Do Spider Plants Need Fertilizer – How To Fertilize Spider Plants
By: Amy Grant
Chlorophytum comosum may be lurking in your house. What is Chlorophytum comosum? Only one of the most popular houseplants. You may recognize its common name of spider plant, AKA airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant. Spider plants are one of the most popular houseplants because they are so resilient and easy to grow, but do spider plants need fertilizer? If so, what type of fertilizer is best for spider plants and how do you fertilize spider plants?
Spider Plant Fertilizer
Spider plants are hardy plants that thrive in less than optimal conditions. Plants form tight rosettes of leaves with dangling plantlets hanging from long stems of up to 3 feet (.9 m.). While they prefer bright light, they tend to scorch in direct sunlight and are perfect for lower lit abodes and offices. They do not like temperature below 50 degrees F. (10 C.) or cold drafts.
To care for your spider plant, be sure it is planted in well-draining, well-aerating potting medium. Water throughout the growing season on a regular basis and mist the plant occasionally, as they enjoy the humidity. If your water is from city sources, it is most likely chlorinated and probably fluoridated as well. Both of these chemicals can result in tip burn. Allow tap water to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours or use rainwater or distilled water to irrigate spider plants.
Spider plants are native to South Africa and are prolific growers and producers of a multitude of plantlets. The plantlets are basically a spider plant baby and can be easily snipped from the parent and rooted in water or damp potting soil to become yet another spider plant. All that aside, do spider plants need fertilizer as well?
How to Fertilize Spider Plants
Fertilizing a spider plant must be done in moderation. Fertilizer for spider plants should be applied sparingly, as over-fertilization will result in brown leaf tips just as chemically laden water. There is no specific spider plant fertilizer. Any all-purpose, complete, water soluble or granular time-release fertilizer suitable for houseplants is acceptable.
There is some discrepancy in the number of times you should feed your spider plant during the growing season. Some sources say once a week, while others says every 2-4 weeks. The common trend seems to be that over-fertilizing will cause more damage than under feeding. I would go for a happy medium of every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer.
If the tips of the spider plant begin to brown, I would back off the amount of fertilizer by ½ of the manufacturer’s recommended amount. Remember that brown tips may also be caused by chemical laden water, drought stress, drafts, or temperature fluxes. A little experimentation might be in order to get your plant back in tip-top shape, but these plants are known for rebounding and will almost certainly be in the flush of health with a little TLC.
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Read more about Spider Plants
Complete Guide to Spider Plants: How to Grow & Care For Them
If you’re looking for a houseplant that’s easy to grow indoors and adds value to your indoor garden, then consider a spider plant for your addition.
The spider plant gets its name from its many leaves that sprawl out to the sides of the plant, giving the impression of a spider standing with its legs sprawled out.
These plants produce rosettes of thin and long leaves that are either solid green or have white variegation. Spider plants were a household favorite in Victorian times, and they look fantastic when hanging in a plant basket.
Spider plants are part of a family of plants known for “air-scrubbing” properties. Leave a spider plant in the room, and it cleans the air of dangerous toxins like formaldehyde, which is present in new construction and freshly painted homes, leaving that chemical smell behind.
Spider plants also reproduce readily, allowing you to plant the “spiderettes” that grow from the mother plant. Here’s everything you need to know about planting and caring for spider plants.
Should I fertilize my snake plant?
Spider plants need fertilizer but in moderation. They need fertilizer to fulfill their nutrient need that soil mix cannot provide.
Fertilizer contains all the relevant nutrients, i.e., micronutrients and macronutrients, to help the spider plant grow and stay healthy. The potting mix might not provide sufficient nutrients that the plant needs.
As the potting mix gets older, the soil starts losing the nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. Thus, we need to add fertilizer to replenish the lost nutrients.
Due to insufficient nutrients, the spider plant will become weak and will not have new growth or have very slow growth. Fertilizers give the plant the immunity to fight diseases and other plant-related issues.
Due to lack of supplements, the spider plants may suffer from these issues:
- Poor growth
- Yellow leaves
- Weak roots
- Thin leaves
Thus, make sure you watch out for these issues and supplement your spider plant with the nutrients they need.
Too Much Water, or Not Enough?
One of the first things to check if you find yourself faced with a wilting spider plant is how much water it is getting.
Overwatering in particular can lead to root rot. If you tend to water the soil until it becomes soggy, it may be time to cut back.
Bleached looking leaves, possibly with darkening edges, may also be a sign that you are drenching the roots.
Conversely, forgetting to water regularly, especially during the summer growing season, can also cause foliage to wither.
In spring and summer, water approximately once per week.
After watering, the soil should feel moist but not wet. In the winter when growth slows down, allow the soil to dry out fully between waterings, about once every couple of weeks.
If leaves start to look dry, try giving them a quick misting once in a while.
If water seems to be pooling at the top of the container and not soaking into the soil, check whether you are using a soil mixture that drains well.
It may be a good time to consider repotting – keep reading for more information on this below.
How Do You Root a Spider Plant in Water?
Like many houseplants which you can grow in water, you can do the same with a spider plant if you want.
Taking cuttings or offsets to propagate spider plants is a common pastime. What makes it more accessible is these can be grown in just a glass of water.
Once rooting has become established, the new spider plant requires nutrients for growing to be full grown.
Plain water can sustain a plantlet, yet it won’t provide the right nutrients for the plants to grow healthily for very long. Essential nutrients can be found in fertilizer, although you run the risk of root burn from salt build-up.
Growing a spider plant in water is one of the best ways of starting a new plant, yet it isn’t a sustainable method.
- Use demineralized water, or you can let any tap water sit in a light area for a day before placing your plantlet in the solution.
- Fill a glass or jar with this non-chlorinated water
- Sit the baby in the container with most of the leaves outside the container.
- Position the cutting in indirect light, and make sure it doesn’t get too hot.
- Leave here until new growth of roots.
- You can add a couple of drops of liquid fertilizer you should change the water every couple of days.
Spider Plant Care
- Avoid using fertilizers during winter season or growing out of their pots.
- Use clay or ceramic pot that has holes at the bottom for proper drainage.
- If the plants get dusty wipe the leaves of using a wet cloth to remove stains.
- Keep children and pets (dogs & cats) away from harmful tools and fertilizers.
- Make sure the spider plant receives sunlight for a minimum of 6-8 hrs a day.
- Adding mulch to improve the soil fertility and to maintain soil moisture levels.
- Do not over water the spider plant as it can cause great damage resulting in root rot.
- Fertilize the plants with organic matter once in every 3 months for better plant growth.
- Make sure the pot has holes at the bottom for enough drainage and to make the soil moist.
- Follow instructions and warning labels on covers when you purchase online before planting them.
You can make new spider plants from the “babies.”
When you see little root nubs on the babies, trim the plantlet off and place in another pot of soil. Use a bent paper clip to keep it in contact with the soil, water as usual, and that’s it! Or you can set a smaller pot next to the big plant, and place the plantlet in the soil of the smaller pot while still attached to the mother plant. That way, it’s getting nutrients until it’s rooted, when you can cut the stem from the original plant. It’s also fine to leave the babies in place if you like the looks of them.