Spider plants have the reputation of being one of the most easiest to maintain and popular houseplants out there.
The numerous cultivars and hybrids of Chlorophytum comosum (kloh-roh-FY-tum kom-OH-sum) allow for a wide range of tastes.
Even more impressive is the plant’s ability to clean toxins from the air while also being non-toxic to cats and dogs, making it an excellent choice for pet owners.
However, even the most forgiving plant has basic needs, and spider plants are no exception.
Depending on the light levels, soil quality, and other factors, your spider plant may or may not flower.
One of these factors is fertilizer, and your spider plant’s actual feeding needs might surprise you.
What Spider Plant Fertilizer Is Best?
A granular mix or diluted water-soluble liquid fertilizers are both excellent choices when feeding your spider plant.
However, these plants have a very low feeding requirement, so adding too much can be worse than not enough.
Is Fertilizer For The Airplant Plant Even Necessary?
This is the magic question not enough people ask.
Spider plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer to thrive, and the exact amount actually varies based upon the age of the soil and the plant itself.
For example, a Chlorophytum repotted annually will likely never need fertilizer because the natural nutrient levels of the potting soil haven’t completely drained.
Another issue to consider before using fertilizer is the plant’s sensitivity to certain chemicals.
Spiderlings are very tender and burn easily when exposed to fertilizer, while older plants can be killed by fluoride and have a very low tolerance of boron.
On top of this, too much fertilizer – a common spider plant ailment – can lead to brown leaf tips on spider plants.
How Long Can Spider Plants Go Without Food?
This question ultimately hinges on the answer to the previous one.
Depending on how often you replace its soil or the level of nutrients still present, your spider plant may never need to be fed.
The frequency of feedings also depends greatly on the type and strength of the fertilizer you use, as well as whether or not you are trying for flowers.
As a general rule, spider plants should never be fertilized in winter and will accept feedings every two weeks to once every three months, depending on the type of fertilizer used.
When in doubt, either forego feeding until you see signs the plant is hungry or use test strips from your local garden center to test the nutrient levels as directed.
Instructions for Applying Different Fertilizers
The last thing you want to do is overfeed a spider plant, and each type of fertilizer will require its own feeding frequency.
Always default a balanced, low percentage NPK or general all-purpose plant food unless soil tests suggest an imbalance.
When using fertilizer sticks, you should only apply one in early spring and another in summer, approximately three months apart, and avoiding putting it too close to the core of the plant or new growth.
Granular, time-release fertilizers can be applied starting in spring when new growth appears.
A good general-purpose liquid fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food and Aquatic Arts Indoor Plant Food. Apply at half strength every 2 to 4 weeks as needed from March through September.
The Best Fertilizer for Spider Plants?
Perhaps the single best fertilizer you can give your spider plant is neem cake.
What are Neem Cakes? Neem cakes are the byproduct of pressing neem seeds to extract the oil and are a richly organic, all-natural form of compost.
Neem cakes such as Neem Bliss tend to have no additives and a natural 6-1-4 NPK content.
The cakes contain a lot of important macro and micronutrients, such as zinc and magnesium, which it releases at a slower, more beneficial rate than chemical fertilizers.
Best of all, neem cakes contain trace amounts of Azadirachtin, a safe, non-toxic chemical that works as a systemic insecticide, miticide, and fungicide when absorbed by your spider plant’s roots.
You can dissolve a tablespoon of neem cake per gallon of water and use it in place of a general liquid plant food for all of your houseplants, including spider plants.