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spider plant sick?

Posted by cghpnd Va (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 8:35

Hello all. I just found this page and I hope I am in the right place. I bought a spider plant from HD about 2 months ago. It has slowly been turning brown. I only water it when the soil is dry. About once every 7-12 days. I stick my finger in the soil to check. I've used distilled water, tap water, tried using a humidifier etc. I noticed a root at the top of the soil just hanging out when I went to water it. Is that normal? It was full when I brought it home but now I've had to cut the brown out and its thining out. It had babies when I brought it home.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: spider plant sick?

It sounds like it needs to be re-potted if there are roots growing out the top


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RE: spider plant sick?

In my experience, they can tolerate some pretty insane root-boundedness (root-binding?) if other conditions are okay. Though it's definitely not ideal.

How much light is it getting? And is it the variegated kind, or the solid green kind? In my experience, the variegated ones are WAY less tolerant of low light.


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RE: spider plant sick?

Does the pot have drainage holes? Sorry, but have to go with the most obvious first.....If yes, when you water, are you letting the water flow through the pot, or are you just giving the plant the amount you think it needs?

Nancy


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RE: spider plant sick?

Hey thanks for the responses. It is still in the original pot which is a hanging pot with drainage holes at the bottom. I put enough water in it that it comes out the bottom. I only water it when the soil is dry. So the roots coming out on top, does that cause the leaves to turn brown? I have it hanging between the kitchen and dinning room. The way my apt is I hardly get any sun in my windows so its shady.

Its the one that has the green leaves with the white stripes on the outsides of it. The baby plants had some browning on their roots at the ends of them but they have stopped turning.


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RE: spider plant sick?

This is the plant when I brought it home. I moved it from that spot because the heat vent is right above it and I thought maybe the window may have a draft coming in. Its thinner than that now due to the leaves turning brown. I will post a pic soon of it.


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RE: spider plant sick?

This is what it looks like now.


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that spiderplant actually looks healthy through the photo. in fact i wish mine were as big and pretty as that


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RE: spider plant sick?

Okay, this is nothing to be proud of (in fact, I'm embarrassed to post this), but this is how badly my non-variegated spiderplant needs to be root-pruned and repotted.

And here is the plant overall. Again, not gonna write home about it, but it got devoured by grasshoppers in the drought last year and has actually gained foliage mass after coming inside for the winter. It's about to bloom, presumably in a desperate attempt to escape the horrendous conditions I'm giving it. :P

So, that's my evidence that having exposed roots won't *necessarily* cause a spiderplant to fall into permanent decline. At least not immediately. (I'm not advocating doing what I've done to this poor thing!)

Now, I also have the variegated kind, like you. I got it at Lowe's, billed as an annual groundcover. It has two or three exposed roots, but nothing extreme. It gets huge outdoors in the summer, growing faster than the locusts can eat it (grrrrr) in partial sun and temps in the 90s.

But last year I moved and it shrank back after I brought it inside. The brown leaves don't start at the tip; they start in the center of the leaf (the chlorophyll-less white part). Last time I brought it in, I positioned it against a wall a few feet from a awning-covered south window (instead of its previous west window). It rapidly browned leaves, but many more on the dark side by the wall. After a few weeks, I grudgingly made room for it in a brighter spot (hot real estate -- I feel ya on the dim apartment), pulled way back on watering, and it's much happier now.

So that's my hypothesis; low light (probably coupled with overwatering, 'cuz I suck at quickly adjusting that to indoor conditions) causes variegated spideys to lose leaves. But this is just my personal experience, so absolutely disagree or disregard as y'all please. :D


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RE: spider plant sick?

Crap. Let's try this again.  photo IMG-20130402-03168_zpsb5cf990c.jpg

And:

 photo IMG-20130402-03171_zps5a9b8de6.jpg


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RE: spider plant sick?

Oh, for the love of . . . they're working in the preview. Silly internet. Sorry. Link to my Photobucket account.


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RE: spider plant sick?

Oh wow thats pretty cool how the roots are all over the top of the soil.Do they like that? Or does it vary from plant to plant?Good looking plant there!

What is the best soil to use for the spider plants? I was told to buy the miracle gro potting soil from home depot. it is a green bag with pictures of the snake plant on it with other colorful flowers.

Some of the stems have turned black, which they are the ones where there is no baby plants on it.

what does it mean when the baby plants roots have tiny black tips on them? Too dry?


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RE: spider plant sick?

Oops. All my pics are working now, eh? I look like a maniac! Oh, well.

I wouldn't say the plant LIKES to be that way, mostly because the surface roots are a symptom of the pot being completely packed. I think I'll finally be repotting this weekend, and I'll take some photos of the process.

