Using cow’s milk on plants is a trick that has been around for a long, long time – but do spider plants like milk?
Milk is great for providing nutrients such as calcium, but it doesn’t contain the full nutrient profile that spider plants require to thrive. It can also cause issues if it hasn’t been diluted with water, if the wrong type of milk is used or if it is left on the leaves for extended periods of time.
How Milk Is Used On Spider Plants
If you haven’t heard about using milk before for plants you might be confused, but don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple.
Milk – ideally low fat – is mixed with water and sprayed onto plants. This is quite similar to how coffee grounds can be mixed with water and then sprayed directly onto plants such as the spider plant.
After 30 minutes to an hour, it should be wiped away to prevent the formation of bacteria and mold.
The idea here is to provide water and nutrients for your plant, but is it effective? There are two sides to the argument.
The Argument For Using Milk On Spider Plants
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you should use milk on spider plants.
Some of the nutrients that milk contains, particularly calcium, are beneficial for spider plants.
Calcium is essential for all plants and is a constituent of cell walls and membranes. It is needed in large amounts to form the structure of the plant. It’s one of the reasons why other natural remedies such as using eggshells – which are also high in calcium – are often suggested for plants.
Milk also contains quite a lot of phosphorus, which is one of the three essential nutrients that complete fertilizers contain.
Most people have milk in their house, and this makes it a convenient option for fertilizing your spider plants.
Compare this to a houseplant fertilizer product that you would need to go out of your way to buy and the difference becomes clear. Milk is also much cheaper as well, and if you have more than one plant (which I’m sure a lot of houseplant owners do) then you can make quite the saving.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Milk On Spider Plants
I prefer to not use milk on my spider plants, and the reasons below will outline why.
Not A Full Nutrient Profile
Mikl contains good amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B.
Calcium is proven to benefit plants, as discussed earlier, but vitamin B’s effectiveness has been disproven in studies, although it is still mentioned frequently for its supposed benefits for plants.
Milk also lacks significant amounts of the other 2 key nutrients potassium and nitrogen, so relying entirely on milk to fertilize your spider plant will result in nutrient deficiencies.
Only Works With Certain Types Of Milk
Fat in milk can cause bacteria to grow, and skimmed milk can lead to different types of rot.
This is why using low-fat milk is crucial, but there will still be a risk of bacteria formation. This is reduced if you wipe away the milk solution after around 30 minutes to an hour, but there will always be that risk.
Leads To Bacterial Growth
If you leave milk on the leaves of a spider plant it can grow bacteria due to the fat content within the milk.
The excess moisture on the leaves can also grow mold as well, which is why yo shouldn’t leave the milk on the spider plant for long.
If you dilute your milk properly and use low-fat options you will drastically reduce the odds of bacteria forming. You can boost this further by wiping the leaves of your spider plant after about an hour of spraying it with the water-milk solution.
So, you can definitely use milk safely on a spider plant, but in my opinion, it’s better to use a regular fertilizer instead.
A complete houseplant fertilizer contains all the essential nutrients for plant growth, which are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as calcium. So, you’ll get all of the nutrients that you need and more as well as not taking the risk of bacteria forming.