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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Jan 21, 2014 11:55 AM CST
I received this question from one of our new members. Anyone want to jump in with suggestions? I'm thinking the plant probably needs more light, but I'm not an expert on spiders, even though I have a few.

brookbenge said:yes i do why is my plant not standing up or growing big someone give it to me like 2 years ago should it be big by now is my pot to small and have brown tips at the ends help me plzzzzzzzzz here r some pics thanks
Thumb of 2014-01-21/brookbenge/2cd978


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Also, she told me that it was originally in a larger pot, but she moved into this smaller one, hoping that would encourage it to grow.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 21, 2014 3:16 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, @brookbenge

>> is my pot to small

1.
After two years in a small pot, I would expect the roots to have filled the container mix densely enough that you could carefully turn the pot over while straddling the plant between your fingers (supporting the soil with your fingers and palm).

Then jiggle or twist and lift the pot off the root ball, enough to see how root bound the plant is.

If roots have FILLED the soilless mix and are circling the pot, it might be time for a bigger pot.

2.
HOWEVER, if the roots have NOT filled the pot all the way down to the bottom, ask yourself if the mix is aerated well enough. If it gets soggy and the bottom inch or two STAY soggy, there might be too little air in the bottom of the pot for the roots to "breath (they do need oxygen).

You might need to knock off as much soilless mix as practical and re-pot with a more "open", gritty mix so that water can drain out enough to let air into the spaces left behind. Then air can diffuse through the open spaces.

If you re-pot, should it be a bigger pot? I don't know.

3.
I wonder if the brown tips might be caused by dry warm air? I see that the plant is located right above a baseboard heater. I wouldn't urge you to move it away from the window (what plant doesn't need light?)

Some people set plants on big saucers full of pebbles or gravel, and flood the saucer to give the foliage more humidity. I would be cautious about setting any plant pot right IN a puddle of water. I think that roots need air more than leaves need humidity! But listen to people with house-plant experience, not to me!

If I wanted to give a plant more humidity, I might set it on a big shallow saucer with a cotton flannel pad, or felt pad, and water it very slightly, twice per day. That way the pot would not be immersed in standing water, but the pad would always be moist.

Or, IF dry air is the problem, you could spray or mist the leaves several times per day.

4.
Do you give it soluble fertilizer? Too much might cause brown tips. I would expect too little fertilizer to cause light green or yellow leaves, but I don't know spider plants.

I'm mostly speculating here - I hope you get more experienced answers!
Name: Brook Beatle
New Castle, Indiana
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brookbenge
Jan 21, 2014 3:34 PM CST
well i dont fertilize it i have never im going to buy food for it soon i hope when i re pot it a week ago it did noy have much roots so i think puting it in a smeller pot for now will help it to root more i water it ones a month
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 21, 2014 6:44 PM CST
Welcome to ATP Brook! Welcome!

Hmm, not many roots a week ago? That seems like an important symptom. i hope fertilizer helps! Just go easy with it. It is always safer to under-fertilize. You proved that if it has had no fertilizer for two whole years! Over-fertilizing can kill almost overnight. Just follow the directions for house plants.

Only watering it once a month doesn't SOUND like it should be waterlogged soil, unless the pot sits in a puddle of water and suck it up as the month goes by.

And the potting mix LOOKS pretty coarse, which should drain well and let air in.

I asked in the Houseplant forum to show this to some more experienced people.

The thread "Help on my SPIDER PLANT" in Houseplants forum
The thread "Spider plants are the best!" in Houseplants forum
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jan 21, 2014 7:10 PM CST
Oh, those are some excellent threads, Rick! Thanks for jumping in! Thumbs up
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.

Dog Lover
Leda
Jan 21, 2014 7:10 PM CST
Welcome! Hi, I have had spider plants for years and this is what works for me. Spider plants will only send out babies if they are somewhat root bound so unless the roots are really circling the bottom, I do not repot them. I find mine have always done better at a bright, semi-bright window. I use a general houseplant type soil and add about the same amount of pearlite. I water when they are fairly dry. I can see when most plants need water as their color fades or changes slightly when stressed.
Happy growing,
Leda
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
Jan 22, 2014 10:08 AM CST
Welcome Brook.....your little spider looks a bit sad but I hope with a little TLC it should come back. I noticed it was pale and it is difficult for me to see if it is the type with the white center or the plain green, which sometimes has a pale white or yellowish center. The pure green seem to need more water and get very droopy when dry.
Here is a picture of a spider the same age as yours that I just put into a larger pot. Mine also has some brown ends but you can cut them off.
This plant sits on the work table just now waiting to go to its new home. It was very pot bound. It gets no sun but plenty of light. This is the kind most people have as houseplants. I show you this for you to see the difference in plants especially since they are the same age. This is what yours will look like when it is happy again.
Thumb of 2014-01-22/JB/927028

Looking at your plant, and your description of the roots, I am not sure you should have it in a pot larger than 3". The lack of roots at that age of plant is concerning. That is certainly not normal. It should have had big thick white roots by this time. They should be in a big clump and very strong Did you have it outside and you may have picked up a slug that ate the roots and you would not have known it? Or did you have another plant outside that you brought in that may have had a slug in the soil?
There is a chance the plant will recover but without seeing it myself, I can not guarantee my advice will help it. It may take a few weeks to show new growth but it it does not perk up then I am afraid it is too late.
I would make sure you water it every week or 10 days after you give it a good soaking drink to start with. I use Miracle Grow potting soil with the fertilizer in it. I use regular houseplant liquid fertilizer from Miracle Grow after the fertilizer in the original soil is gone. It is easy to use and does help. I do not fertilize often, maybe once every month or two. I would put it in a well lighted area and they like to be in a temperature between 60 and 70 or even higher. the humidity in the house is difficult to keep high, so you may need to water more often. For example, if it feels dry on top give it some water from both the top and bottom. You need to be sure the roots are getting water. They do not like too much direct sun or when you take it outside it should not be in the direct sun. I tell you what works for me, it may not be what others do but as I said, it works for me.

