Hey Guys! So excited that it’s almost the weekend, my girlfriends (aka the She’Vaughns) and I have a whole 48 hours away from life, where we plan on mad chilling and drankin’ large amounts of champagne. It will be amazing.
I’ve got another indoor house plant for you today, the spider plant (aka the airplane plant). This one is a good one for all you “brown thumbs” out there as it’s very forgiving, and is a good introduction to rearing plant babies (aka propagation). If my memory serves me correctly, the spider plant and the heart shaped philodendron popped my plant cherry, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The spider plant is highly adaptable to lots of different conditions (aka it’s hard to kill) which is what makes it a perfect beginner plant.
They are called spider plants because they look like huge green variegated spiders, and they even make spider-like baby plants called spiderettes that hang down from long thread-like stems. The spiderettes can be easily propegated to make new spider plants, and will make you feel like a horticultural wizard. Just like a lot of plants do, you will notice that the spider plant flowers, and produces a lot of these spiderettes in the spring. Once the spiderette is a decent size, place it in well drained soil while keeping it attached to the mother plant. After a few weeks, the spiderette begins to take root, then you can trim it from the mother and blamo, you have a new plant!
Like I said, these plants can put up with a lot of different conditions, but they prefer bright indirect light. Plant them in well drained soil and water them heftily but do not allow the soil to become soggy or their roots may begin to rot. They can even handle drying out between waterings just in case you forget.
Browning leaves is common in spider plants. If your plant begins to brown it usually is because of the fluoride found in tap water which can cause build up in the soil. Trim off the brown and try watering with distilled water or rain water for a few waterings to flush out salts.
Prefer bright indirect sunlight
Water the plant regularly making sure that the plant is well watered but not soggy. The plant can tolerate drying out between waterings.
These plants look great in hanging baskets and guess what? I’ve got a cool DIY hanging planter to share with you guys next week, I bet a spider plant would like pretty tyte in it…
Pink planter shown above can be found over here!
Not related to this post, but I just got off the phone with Todd from Baird Brothers finalizing my order for an oak butcher block counter top! Cut to size, 2 edges & a corner eased, and under $150 delivered to my door in Edina – sweet! Thanks for the recommendation – cheaper than IKEA and the only cut I will have to make will be for the under-mount sink (and I plan to have my wood-working uncle step in for that).
Hey, that is so awesome! I’ve been really pleased with everything that I’ve received from them, and I’m glad to hear they worked out for you too! Good luck on your kitchen!
I always have around 25-30 thriving healthy plants in my home, but I can not keep a spider plant happy! I do everything you recommended, BUT we do have a lot of fluoride in our water. I love love these plants, so I will try again with one, and I will follow your suggestion and use our purified water for it. Thanks for that tip!
Hey Kristi, I bet that is the problem. I actually didn’t realize that the fluoride cause browning until I started the research for the post, I always figured it was due to in adequate light. I think you should try it and see if it works.
You can also detach a spiderette (never knew that’s what they’re called!), root it in water, and plant it. I may or may not have done this with a cool curly version that was a prop in a furniture shop. I’m definitely not the weird lady who walks around with pilfered baby plants in her purse.
Moving on…I’m not sure about the fluoride causing browning. We don’t have fluoride in our water (because people here love cavities–don’t get me started), but I still get browned leaves. I always thought it just meant I had let the plant dry out too much. So I just googled it, and came across this article, which says that tip burn probably isn’t caused by fluoride, but is more likely a result of other problems, like dry air, cold, or too much fertilizer. http://www.schundler.com/tipburn.htm So I guess maybe it’s not so simple.
Ha, Yes I am also not that lady ;)
I have only heard of the browning due to flouride when I was researching for this post, it made sense to me, because there are times with this plant that I can see salt crystals forming on the top of the soil (never knew what it was before). However, I’m sure browning can be caused by more than one thing with any plant. My spider plant was browning after I brought it home last year, it was in a lower light area and above a radiator so I moved it to the sunnier, south facing porch where it has been thriving ever since. To your point, I never did anything to the water.
Thanks for the comment!
Yesterday I just happened to get a newsletter from my local plant shop with a link to a blog post about why plants get tip browning, and I thought of this post. It says, “You might also notice a crusty layer of fertilizer build-up on the surface of the soil,” so the crystals could have been fertilizer. It also said about watering, “Plants with long, strappy leaves, like dracena, spider plants and calathea are often affected, because water has to make the long trip to keep the cells at the leaf tips well hydrated.” If you want to read more, here’s the post: http://pistilsnursery.com/5-reasons-houseplants-leaves-turning-brown/
Thanks for the link Rachel, I’ll make sure to check it out – the fertilizer thing makes sense too :)