Plant Killers. They’re real.

Plant KillerIf you’re a plant killer your going to want to read this.  

Okay so you’ve killed every plant you’ve ever tried to grow.  

If you haven’t killed it yet, it probably looks like it’s dead or wishes it was or better yet wishes someone would come rescue it.  From you.   

You actually feel guilty when you plant shop knowing your death-wish track record so far.

You’ve actually wondered if there’s a special place in hell for people like you who despite your best efforts continue to decimate plants. 

Oh come on, you know it’s true. I ain’t judging but I am sayin……..

You come from a long lineage of natural green thumbs where they can make even a dead stick grow into the most beautiful tree you’ve ever seen. 

Well, that last one may have been a bit of a stretch but you know exactly what I mean. Those people who seem to be able to touch anything and make it live & grow; don’t they make you sick. But not you. 

No, no you suck at growing things but that hasn’t stopped you from trying & trying again each time making you just that more hell bent on finding the one plant that will survive you.  That is after you’ve managed to kill yet another one;  again.

There may be hope for you yet.  

Meet the Spider Plant. Don’t be put off by her name as not only is she an uber easy to care for plant she’s also a baby making machine in disguise & will make more baby spider plants for you than even you can shake a stick at.

Who cares that your entire house & both yards are filled with just one type of plant? 

You don’t as you can finally grow something & quite well if I might add.  Haters gonna hate.

In no time flat you can be the envy of your friends & family as your home is filled with her beautifully draping long lush leaves and of course new spider babies that hang gracefully from good ol’ mama. All you need is just one Mama Spider plant to start your upcoming colony.  Or you can grab one from someone else’s mama plant. (see how-to somewhere below)  

Trust me you’re going to love this.  And if you’re like me you’ll soon become fascinated which is not to be confused with obsessed & addicted to the art of making new spider plants & have them growing on every windowsill, flat surface or empty space you can find that has at least some filtered light present.

Another attribute of the spider plant is that they make one of the most beautiful additions to any space when they are allowed to hang say from a ceiling or from a plant stand verses sitting on the floor.  This is due to their cascading growth pattern. 

Very tropical.   I like tropical.  I have a strong affection for the variegated (green & white striped variety) verses the solid green she comes in as you will see. Now don’t let her laymen name fool you as she doesn’t walk around on her own nor is she known to attract living breathing spiders but instead it’s her growth pattern and ability to grow beautiful little baby plants that shoot up and out of her that dangle and drape beautifully from her long pale yellow shoots. 

For those hard core greenies out there her genius name is Chlorophytum comosum.

She’s what’s known in the gardening community as a tuber  in that her roots are nutrient rich tubes and if you stick her in the ground she will self propagate.  How much better does it get?

Me,  I hang all of my spiders…..   Don’t be too grossed out by her tubers as potatoes are tubers too you know. I’m stingy with my beloved plants.  Extremely stingy & seriously protective of all my plant-children.  I very rarely give them away as I can’t bear to ask the taker of my rarely gifted plant how she’s doing only to learn that my beloved plant-child has died.  Yes this is all true. 

I do have one friend Betty who has a natural affinity for growing plants just like her mother; natural greenies just like me.  I’ve already had the ‘don’t kill my babies’ speech with Betty & she’s good with it as sometimes plants die despite our best efforts so if one of my plant-babies croaks while under Betty’s watch I have peace about that because I know Betty is a superior plant-mama & even despite the most perfect circumstances & environments sometimes shit just happens.

Betty is embracing her green thumb but she’s not addicted to it.   She’s not I tell you & so what if she’s fixated on starting new baby plants from each & every one of the fallen leaves of her many succulents. So in preparation for our lunch date this week I started two new Mama Plants; one for me & one for Betty from multiple Mama plants and their babies living here in my own home.  

Decided to make a DIY post out of it to share the mystical beauty, ease & enjoyment that growing these kick ass plants can bring. Don’t be nervous it’s actually a lot of fun.  Now let’s do this! Oh…….. I think I should now give a disclaimer. 

I have issues.   A lot of them.  One of them which has grown my garden exponentially & seeing’s as how I have yet to be arrested for it as I don’t see it as stealing but more of a compliment to the growers; I’ve decided to share with you. 

I’m a clipper, snapper & breaker offer of plant parts.  On rare occasions when the chosen one refuses to break off of the chosen doner plant & come home with me I’ve even chewed the piece off.  Scouts honor.

When I’m out & about & I see a plant or tree or any living green creature & have decided I’d like to have that growing in my sanctuary I snap off a piece of it.  Or quickly pull up the wee-tiny 2-3 inch volunteer baby tree growing under the mama tree. (hint hint) I bring them home stick them in dirt and see if they’ll grow.   Most of the time they do.   For me I’d rather grow plants this way especially if their mother stock is old as dirt as I feel a connection with the earth & love continuing the lineage of anything that’s managed to survive for decades.  

Believe it or not I can remember every single plant & the story behind where I got them like the deep red geranium I snapped a piece off of as we exited a Denny’s restaurant one morning that now grows beautifully in our garden.  One, 4 inch piece is all it took & she’s huge now & I’ve started more of her babies by snapping off her branches & sticking them in dirt.  Propagation in its most basic form.  I also travel with a dollar store funded gardening kit in my car equipped with a trowel, pruning shears, disposable rubber gloves, baggies, garbage bags & plastic grocery bags for those OMG I Have to have that!!! moments.   I’m still strategizing out how to get a shovel to fit in my kit.   I’m serious.  I told you I had issues.   (hint hint)

Things you’ll need:

A pot or pots depending on how many plants you want to start. OH!!! Your pot must have at least a single drainage hole if not more. You must never plant a plant into a pot which does not have adequate drainage. Why? Plant’s breathe, drown  & then they rot & croak. * Note: The plants I potted for Betty & I have about 10 or so babies in each. You can actually start a new Mama Plant that will triple in size within months from one single baby but seeing’s as how I’m an impatient person by design I loaded ours up.

