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can a spider plant grow in something other that water? (ex: vinegar, liquid jell-o, coffee)
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That's a very interesting question! I am thinking the acid in vinegar might be a problem. But jello -- mostly sugar, gelatin, water, and coloring, right? Coffee? Hmm, is the chemical makeup of coffee?
I found a lot of information about spider plants on Google when I typed "Growing spider plants." It seems that maybe too much water could be a problem -- whether it is coffee or jello. So you will need some kind of control -- perhaps distilled water and another control grown in soil. One reference on the web said chemicals are a problem --so you might compare distilled water to water from a creek or even your street after a storm.
A basic scientific approach is to understand the dimensions you are studying (usually called dependent variables). For example -- the amount of water and the properties of the water could affect the growth of the plants. The acidity of the water is another variable.
When you test other liquids such as coffee and vinegar, you'll need to know how they are related, and this will suggest other liquids to test. For example, given that vinegar is acidic, you could also use milk, which is non-acidic (pH > 7). In this case, you'd want to measure the pH of the coffee. This doesn't mean that pH is a critical factor, but it's one of the differences you'll need to consider between the liquids you test.
As another example, jello has sugar in it. So in using jello you might actually be testing how sugar affects the growth of spider plants.
To summarize, you'll need to understand some of the properties of the liquids -- a way to relate them chemically -- or your results will be perhaps interesting, but not tell you anything fundamental about the growth of spider plants.
I hope this is helpful to get started.
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