Ask a Question forum: Reviving struggling Spider Plants

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Name: Erika
Kenosha, WI (Zone 5b)
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msteacher
Oct 17, 2017 7:30 PM CST
Plant keeping newbie here. I have two spider plants that were in rough shape when I got them and I had to trim a lot of their leaves off (brown/dead). I also re-potted them because they were pot bound and uncoiled as many of the roots as I could in the process. Now they are shooting off babies, three thick stems each plant, and the babies seem to be doing okay.

My question is if I cut off those stems that the babies are growing on, and put the plants under compact fluorescent lights for the winter, will the parent plants leaves grow instead of creating more plantlets/wasting energy on growing the plantlets?
[Last edited by msteacher - Oct 17, 2017 7:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 17, 2017 9:26 PM CST
I am not an expert, but my experience and gut feeling with spiders ( Chlorophytum
comosumis ) has been that the babies and the plant can both be healthy and beautiful at the same time, attached and together. But babies hanging all over from a plant has to require more water and more fertilizer. If the reaching stems of babies becomes too heavy you can pin some of them down on top of a small pot of soft soil mix, and root them up. I don't find water as successful to root babies as soil is.

I love the look of a spider with plantlets hanging about. It gives them a kind of movement I sort of adore. But if you don't you should do what you like.

I said I was no expert, so I looked around on the web, and I found a link that backs up your assumption that babies are demanding on the parent.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...

It will be interesting if you find the plant rejuvenates more quickly with babies all removed. I hope you will share how it goes. Good luck.

Laurie



Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Oct 18, 2017 4:44 AM CST
lauriebasler said:I am not an expert, but my experience and gut feeling with spiders ( Chlorophytum
comosumis ) has been that the babies and the plant can both be healthy and beautiful at the same time, attached and together. But babies hanging all over from a plant has to require more water and more fertilizer. If the reaching stems of babies becomes too heavy you can pin some of them down on top of a small pot of soft soil mix, and root them up. I don't find water as successful to root babies as soil is.

I love the look of a spider with plantlets hanging about. It gives them a kind of movement I sort of adore. But if you don't you should do what you like.

I said I was no expert, so I looked around on the web, and I found a link that backs up your assumption that babies are demanding on the parent.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...

It will be interesting if you find the plant rejuvenates more quickly with babies all removed. I hope you will share how it goes. Good luck. Laurie


I have been growing spider plants for decades. If the plants are getting enough sun in Spring to Fall, they will do fine in Winter in the same light. The babies you cut off will grow roots best anytime under lights and I suggest a mild fertilizer (like 1/4 strength) in water until you see real roots and then put them in potting soil with 1/2 strength fertilizer until Spring and them pot them up however you wish.

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Oct 18, 2017 2:48 PM CST
With Spider Plants, there is no conflict between mother and children. Contrary to the implication in the article that Laurie cited, the baby plants do not use more "energy" (whatever that is!). It is true that the more foliage and the more babies there are to support, then the roots will need more water and nutrients.

With plant growth, available light is the controlling and limiting factor. The more light you can provide your Spider Plant, the more foliage and babies it will be able to support. You don't have to sacrifice one for the other.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Erika
Kenosha, WI (Zone 5b)
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msteacher
Oct 18, 2017 3:09 PM CST
Thank you all for your replies! I didn't really want to snip off the shoots as I'd like to get more plants out of them. I'll try putting an LED grow light over them for the winter (moved them from outdoors to my room so less natural light in there thanks to cold Wisconsin winters) and see what happens. If they perk up I'll update with pictures in the spring Hurray!
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 18, 2017 8:42 PM CST
I am glad to hear your input Will. I have a spider plant, and it's attraction for me is the babies. I feel like a spider plant is not quite right or pleasing until It dangles babies with reckless abandon. All the conflicting information so readily available out there is really a shame. It reminds me of Gene's thread about clean air. But this article, I actually fell for it, Sighing!
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 18, 2017 9:05 PM CST
@yardenman, do you try to let the babies develop a few little roots before propagating in water. or do you find you don't need to. I am quite sure your'e better at starting babies than I. I like the soil for my abilities, simply because I have better luck with it.

@msteacher, If I were you I would follow yardenman's suggestions, he is very good at all things growing.

Your plants will perk up. Spiders are tough. There are lots of growing tips to be googled on their care.
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Name: Zack
Upstate NY (Zone 5b)
Foliage Fan Container Gardener Houseplants Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Photography
Region: New York
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TheWitchBoy
Nov 3, 2017 8:34 PM CST
@lauriebasler Spiderplant babies (or spiderettes - possibly my favourite term for them) don't necessarily need the little roots, first, but seem to grow better in the water if they have them. Either way, I'd just make sure the leaves themselves aren't submerged.

I'm addicted to spiderette propagation, and I generally peel away the absolute lowest leaves, rather than risking a fully submerged baby leaf, because I've had brief issues in the past where the water got really gross, really fast, because of a rotting leaf. To date, I think I've only lost two or three spiderettes to being overly submerged in water (none of them recent).

Best of luck! Smiling

@msteacher Bit late to the party; but, to add my own two cents to the discourse. When I've messed around with sad-looking spideys, I've generally found that taking the shoots off them helped them revive/get fuller a bit faster. I've done this in my house and my maternal and paternal grandmothers' respective houses, for variegatum and vittatum spideys, thusfar.

If your spiderplant is sickly, taking the babies off might help it get back on its feet a bit quicker, but if it isn't sickly, I'd let it have a go at parenthood. I've also found that unhealthy plants don't generally give off fresh, new shoots -- if your plant is giving you new shoots, I'd hazard that you're doing something right.

Best of luck with your spideys! Hurray!
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A. A. Milne

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