The spider plant is a delightfully adaptable plant that is almost impossible to destroy. It’s the perfect choice for busy people, on-the-go families, or for those whose thumb is not even faintly green. These hardy, popular houseplants are an attractive and easy-care addition to your home, but there are a few tips that are necessary to help you maintain the spider plant’s beauty and productivity indefinitely.
Spider plants grow naturally in tropical and southern Africa but have become naturalized in many countries, including western Australia. Its leaves are often variegated--edged or patterned in a second color--with dark green leaves that sport either an ivory center or side stripe. Members of the lily family, spider plants are also known as airplane plants, St. Bernard's lily, spider ivy, and ribbon plant.
In the case of spider plants, less is more, so avoid overwatering. To ensure your spider plant remains healthy, use distilled or purified water to nourish it. Tap water usually contains minerals such as salt and fluoride, which are compounds unfamiliar to spider plants in their natural environment. The build-up of these compounds in your plant can destroy it. To avoid shocking the plant, use water that is kept at room temperature.
Spider plants are adaptable plants that can tolerate most conditions, but they thrive best in bright spots where they can be exposed to moderate, indirect sunlight. To avoid sunburn, you can rotate the pot if one side gets more sun than the other. Spider plants can grow in temperatures close to freezing, but they stay healthier when the temperature is between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, although the cooler spectrum is preferred and a humidifier in your plant's space is ideal.
Fertilize once or twice a month during summer and spring, the growing season for spider plants. For best results, use a liquid fertilizer and place the solution at the base of the plant according to the package directions. It’s best not to fertilize in the winter or if the plant has outgrown their pots.
Plastic containers are not only unattractive but they can also impede your plant’s growth with insufficient air circulation, encouraging your beautiful plant to rot. A porous pot with a drainage hole is a good choice. Line the bottom with peat moss, then fill the pot with lightweight, drainable soil like vermiculite. You can also repot your plant when it becomes too big. Pull out or cut the root ball into sections and replant each section in a drainable pot filled with fresh soil.
Those charming little plantlets that give the spider plant its name are easy to grow into larger plants. You can pluck off the baby plants and root them by placing them on a cotton ball or paper towel over a cup of filtered water until the roots sprout enough to be transferred into the soil. The best method for growing babies is to keep them attached to the mother plant. Simply place the plantlets into a pot of soil that’s close the original plant. Water generously and once the roots grow, snip from the mother plant. If you prefer, you can also cut off the baby, place in the soil, water, cover with a ventilated plastic bag and place it in a sunny spot. Once it is well-rooted, remove the bag and grow as usual.
Spider plant leaves often brown at the ends, so there’s no need to worry. This browning may be the result of exposure to fluoride or salt build-up in the soil if you’ve used tap water, so you might want to consider collecting rainwater to keep the plants moist. Remove the brown leaf tips with scissors, cutting at an angle to retain the leaves shape which allows the plant to direct energy to healthy growth. The cut edge heals itself and becomes invisible. Do not trim the leaves in the winter, as your spider plant needs all the chlorophyll it can muster to survive in those months.
Spider mite infestations are common to houseplants, including spider plants. These mites live in dense colonies held by tiny webbing on the underside of leaves, sucking sap. If you discover spider mites on your plant, isolate it to protect your other plants and always wash your hands after handling to prevent spreading. You can treat spider mite infestation by mixing three tablespoons of mild liquid dish soap in one gallon of water and spraying it to your spider plant. Be sure to test it first by spraying a small, inconspicuous spot. Wait a couple of days, and if no damage is detected, thoroughly spray the entire plant. After two or three hours, wipe the solution from the leafs' tops. Repeat the treatment every four to seven days.
Spider plants are a natural air purifier, often thought to ease symptoms of the common cold. These amazing plants help homes get rid of air toxins such as formaldehyde and xylene. Formaldehyde is normally found in household items such as cosmetics, mattress ticking, cigarettes, nail polish and remover, and baby care products. Xylene is present in manufactured wood furniture, aerosol paint, epoxy adhesives, and automobile polish and cleaners. Spider plants are able to reduce the impact of these harmful substances.
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