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Old 07-28-2009, 11:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
 
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Location: Canada
My spider plant is dying. Help me save it.

So those who saw my apartment in the post your pad thread may have noticed a distinct absence of green. There's a reason for this; my thumbs are not green. In fact, they're the opposite of that. I kill plants.

Well, we decided that we wanted some plant life in the apartment. My mother, whose thumbs are very green, allowed me to 'adopt' one of hers. There's a problem with this, though; she does not kill plants, and she gets kind of attached to them. She names them, and impressed upon me how she raised this one from a baby and how special it is. I tried to tell her repeatedly that I'm probably going to end up killing it, but she wouldn't listen and now she won't take it back.

I don't want to upset my mother. Killing her plant will likely upset her.

When she brought my this plant ten days ago, it was lush and vibrant. It was flowering. In a mere ten days, it has gone from that to this:





Some of the damage is no doubt the result of the pictured cat, who occasionally mistakes the plant for a chew toy (and gets sprayed every time -- she's a slow learner). However, I can't think that she's responsible entirely for the poor condition of my spider plant.

I understand that this type of pot will regulate the water itself, and that all I have to do is make sure there's water in the bottom at all times. Is this true?

Help me, TFP. Help me save this plant and avoid my mother's wrath.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
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It looks like it's on top of a shelf. It might not be getting enough light. Which direction is the window facing?

That said, it's really hard to kill a spider plant...OMFG what are you doing to it?!


The self-regulating thing might not be working, though it should. Try putting the water through the soil instead. Those brown tips might be because of a lack of water.

Do you know if the soil is still good? Does it need repotting? How old is the plant? The soil?
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
 
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Location: Canada
I know spider plants are hard to kill. I have a gift.

IT's on top of the bookshelf, which is about six feet tall. Should it be somewhere where it gets direct sunlight? I suppose it could live on top of the entertainment centre; I put it up there in the vain hope that the cats would leave it alone, although the pictures clearly illustrate how effective that strategy was.

Regarding soil and such, it came from my mother, who as noted is quite good with plants. I'm assuming a known good state prior to my take custodianship.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
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You don't need direct sunlight. Actually too much might kill it. But you do need enough diffused light.

Now that I think of it, I'm willing to bet it needs more watering by the look of it. Spider plants really don't need much light at all. I've grown them in basement apartments.

Don't let the soil sit dry by merely putting water into the side of the pot through that hole.

EDIT: It doesn't need much water (don't overwater it, and let the soil dry out in between), but if the soil is bone dry and stays that way...that's bad.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
 
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The soil right now is damp to the touch. I haven't been checking it regularly, but I haven't watered it in a day or two. I've just been keeping water in the pot. Could it be getting too much?

The only other factor I can think of is temperature/humidity. I live in a third floor apartment, and when the air conditioner's off it can get quite warm and humid in here. Is there a specific environment I should be keeping?
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
Cheers
 
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Location: Eastcoast USA
...i know just what your spider plant needs...lots of love

it needs this... xoxoxox

and this... x x x

and some more of this... xoxoxoxoxoxox

and this...

and as a last resort, this...

...don't mind me...i just went out for lunch and had 2 tequila sunrise...feeling a little affectionate right now...


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Old 07-28-2009, 12:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
warrior bodhisattva
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian View Post
The soil right now is damp to the touch. I haven't been checking it regularly, but I haven't watered it in a day or two. I've just been keeping water in the pot. Could it be getting too much?

The only other factor I can think of is temperature/humidity. I live in a third floor apartment, and when the air conditioner's off it can get quite warm and humid in here. Is there a specific environment I should be keeping?
It should enjoy humidity. It's the dryness during the winter you should be concerned about with many plants, but this is a hardy enough plant, so I wouldn't worry either way.

You could be overwatering it. As I said, let the soil dry out between watering...see what happens. Don't be afraid to stick you finger in there.

This is a kind of plant that may do well with a bit of neglect. Have you been coddling it? Smothering it? Give it some space, man.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Perhaps the ph of the soil is off or it needs more nutrients.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry I didn't see this thread earlier.

Browning tips are usually due to the presence of chlorine in your water.
Either that or excess salts (but I doubt you're over-feeding it with salt-based plant foods)
Also - their leaves usually begin to turn brown at their tips as they age. If you remove the browning leaves at the base as they begin to turn, it will encourage the plant to produce more leaves.

The idea with the pot you have pictured is that the water filters up through the soil. You have to start out with moist soil in order for it to work as designed. These pots are incredibly popular for house plants right now, but the pot your mother has chosen is not necessarily ideal for spider plants. It may work for her... but she might just be magic like my mother-in-law, making things grow in all sorts of conditions that they absolutely by all accounts should not.

With spider plants, you should wait until the surface of the soil is dry before watering. Allowing the soil to remain moist at all times encourages algal and fungal growth in the soil, which will be detrimental to the plant's overall health. But these plants require high humidity, which from your description it sounds like you're providing...

Spider plants can handle a wide range of lighting conditions. They're fine in indoor bright light, they're great with shade.

As Zeraph mentioned PH I might as well mention it - spider plants require a slightly alkaline loam soil.
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Last edited by genuinegirly; 07-28-2009 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
Sitting in a tree
 
Location: Atlanta
I've never seen a spider plant in a regular pot - only hanging baskets. But I just Google Imaged this and saw they do quite well in standard pots. I learned something new.

Typically, dried out tips are due to lack of water. But if your soil is wet to the touch, it's obviously something else. Keep a pitcher of water out at all times for your plants - at least 24 hours before hand - to lose the chlorine. Everyone's water is different. It's possible yours has more chlorine than others.

Also, when you're able to stick the entire tip of your finger in the soil and it's dry, water only then. The very surface can be dry with some soils but saturated 1" underneath.

I do have some good news tho - these plants aren't poisonous to cats. yay.
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I have found with mine that more light is better that more shade, and I rotate and water it about every 3 days. Since mine is hanging and I lift it up and carry it to the sink for water, I have learned to tell how much water it needs by it's weight. I've had this for 3 years and it's been "killed" twice but always grown back.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
Cheers
 
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Location: Eastcoast USA
...this sounds strange but spider plants like to be potbound. If it has just been repotted

then give it some time to overcome it's transplant shock and for the roots to invade the

pot. Once it's roots are so thick in the pot that it hardly looks like there's enough

dirt...that's when it will shoot off it's "little spiders" and will love it's prolific little happy

family.

...meanwhile, you can snip off the dead brown tips at an angle so the leaves look

pointed but void of brown...then "mother" will be so proud of you

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