how do i cut the brown tips off my spider plant?

Lamora(4)September 22, 2011

Hi, I wanted to thank everyone for the help with my spider plant. It is just one section that isnt curly now, not sure what that deal is. But for the most part it is doing better. But I do have a question about how to cut the leaves that are bent and brown. When I cut the brown tips off, they are brown again within just a few days. Am I cutting them off wrong? And the "shoots", they are turning brown, what do I do with those, are those the "babies"? There are about 5 of those now, going up straight.

and someone said to cut the bent ones too, how far down do I cut them off?

Im almost afraid to touch it now-- lol. Is there a way to prevent them from bending? Sorry for sounding silly, but I've never had a spider plant before, and when I looked into them, they sounded easy enough to take care of, but these tips turning brown are driving me crazy. And some are turning brown in the center of the leaves from the tips. The new leaves underneith are doing good, but they are still small.

Any help here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If you could post a pic of your plant(s) they would be so much easier to talk about. I wasn't sure if you mean your pot has 2 different spider plants, or 2 completely different plants?

I keep thinking I put it in a too big of a pot... When did you change the pot? Does the pot of your plant have a drain hole? What can you tell us about the "dirt?"

From this and your other post, it sounds like overwatering is the cause of the problem with your spider. Brown-ness can be caused by overwatering or underwatering, and overwatering can look like wilting, but, I suspect there's a combination of not enough light, soil that doesn't dry out fast enough, and a feast/famine watering regime that are affecting the health.

The leaves need to get enough sun and enough moisture to not become wilty dry (but not sit in constantly wet soil) or they will weaken and bend. Although outside a strong wind can bend the most healthy leaves, a spider plant with too little light will make leaves that try to stretch into the sun and they get so long they can't hold their own weight. In my experience with spider plants, there is not much hope for older, unhealthy leaves, or bent leaves. If your plant is getting a lot more light now, it should start putting out new, robust leaves, and you can remove the less appealing leaves gradually or immediately.

Almost any leaf from any plant will develop a brown edge when they are cut. It's like a scar. You can cut the bent and brown-tipped leaves down as far as possible without bumping into the other leaves, or just cut off as much brown as you can while still leaving a thin stripe. Stopping the leaves from needing to have their tips cut will make this knowledge a moot point.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 2:24PM
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Hi Lamora. When Spider tips brown, the best way to clip is:

Use a sharp pair of scissors. Clip into the brown, leaving about 1/8" of brown on. If you cut into green, 'like you've been doing,' leaves will continue browning.

Also, think I mentioned this to you before. Keep water in your watering can at least 24 hours. Chlorophytum/Spiders dislike chlorine.
When water sits, chlorine evaporates.

Did you ever have a fish tank? Often, fish die because tap water contains chlorine. Choices are adding a chemical that removes chlorine or letting water sit a couple-few days before placing fish inside. I used to breed fish.

The same applies to Spider Plants. A small watering can holds a fraction of water opposed to an aquarium, therefore chlorine evaporates faster.

Give it a try, it can't hurt. As long as you care for your Spider Plant properly, tips should grow w/o browning.

Please keep us posted...Toni

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 3:10PM
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purpleinlopp: yes- it has 2 different spider plants in it, one is curly and the other one is long and straight. the curly one is why I bought it. I will try to post a pic of it this afternoon sometime.

And yes, I have been cutting ALL the brown off. :( was wondering about that. The soil is drying out quite a bit since it has some real light now. We have a bay window and it gets filtered light from it.

Plus I only water with DISTILLED water now. (Even I cant drink the tap water up here) The soil is Mirical Grow (sp?)
I repotted it a few days after I got it, the roots were coming out of the holes from the pot it came in, The pot does have holes in it. I think it is just too big of pot. would it hurt it to put it in a smaller pot?
So there is a bit more info if it helps.

I really want it to be as pretty as it was when I got it, but somewhere along the line, I feel like I failed it.
Thanks for everything you have told me, been trying to make it work. ;)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 3:37PM
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Lamora, waiting a few days before repotting was a good idea. Some authors suggest waiting six-months, but when roots pop out of drainage holes, it's time to repot.

If the pot is too large there will be problems. The max is 2" larger than the rootball.

Miracle Gro is good soil, but it should be amended with other mediums like Perlite. MG has some Perlite mixed in, but not enough.

So, if you decide to reduce pot size, add Perlite with MG. After repotting, 'pot needs drainage holes,' water thoroughly. Place in a bright to sunny spot, and let be.

Watering depends on pot size, air moisture, and heat/cool temps.

Soil should dry between waterings. Three ways to test soil is, 1. insert your finger or a thin stick deep in soil..if it comes out moist/wet, bottom soil is still wet. Don't water.
2. Lift pot. If it's heavy, soil is damp to wet. Don't water. If light, give it a drink.
3. Water guages. Don't bother with the little cardboard types..they're trash. If you want a decent guage, buy one at a reputable shop. But, inserting a stake/finger is the best, and econical way. No need spending money. didn't fail your plant. Losing plants is part of gardening and a way of learning.
All gardeners, in and out, lost plants at times. We learn by our mistakes.
Correct what we did wrong with the first plant.
So, please don't feel bad.

There are two other methods I use and find very helpful. you might or might not be interested.
One is misting plants daily. Sprayers are inexpensive.
The second is a product called Superthive. Superthrive contains hormones and 50 Vitamins. It does wonders with sick plants, seedlings or healthy plants that need a boost.
It is not a fertilizer. In fact, it can be used with fertilizer, but not to be confused as a fertilizer.

Neither methods are needed, but as a long-time gardener, I've been using/doing both over 20 yrs. Actually longer, but I won't go there, lol.

Hope your Spider does well...Toni

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 4:27PM
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Lamora, sorry I don't have a recent picture, and my camera batteries are charging.

The green Spider on the right was purchased 1973/4. It's one of my oldest plants.
I've divided a few times throughout the year because of weight..this pic was taken 2009, after dividing in spring of that year.

It's not perfect, but for its age, doing well. Toni

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 4:35PM
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How do i post pictures on the thread? I dont see anywhere to do that?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Lamora, do you have your pics stored somewhere like Flickr or Photo bucket? Toni

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 3:25PM
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