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Sansevieria spp: A Plant Care Guide

Sansevieria spp: A Plant Care Guide

With the most famous (or common) of the genus being better known as the Snake Plant or (depending on your in-laws), Mother-in-Law's Tongue, plants in the Sansevieria genus also have the unfortunate distinction of being highly replicated in the fake plant scene.

But the old 'Imitation is the highest form of flattery' adage is more than applicable here, as these plants are distinctive, architectural statement plants that are also low maintenance and known for their 'air purifying' abilities. 

As with all architectural (read: spikey plants or plants with defined lines and upright habit) plants, they may not suit everyone. They won't always soften a room but can instead provide bold, symmetrical looks. And while the most well-know 'Sansev' would be the trifasciata, if this isn't your vibe there are over 70 different plants in the genus to choose from so you definitely have options.

Popular both indoors and outdoors in Australia (although they do not tolerate temperatures below 10°C so you won't find them outdoors much in Melbourne), they can tolerate low light, irregular watering and are damn near indestructible. 

And if that doesn't convince you, Sansevieria spp is one of the few plants that actually absorb carbon dioxide at release oxygen at night - a process known as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) - making them an ideal bedroom plant. 

 Our favourites?

Sansevieria masoniana (Mason's Congo or Whale Fin).

With leaves up to 1.2m long and 25cm wide these plants have a beautiful blue green mottled leaf with redish banded sheath. 

 

Sansevieria cylindrica (Cylindrical Snake Plant).

Incredibly striking and completely unique, this plant shoots out stiff, cylindrical leaves t from a basal rosette. 

 

Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant).

The classic. Sword-shaped leaves that rise from a thick rhizome. 

 

Care

Light

Sansevs will do best in moderately bright rooms. They can tolerate low light and won't show signs of distress, but moderate light will see faster growth and highlight the colours in the foliage. Keep in mind that in overly bright spaces, the leaves of the Sansevieria can turn yellow.

Potting

Best potted in a quality indoor potting mix, they should only be repotted when  the plant outgrows its pot. Sansevs are quite happy to be pot bound and can easily be split and propagated. 

Water

To avoid root rot, wait until the potting mix is dry between watering. Sansevierias are prone to root rot and are tolerant of dry spells. 

Fertiliser

Best fed with every second water when the plant is actively growing. Using an indoor liquid fertiliser at half strength is ideal

Temperature

Keep clear of drafts and aircon blasts. Sansevierias prefer warm environments but as long as the temperature stays above 10°C they will be fine. 

Hot Tip

Due to their large amount of leaf surface area, the plants can get dus-ty. Remove dust to ensure ideal photosynthesis using a natural leaf shine and soft cloth.