You would think that spider plants get their name from the various stems and little clones at the ends, and most people do, but actually no, thats not the case. It has nothing to do with those weird, alien-looking plants hanging off the mama plant, but the fact that it's a relative to a plant that has cure properties for spider bites. Names of plants aren’t always so straightforward, but those shoots sure do make the plant look similar to a spider from underneath….so what are they? And how do I get more? And what are they called?
WHAT ARE THOOOSE?
The long, wiry stems protruding from the inner core of the plant are called spider plant babies, plantlets and my personal favorite Spiderettes. They are simply the offspring from the parent plant. Eventually the babies will grow roots and if they were on the forest floor, they would eventually root themselves, spreading across the forest floor. But before this happens, the plant will flower first. So you will first see a light yellow stem, followed by a flower. Next, if the spider plant flower is pollinated it will produce a tiny fruit with black seeds, however if this doesn’t happen it will start growing leaves, which eventually root. These stems are a means of reproduction, whether it is a ‘clone’ of the plant, or a fruit that drops its seeds, forming a genetically different offspring. This is ideal as it will lead to greater biodiversity among the plant, allowing for greater resistance to environmental changes. But since we’re inside our homes we don’t need to worry about their means of reproduction and effect on the environment - we can just propagate them if we want another one!
HOW TO ENCOURAGE
If you love the look of the spiderettes hanging off the plant heres a few ways to encourage them to grow.
- When spider plants are more root bound they tend to send out more shoots.
- Adding worm compost to the top of the soil will give the plant more nutrients, allowing for it to send out more shoots.
- Fertilizing every 2 weeks with liquid half-strength houseplant fertilizer is ideal for the plant to push out more growth.
However, be careful when it comes to fertilizer because too much fertilizer will promote growth of the leaves rather than the spiderettes, and it can also burn the plants roots. Remember to stop fertilizing in the later fall/winter months. Wait until the spring/summer months to fertilize the plant!
HOW TO PROPAGATE A SPIDER PLANT
Spider plant propagation is one of the easier propagation methods because the spiderette is still connected to the parent plant. This means that it can still receive nourishment from the parent plant while in the process of propagation. You start by filling a small pot with soil, (soil best for spider plants contains 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 4 parts pine bark fines) then take the spiderette and place the roots almost completely in the soil. This makes spider plant propagation much faster than most other plants because it is getting nutrients from both the soil and the parent plant. After a few weeks the spiderette is good to be cut off from the mother plant, finally giving you a new spider plant! If you have a spider plant hanging basket you can get a smaller hanging pot to place the spiderette in, that way you don’t have to take the plant down from its hanger.
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