Why Do Spider Vegetation Have Thick, White Roots?


Spider crops are supremely easygoing houseplants – requiring little extra than simply common watering roughly as soon as per week, and repotting yearly or two.

They are typically such fuss-free indoor companions, in reality, that you just would possibly really feel a sudden sense of shock if you look in your specimen’s pot and see thick white protuberances within the potting soil. Relaxation assured – all is effectively in houseplant land.

These thick white belongings you’re seeing are simply the swollen roots of your houseplant – and sure, they’re imagined to appear like that!

A vertical photo of a hand holding long white roots of a pot bound spider plant. Green and white text run across the center and bottom of the frame.

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You might have noticed these fleshy, white growths whereas repotting your houseplant, or maybe you observed them rising from the drainage holes within the backside of the pot, or popping out of the highest of the rising medium.

Whereas they appear very totally different from the underground components of many different houseplants, they’re really simply tuberous roots.

Nonetheless, I’ve to say that calling them “simply roots” actually doesn’t do them justice.

Also called “spider ivy,” “airplane plant,” “St. Bernard’s lily,” or “ribbon plant,” these tubers are a part of what makes Chlorophytum comosum one of many best houseplants to take care of!

Would you prefer to study extra about this a part of your plant’s anatomy?

In fact you’ll!

Preserve studying and also you’ll get to know the workings of your houseplant’s underground world, so to talk.

Right here’s what I’ll cowl:

We’re going to rise up shut and private with the subterranean anatomical options of your spider plant.

However earlier than we get began, in order for you full steering to caring for these houseplants, you’ll want to learn our article on rising and caring for spider crops.

What Ought to Spider Plant Roots Look Like?

I’ve heard a number of horror tales about indoor gardeners seeing these massive, white tuberous roots whereas repotting their specimens, assuming that there was one thing flawed with their plant and taking the drastic step of trimming off these storage organs earlier than repotting.

Let me make it clear that there’s completely no purpose to do this – and taking such brutal steps will presumably kill your specimen or at greatest, make it laborious for it to recuperate from the ordeal.

A vertical close up of the foliage of a healthy spider plant.

Now that you realize what not to do, let’s think about what it is best to see if you take away the pot out of your specimen’s root ball.

Once you unpot these houseplants, you’ll doubtless discover a few various kinds of roots operating via the soil.

You’ll discover small, skinny ones referred to as “feeders” – and that is the principle kind you’ll discover in youthful specimens which might be simply turning into established.

A horizontal close up of the root ball and bottom of a spider plant. Through the bottom of the soil are many small, thin roots visible.
Photograph by Kristina Hicks-Hamblin.

These skinny constructions will look much like the underground anatomy of lots of your different houseplants.

However as C. comosum specimens settle into their potting medium and begin to develop, they’ll quickly begin producing bigger, tuberous roots as effectively – the sort that indoor gardeners typically discover so perplexing!

A horizontal closeup of the bottom of a root ball on a spider plant with a large white root poking out of the side of the soil.
Photograph by Kristina Hicks-Hamblin.

These roots are lengthy, white, and taper at each ends, thickening within the center, and left to their very own units with enough area, can develop to be as much as 4 inches vast and 6 inches lengthy.

The Goal of Thick Roots

These thick white organs are what make spider ivies such resilient houseplants – they can retailer water in these tubers, simply as succulents retailer water of their leaves and stems.

A horizontal photo of a hand from the left of the frame holding up a pot bound houseplant, pictured in light sunshine.

These storage organs enable C. comosum to outlive when water is sparse.

This adaptation permits the species to thrive in a wide range of totally different habitats – which is why it has a widespread vary in its native habitat. It may possibly develop in many alternative environments, and is not any fussy hothouse orchid.

Moreover, this skill to retailer water additionally permits C. comosum to outlive the typically irregular visits of the bearer of the watering can! Due to this resilient adaptation, you’ll have to essentially neglect it to make your spider plant wilt.

Nonetheless, water isn’t the one factor these tubers retailer – additionally they retailer vitamins for later use.

What to Do When Your Pot is Filled with Roots?

If the tuberous roots gave you a shock if you unpotted your houseplant, it is best to have gotten the message by now that each one is effectively, and that that is a part of the conventional underground anatomy of C. comosum.

But when your plant’s pot is especially full of those tubers, a lot in order that there’s barely any rising medium left within the container, you is likely to be questioning what to do?

When you’ve got unpotted your spider plant and see that the white roots are rising so thick that the specimen is pot sure, or if tubers are rising from the drainage holes within the backside of the pot or out of the highest of the rising medium, it’s time to contemplate a bigger container!

A horizontal shot of a houseplant in a white pot lying on its side on a wooden table. There are many white, thick roots growing through the drainage holes at the bottom of  the pot.

These three eventualities, together with a extra frequent want for water, point out that it’s most likely time to repot your specimen.

When transferring a pot sure root ball to a brand new container, therapeutic massage the tubers a bit to attempt to loosen them up first.

It will enable the houseplant to unfold into its new soil extra simply, making the transition extra profitable.

And when you’d like extra recommendations on repotting spider crops, you’ll want to learn our article. (Coming quickly!)

Rooting for Wholesome Houseplants

So now you realize – the thick white constructions rising within the soil of your spider plant are easy tuberous roots.

These thickened storage organs assist your houseplant survive spells of scant water availability, in addition to holding a backup provide of vitamins.

A horizontal shot of a pot bound root system of a spider plant lying on its side on a wooden slated table.

Have been you nervous if you observed enlarged tubers in your houseplant’s potting soil? Are you relieved to study that this a part of the anatomy is totally regular? Tell us when you have any questions – simply use the feedback part, under!

And when you’re nonetheless unsure your spider plant’s underground components look fairly proper – be at liberty to publish a photograph and clarify your concern. We’d be comfortable to assist!

Need to study extra about rising and caring for spider crops? You’ll discover additional informative articles proper right here:

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