These Spider (Chlorophytum) starter plants will be planted in recycled soda bottle sub-irrigation planters (SIPs) at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden workshop sponsored by the GreenBridge program.
Each participant in the Houseplant Sub-irrigated Planter (SIP) workshop this coming Wednesday can make and take home a recycled soda bottle SIP with a Spider plant (Chlorophytum) growing in it. We will make the SIPs in class.
Why a Spider plant you may wonder. The Spider plant will prove that the main reason cited for drain holes in pots is simply not true in reality. Sadly, many who preach about the need for drain holes know better and are lying to serve their own self-interest.
Lying is a strong word but there is no point in using weasel words when the consuming public is intentionally deceived like this. It is reminiscent of the tobacco companies behavior. Know that I have been called "the enemy" by them right to my face and cursed at for publishing this blog.
The bogus claim for drain holes is that you need to flush soluble salts from the soil. The typical symptom of excess soluble salts is browning of the leaf tips (called tipping). While this can be a signficant factor in the greenhouse where they are pushing the growth of plants with loads of water and chemical fertilizer, it is a low rung problem for consumers.
Spider plants happen to be very sensitive to soluble salts. I recommend growing them because they are much like the canaries that coal miners used to use to detect toxic gas such as carbon monoxide. If you grow one or more Spider plants in SIPs and you do not get brown tips, you will prove to yourself that you do not need pots with drain holes.
I have grown many, many sub-irrigated Spider plants both in Southern California and now here in Brooklyn. I have never had a problem with tip burn.
The bottom line is that you do not need pots with drain holes and that sub-irrigation is a vastly superior method of growing plants in containers.
Come to the workshop and learn some more houseplant secrets, including who is lying and why they are spreading bad information. You will also learn how to grow a wide variety of high quality sub-irrigated houseplants like these.
Prior Post: Don't Be A Drain Hole Dodo