The Q&A Archives: Spider Plant

Question: I have a spider plant that I am growing in my skylight. I realize they do not like direct sunlight but it seems to be doing well there. The sun hits it around 12:30 or so. Should I keep it there? There are lots of babies on it now, but there wasn't for a long time. Why is that? While reading about the spider plant it says not to pot the babies in winter. Does this apply to the houseplant as well? The edges of the leaves turn brown too. I water and mist the plant a lot, even though it is winter, but it seems to be doing better that way. When I don't it kind of wilts. Is that okay? Anything you could tell me would be a great help

Answer: Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are fairly adaptable when it comes to light. They do prefer bright light and you may find that it is too bright there in the summer but fine in the winter when the days are shorter and the sun is less intense. The plants make "babies" when they are happy (and have enough light).

They also do this when they are reaching a state called pot bound. This also causes them to need watering more often. Wilting is a sign of water stress and it is better to water the plant before it actually wilts. The best way to water a potbound plant (and most established spider plants because their thick root seem to fill a pot very quickly) is to sink the entire pot in a large container of water and let it soak until fully wet through, then set the plant in a spot to drain before hanging it back up. When it becomes difficult to keep the plant watered, you could repot it.
While humidity is important and misting is fun, it is more effective to run a humidifier or to group plants together in an effort to increase humidity indoors during the winter heating season and be sure to keep it well watered. You might trim off the tips with a pair of scissor; if you cut at an angle it is less obvious.

Finally, spring and summer are probably the best times to pot up the plantlets or pups or babies, mainly because they will grow faster in the better light of the season and these are goof times to repot the mother plant, too. Enjoy your spider plant!

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