Help! Spider plant was delivered to me like this!

dapendaAugust 7, 2014

I ordered a 2 spider plants and one of them came looking like this. What should I do to keep it alive?

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Was this also from Hirts? I've read some not so great reviews on their plants, but never like this. Again, this one probably got too hot while in the box being mailed across the country. Spring (not late Spring) and Fall (not late Fall either) are probably the best times to order plants.

I'm sorry I can't advise on how to care for this one. 'Spider Plants' are pretty resilient though and I have seen one that lost all it's foliage from frost damage pop back to life in the Spring (it wasn't me, promise!).


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:21PM
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Yes, I'd be surprised with reasonable care if it manages to die.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Water it thoroughly and see if it doesn't perk up in a day or two. Keep it in light shade, not direct sunlight.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 5:53PM
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I think it's just thirsty. ditto what brodyjames said

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 5:56PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Some info from something I posted previously:

While necrotic leaf tips or margins can occur in this plant from over/under-watering, in fact, it's much more common for the actual cause to be a high level of soluble salts in soils. It's also commonly reported that this plant is particularly intolerant or fluoride, but it's still more common for the cause of leaf burn to be a high level of solubles, to which fluoride can be a contributor, than it is to be fluoride itself. WHEN there is a high level of salts in the soil, low humidity can be a contributor, but low humidity alone rarely presents an issue, it must be in combination with a high level of soluble salts in the soil or either over/under-watering.

Of course, you cannot correct the already burned leaves (they won't 'heal'), but you can take steps to keep it from happening:

A) Most important is to use a soil that drains very freely. This allows you to water copiously, flushing the accumulating salts from the soil each time you water.

B) Fertilize frequently when the plant is growing well, but at low doses - perhaps 1/4 the recommended strength. This, in combination with the favorable watering habit described above, will keep soluble salts levels low, and keep levels from rising due to the accumulative effect we always see when we are forced to water in sips when plants are in water-retentive soils.

C) When watering, using rainwater, snow melt, water from your dehumidifiers, or distilled water also eliminates the soluble salts in your tap water and will go a long way toward eliminating or minimizing leaf burn.

D) If you make your own soils and use perlite, be sure the perlite is rinsed thoroughly, which removes most of the dust that contains higher fluorides levels.

E) Allowing water to rest overnight doesn't/won’t do anything in the way of helping reduce the amount of fluoride (the compounds are not volatile), and it only helps with chlorine in a very few cases, depending on what method of chlorination was used to treat your tap water; but nearly all municipalities are currently using chlorination compounds that are entirely nonvolatile, which means they won’t dissipate into the air.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Your detailed information is always appreciated, but I think the OP was trying to ask how to care for it in its current state, as she/he received it in the mail this way (same OP who received the 'Peace Lilies' in that other post we both posted on). I wasn't sure if you read the post that way or not.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:39PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There really isn't anything she can do other than cut it back hard and keep if barely damp, or live with the blighted foliage. If she wanted to water in small sips, ask a friend to share their RO filtered water, or water with distilled water. Most important is to avoid over-watering, over-fertilizing, anything with excess fluoride, so no soils made with single superphosphate, diammonium phosphate, triple superphosphate, or even resin coated slow release fertilizers because of their fluorine content.

Snippets of stuff I've posted about chlorophytum:

The larger the pot, the faster they will increase in size and the faster they will mature, but there is a three-way relationship between the size of the plant material, how fast/porous the soil is, and how large the pot is. If the soil is very fast and holds no perched water (a layer of saturated soil at the bottom of the pot) there is no upper limit to pot size, but if the soil DOES hold perched water, you have to choose your pot size to allow for the rapid return of air to the soil, so a smaller pot is REQUIRED to prevent root rot.

This is a copy/paste job of comments I left on a competing forum site within the last few days. It may be of interest to you:

"I'll offer two very important things I think it takes to grow this plant well, and by 'well', I mean growing at close to the genetic potential built into the plant while keeping the plant attractive. You need to be cautious about the frequency with which you water, and you need to prevent the build-up of soluble salts in the soil. This plant is particularly reactive to high salt levels, and especially those compounds that form with fluorine. For that reason, it's wise to make your own soils that drain freely and eliminate perlite from those soils to eliminate a source of fluoride. (I can help if you're interested.)
The soil should drain freely enough that when you water you can water copiously and flush the soil w/o any danger of root rot setting in. This should be done every time you water. Weak doses of fertilizer at frequent intervals are better than fertilizing at recommended rates and intervals.

