The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is considered one of the most adaptable of houseplants and the easiest to grow. This plant can grow in a wide range of conditions and suffers from few problems, other than brown tips. The spider plant is so named because of its spider-like plants, or spiderettes, which dangle down from the mother plant like spiders on a web. Available in green or variegated varieties, these spiderettes often start out as small white flowers.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Spider Plant Care: Gardening Tips For Spider Plants
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Gardening Tips for Spider Plants and General Spider Plant Care
Caring for spider plants is easy. These tough plants tolerate lots of abuse, making them excellent candidates for newbie gardeners or those without a green thumb. Provide them with well-drained soil and bright, indirect light and they will flourish. Water them well but do not allow the plants to become too soggy, which can lead to root rot. In fact, spider plants prefer to dry out some between waterings. When caring for spider plants, also take into account that they enjoy cooler temperatures — around 55 to 65 F. (13-18 C.). Spider plants can also benefit from occasional pruning, cutting them back to the base. Since spider plants prefer a semi-potbound environment, repot them only when their large, fleshy roots are highly visible and watering is difficult. Spider plants can be easily propagated as well through division of the mother plant or by planting the small spiderettes.
Spider Plant Spiderettes
As daylight increases in spring, spider plants should begin producing flowers, eventually developing into babies, or spider plant spiderettes. This may not always occur, however, as only mature plants with enough stored energy will produce spiderettes. Spiderettes can be rooted in water or soil, but will generally yield more favorable results and a stronger root system when planted in soil. Ideally, the best method for rooting spider plant spiderettes is by allowing the plantlet to remain attached to the mother plant. Choose a spiderette and place it in a pot of soil near the mother plant. Keep this well watered and once it roots, you can cut it from the mother plant. Alternatively, you can cut off one of the plantlets, place it in a pot of soil, and water generously. Place the pot in a ventilated plastic bag and put this in a bright location. Once the spiderette is well rooted, remove from the bag and grow as usual. If you begin to notice spider plant leaves browning, there’s no need for worry. Browning of leaf tips is quite normal and will not harm the plant. This is often the result of fluoride found in water, which causes salt buildup in the soil. It usually helps to periodically leach plants by giving them a thorough watering to flush out excess salts. Be sure to allow the water to drain out and repeat as needed. It may also help to use distilled water or even rainwater on plants instead of that from the kitchen or outside spigot.
Spider Plants and Cats
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a popular houseplant and a common fixture in hanging baskets. When it comes to the nature of spider plants and cats, there’s no denying that cats seem to be weirdly attracted by this houseplant. So what’s the deal here? Does the spider plant give off a scent that attracts cats? Why on earth are your cats eating spider plant foliage? While the plant does give of a subtle scent, barely noticeable to us, this is not what attracts the animals. Perhaps, it’s because cats just naturally like all things dangly and your cat is simply attracted to the hanging spiderettes on the plant, or maybe cats have an infinity for spider plants out of boredom. Both are viable explanations, and even true to some extent, but NOT the sole reasons for this uncanny attraction. Nope. Cats mainly like spider plants because they are mildly hallucinogenic. Yes, it’s true. Similar in nature to the effects of catnip, spider plants produce chemicals that induce your cat’s obsessive behavior and fascination.
Spider Plant Toxicity
You may have heard about the so-called hallucinogenic properties found in spider plants. Maybe not. But, according to some resources, studies have found that this plant does, indeed, give off a mild hallucinogenic effect to felines, though this is said to be harmless. In fact, the spider plant is listed as non toxic to cats and other pets on the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.) website along with many other educational sites. Nonetheless, it is still advised that cats eating spider plant leaves may pose a potential risk. Spider plants contain chemical compounds that are said to be related to opium. While considered non toxic, these compounds can still result in an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. For this reason, it is recommended that you keep cats away from the plants to avoid any spider plant toxicity, regardless of its mild effects. Like people, all cats are different and what affects one mildly may affect another quite differently. Keeping Cats from Spider Plants If your cat has a penchant for eating plants, there are steps you can take for keeping cats from spider plants. Since spider plants are often found in hanging baskets, simply keep them (and any other potentially threatening plant) up high and out of reach from your cats. This means keeping them away from areas where cats are prone to climb, like windowsills or furniture. If you do not have anywhere to hang your plant or a suitable location out of reach, try spraying the leaves with a bitter-tasting repellent. While not foolproof, it could help in that cats tend to avoid plants that taste bad. If you have an abundance of foliage growth on your spider plants, so much so that the spiderettes hang down within reach of the cat, it may be necessary to prune the spider plants back or divide the plants. Finally, if your cats feel the need to munch on some greenery, try planting some indoor grass for their own personal enjoyment. In the likelihood that it’s too late and you find your cat eating spider plant foliage, monitor the animal’s behavior (as only you know what’s normal for your pet), and take a trip to the veterinarian if any symptoms seem to linger or are particularly severe.
How to Grow a Spider Plant Outside The easiest way to grow spider plants outside is just to move your potted spider plant outdoors when weather permits and indoors when it is too cold. Spider plants make excellent plants for hanging baskets, with small white, star-shaped flowers arching down on long flower stalks. After flowering, grass-like new little plantlets form on these flower stalks. These little spider-like hanging plantlets are why Chlorophytum comosun is commonly called spider plant. The plantlets are like the runners on strawberry plants and will root wherever they touch soil, creating new spider plants. To propagate, simply snip the “spiders” off and stick them in soil. Native to South Africa, spider plants need a warm, tropical climate to survive outside. They can be grown like a perennial in zones 9-11 and as an annual in cooler climates. Spider plants outside cannot tolerate any frost. If planting them as annuals in cooler climates, be sure to wait until there’s no danger of frost. Spider plants prefer filtered sunlight, but can grow in part-shade to shade. They tend to get sunburnt in full sun or afternoon sun. Spider plants outside make excellent spreading groundcovers and border plants around trees. In zones 10-11, it can grow and spread aggressively. Spider plants have thick rhizomes that store water, making them tolerate some drought. Spider plants can also make excellent trailing plants for large container arrangements. Care of Spider Plants Outdoors Growing spider plants outdoors can be as easy as growing them inside. Start them early indoors, giving the roots time to develop. Spider plants need well-draining, slightly acidic soil. They prefer dappled shade and cannot handle direct afternoon sun. When young, they need moist soil. Spider plants are sensitive to the fluoride and chlorine in city water, so they perform best with rain water or distilled water. They also don’t like too much fertilizer, use a basic 10-10-10 fertilizer only once a month or bi-monthly. Spider plants outside are especially susceptible to aphids, scale, whiteflies and spider mites. Use an insecticidal soap, especially if they are being brought inside for the winter. I use a homemade dish soap dip, made from ¼ cup Dawn dish soap, ½ cup mouth wash and a gallon of water. If growing spider plants outdoors as an annual, you can dig them up and over winter them in pots inside. If you have too many, give them away to friends. I have planted them in Halloween cups and handed them out at Halloween parties, telling kids they can grow their own creepy spider plants.Read more at Gardening Know How: Care Of Spider Plants Outdoors: How To
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