If this plant does not survive, please feel free to contact me and I will send you another as a gift and you can try again. Never give up, that is what makes houseplants so much fun. Have a good day. Good luck and please keep us posted.

Name: Brook Beatle
New Castle, Indiana
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brookbenge
Jan 22, 2014 10:36 AM CST
im going to buy food for it soon maybe on the frist when i have some money but right now it looks fine so u would send me a new one if mine died thats so nice of u...... it have never been outside before and it is a bit cold in here
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
Jan 22, 2014 10:41 AM CST
Brook, don't spend your money on fertilizer just to save this plant. If it dies I will send you another but it will be after the weather gets warmer. Just keep it watered, cut the little brown tips off of it and we will wait a few weeks to see if it is going to get any better. If not, you can send me your address and I will send you another healthy plant. I am afraid this one is really too far gone to save, but it is worth trying. It is very cold here too and we just had a foot of snow. I am hoping my spiders in the greenhouse survive this cold spell.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jan 22, 2014 10:58 AM CST
These plants make tuberous roots, like carrots, that need to have access to oxygen, and take up a lot of space. Many find their plants seem happier when the roots fill the pot, and they probably are since in that condition there isn't enough moist, airless soil (usually all peat if bagged potting soil is used) to choke/rot the roots and they get plenty of air near the drain hole(s.) When a soil is chunky, porous, with plenty of oxygen in it, pot size is irrelevant (unless it's too small) and risk of rotting roots is very low.

This plant looks dry though. If the roots were rotting, it would have brown tips, and probably look pale, chlorotic.

Watering once a month is concerning. I think this plant is getting too dry. If you're waiting that long because the soil still seems wet for that long, I would change it for sure. Even with no plant growing in it, no pot of soil should take a month to dry (especially assuming your heat source is making the air pretty dry at this time of year.) My instinct looking at these pics is that this plant needs a drink, and to be closer to a window.

Jacquie these are hardy in the ground here. How cold did your GH get?
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Name: Brook Beatle
New Castle, Indiana
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brookbenge
Jan 22, 2014 11:38 AM CST
my plant is by the window im going to cut the brown tips off now
Name: Brook Beatle
New Castle, Indiana
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brookbenge
Jan 22, 2014 11:56 AM CST
i just cleaned the leafs off that may help it
Name: Jerry
Rio Rancho, New Mexico (Zone 7b)
Region: Texas Beekeeper Bee Lover Region: United States of America Plays in the sandbox
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jamyers59
Jan 22, 2014 1:06 PM CST
That's one of the many things I love about this site...People genuinely interested in helping one another even to the extent of shipping plants all around to help each other keep the dirt turning. ALL YOU FOLKS ARE THE GREATEST! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Up to my elbows in the dirt while being on top of the dirt is a great day!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Jan 22, 2014 1:10 PM CST
Just remember, Jerry.....you're one of us now! Thumbs up Green Grin!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
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
Jan 22, 2014 1:14 PM CST
Tiff, it went down to 43 deg. last night and it is expected to get colder beginning today and a deep freeze is expected within the next 10 days to 2 weeks. I am not even opening the doors today to check so the sun can warm it up today and I can take advantage of the solar heat remaining in there tonight to help the heaters.
It went down to 36deg a few weeks ago and it killed 4 plain green and 1 reverse and 3 variegated. The curly were fine. They were all in a line on the lower shelf close to the wall. I have since moved them closer to the front of the shelf. I would have done that sooner but I did not think they were going to mind the cold if it was just one night. I learned the hard way. I mean they froze, they were all black. Poor babies I felt so bad I could have cried. I can feel when they are sad. Am I crazy or what?

Dog Lover
Leda
Jan 22, 2014 1:16 PM CST
Brook, I too am concerned about watering only once a month. I water every 7-10 days.


Thumb of 2014-01-22/Leda/2ab556
Thumb of 2014-01-22/Leda/6a52c7

The top one is curly or "Bonnie" and I just repotted it. The bottom one, I just realized needs repotted.

Keep us posted on how your plant is doing.
Leda

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 22, 2014 1:28 PM CST
Has anyone ever put a little compost, or compost tea, onto their house plants?

Well-aged compost ought not to smell bad.

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Jan 22, 2014 1:40 PM CST
If I watered my plants that often, they'd drown. You folks must be using REALLY good draining soil mix.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Jan 22, 2014 3:09 PM CST
Jacquie, so sorry! A potted plant doesn't have the benefit of ground warmth that can save ground plants, but I wouldn't rush to throw the pots out. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that they could grow back when they warm up, if the roots weren't frozen solid.

When I dug this patch of plants up from my Mom's yard, they sat in a plastic storage tub for a few months, through several frosts, with bare roots. Everything was still alive when I brought the tub home in the spring to add to my compost pile (after sending as many plants to people as wanted them.)

Thumb of 2014-01-22/purpleinopp/331000



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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Jan 22, 2014 3:25 PM CST
I agree They could come back from the roots.

Since this thread started, I have been reading about spider plant care on the web. It's interesting all the rules about their care. Allow the soil the be completely dry before watering, no direct sun, no tap water, allow to be bound bound. Mine are in the ground all year and get very little care other than occasional watering. Mine are watered by hose (tap water), in the ground so not root bound, get extreme temperatures (near 100 to mid 20's), a few hours of full sun, and are wet all winter. Although they look rough in the winter, they bounce back and look beautiful during the growing season.
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