How to Grow Spider Plants
Spider plants are one of the easiest houseplants to grow. They require very little care while rewarding you with new plants that can be shared with family and friends.
Spider plants are tropical plants from South Africa that have become naturalized in tropical areas all over the world. Hardy in zones 9 through 11, they are often used as ground cover or edging in tropical and sub-tropical landscapes. Their only drawback is that they can become invasive in these situations.
Indoors, they make spectacular hanging plants that can reach 3’ in length. They produce small white flowers year-round. They come in two varieties. One with solid green leaves and the other with variegated green and white leaves, both of which have leaves that are 10- to 16-inches in length. There is also a dwarf spider plant that has green leaves with a central yellow stripe that are only 4- to 6-inches long.
Spider plants should be grown in well-drained soil, fertilized during the summer and watered only when the soil becomes dry. Over-watering results in root rot. Spider plants are sensitive to fluoride. If the tips of the leaves turn brown, switch to distilled water. Brown leaf tips can also indicate that you are over-fertilizing your plants. The best way to avoid that is to use pellets or time release fertilizer at the beginning of the summer. Do not fertilize your plants during the winter when they are not actively growing. Repot your plants when the fleshy roots start showing above the soil. Wait at least 4 to 6 months before fertilizing your repotted plants.
Spider plants like bright indirect light but not direct sunlight which will scorch their leaves. They can survive in semi-shade but will not grow as well. They prefer cooler temperatures. Daytimes, 65°F to 75°F and at night, 50°F to 55°F. They are sensitive to very cold temperatures, so it is a good idea to move them away windows during the winter.
Propagation is simple. The plants do all the work for you by producing plantlets on long stems. When they start to develop roots, it’s time to plant them in their own pots and either add to your collection or share with family and friends. It will take two years for the new plants to mature and start making plantlets of their own, so be patient.
Spider plants are great for beginners. They are not fussy, growing in almost any conditions.
© 2014 Caren White
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