Indoor plants

Spider plant with swollen roots: Learn more about the runners of the spider plant

Spider plants consist of thick tubers with an entangled root mass. They are native to tropical South Africa where they thrive in warm conditions. A spider plant with swollen roots may be attached to a pot, require more soil or show signs of a strange adaptation found in these and other plants. A quick repotting should determine if this is the case. As long as the tubers and roots are healthy, the plant is not endangered and thrives.

Yes, a spider plant has tubers

Spider plants are old-fashioned houseplants of the lily family. These plants have been passed down from generation to generation and are important heritage plants for many families. The spiders that form at the runner tips of the plants can be divided and started as new plants. Thick roots form rapidly in spiders, even if taken from the mother. However, a mature spider plant with swollen roots may also indicate that a unique storage organ has formed on your plant.

Spider plants form clusters of dense, fleshy tubers. They are the source of germs and leaves and are partners in the root system. Tubers are white, smooth and twisted masses that can rise to the soil surface. If most of the tuber mass is underground, one or two visible tubers should not cause damage to the plant.

When a spider plant has a very visible number of tubers, it may be time to give it a new pot or simply a good soil cover. Over time, watering can remove some of the soil from the container by lowering the level. When repotting, gently wash the thick roots of the spider plant before nesting in the soil.

Spiders on the ends of the runners of spider plants will form fat, roots. This is natural, and in nature, babies would simply take root a little further away from the mother. So the plant spreads vegetatively. Sometimes stressed plants can form water storage organs similar to tubers. This is a natural and useful adaptation in their home region.

Other organs that appear to be tubers are the fruits. It is very rare for a spider plant to flower and even rarer for it to produce fruits, as it is usually aborted. If the plant produces fruits, these will appear as trilobed leather capsules.

Are the roots of the spider plant edible?

Spider plants belong to the family Liliaceae and are closely related to daylilies, whose roots are edible. Are the roots of spider plants edible? It seems that the tubers are not poisonous, but they can cause problems in small animals at high doses. Of course, almost anything can be toxic in large quantities relative to body size.

It is probably wise to leave the tubers intact and enjoy the plant, but if you are curious, check with your local poison control centre to make sure the plant is not on the list of concerns.

The beauty of the plant will last longer if you leave those thick spider plant roots and tubers alone.

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