Houseplants forum: Still trying to solve my Spider Plant problem

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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

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JB
Apr 22, 2015 2:48 PM CST
This is my second attempt to type, finish and send this post. For some reason I get to a point and the box I am writing in begins to move up and I get nothing but blank space and can not get back my post. I have to give up and start over. So. here I am again.
I posted about this problem before and I do not mean to become a pest, but I have tried every person, place and book that I could find and the problem still exists and I have not been able to identify it so I can treat it.

I was told it could be the humidity in the house. The same plants are in the greenhouse and none of them have this problem.
The water in the greenhouse is the same as in the house. The soil is the same I use in the greenhouse plants. I have tried to eliminate everything one at a time to see if it would help and the misting and additional watering did not help, nor did moving them to different locations. I have not taken them to the greenhouse because of the sudden changes in the weather that have continued into Spring and I am still having a time keeping consistant temperatures in the greenhouse. So far the plants that are there have no problems.

The pictures will show you the latest. The new growth stems grow a few inches and they do not open and turn brown. Mostly from the tip down to the bottom. If you look on the pictures carefully, you will see the tips of the new growth are turning brown. I do hope you can see it.

Thumb of 2015-04-22/JB/70a469


Thumb of 2015-04-22/JB/a1e8e9

Please ask anyone you know that grows spiders and pass on the info or pictures if they feel they may be able to help. I am at my wits end and I am so afraid I am going to loose all these plants if I do not soon find what is happening to them. I even considered possibly getting a bad bag of soil, but some of the plants in the greenhouse were planted with the soil from the same bag and they are fine. Any help you can give me will be appreciated. Thanks again and forgive me for being so pesty with this problem.
Name: Deborah Pryor
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Deebie
Apr 22, 2015 8:24 PM CST
JB, I don't know what to tell you. Except that I've had similar problems with mine during the winter and I'm still learning about growing these plants. I did note that this time, aside from the humidity issues, my soil mix stayed too moist. It was fine when the plants were outdoors during the summer, but the plants suffered in the winter when I brought them in. I don't think that they like to be watered much during the winter. They do have succulent roots, after all. Also, they don't appear to like cold drafts and detest fluoridated water, which I know that you don't use. But, speaking of, does your mix have a lot of perlite in it? Doesn't that have quite a bit of fluoride in it? Usually, they bounce back during the warmer months. I wonder if they go through a dormant period. Any thoughts?
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 23, 2015 11:00 AM CST
Yes, the giant, carrot-like roots can store moisture for times of drought.

Are there some lime deposits at the surface? The soil looks soggy, dense. Plants look chlorotic. That can come from nutrient imbalance, or inability to process a nutrient because of too high or low PH. Lime in the water can raise PH, especially if bottom watering, or using drip saucers so excess water is unable to flow away.

Also suspect the roots have reached the bottom & started mushing into each other (and more exposed to swings of temp, moisture.) Had spider plants around for about 30 yrs. When they need to be repotted for whatever reason, the foliage can decline quickly.

If you have ground space, I'd put both in the ground for a summer vacation. I think you'll be shocked how great they can look, & so easy to dig up & put back in pot for winter, to go into the hard time of year in the most perky possible condition. If not, repotting would be the next-best thing. Remove all of the old soil, replace with new, a chunky/porous/airy mix that dries quickly.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 23, 2015 12:26 PM CST
My old observation/suggestion still stays the same. Since it still persists, you may have to consider repotting them to a new media to help the affected plants. Or if you do not want to repot now, just wait a bit more since Spring is here, in time the nicer, warmer temps which it loves. Hopefully it bounces back.
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

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JB
Apr 23, 2015 4:50 PM CST
I moved them all to the greenhouse and I agree 100% that I need to repot them all. It would not be advisable to plant them outside since I have no real garden to do that in and it would have to be in box containers, which usually have flowering plants in them in the Spring and Summer. So, I am going to go with your suggestions and my gut. If that does not work, I will give up so help me. This is so frustrating since I love these plants and try so hard to keep them happy. Thanks so much for responding again.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 24, 2015 7:16 AM CST
I think it should give you great results. My spider plants always looked better after (recovering from) repotting. Best vibes!!
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

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JB
Apr 26, 2015 2:32 PM CST
In the process of repotting all the sick plants. No sign of disease or any soil problems. Not even that wet. The roots are funny looking to me. There seems to be many more hairy roots than the tubes....not sure if it is my imagination or what? Any thoughts what healthy roots would look like?
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 26, 2015 6:06 PM CST
This is about as big as they get in a shallow pot:


I was repotting because that plant started looking poorly, brown tips, so I knew the pot was too crammed with roots from repotting them so many times.


