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. Curly Spider Plants Are Smaller
The first difference we’ll discuss is the size, which is also a key separator between curly spider plants and other varieties. The curly variant is smaller than many other types of spider plants.
I mentioned earlier that curly spider plants are popular among indoor gardeners. This is one of the major reasons why this is so.
A curly spider plant is compact, making it suitable for placement in many of the spots that would be inadequate for a larger variety.
It also helps that you can use smaller pots for curly spider plants. In addition, you won’t have to worry much about the smaller plant outgrowing its pot, which is typically something you have to keep in mind when growing plants in a pot.
A curly spider plant will grow to a height of 8 inches (20 cm). Compare this to the average spider plant, which can grow anywhere from 12 to 18 inches in height (30 to 46 cm). That’s over twice as tall!
Also, that’s just the height. We need to take into account the width. All in all, regular spider plants are much bulkier and taller than their curlier, smaller siblings.
Needless to say, you will likely face more difficulty placing the latter indoors. At the very least, your options will be more limited compared to if you’d gone with the curly spider plant.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t go for the regular spider plant, though. A single larger spider plant can make great use of a roomy, empty corner. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what goes where in your house.
Go with what you think looks best.
2. They Have Slightly Different Temperature Preferences
To be fair, curly spider plants and spider plants are more similar than different. This is why you’ll often find that the care for the two is nearly identical. This is made even more true by the fact that all spider plants, in general, are very hardy, so you can get away with suboptimal care without ever noticing.
If you like to take into account the minor details, here’s one that deserves some attention. Curly spider plants prefer slightly cooler temperatures than most other spider plants.
This difference isn’t stark, but it helps to know this. Curly spider plants do best under temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 °F (10 – 21.11 °C).
By comparison, the ideal temperature zone for regular spider plants is 70 to 90 °F (21.11 -32.22°C). According to some sources, temperatures below 65 °F (18.33 °C) can lead to a greatly reduced growth rate.
These temperature ranges can play a role in determining where you’d like to position your spider plant if you want it to grow up to be healthy and beautiful.
Even though sunlight requirements are the same across most spider plants (partial shade/indirect sun), proximity to direct sunlight slightly affects the passive temperature that the plant experiences during the day. This combined with its greater size makes the standard spider plant great for outdoor growing.
The curly spider plant, not so much. While the curly spider plant can be grown outdoors with some extra care and attention, I’d stick to keeping it indoors in a pot. That’s where it’s able to shine the most.
So, even among this very consistent and similar-looking category of plants, there are significant differences that warrant doing some research before finalizing your choice.
3. The Curly Variant Is Rarer
Among spider plants, the curly ones are rarer than the standard ones. This means that if you choose to get one, you may be in for a bit of a search.
Often, local nurseries and gardening centers will not have curly spider plants, so you’ll either have to continue your search – possibly take it online – or settle for the standard variety.
Curly spider plants’ rarity makes them even more prized by veteran home growers, so it’s the perfect plant for you if you have gardening buddies or are part of a gardening community.
4. Standard Spider Plants Are Cheaper
As you would imagine, the rarity of this plant has some negative consequences. Not only are curly spider plants difficult to find and obtain, but they’re also more expensive to purchase.
If you find a seller, you’ll likely have to cough up some extra cash.
This combined with the fact that curly spider plants are smaller than their more common counterparts, might make some gardeners feel like going for the standard spider plant instead.
Of course, a standard spider plant is a great option in and of itself. However, I wouldn’t let the price of a curly spider plant deter me from acquiring one.
The curly spider plant is still great value for the money. They remain relatively affordable despite the increased price tag, and I would say their unique look is well worth the dollars spent.
Curly spider plants appear untidy yet beautiful – a feature not many other plants share. They’re also very beginner friendly and are one of your best options when it comes to indoor growing.
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.
What about the plant, though? Will your time, money, and effort go to waste? Thankfully, probably not.
Spider plants are resilient. They can regrow even after taking a fair beating. And there’s plenty you can do to aid your precious plant on its path to recovery.
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. They Have Different Flower Colors
Yet another distinctive feature of curly spider plants is that they develop yellow flowers when they blossom. By contrast, regular spider plants produce white flowers during their blossoming period.
Both the white and yellow flowers look great. It all comes down to a matter of preference. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which color you prefer and whether or not it’s a difference that could influence your decision.
The only factor you might want to consider is the fact that curly spider plants are the only variety, out of the 200+ spider plant varieties, to produce yellow-colored flowers. This does make them stand out even further.
However, since the curly spider plant is so small, these flowers are rather tiny. Unfortunately, the flowers are quite short-lived. They look beautiful during the high point of the blossoming period but fade away shortly after on both the curly and standard spider plants.
Unlike many other flowering plants, spider plants are grown primarily for the beauty of the plant and not the flowers.
6. There Are Non-Variegated Curly Variants
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.
Curly spider plants are also usually variegated, but you can occasionally find some that are non-variegated or all green, basically.
There’s no benefit or drawback to having one or the other. It’s simply a matter of preference.
Some gardeners think non-variegated spider plants look unnatural. Others prefer the more simple, thematic look.
So basically, it’s up to you what to go for. There are non-variegated varieties that are ‘non-curly’ too, so if you’re interested in the monotone color scheme, it might be worth giving those a shot.
One thing I should mention here is that plants do not normally gain or lose variegation. What I mean by this is that a variegated spider plant (curly or otherwise) should not lose definition or color in its white stripe.
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.
Curly spider plants and regular spider plants are more similar than they are different, but they do vary in a few ways. Curly spider plants are smaller, more compact, and, as their name suggests, curly.
They prefer slightly cooler temperatures and are hence suitable for indoor growth. They’re also rarer and more expensive. Additionally, they grow yellow flowers. Curly spider plants may be variegated or, occasionally, non-variegated.
Standard spider plants are larger, do better in slightly warmer temperatures, and can conveniently be grown outdoors in partial shade. They have variegated leaves and develop white flowers when they blossom.