(purpleinopp has some great spiderplant root-pruning photos somewhere . . . ahh, looks like this thread. There's also a picture of my variegated spider plant before it browned a bunch of leaves. :'( Actually, during the leaf browning. That was the too-low-light location I think I mentioned. (Thanks for the compliment, BTW -- I'll pass it on the plant. ;)

I think spider plants are one of the most tolerant of the Miracle Grow soil you described. I definitely wouldn't put the pictured snake plant/Sansevieria in it, but . . .

Repotting is a pain when they get huge, so one problem is when using the peat-based MG mix, it *should* be re-potted (as in removing the old soil from the roots and replacing it with new) annually.

I have a semi-scientific experiment going on, where two nearly identical spider plant babies are planted in identical pots, with identical lighting, but one is in fresh peat-based soil (a local nursery's mix, but similar to MG) and one is in a gritty mix (pine bark, turface, perlite -- alas, was before I procured crushed granite). The gritty mix is winning so far, and I'd bet a bundle that it'll win by an extreme margin in year 2 if leave them in the same pots and don't replace the soil in the peat one.

Regardless of how the side-by-side comparison goes, I'll be repotting both of mine into a gritty mix. There's a LOT of great threads about potting media choice -- almost an overwhelming amount of info -- if you're curious and wanna do some forum searches.

As far as stems and baby root tips turning black, hmm, not sure. I think I got some of that on stems when the temps were near 100F last year, but might be a different cause. Chemical sensitivities are often mentioned, and I haven't had trouble with that personally, but this article has a lot of information.

Keep in mind, too, that they don't care too much about UNDERwatering. I've let mine get to where the leaves are kinda pale and folded up, and when I drench them, they return to normal. Not proud of that habit, and not advocating that extreme, but erring on the side of watering-neglect has worked a lot better than when I've over-watered.

I think if you take it slow, change one factor at a time, when you finally hit the 'sweet spot' for your plant's needs, it'll bounce back huge. You haven't had it for long, and they take some time to get acclimated, and I think your plant still looks great! I just noticed that there's tons of new fluffy growth in the second pic. In other words, don't panic!


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RE: spider plant sick?

cghpnd,
How much light does it get? I've noticed a difference in how bushy the plant gets from varying light levels. Some plants shed leaves when becoming acclimated to significantly different conditions from where they were grown. Not sure if the spider plant is sensitive to air ducts. Also, from my own research, a light soil is recommended to pot them in.


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RE: spider plant sick?

I finally repotted my spider. And i must say it was a task itself! I was not prepared for that but I got it done! I hope I dont kill it now! The roots look cool under all that dirt, some were even 1 inch thick.. I did my best getting all the old dirt out of the roots..

I ended up mixing the MG soil with some perlite. I did 25 soil and 75 perlite. I sure hope it will be ok.. The plant looks mad now but maybe because its in a bigger pot...hmmm... thanks for the tips!

I have the plant hanging between my kitchen and dining room. And the lights stay on most of the day but I believe the plant would do better near a window, however I live in an apt and its always shady, except for out on the patio.

My vents are closed,to me its always hot in here so no need for the heat -- lol...Id say its about 70 in at any given time..


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Neat... before I cleaned it out.


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I failed to mention that the plant looks sad now compared to before the repotting.
I broke some leaves during the process.


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Fri, May 10, 13 at 7:01

Well, heres what it looks like now. Come to find out it had a lot of root rot... Someone went behind my notes ( DO NOT WATER ANY PLANT INSIDE) while I was out of town and watered it EVERYDAY for 4 days!!! So I am in the process of trying to figure out what to do about it. I have read to cut the dead roots off with a sterile sharp knife
and not water for a few weeks. Is that true? I trashed the soil it was in too.


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Fri, May 10, 13 at 7:03

Sorry but I had to upload it using paint. I haven't been on my laptop in a very long time lol.


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Fri, May 10, 13 at 7:04

Ive been pulling off yellow leaves and the tips were all brown for about half an inch. The babies too!


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RE: spider plant sick?

Just keep it well watered until it perks back. Then try to put it outside


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Fri, May 10, 13 at 11:38

I cut off a lot of roots, the biggest ones, which bummed me out. It was full of nice roots until they all turned to mush and rotted. Its about 75% perlite and 25% MG potting mix. I cut off all the discolored/dead/broken/yellow leaves and I hope this plant survives (its my 1st).


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RE: spider plant sick?

Like Gloria Gaynor, it will survive, it just needs to stop rotting. IME with the stalks of babies, once the stalk starts turning yellow, the whole stalk is dying, so time to remove those and grow the babies soon. You can stick them around the edges in the pot with the mama, or in some other pot.


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Sat, May 11, 13 at 18:41

I've planted about 15 babies not long ago and everyone of them did not make it :(
All the bad roots were cut off and the mama still looks like its leaves are shriveling up. Ahhh ...is it normal for it to continue to show signs like that while the roots heal?