Your spider plant actually doesn't PREFER being root-bound. Like any plant, it will do exceedingly well in a very large container if the soil is fast enough. The plant in the picture would grow like crazzzy in a 10 gallon container, if the soil was made of particles large enough to guarantee the soil would hold no perched water (no saturated layer of soil at the container's bottom). Growth is measured by the increase of a plant's biomass, and I can't think of a single plant that does 'better' in cramped quarters. Before getting excited ;o) consider that because we might grow plants tight to bend them to our will, and because we see the results WE desire from the practice (e.g. some plants bloom better when grown under the stress of tight roots) doesn't mean that from the plant's perspective it's a good thing. The plant would prefer to have plenty of room for its roots to grow so it can maximize its mass - just like in nature. If tight little cramped quarters were best for plants, that's where Mother Nature would grow them.

I wanted a 'hot car', so I set it afire. Well yeah, you accomplished THAT goal and got what you wanted, but that doesn't mean it was the best choice for the car. ;o)

So to summarize:
* Get your watering procedure down pat - don't over-water

* Always fertilize and water with an eye toward maintaining the soluble salts level in the soil at the lowest level that will prevent deficiencies.

* Provide good light and favorable temperatures.

If you REALLY want to have a great looking plant with no, or absolutely minimal marginal or tip necrosis (burn) - water with distilled water, rainwater, or water collected from a dehumidifier."


Some plants have toxic reactions to various elements at lower levels than most other plants. Spider plants (and many others in the families Liliaceae [and Marantaceae]) just happen to tolerate compounds of fluorine poorly and react negatively to even what we would consider relatively low concentrations. E.g., drinking water commonly has 1 ppm fluoride added, and 1 ppm in irrigation water is eventually enough to cause marginal and tip necrosis. Add to your tap water another heavy source of fluorine like single superphosphate, diammonium phosphate, triple superphosphate, or even resin coated slow release fertilizers, and you can almost be assured of appearance problems.

I should clear something up on the perlite thing. You CAN leach perlite of a good part of the fluorine-containing compounds if you rinse it thoroughly several times before you incorporate it into soils. Negative reactions from perlite are most often seen soon after potting or repotting - before your irrigating has had a chance to leach the fluorides from the soil.

Highly aerated soils are best. For all my houseplants, I use a mix of:
by volume
1 part screened (1/8-1/4"), uncomposted pine or fir bark
1 part screened Turface or NAPA floor-dry
1 part crushed granite (grower grit or #2 cherrystone)
See following picture. Don't be alarmed that it looks like gravel. It works wonderfully. You get a highly aerated soil that lasts practically forever. The price you pay is the effort to find the ingredients to make it yourself and the effort to water more frequently.

I think a fertilizer with a 3:1:2 RATIO (24-8-16, 12-4-8, and 9-3-6 are examples of 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers) is best (for spiders and 95% of your other houseplants) because it comes closest (almost exactly) to supplying nutrients at the same ratio in which plants use them. This allows you to keep soluble salt levels at their lowest possible concentration while guarding against deficiencies.

Since Fl availability increases as pH decreases, we would probably want to stay away from urea-based fertilizers like MG. Dyna-Gro makes a fertilizer called 'Foliage-Pro' 9-3-6. It derives most of it's N from nitrate sources rather than urea, and it contains ALL the essential elements (most soluble fertilizers lack both Ca and Mg, and often other essential elements). I highly recommend it as your all-purpose fertilizer.

So again:

* Get your watering procedure down pat - don't over-water - you'd have to work very hard at over-watering plants in the soil I described above.

* Always fertilize and water with an eye toward maintaining the soluble salts level in the soil at the lowest level that will prevent deficiencies. Spiders don't need high fertility levels, so low doses of the fertilizer I suggested will go a looonng way toward keeping salts low

* Provide good light and favorable temperatures.


If you think there might be anything else I can help with, just ask - I have the thread marked so I can follow it.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:55PM
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    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:41AM
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Mine has looked a whole lot worse than the original posters, is still in trouble. To be upfront for my spider plant it's going to get worse.

Simply all I did was 1) remove entire plant from it's old pot 2) hard cut all it's foliage to the white colored rootless bublets 3) soak a modified mix that would provide the roots to breath when they return4) inserted the bulblets into soil (AKA mix) 5) mainatained a slightly higher than regular watering regement until new growth had started

Results of my how much can they take mishaps are
To much plant in the pot with the lack of an "ideal place" to put it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 10:39AM
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