Healthy spider plants have long ribbon-like leaves in either solid green, or striped varieties. The trailing stems eventually produce white blooms and then miniature spider like plants. These can be left on the parent plant, or removed and rooted to create a new separate plant.
Spider plants and I have a long and sorted history. Thirty years ago, my elementary school friend was sick, very sick. She had been out of school for two weeks and I wanted to see her and bring her a gift. My family did not have a lot of money, but my mother was ingenious; she cut little spider plants off our large, healthy spider plant, rooted them and let me paint tiny terra cotta pots. My friend loved the surprise.
Apparently, those fast growing plants did very well, my friends mom kept them for years. Who knows, maybe she still has them. Me on the other hand, assumed that when I moved out, would have a large spider plant with lots of little spider babies to give away too. But alas, the ease my mother has with plants did not come naturally.
I would bring home a little off-shoot nearly every month, and then I took to purchasing my own spider plants out of embarrassment. Honestly, everyone says these are the easiest houseplant to grow. Some say they are impossible to kill. Well, I have proved them wrong time and time again.
There are a few requirements for keeping these beauties alive. Once you get the hang of it, then it is easy to maintain. There are even ways to bring a sad and abused plant back to health. Many tips I wish I knew before letting so many poor spider babies die.
What a Spider Plant Needs;
Temperature range should stay between 65 and 75 degrees F. in the daytime and drop to 50-55 degrees F at night for optimal growth. Simply moving it away from heating vents or into a cooler room at night can help.
Place it in the path of bright indirect sunlight. Alternately, you can use grow lights or other bright artificial lights. In order for the plant to produce plantlets, light should be limited to 12 hours a day or so to duplicate nature.
Drainage is immensely important to a spider plant. They require consistently moist soil, but can not handle being drenched or sitting in water. The tuberous roots are prone to rot. Consider buying distilled water, or use collected rain water. Fluoride in tap water will cause the tips of the foliage to brown.
Add diluted fertilizer twice a month while watering.
***IF you have problems with your spider plant, try taking it out of the dirt and rinsing the roots. Re-pot in fresh potting soil in a slightly larger pot.
Remove spider plant plantlets and root in a glass of water.Keep the foliage out of the water, and watch for white roots to form. When the roots are two to three inches long, place in potting soil. You can also plant new spider plant cuttings in potting soil while still attached to the plant. Leave it on the plant for about 6 weeks in order for the roots to establish and then you can cut the stem holding it to the parent plant.
Spider plants grow quickly. Divide and, or repot at least once a year in order to keep the roots healthy.
Thankfully, I can report that my spider plant is thriving these days.