I'll have to put one in the ground again to dig it up & take a pic of its' roots. They get so much bigger in the ground, like white carrots, and go down about a foot.
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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JB
Apr 27, 2015 8:24 AM CST
I bought most of these from a dealer and they were just new babies. I think I may have put them into a container that was too big for them before they were ready. None were pot bound and I have never seen roots like this on a spider and I have seen a lot of spiders.
Those pictures show what most of mine looked like prior to this problem. These roots are like hair, very fine and so many. Not anything like I ever remember seeing before. I removed many of them. We do that on our baby trees that get shipped in to plant. We cut the hair roots off so the others have more strength to grow. I will give them another month then I think they are all going to plant heaven. I am not messing with something like this. My babies I grow get pot bound in no time and have nice tubes. Maybe the babies were not healthy to begin with but I will take the blame because somehow I screwed up. I just wish I knew how I managed to mess up all of them. I did notice that the rare species are the ones that are the worst. Naturally. Isn't that the way it always is. Shrug!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 27, 2015 8:46 AM CST
That does sound odd but if they are other species, the comparisons to C. comosum may not be valid anyway. If they have different unknown preferences, that could lead to confusion & disappointment. I've never had any other Chlorophytums to compare, except a NOID variegated one a couple decades ago for what seems like a short time, maybe a couple yrs. The fact that it doesn't survive but the plain one does might be a similar anecdote but I don't remember any more details by now, like whether or not I repotted it.

...and with any rare plant, if it's because it's fussy &/or requires specific conditions, it's going to be a bumpy ride for most. I wouldn't take it personally at all! Easy to grow plants are not rare, because they are easy.

Keep us posted & good vibes!
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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JB
Apr 27, 2015 9:37 AM CST
purpleinopp said:That does sound odd but if they are other species, the comparisons to C. comosum may not be valid anyway. If they have different unknown preferences, that could lead to confusion & disappointment. I've never had any other Chlorophytums to compare, except a NOID variegated one a couple decades ago for what seems like a short time, maybe a couple yrs. The fact that it doesn't survive but the plain one does might be a similar anecdote but I don't remember any more details by now, like whether or not I repotted it.

...and with any rare plant, if it's because it's fussy &/or requires specific conditions, it's going to be a bumpy ride for most. I wouldn't take it personally at all! Easy to grow plants are not rare, because they are easy.

Keep us posted & good vibes!


Sorry, I did not mean "species" I mean "varieties" of this species which is the C.comosum. In the spider world, they use the word "varieties" more than cultivars. Makes me crazy and I am not good at "terms" when i am in a hurry. Some of these were transported from Europe so he says. It is just like they used to call Vitattum (variegated) and the Variegtum (reverse variegated)...I am speaking of the terms we used on eBay and Etsy and places I sold online. Now of course they all got smart and decided to use the new terms. To me a spider is a spider. They are all variegations of the same darn green and white plant and when I look at these I am trying to save I wonder if I should see a shrink.....the only difference is the width and length of some of the leaves. Why am I knocking myself out? Most people could care less and no doubt would not buy them unless they collect spiders and I find very few people who really do. Oh well, I must take some packages of plants to the post office and then go to town for supplies. Thanks for talking to me and I will hopefully TALK TO YOU LATER.WITH GOOD NEWS.
Name: Gita Veskimets
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gitagal
Apr 27, 2015 9:52 AM CST
JB--
Just wanted to let you know I have been reading all the above -but have nothing
to offer re your Spider problems.

I don't have any "babies" to offer you at this time either.
Once the the plants go outside--she will produce more. Then I will send you some.

