Trying to save my spider plant

jinjur(7)June 22, 2008

The other day my mother gave me her poor, beaten up looking spider plant. She didn't know what went wrong but the leaves have either gone limp and wilty, or died off all together. I re-potted what was left and found for the most part that the roots seem healthy and the plant hasn't been overwatered. My mom said she was spraying the plant every other day with an insecticide/fungicide (for fungus gnats), so I am thinking that the leaves got super saturated and wilted? Not sure if that can happen or not. I read in another post that spider plants can be revived as long as the base of the roots is intact. That's pretty much all I have left, so I'm wondering if there's anything else I can do, or if my plants are a lost cause.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Seems to me that spraying it w/ insecticide fungicide every other day is basically poisoning it every other day.

Gnats tend to come from overwatering, so maybe you could teach her better care, so she doesn't overwater & therefore can lay off the insecticide, pls. remind her it's POISON!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 8:01AM
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Mentha(9 CA)

I would wash the roots really well in a mild bleach solution for about 15 minutes and rince well before repotting in clean new peat-free soil. Fungus gnats love peaty soil, they also love eating roots which have been damaged. I'd advise cutting the roots up into the white and let them heal a day or so before repotting. They will be fine as long as they heal over. Make sure the soil has a lot of substance, like perlite or pumice which will make it airy. You can also grow spiders in water. I had one I converted to a bowl of marbles, the roots attached to the marbles and really took off.

When my soil grown spider plants look really bad I cut all the leaves off up to the roots and force dormancy. You do this by cutting all the leaves off, do not cut into the stem. Put it in a cool dark corner and do not water it but just enough to keep the root alive. I would let it stay that way until fall when you can bring it out of dormancy and then gradually water until they get what is needed. You must make sure to force dormancy or else you risk losing them. Usually spiders are heavy drinkers, so a well draining soil is a must for them otherwise you'll be rotting roots right and left.

Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 3:38PM
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Yeah, I've reminded my mom not to overwater on a regular basis. Gnats are persistent little buggers which is why I think she went crazy with the spray. I pointed out to her that the bottle says "weekly basis" on it, so hopefully she'll use a lighter touch in the future.

That sounds like a lot of useful advice, mentha. I'll be sure to use it, and I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 4:47PM
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I had a really ratty spider plant once, I got sick of looking at it, there was no way to fix the tattered leaves, so I just cut it back....within a few months, I had a full plant again. They are surprisingly resiliant.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:16AM
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For old ratty looking spiders, or over-watered ones, or whatever the problem may be. You can cut off ALL the roots and re-root the now bare bottoms into a small pot like any other plant that you take stem cuttings from.

Something I did a month ago to an overgrown all green spider. It's smaller then it was, but it's nice and healthy looking again. I lost maybe two or three leaves from doing this operation!

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 1:21PM
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