Monday, March 31, 2008

The Gift That Keeps on Giving (and Giving...)

See the veritable jungle planted here in my morning room? Now, look closely... 
Do you see the blue pot up there on the kitchen table, the one with a lighter blue stripe toward the top edge? THAT is the spider plant from which all the others pictured here have sprung. (Yes, even the teensie-weensie one perched on the stool in the bottom left corner.) And, as you can see, the offspring are just as fertile as the original.  

I started thinking about these guys when I visited Michelle's My Semblance of Sanity blog the other day, and she mentioned in her post a plant she received as a gift - a sort of family heirloom type deal. The problem is, she just can't seem to keep it healthy, and was looking for advice for what to do with it.

Well, that original spider plant up there was a gift from my mother-in-law. I can't remember anymore if she was my actual mother-in-law at that point, or if she was still just "my boyfriend's mother." Either way, when she gave it to me, it wasn't doing too terribly well. It was a bit brown, and in need of a larger pot. I think I remember her saying something along the lines of, "Here. You like plants. Maybe you can do something with this." So, I took it home, gave it a new pot and new soil, watered it, and waited.

It turns out you don't have to do much to keep spider plants alive. Mine have lived through weeks of me forgetting to water them during the early months of new babies in the house. They have survived toddlers who grabbed handfuls of dirt from their pots, then gleefully threw the nice black dirt all over Mommy's nice white carpet. They have survived other toddlers who have skipped the digging part altogether, opting instead to simply pull the pots off their stands, and then play in the whole pile of dirt all at once. They have traveled with me through four interstate moves, squeezed in the back of moving trucks and SUV's and pick-up trucks.  

Despite all of that chaos, and probably lots more that I don't even know about, they are not only still alive, but thriving. Like I told a neighbor I passed some off to - err, I mean, gave some as a gift to - you can't kill these things, even if you wanted to.

Since I can't bear to just throw the spider plant babies out, and I can't keep them all, I end up rooting them in cups of water and trying to find homes for them. Sometimes, my entire kitchen table (and parts of the floor) are literally covered by plastic cups crammed with spider plant babies. I have kept a few, but I have given away maybe a hundred or more!

I gave some to my mom in a pot painted. I think I gave some to one of my grandmas a few years ago. I gave some to my mom's best friend for her morning room. I gave some to the very first movers we had. I gave some to the kids' teachers (at Christmas AND end-of-the-year) for the last two years running. I gave some to at least three sets of new neighbors as housewarming gifts. Last summer, I planted about twenty bundles of them in plastic cups and pushed them on my mom's family. Then, I took another 15 bundles or so and dropped them off on neighbor's porches before they got home from work - anonymously. I even sent my kids, spider plants in hand, to neighbors who are always home, hoping they wouldn't say no to their sweet little faces...

And now, as you can see in the picture up there, I am bombarded with babies again. So, who wants a nice spider plant? Or two? Or three? I have to warn you, though, even their babies have babies. Lots and lots and lots of babies...


  1. Kim,
    One morning while I was taking my daily walk, I stopped to talk with one of the town's people. She had a few spider plants on her balcony. We started to talk about them and she told me that here in Puerto Rico the light green ones are called 'mala madre' and the dark ones are called 'mala padre'. This translated to 'bad mother' and 'bad father'. She said they are called this because they let there 'babies' hang down and ignore them.
    Just thought I'd share. :^)

    Joy Delgado

  2. We are getting overrun! Give some away!



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