Potting medium, My favorites are Redi-Grow Humus aka: Black Gold in my opinion & remember I can grow stuff like mad & Ace Hardware Compost in the red & white 2cf bag. Sorry was unable to find the stuff online so no linky pooh. :/ I mix the two together & if I have some nice powdery dirt from the yard throw in about an 1/8 part of it to the 50/50 blend of my two favorites. The dirt acts like a binding agent & retains the moisture of the mixture.

Scissors or clippers

Water for watering your new plants once done planting

Here’s Mama !:  STEP 1

Mama Spider Plant Captioned

Meet Mama!

Isn’t she gorgeous!!!! Mama is one of my smaller Mother Spider’s however she was started using fellow spider plant babies from her sister plants.  The final product of today’s new starter plant is about the size Mama was when I started her just like this a few months back.     I know, this is so exciting!!!!!!

Mama’s “Shoots”:  STEP 2  

No you don’t get to meet her babies yet. Suspense people! I’m building it…

Here’s Mama’s ‘shoots’ which is where all her beautiful lil babies have been growing.  Her shoots are the pale yellow long stems.  This is all unannounced to you as you’ve been so preoccupied with life & Mama is just so easy to care for.   Plus she’s sneaky,  very sneaky,  so she’s been cranking out babies like mad & you never even noticed them.   Until now. Taking a pair of sharp scissors or garden clippers following the length of her shoot stem all the way down into the base of Mama.  Clip.  Remove the shoot.  Repeat.  Repeat doing the same with each baby on your newly clipped shoot following it along until you meet the baby.  Clip it releasing the baby.   Repeat until all babies have been released from their shoots. Shown below. Damn! I showed you the baby too soon! Clipping the babies from Mama's shoots.JPG (No, you don’t have to make your cuts using a rock. But you have to admit that’s a damn good looking rock) I wasn’t able to use both of my hands to cut them off the way I normally would as I needed my other hand to take the pic so I improvised.)

Mama’s BABY!!!!!!!! Yep there she is right below us.

Thanks to my new ADURO brand macro magnetic iPhone camera lens  and one of my favorite online websites for all things thrifty Tanga.com  where I picked up 3 custom lenses for $10 you’re getting to see her up close & personal.   Isn’t she lovely?  I think so too.  She & all her sisters are independent spider plants all on their own equipped with their own nutrient rich tuber root system.  Some people call this root system air roots but she loves dirt so lets plant this beauty. Mama's Baby

 STEP 3 (INSERT IMAGINARY PICTURE HERE)

Here’s where I sucked it as I didn’t take pics of the pot nor the dirt in it.  I also didn’t take pics of me planting the beloved babies.   Sorry, I get ahead of myself sometimes.

Put your potting soil into your chosen pot; about 3/4 full. Tap the pot gently on the ground or table to settle the dirt & add more soil bringing the level back up to the 3/4 full mark.  Using your finger make some holes one at a time for where each new baby will be planted.

Plant each baby making sure to bury all their roots but not the top of the plant.   Pack the soil around each one firmly but not so firmly that you maim & kill your new plant.  Repeat until you have as many or as little baby plants in your new pot as you want.   Add some more of your potting mix around your new plants and gently press the soil down.

Water.  Let her drain well.

Pull up a chair grab a drink or in my case a Diet Coke & a smoke as you stare lovingly at your new plants that are going to live & not die.  If Betty were here with me now she’d be having a Pepsi; leaded. Here’s my finished project and no,  I’m not showing off my other plants surrounding her they just happened to be there.  Well okay, maybe just a little. TaDA! Project Complete Spider Plant planting Project completed. Meet your new Mama Spider Plant!

 Step 4   Caring for your new Mama Spider Plant

AKA: Do not over water her although you can also start new spider plant babies in water by submerging their bottoms in water while they sprout their tuber roots for those babies who haven’t already done so however they will only live so long in this water before they begin to rot & finally croak.  Plus its so much easier to leave them on Mama & let them grow their own air-grown roots; remember; Mama’s sneaky. 

Since your no longer going to be a plant killer I thought I’d better throw that one in for good measure.

Keep her soil moist but not wet & allow her to nearly dry out between each watering. Fertilize every several months or so & Mama’s good like that too;  she’ll tell you when you need to do so as her vibrant green will begin to turn pale and look all bleached out. Her vibrancy you can see here in these pictures.

She likes light and sun however will burn in super hot temps above 100 degrees for prolonged periods of time. If she is going to be in hot temps just make sure you water her at least a few times a week.

Mama does not like freezing temps.  She must be protected from freezing temps or she will do just that; freeze then once she thaws out her leaves will begin to melt and dissolve as she lays in a mushy puddle of sludge.

On a positive note I’ve been hit by freezing temps I didn’t see coming even if Mama did & after recovering from my emotional meltdown at discovering poor Mama’s frost damage have cut all the damage back & off at dirt level.  Then I waited & wouldn’t cha know it she came back in the spring & summer.  She will do great in the shade too and her colors will deepen in intensity she’ll just require much less water.  She’s very easy to please just don’t drown her nor dehydrate her and your good to go.

The End 😉 for now……

Signature This delightful creation is the sole property of Jana Leigh Thomas~Ortega, http://www.theartofthisnthat.com & http://www.theartofthisnthat.wordpress.com.  Prior written consent by the author must be obtained in order to use/reproduce its content; either in its entirety or lil tidbits.  Kthanksgottagobye! 😉

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