How to Care for a Spider Plant

Easy to grow and a delight to have in the house, a spider plant do well for any gardener. There are two main types of the plant, the plain green and the variegated. A variegated spider plant will have a white stripe running down the center of the leaves. Here are the basics to know when caring for one of these delightful plants.

Lighting

For both types of spider plants, medium to high light is needed, though the variegated require a bit more. They don't require direct sunlight to be happy. They are happier out of direct sun, especially in the afternoon, since it can scorch their leaves. If the plant is around 5-8 feet within a window it will be very happy with the sunlight it receives.

Watering

Keep in mind that chemicals in normal tap water can turn their leaves brown around the tips and edges. If this occurs, distilled water is an excellent alternative. No matter the type, let the soil become dry to the touch between waterings. Their roots hold water very well and keeping the soil moist could lead to root rot. A sign of possible over-watering is black tips on the leaves or a bleached look.

The Spider Plant grows full and lush if well cared for.
The Spider Plant grows full and lush if well cared for.

Fertilizer

Water-soluble or liquid fertilizer works best because it absorbs easily into the plant. If the plant is producing "plantlets" or baby spider plants, use the fertilizer more frequently. Generally, every two weeks during the growing season is fine. A spider plant's typical growing season is spring and summer.

Soil

For the soil, a mixture with peat and soil works well. Some growers recommend adding loam to the soil for added stability. A plant will need replanted when its roots have forced the soil up near the edge of the planter, making it hard to water.

Propagating

When healthy, a spider plant reproduces many little "plantlets". These take nutrients away from the main plant. This is not normally a cause for concern but the "plantlets" will need to be trimmed back or placed in their own planters to take the strain off the main plant.

If space is not an issue, the recommended way is to have several smaller planters around the main plant. Make sure the soil is ready for a plant, as though another main plant was going there. Secure the "plantlet" above the soil in the planter that will become its home and keep it there for 6 weeks. During this time, do not cut the "plantlet" away from the main plant. After that time, it will have an established root base of its own and can be cut away and planted.

With limited space, an easy way is to let the "plantlet" remain on the main plant until roots begin to grow. When the "plantlet" has its own roots, cut it free from the main plant and place it in a jar of water. After the roots grow larger, it can be transferred to a regular planter and treated like a normal plant.

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