The Owl’s Corner, Sept., 2011 – Spider in the Spider Plant

September 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Owl's Corner

What Do You Do When
You Want to Move a Plant Inside
and Someone Has a Nest In it?

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Nedda asks:

"I was given a lovely spider plant last spring which I left outside on my stoop all summer.  It has been very happy there and has grown lush.  It has also put out many stems with flowers that will all turn into more spider plants.

"Just before Hurricane Irene arrived in New England, I took the plant inside hoping to start adjusting it to indoor life in preparation for winter.  I noticed that a few of the leaves were stuck together, and when I tried to move them apart, I found a very large spider living in the plant.  She gave me quite a "dirty look" because the sticky stuff was her nest of eggs.  She was hanging out there to protect her babies.

"My response at that point was to tell her that I didn't mean her or her babies any harm and would put the entire plant back outside, which I did immediately.

"Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Lee have both come and gone, and the plant remains on my front stoop.  The spider is still there, too.

"The thing is that I do want to bring this plant into the house for the winter, and maybe permanently.  I've told the spider this and asked her if there is any way she can move her nest of babies, but she says there isn't.

"So I feel stuck and I need some advice.  I would like to find a mutually harmonious solution with respect to the spider and her offspring.  But I really don't want hundreds of spider babies born inside my house from this very large nest."

"What can I suggest to the spider that might save her babies and still allow me to take the plant indoors for the winter?

"Thanks for all ideas and suggestions."


10 Responses to “The Owl’s Corner, Sept., 2011 – Spider in the Spider Plant”
  1. Nedda says:

    Reporting Developments

    I explained to the spider that I realized she couldn’t move the nest of babies, and that I’d leave things alone for now and try to get some of the spider plant’s offspring to root. I then brought out 3 pots filled with dirt and placed the 3 largest flowers of the spider plant at the ends of 3 branches each into a separate pot while still attached to the mother plant. This way, I’m hoping they’ll begin to grow roots. I think they are moving slowly in that direction.

    When I checked the plant(s) a few days ago, the spider seems to be gone and there are Daddy Long legs in the spider plant. I imagine they wouldn’t be there if the mother spider was still hovering. The original plant is quite thick and I am very careful when I move the leaves so as not to disturb anyone who is hanging out there.

    But I couldn’t find the nest, either, which I find interesting. Perhaps the original spider left because her babies were born this fall? I haven’t had time to try to contact her, with all else that’s going on.

    I suspect that if I could just find more time to attend to all this, everything would fall into place. Having been bitten by a spider last summer is probably also contributing to me not behaving in a very rational way about all this.

    I told the Daddy Long Legs (there seemed to be several on the plant) that I intend to take the plant indoors very soon. They didn’t comment.

    The saga continues.

  2. Nedda says:

    Thanks for all your ideas and feedback, and keep them coming. It is so important to me to learn to live more harmoniously with ALL sentient and sapient life.

    I spoke with both the spider and the plant this a.m. and they really are working as a team to bring about the next generation of these spider babies, so I’m not going to separate them.

    I told the plant I want to try getting some of it’s larger young offspring (there are about 6 stems growing with spider plants babies on them) to root into some pots that I will take inside for indoor plants this fall. The plant was delighted, so I have set up 3 flower pots this a.m. with the larger spider plant babies resting in them on wet soil.

    Meanwhile, the spider and the plant both seem quite content.


  3. spiritweave says:

    Might it be worthwhile to explore the relationship between spider and spider plant? I am perceiving an importance that goes beyond commonality of shared name. In connecting with the plant, both its radiance of energy and its emotion seem particularly intense. If I am understanding correctly, the spider and plant have a deep love for one another and mutual nurturance at profound energetic levels. To be permitted the continuation of this relationship, the plant would willing give its “life”, if need be. On the other hand, it could be that only the leaves would die from the outdoor cold whereas the roots would remain vital. Best wishes to all of you!

    • Nedda says:

      Hi, Spiritweave,

      I do agree that the plant seems extremely happy where it is on my stoop, but I don’t think a spider plant could survive outside in a New England winter until it was in the ground, not in a pot. In a pot the roots will freeze for sure.

      I will ask the plant to tell me how it feels about this situation and report back. Thanks for suggesting this approach.


  4. Margot says:

    Another thought, you could simply remove the leaves involved in the nest and attach them to a nearby permanent plant if it gets to late in the season for the plant to be out. Maybe the spiders refusal to move is due to very practical reasons. She cant do it by herself, so ask her if this could be a solution.

    • Nedda says:

      Hi, Margot,

      I’ve thought about cutting off the leaves where the nest is, but then the leaves would die. There are no other spider plants out there, nor do I know how to attached the leaves to another plant, as you suggest.

      You are correct that the spider cannot move the nest, so of course she wouldn’t leave the babies. So obvious, now that you say this.

      I guess I could take some of the spider plant babies and plant them in another pot and take them inside so that if the parent plant dies, some of it’s offspring will still be with me.


  5. Margot says:

    When will the babies hatch – could she not keep the plant until they do, if thats before the first frost comes?

    • Nedda says:

      Good question, Margot. I have no idea, actually. In the book, “Charlotte’s Web” the spider babies don’t hatch until spring.

      Some spiders live up to 15 years, although I have no idea about this spider – whether or not she will survive the winter, for example, if she hangs out where she is now guarding the nest.

      Of course, I have to give her some credit. She must have known when she created this nest in this spot that she would die or she would survive, and be content with either situation, since she knows where she built it.

      Aren’t we humans silly sometimes about these things?