Plant of the Month – Chlorophytum Amaniense ‘Fire Flash’ (aka Orange Spider Plant)
Halloween being my favorite holiday and just around the corner, I felt it my duty to find a plant that I not only love, but could also match this spooky time of the year. What better plant than, an Orange Spider Plant. This exotic beauty is relatively new to the interior plant world coming into the US in the late 90’s, but not really seen mainstream (yet). It’s unfortunate because other than it having a spooky name, Chlorophytum ‘Fire Flash’ (aka Orange Spider Plant) is really a wonderful and hardy little gem.
Chlorophtum ‘Fire Flash’ was love at first sight for me. In fabulous contrast with a rosette of broad green foliage is stunning orangey (coral) hues of the petioles and leaf midribs, that appear to be glowing centrally beneath, hence the name ‘Fire Flash’. These colors remain all year round and ‘Fire Flash’ does great indoors as long as it has medium-bright indirect light. Only growing up to 12 inches I’ve mostly seen ‘Fire Flash’ available in 4” and 6” containers but becoming increasingly more available. Although, I’d recommend that when you spot these little plants on the shelves, you should grab them up quick because they will not sit around for long.
Once you have a Chlorophytum ‘Fire Flash’ in your possession, keep the soil moist without over watering it. ‘Fire Flash’ is the distant cousin of the well-known Chlorophytum Comosum ‘Spider Plant’ and although you can’t see much of a resemblance from the surface, they both have a drought tolerant root structure with swollen water-storing nodules. ‘Fire Flash’ seems to resist most insects and diseases, but can be susceptible to browning foliage or spots caused by fluoridated water. To avoid this, use rain or bottled water from time to time to flush the soil. Occasionally you will spot small unattractive white flowers emerging from the center of the plant. It’s best to remove this so that the plants energy remains in the leaves and not in seed production.
Some other names you may find this plant listed as: Chlorophytum orchidastrum, Chlorophytum amaniense, Chlorophytum amaniense ‘Fire Flash’, Chlorophytum orchidantheroides, Chlorophytum filipendulum amaniense or simply Chlorophytum ‘Fire Flash’. Then there is the list of common names: Fire Flash, Mandarin Plant, Green Orange, Tangerine, Fire Glory and Sierra Leone Lily. There may even be more for all I know, but giving plants multiple names seems to be what horticulturists do for fun just to confuse the public. It drives me crazy!
Now go get yourself an Orange Spider Plant, stick it in a black pot, buy a plastic black widow spider to place on a leaf and TA-DA! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!