spider plant adventures
I love gardening but tend to "experiment" a little too much. It's in the name of learning, at least. I thought it might be helpful to newbs like me if I shared some experiences with spider plants. Don't make my mistakes!
In short, beware of using floor-dry/oil-dri or perlite or letting them get chilled (below 50-ish).
A couple months ago my DH and I bought a seriously gigantic spider plant from a local nursery. We hung it right above the toilet in the master bath. That was the best spot we could find, really! It's odd but that little room has a window that takes up most of one wall (and faces the street). It gets a lot of light and I think the humidity from showers is beneficial. And we think it is hilarious that we're engulfed in spider plant "jungle" when we do business.
Anyways, there were over a hundred pups on this monstrosity. I trimmed about seventy to plant. These were the pups with the longest roots, most growing on the ends of the tendrils (what are those called, branches?). I planted them all in cardboard egg cartons filled with vermiculite. They didn't take too long to get established. As the roots grew they kind of pushed the green tops upwards and looked more like small white carrots. They seemed to really like the vermiculite.
Meanwhile I'd been reading all the gritty mix posts and trying to put some together. My painfully bastardized version contained Napa Floor-Dry (#8822) and rinsed pea pebbles. Tried it for succulents. They didn't die, but are doing much better in their new mix (the old mix plus perlite, a little MG orchid bark, and mini pine bark nuggets).
Well, since I was out of vermiculite and knew that spider plants don't like wet feet, I transplanted them into blends that I hoped would be better than straight MG potting mix.
I knew that floor-dry was very absorbent but since it's chunkier than soil I thought it might improve drainage a little. Just a guess. Probably wrong. Some of the pups I put in straight floor-dry. Most of them went into a blend of floor-dry and potting mix. For small pots I use recycled yogurt cups with holes drilled in them, just so you know.
From the point of transplanting, they all went downhill. The spiderlings in plain floor-dry went first and could not be saved. Don't do that! I also tried rooting geranium cuttings in it. Don't do that, either.
My favorite application for floor-dry so far is to top-dress indoor plants. A major reason I try to go soil-less indoors is because I always have issues with little flies otherwise. Tried floor-dry on top, since it is made out of DE, and it seems to help quite a bit. BUT, if you do that, don't top-water it. I don't know why, but every plant I've tried the stuff with mixed-in or wet on top starts having issues.
Realizing the problem, I tried to save as many as I could. By then I had gotten some perlite since I'd read good results about rooting cuttings in it, mixing for better aeration/drainage, and possible hydroponic use. Made a blend with potting mix and perlite and transplanted the survivors. The next day, I read that perlite and spider plants don't get along. Just my luck. Perlite apparently contains flouride and causes flouridosis in the little guys. Tired of messing with them so I figured I'd wait and see.
Around this time it started to get really cold at night. I couldn't keep the little ones inside because of the cats (lost a few to them, too, especially the ones dangling low off the mother) so I kept them in the garage at night. Didn't think I'd get frost in there, but guess what? Actually, I'm not sure if it was frost or fluoridosis. It looked like cold damage. The leaves got really weak, limp, and dark. I moved them into the corner of a spare closet to see if they had any life left, pretty discouraged.
A week or two later I checked and all of them were black and a bit moldy. About fifteen had some new growth, plus five with the smallest amount of green. I went through all of them and took off the black leaves. Most of them still had white, healthy-looking roots though. For many, I cut off the dead connecting top bit and left the roots in the dirt to see what would happen.
Still waiting. There's hope for the growing ones but I'll probably toss the rest. I think the perlite mix might not be too bad since that's what the living are still in. Better go with something else to be safe, though. Actually, some of the living ones are those that I gave my remaining vermiculite and then topped with soil+perlite as they grew. Vermiculite gets an A+ from me. Potting mix should be fine.
The next project is going to be growing from the spider plant's seeds. The flowers were cute but I was amazed when I noticed little black seeds in the dried pods. Must have swept up a bunch of them before realizing that. If you've never seen them before, they look a bit like black hot pepper seeds. I plan to try to sprout them in some fine peat moss because I still haven't bought more vermiculite. Wish me luck!
- edit to specify Napa Floor-Dry (#8822) used.
This post was edited by liligoat on Sat, Dec 7, 13 at 14:06