The Chlorophytum orchidastrum is closely related to the Chlorophytum comosum, which is more commonly known as the Spider Plant. It takes its name from the Greek words ‘chloros’ and ‘phuton’, which mean ‘green’ and ‘plant’ respectively.
It has wide, glossy evergreen leaves and its long stems produce small creamy white flowers. It can grow between 10-60cm tall, with the flower stems extending up to 120cm long. The bases of the stems are normally a vivid orange colour.
The Chlorophytum orchidastrum is native to the subtropical regions of Africa, principally Sierra Leone and also Asia. The first Chlorophytum variety was introduced into the UK in 1788.
This plant, which blooms from June to August and should be planted at the start of spring, is a relative newcomer to the market. Although some garden centres will stock it under the Chlorophytum orchidastrum name, it may also be referred to as simply Chlorophytum ‘Fire Flash’.
As a member of the lily family (liliaceae) the Chlorophytum orchidastrum variety is very popular and its appearance will be familiar to many people. There are several main types of the Chlorophytum species including Vittatum, which is a slow grower, Variegatum, the dwarf variety Mandaianum and the commonly known Chlorophytum comosum.
The Chlorophytum orchidastrum is a tender plant and does not tolerate cold temperatures very well. If planting outside it will need to be well protected from any cold spells, otherwise it is likely to perish. Also be aware that many insects are attracted to spider plants and treatment may be required to keep the plant healthy.
If grown indoors the plant will enjoy room temperatures of around 65-75 degrees and out of direct sunlight (preferring shaded areas if at all possible). Water sparingly once a week and feed every two weeks during the growing season. Do not let the soil completely dry out or allow the plant to stand in water, as this will have an adverse impact on the health of your plant.
Did You Know?
The plant’s nickname of ‘Fire Flash’ is due to its bright orange coloured stems.