferences

While the care of curly spider plants and standard spider plants is generally similar due to their overall hardiness, there is a subtle difference that’s worth noting. Curly spider plants thrive in slightly cooler temperatures, typically ranging from 50 to 70 °F (10 – 21.11 °C). In contrast, standard spider plants prefer a warmer environment within the range of 70 to 90 °F (21.11 – 32.22°C). Such differences in temperature preferences can impact where you choose to position these plants for optimal growth.

The larger size of standard spider plants, combined with their higher temperature tolerance, makes them well-suited for outdoor cultivation, provided they receive partial shade or indirect sunlight. In contrast, the curly spider plant is better suited for indoor environments where it truly shines.

3. Rarity Adds Value

Curly spider plants are a rarity among spider plant varieties, adding to their appeal. Their scarcity means that obtaining one might require some effort and persistence. Local nurseries and gardening centers often don’t stock curly spider plants, prompting you to explore online sources or settle for the more common standard variety.

This rarity factor contributes to their allure, making them a prized possession among experienced home gardeners and a potential conversation starter within gardening communities.

4. Price Considerations

The uniqueness of curly spider plants does come at a cost – they tend to be more expensive than their standard counterparts. This higher price tag, coupled with their smaller size, might lead some gardeners to opt for the standard spider plant.

However, it’s essential to recognize that the value you receive for the extra dollars spent on a curly spider plant is well worth it. Their distinctive appearance, beginner-friendly nature, and suitability for indoor cultivation make them a valuable addition to your plant collection.

Additionally, both curly and standard spider plants are non-toxic, making them safe for homes with pets or children. Their resilience ensures they can bounce back even after a bit of accidental nibbling.

Here’s an interesting fact: Curly spider plants (all spider plants, in fact) are non-toxic and, hence, safe to grow indoors if you have pets or children. If your cat happens to snack on the spider plant, she will be fine. 

If you want to find out more, here’s an article that explores this topic further: Will a Spider Plant Grow Back if a Cat Eats It?

5. Divergent Blooms

Another unique characteristic of curly spider plants lies in their blossoms. When these plants flower, they produce striking yellow blooms, setting them apart from the standard spider plants that boast white flowers during their blooming phase. The choice between yellow and white blooms ultimately comes down to personal preference, as both colors have their own appeal.

It’s worth noting that while curly spider plants’ yellow flowers stand out among the 200+ spider plant varieties, these blossoms are relatively small and short-lived. However, it’s important to remember that spider plants are primarily grown for their attractive foliage rather than their flowers.

6. Variegation Variations

Variegation, defined by the presence of a white stripe down the center of each leaf, is a hallmark of spider plants.

While curly spider plants are typically variegated, it’s possible to find non-variegated or all-green variants among them.

The standard spider plant is variegated. See that white stripe running down the center of each leaf? The presence of that stripe results in the variegation we see in spider plants. 

The choice between variegated and non-variegated varieties is a matter of personal preference, with some gardeners favoring the natural look of non-variegated spider plants and others appreciating the distinctive variegation.

It is important to note that plants do not typically experience changes in their variegation. In other words, a variegated spider plant, whether it is curly or not, should not lose its white stripe’s color or definition over time.

If it does, that may signal a severe nutrient imbalance in the soil. Here’s what to do if you find that your spider plant is losing its variegation.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while curly spider plants and standard spider plants share many similarities, these six key differences make each variant unique. The curly spider plant’s compact size, cooler temperature preference, rarity, and distinctive yellow flowers set it apart from its standard sibling.

Additionally, the option for variegated or non-variegated foliage offers further flexibility in choosing the perfect plant for your indoor or outdoor space. Ultimately, the decision between these spider plant varieties should align with your personal preferences and the specific needs of your gardening space.

Dr. Moritz Picot

Dr. Moritz Picot is a horticulture enthusiast and the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com, where he serves as the lead content writer. He established the website in 2022 as a valuable resource for both gardening aficionados and beginners, compiling all the gardening tips he has accumulated over the past 25 years. Alex has a passion for nurturing plants, transforming backyards into inviting spaces, and sharing his knowledge with the world.

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