Gita
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 27, 2015 10:02 AM CST
These are the roots of my Spider plants when I uprooted them last 2012 and gave them away. Super fatso roots. Smiling
Thumb of 2015-04-27/tarev/a9f4ad

Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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JB
Apr 27, 2015 11:19 AM CST
Hi Gita, good to hear from you. Your babies are doing fine and I have plenty to last me over the summer. When you have some let me know and I will make room for them. I have some beautiful plants just now and of course they are all in the greenhouse. Not a brown spot on them. Rolling on the floor laughing

Tarev, that is the way they should look. Beautiful roots. That is why I am sure something is wrong with the roots on these particular plants.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 27, 2015 12:19 PM CST
Jacquie, on your plant list here, some of them are other species. IDK if those are the ones causing this angst, but I can see that you really *do* like them a lot!
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

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JB
Apr 27, 2015 12:35 PM CST
When I have time and I get them all redone I will check. I was sure I only got C. Comosum from the man who got some from Europe. I don't have that many others because I was unable to find the ones I wanted. I do not trust buying just anyplace and I will not ship in from Europe.

State inspector was just here for my yearly inspection of my greenhouse for my nursery certification and he said he thinks it was the lack of sun in the house this winter, especially since both the plants in my daughters house and my house had it happen to the spiders. Passed the inspection. I hate when they just show up. The GH was a mess and of course he took his little mag. glass and checked under and over the plants and he found mealy on one plant. !@@#$%^ It was one that is not ever sold...it goes outside each year and usually has some sort of bug on it but this year it was clean until two days ago and there they were. I had sprayed and they were dead so he passed me. Thumbs up
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ShadyGreenThumb
Apr 28, 2015 10:14 AM CST
Are you spiders in full sun in the greenhouse? Sometimes that sun is magnified often burning newly emerged leaves. Just a thought. I have a bed full of reverse color spiders (bordered in white/yellow) and non-variegated spiders that I would be happy to share with you.
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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JB
Apr 28, 2015 12:35 PM CST
No, the shade cloth is on the greenhouse all year round because the direct sun does more damage than good at times. Thank you so much for your offer, but I have all I need just now and need to see why I am killing them before I get new ones. I promise I will remember your offer when I get things under control. Lovey dubby
Indianapolis (Zone 5b)
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Shade
May 30, 2015 2:39 PM CST
Your spider plant doesn't look bad at all. Do you fertilize your spider plants? This could be the problem. Sometimes if you fertilize too often salts will form in the soil turning the tips and edges of the plant brown. If you fertilize discontinue for a month or two, water the plant thoroughly during this time until the water runs out the bottom. This will flush the salts out of the soil if there are any present. Another thing to consider is...are you watering with softened water? This too can cause salt build up in the soil. You can also try adding some epsom salt to your watering regimen. This will provide the extra magnesium to the soil that plants need to form chlorophyll. And just in case you ask..epsom salts are not a salt that is detrimental to plants. I have grown spider plants for years and have never had a spider plant that didn't get brown tips on the leaves at some point. You can also try transplanting them into a different pot with new soil. Sometimes hard water deposits/salts build up inside a pot that can cause leaf browning. Are they getting enough sun? I always use to put mine outside in the summer. They need some pretty strong sunlight to stay healthy.
[Last edited by Shade - May 30, 2015 2:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jun 2, 2015 10:06 AM CST
Thank you for your post, @Shade, I think you hit the nail on the head. Back several months ago, in the winter, I got bored and decided to fertilize all the houseplants and the spiders were in the house at that time. I thought since I use the same fertilizer in the house as I do in the greenhouse, there would be no problem. Not long after I did that is when this all began to happen. I am not sure what I did differently other than the mixture may have been different since the GH fertilizer is liquid and comes already mixed and the house I mixed...may have made it too strong for the spiders. I learned one thing. Don't do that again.

I would love to hear about your spiders....what kind do you have? I am trying to get some different ones and those are the ones that need more sun, more humidity and more attention than the others. The old standbys, vitattum, variegated, Bonnie, Hawaiian and Shamrock and plain green are so easy to grow, but my new ones are giving me some additional grey hairs.
I have not used Epsom salts on them but that is a great idea. I used to use that on some of my other Houseplants years ago, but got lazy and no longer do it. I may just try it again if the severe browning does not go away. I do think they are improving becasue it was unusual, not the normal tip browning, it was browing from the stalk out and the stems were not opening, just partially and turning brown.
Thanks again for your comments. I will cetainly keep an eye on them now.

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