Super Spiders August 23 2012

I’ve spent the last few years learning about vegetables. How to sow them, grow them, harvest them and collect the seeds for growing the following year.

Strangely, I’ve only recently taken a foray into houseplants, after learning how very easy they are to keep. I started, as many people do, with a Spider Plant (officially known as chlorophytum). Like Spiderman, the crafter’s superhero of choice, with his ability to dispense yarn on demand with a mere flick of his wrist, they are practically indestructible, look very cute hanging off the edge of things (buildings and/or shelves) and if you are one of the goodies, your life expectancy can be extended by their very presence.

Spider plants absorb harmful chemicals, thus improving the quality of the air around you. They also look beautiful in hanging baskets or perched on a high shelf, especially when they make plantlets, or runners, creating a beautiful indoor cascade of green and white stripe. 

But as Spidey reminds us, with great power there must also come great responsibility. These runners make fantastic gifts which you can share with your friends and increase their quality of life too. So here is a quick explanation on how to propagate them. It’s easy peasy. 

Once the runners have around 6 or 7 leaves, they can be pinned into their own smaller pots. I used some old picture hooks that I found hanging around but you can use anything that keeps the runner pegged to the soil, bent out paperclips work especially well too. After about a week, the plant will have grown a root or two that it will use to grip the soil and then you can snip the threads to the motherplant. Have you ever propagated strawberry runners? This is exactly the same process. 


The plants can also be split into smaller plants by separating at the roots, this can be done about once per year.  You will see how the plant has split into a number of smaller ones, so you can simply break these apart and pot into separate pots, giving them more room to thrive. 


I hope this has set your spider senses tingling and you’re going to propagate some plants yourselves. Have fun! And let me know how you get on.