Friday, December 13, 2013

Spider Plant Separation

Using those hanging plants from Sundays blog!

Who buys plants in the Winter? This girl. Why you may ask? Because that happens to be when I gained a new obsession with them.  Indoor plants in particular. I don't know what spiked my interest. Maybe a Pinterest find, maybe a memory of a relatives, maybe the sight of the 5th grade teachers at my school, I don't know, but I decided I HAD to have one. Conveniently, our local Lowe's had a few. I chose the best one and brought it home. I always want to replant plants when I buy them so I made some hanging planters (see my blog from last week for that DIY) and I repotted it.

Fun fact about Spider Plants #1: They thrive when slightly root bound.  Which is weird to me but everything I have read on them says so. Regardless, I felt a need to repot it.  I feel like slightly root bound and the mess I had were 2 different things.

I was terrified to repot this thing and to separate it nonetheless, so I'm sure someone else out there is too. So here's how my beginner self did it. So far they look good. Apparently, Spider Plants aren't very susceptible to transplant shock. Lucky me.

So the stuff… all the stuff you need to transplant a plant. What do you need? You mean to say you need stuff to transplant a plant? Yes.

Fun Fact #2: Spider Plants do not like to be waterlogged.  They have tuberous roots and suck up water.  Ya know, like plants do. But Spider Plants, they decide to get water logged and then get root rot and then they die. It's a whole thing. So we help avoid that by adding Perlite to the soil.  It helps "improve drainage and aeration in soil". I use Miracle Grow moisture control potting soil as well. You'll need a wheelbarrow to mix the soil in along with a trowel unless you want to use your hands. Your call. I am using the 2 hanging pots I made and I'm replanting some back into the pot I bought it in.  So I'm going to go from 1 plant to 3.

Easier-to-wrap-your-head-around list.

  • Spider Plant
  • Miracle Grow, moisture control soil
  • Miracle Grow, Perlite
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Trowel
  • Hanging pots if you want your plants to hang

First, I mix my soil.  I measured mine with the pots I'm planting in so I waste less soil. 

Then I add (in technical terms) that much Perlite.

Mix it up and it looks gloriously ready to aerate.

Now that your soil is ready it's time to take your plant out of its pot.  Squeeze the sides gently (especially if you plan on reusing it like me), tip it upside down, and gently tug it out. It'll probably be a bit (or more) root bound.

Now that it's out, start massaging squishing those roots to loosen them. Don't be worried if chunks of roots fall off. They reroot quickly. I had literally fist sized roots fall off of mine. If you have a plant like this one then you have 3 "mother" plants and 2 of them have split. Apparently splitting is a common thing for Spider Plants to do. You can see the 3 "mothers" well here as I loosen the roots. 

Keep squishing and dividing. You can see the "mother" that has split here along with the tuberous roots.

This is what you should end up with depending on how you choose to divide them. 

Next comes your pots. To make sure the water can escape make sure to put rocks in the base.  It also helps keep the soil from escaping through the drainage holes. My pots seem to have gigantic drainage holes so the rocks were especially important.

Now comes the planting!! Place enough dirt at the bottom of the pot to cover the rocks but not enough that your plants won't fit. I took this approach to it. I added some dirt, laid my plants on the side of the pot so the roots were dangling inside the pot, then filled the dirt in around them.

After the dirt is in, I personally push down the soil right around the base of each plant. It helps them stand up better. Otherwise, they look droopy and sad like such...

Repeat for the other plants or if your done then congrats! You've successfully separated and transplanted your Spider Plant.  Make sure to give it a good watering and let it dry out most of the way before you water them again.  Remember: They WILL get root rot if watered too much. 

My 3 lovelies. They look a little sad still but they should recover quickly.  They actually look better than when I first planted them.  I plan on giving 2 of them away as gifts for Christmas.  I wanted to transplant them in enough time that I can make sure I'm not giving away a plant thats going to die on someone.  I transplanted these on November 27, 2013.  I figured a month would be a decent amount of time. Good luck everyone!