NASA CLEAN AIR PLANT #39
Available for sale at our store located at 3856 Fort Henry Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663.
The spider plant or airplane plant is considered one of the most adaptable of houseplants and the easiest to grow. This one is clearly at the top of my list for beginner plant parents!
A native to the subtropics of Africa, Asia, and Australia, the graceful spider plant grows well outdoors in the warm summer months and indoors in the winter with very little care. 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.
This undemanding plant can grow in a wide range of conditions and suffers from few problems, other than brown tips. Here are a few facts to help keep your spider plant healthy, happy and making more babies.
Light - A spider plant likes medium to bright indirect light. Solid green spider plants need less light than green and white varieties. No spider plant should ever be put in the direct sun.
Temperature - Warm, humid conditions are ideal for spider plants. A spider plant prefers temperatures between 45°F- 80°F. They don’t like temperatures below 50°F. This means they should be protected from drafts and air-conditioning vents when grown indoors.
Water - How you water a spider plant is a very important part of how you care for a spider plant. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before you water. A good way to tell when a spider plant needs water is to look at the spider plant leaves. The green color starts to fade when the soil is dry and the plant needs water.
Spider plants are kinda picky about their water! These plants are sensitive to fluoride and chlorine, which can brown the leaf tips. If you can, use rainwater or distilled water for your spider plants. Never use water that had passed through a water softener; it is much too salty.
Humidity - Spider plants prefer high humidity but still grow well in homes and offices. Just know, the leaf tips can brown if the humidity is too low!
Soil - Use a good organic houseplant soil like an an African violet mix for a spider plant.
Fertilizer - Fertilize a spider plant monthly with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Spider plants need food only when they are actively growing. Over fertilizing a spider plant can cause brown leaf tips.
Re-pot - Spider plants like to be root-bound in small pots. Don't worry about re-potting a spider plant until the roots have filled the entire pot and the plant’s bulbous tubers have popped out of the soil.
Maintenance - If a spider plant produces too many "babies," you can cut them off and start new plants. Cut off any brown leaf tips that develop due to too much fertilizer or chemicals in the water.
Pests - Spider plants get Mealy Bugs, spider mites, scale, and Aphids. A spider plant plant is rarely bothered by plant diseases.
Propagation - A spider plant produces very small white flowers at the ends of long stems. These flowers are usually followed by “baby spider plants” that can be used to propagate new plants. Spiderettes can be rooted in water or soil, but will generally yield more favorable results and a stronger root system when planted in soil. Pot them in a container with good drainage, and make sure the soil stays moist (but not soggy) until they become established.
A Spider plant can also be propagated by plant division, separating the bulbous, tuberous, roots.
Potential Problems - 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.
Special Notes - A spider plant is not toxic to dogs, cats, and other pets and is not poisonous to small children. NASA rank a spider plant at #39 as an excellent plant for cleaning the air of harmful chemicals.