Sansevieria Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#1
Updated: Jan 1
The Sansevieria is one of the trendiest plants around the world right now, probably because it is SO easy to take care of as a houseplant. You see them staged in houses, magazines and you can find one at almost any garden center, nursery or plant shop you go to. And they are, in fact, a type of succulent!
All the Different Names...
Even though people still commonly refer to them as Sansevieria, there are still lots of other common names used...
Snake Plant, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Devil’s Tongue, Bird’s Nest, Saint George’s Sword, African Spear, Spear Orchid, Viper’s Bowstring Hemp & more!
So these are the fancy botanical names you would typically see after the name Sansevieria...
Trifasciata (reg & dwf), Masoniana, Zeylanica , Fischeri, Patens, Ballyi, Ehrenbergii & more!
And these are the names you typically see denoted with single quotes...
Laurentii, Bantel’s Sensation, Black Gold, Moonshine, Whitney, Cylindrica, Mason Congo, Futura Superba, Futura Robusta, Twist, Golden Hahnii & MANY more!
***most trendy & rare right now is Mason Congo or the Whale Fin cultivars***
Wait, Sansevieria?! Isn't it Dracaena?
Well, yes it is... we don't like to to admit it though...
Wondering why it changed? Well taxonomists are able to run DNA tests on plant now-a-days! When plants were originally classified, they were placed in a class based on look or flower type since the technology we have today wasn't available. These guys are still widely known as Sansevieria in the plant community so I'm rollin' with it! Deal!
This plant is known for being very low light tolerant but it can handle almost all forms of sunlight except direct sunlight. In my experience, the brighter light you have it in, the faster is seems to grow yet in very low light it does not harm the plants growth. Capeesh?
As I said in the beginning, this plant is technically considered a succulent. And you know what that means? Not much water needed! Water minimally and DO NOT over water this plant! Because it is able to store water in it's leaves it can rot easily if water to often or too much.
In my experience, I typically water my Sansevieria every few weeks in peak season and maybe every 5 weeks in the winter. This also depends on location, sunlight and type of pot it is in.
If you are questioning whether or not it's too soon to water, more than likely it is. Wait another few days and feel the soil. If it is bone dry and dusty then you can water. Sansevieria tend to shrivel a bit if they are under watered so this is another way to tell if it needs water.
If you are really worried about this part, there are soil moisture meters you can buy that will take the guess work out of it.
Here is an Amazon link to some soil moisture meters: https://www.amazon.com/slp/soil-moisture-meter/c836mozkce8c728
So this is a tricky topic because there is no one right way to do it.
In my experience, I have used a slow release fertilizer and that has worked fine. But a lot of other resources I check said slightly different things...
Practical Cactus & Succulent Book by Fran Bailey & Zia Allaway says "apply half strength cactus fertilizer once a year in spring"
Planterina & The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual by Barbara Pleasant both said to feed monthly from spring-fall of houseplant fertilizer at half the strength
Planterina also said using a slow release fertilizer in spring can do the trick too
Do what is most comfortable for you! If you don't have a lot of free time, maybe slow release fertilizer is the answer for you! Up to y'all!
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work EVERY time! Sansevieria can rot when being rooted (especially in water). There are a couple ways to do it...
Cut a leaf/leaves off the plant
If you are rooting in soil, you can cut them into 1-2" sections and stick directly into soil
If you are rooting in water I would leave a longer section just in case it rots
Leave at least 5" of the leave- this way you can cut the rotten part off and try again
Make sure to keep the bottom of the cut sections down, otherwise roots won’t grow
You can leave the cut as a straight cut or you can cut a V in the bottom
Typically if you are cutting a V in the bottom you are rooting in water
The V cut is NOT necessary, but I was successful with with the V cut water rooting
I have seen Sansevieria bloom several times but only when they have placed outdoors or in hot greenhouses for extended periods of time during the summer months.
As a houseplant, you will rarely see these guys bloom, but never say never! A friend of mine has one in a bright window in his office and it bloomed this summer! So it is definitely possible!
Before the plant blooms, it will shoot up a thin stem which contains all of the buds. If may take a little bit before those buds poke out and flowers emerge. They have small white tubular flowers that grow all the way up the small of the stem- like mini white fireworks!
Part of the Asparagus Family
Native primarily in Africa & Southern Asia
Other plants in this family are Yucca, Agave, Hosta, Hyacinths & Lily-of-the-Valley just to name a few
Sansevierias are poisonous to pets so please be careful!
Make sure you know the variety you are buying! If the plant is small, it may stay close to that small or it may get huge! Sansevieria come in standard and dwarf forms.
They are not dependent on higher humidity levels so there is not much extra care needed to add humidity to its environment
They do best when tightly packed in a pot and don’t need to be re-potted often
I actually planted a smaller 8" Sansevieria in a 15" pot and it slowly started loosing the outer leaves. I am not 100% sure if this is the reason but the outer leaves were very loose.
Try not to leave in consistent temperatures below 60 degrees F- like most tropicals
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