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Sat, May 11, 13 at 18:48

I've planted about 15 babies not long ago and everyone of them did not make it :(
All the bad roots were cut off and the mama still looks like its leaves are shriveling up. Ahhh ...is it normal for it to continue to show signs like that while the roots heal?


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That's very weird about the babies! Did they have roots?

Can you show a pic of your plant at the soil surface? Does that hanging basket have a drain saucer attached?


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Mon, May 13, 13 at 19:40

The babies did have roots when I planted them. The 1s that did not have roots went into water until they grew roots. Could too strong of plant food kill these plants?
The hanging basket has holes in it, the water flows freely out of it when I do water it. I can take pics tomorrow when I go home.


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RE: spider plant sick?

Always been my understanding that the nitrogen in feed will burn roots when developing and I'd always read advice saying not to fertilize until roots are formed and mature enough to take it.

In the meantime I need to ask Purp something.

Purp?

A baby off a mother plant was set out in too much sun. It has roots that would nearly fill a four inch pot. The leaves are all burning up because I did a lousy job of covering it to gradually acclimate it to full sun,right...?

Oh yeah...I planted it in the ground but that aside,..those roots are fine and dandy and will soon be sending up new even more pronounced variegated leaves as in...my plant will be back,right? I know they can take some cold so I'm not so much worried about that and I'm pretty confidant that everything will go as planned but it would be nice to hear a re-assurance from someone who's been there. :)


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I've noticed that when my spider plants start to go down hill, sometimes the best thing to do is to cut off all the stems with the babies on it and give the mother plant a break. My spiders always bounce back after that. I think like any mother, we all need a break from kids once in a while to rest or else we'd all go down hill fast (even though for humans it might be an hour or so, spider plants needs more like 6 months to rest LOL). I really think the baby spiders take too much energy from the mother plant, and if she isnt feeling well, the whole plant starts to decline. The mother needs to be top health to support a lot of babies.

Sorry, just a thought from past experience.


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Tue, May 14, 13 at 7:43

I'm sorry, I lied. One baby survived, its the one that was dying and had mealy bugs. I put it outside, said the hell with it. I went out to cover the plants for night time and noticed it. So I think ill put mama out there in the shade when it hits 70. I know I killed the mama. :(. Pics coming soon of what's left.


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RE: spider plant sick?

It definitely could be too much fertilizer. We've all done that to a plant, just part of learning but sorry that happened.

Asleep, did I become the plant psychic? The Chlorophytum whisperer? I don't think so but flattered you'd ask. A little sunburn and cold probably won't be fatal. I can't predict what will happen to your plant, but here's a story...

The patch of spider plant I dug up in my Mom's yard has sent up a few new shoots even though I thought I did a very thorough job of digging out the roots. Surprised by that because I've buried severed roots MANY times to see if they would grow and none ever did.

The plant material I dug up was put in a big plastic tote and is not dead yet. At one point it rained HARD and the tub was filled with water for a few weeks. There were many nights of frost... Then I dumped it upside-down a couple months ago, over top of the mass of plant material. My Mom insisted that I bring it home over the weekend and there's still green leaves in there.

These plants are so much more succulent than I ever imagined, dug-up 6 months ago, just took the pic a minute ago. Not sure this stuff can be composted, yet, anyway, it would probably just keep growing in the small pile I can make at this time of year.


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The Purple swami has spoken!

I may rest at ease now! :D

Thanks Purp! :)


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Awww, I feel that way when YOU tell ME something. At least, we've got good vibes going for these plants, and sending more to your lil' spider!


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Wed, May 15, 13 at 9:10

Sorry, I haven't been able to find my camera to take a pic of the mama. The yellowing of the leaves has slowed down though. UGH! I don't what to do, I really love this plant. And I really don't want to hear hubby say " I told you, you couldn't last more than 4 months" I could do a switch a roo on him but I still want this plant .. lol

Since I had to cut all the bad roots off, its a lot of room in the pot now, should I put it in a smaller one?


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Wed, May 15, 13 at 9:12

Sorry, I haven't been able to find my camera to take a pic of the mama. The yellowing of the leaves has slowed down though. UGH! I don't what to do, I really love this plant. And I really don't want to hear hubby say " I told you, you couldn't last more than 4 months" I could do a switch a roo on him but I still want this plant .. lol

Since I had to cut all the bad roots off, its a lot of room in the pot now, should I put it in a smaller one?


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I wouldn't. Those huge roots will grow back soon, and need room to do so. Try to wait until it is very dry to add more water.


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I agree


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Wed, May 15, 13 at 12:59

I have all the house plants in the MG potting mix the green bag. Should I use that MG blue bag along with the perlite? some of my plants seem like it takes 3 weeks to dry out like I stick my finger in it and its still damp. is that bad that its like that for so long? I have a really nice Peperomia kimnachii and I most deff don't want to lose that!

what do yall use for fast drainage soil?


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RE: spider plant sick?

cghpnd,
I'm not particularly fond of MG soil. I know I've tried using it for my outdoor container plants and just yesterday in fact, had to repot one of my hostas because of the smell coming from the soil (not to mention, I swear, every time I've used that stuff I find little yellow balls in the soil... not sure what that is but I don't think I want to know).

If the blue bag is what I think it is, it's the moisture control MG soil... I definitely don't like that stuff. It retains too much moisture IMO.

As a recommendation, I'd checkout Al's Gritty Mix (you can type it in the search bar of GW and find a number of posts about it).

Planto


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You might add a bunch of perlite to make it faster draining, like maybe 30-50% perlite.


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Wed, May 15, 13 at 17:32

Little yellow balls in the soil doesn't seem good at all. that's weird!
I've looked into make the gritty mix, however the cost of the ingredients are way too much for me and around here they lack 2 of them. it sucks... I really should of done research BEFORE I bought all these house plants! Thanks for your help though.


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Little yellow balls sounds alot like a time release fert to me.

Just a guess. :)


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cghpnd,
I'm sorry you can't find two of the ingredients. Don't feel bad though, there is ways to grow plants successfully (even if all you have on hand is MG soil). I know PG knows more than I do about soil, so if she says to add more perlite to it to make it faster draining and that's all you have, I'd go with what she says. I just don't use it myself (not saying because I don't, you can't... just giving you my opinion).

asleep,
I'd think the same if they weren't tiny and in clusters. Wish I took a photo yesterday but I didn't. It was like scooping out... spider eggs or something (I know they're not spider eggs though). And the smell.... smells like... mushrooms. Uck.

Planto


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Maybe snail eggs, planto? I had that problem a year or so ago...


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RE: spider plant sick?

Maybe snail eggs, planto? I had that problem a year or so ago...


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Greta,
Hi again. :) I looked up snail eggs and of the pictures I could find, they look too large. *shrugs* Whatever they were, I evicted them lol. All I know is I've found them growing in my potted plants placed in MG soil only, maybe there's an environmental condition I don't know of and I'm improperly blaming the soil, but I don't plan to purchase anymore bags and find out. Lol.

Planto


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Thu, May 16, 13 at 8:57

Ok here's a few pics finally.


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RE: spider plant sick?

  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Thu, May 16, 13 at 8:59

Another


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RE: spider plant sick?

Realistically, millions of plants are out there doing fine in MG potting soils of various types, and countless variations of it. The fact that a number of people prefer something else that you can't find all of the components for isn't something worth stressing over, IMO. Certainly not worth regretting having the plants at all. Doing what you can do is all you can do, which it sounds like you're doing. As long as you let the soil dry out before adding more water, your plants should be fine. If we could ask the plant, it might say it would prefer to rest and recuperate rather than be disturbed again anyway.

It doesn't look anywhere near death's door. As long as it gets a chance to dry out, it looks like it will bounce back to being beautiful soon. After cutting off the big carrot roots, it's not unusual for older leaves to be discarded. The new leaves should look fantastic, upright, unblemished, unbent. It's not uncommon for people to trim spider plants down to about an inch to "start over" with new foliage.


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Thu, May 16, 13 at 9:56

Ok I feel a little better knowing that. Shewwww. Ill just keep it outside until it dries up a bit. I just hope the peporomia k. N the purple jew plants dont do this to me lol. Its worrisome.


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How is the plant doing now? I think the balls are time release. My spiders do well with MG so long as I don't over water them and refresh the soil every year because it tends to get moldy/root rot. I used a Scotts soil many years ago that drained better than the MG but have not been able to find it since. I'm cheap so can't get the better, more expensive soil. This year when I repotted/trimmed the roots/refreshed the soil I added rocks to the bottom and that seems to be making the drainage better.


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  • Posted by cghpnd 7 / Virginia (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 24, 13 at 15:04

Welp, its gone. I have about 3 babies from it.
It died a few days later. So disappointing. Thanks for asking.


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Aww sorry! Did the babies survive? Hopefully they did and it doesn't take too long to bring them to the beauty of the mother.


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If you got it at one of the box stores (HD, lowes) they offer a 1yr guarantee:)!!


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The 3 babies are doing well. I put one outside and 2 are inside. My first plant ever and I failed! I think what happened is I used too much fertilizer and I over watered. And it wasn't drying out fast enough. I will never forget Ralonda... I trashed the remaining parts of her.. I haven't seen a plant like her yet!


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