Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
Phonetic Spelling: San-se-vieria tri-fas-ci-ata
Local Name: Snake Plant
Plant Type: House Plant
Sun Exposure: Part shade, low light conditions
Soil Type: Fast-draining, sandier soil
Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Bloom Time: Spring but rare blooming so don’t worry
Sansevieria trifasciata (also known as the Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue) is one of the most popular and hardy species of house plant. An architectural species, it features stiff leaves that range from six inches to eight feet tall, depending on the variety. Snake Plants usually have green banded leaves, while the variety commonly known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue typically features a yellow border.
Sansevieria was first found to be cultivated in China and kept as a revered houseplant because it was believed the eight gods bestowed their virtues (long life, prosperity, intelligence, beauty, art, poetry, health, and strength) upon those who grew the snake plant. Sansevieria also is among several plants chosen by NASA for a study on how plants can be used for air purification and to combat “sick building syndrome.”
Gardening & Landscape Guide:
Container and house plant
- Sansevieria is comfortable to grow and is very hardy plant; they will thrive in either very bright light or almost dark corners of the house. An ideal container plant, it is excellent in a grouping and will grow equally well on the floor or on tabletop displays. These plants are also drought resistant. There are two low-growing varieties, but these are rarely seen in garden centres.
- Although they are very forgiving, Sansevieria plants prefer indirect but steady light with some direct sun. They can adapt to full sun conditions and will also survive quite dim situations.
- Snake plant prefers a loose, well-drained potting mix. This plant will do well in sandier soils. Pick a potting media low in peat, which eventually packs and refuses to re-hydrate or drain properly. An all-purpose cactus potting soil is a good choice.
- Sansevieria plants can be divided easily during repotting. Alternatively, new shoots that emerge from the soil can be taken and potted independently. . Cuttings can also be made, but it is much easier to rely on division.
- While potting, always choose a strong pot as strong roots can easily crack and break weak pots. Sansevieria are generally slow growers and rarely need repotting, but if given ample sunshine, they might grow rapidly and require repotting or dividing annually. Prefer repotting these plants in the spring. When repotting, always use fresh potting media.
- When watering keep in mind to let the soil dry between watering. During winter, reduce watering to monthly, or whenever the soil is dry to the touch; too much water can kill the plant.
- Sansevieria prefers warm conditions and will suffer if exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Degree Celsius). Set the plant in a place where it will be protected from drafts. A temperature range between 70 (22 degree Celsius) and 90 (32 degree celsius) degrees is best.
- Feed with a mild cactus fertilizer during the growing season or a balanced liquid slow-release (10-10-10 fertilizer) diluted to half-strength. Do not fertilize in the winter.
Disease & Pest
- Sansevieria is mostly affected by fungal diseases, which mainly occur due to the presence of moisture on the leaves of the plant. They include southern blight and red leaf spot.
- The two diseases are characterized by the presence of sunken lesions on the leaves that are reddish-brown. White web-like growths are also visible on the leaves. These growths later turn brown and harden.
- You should take prophylactic measures where fungal infections are likely to occur because fungal infections can cause a plant to rot and eventually die. There are certain methods you can use to keep your Sansevieria plant from developing diseases. They include keeping the leaves dry, proper watering where the soil has to be dry from the previous watering and using of soils that drain well with average temperatures
- The major pests that affect Sansevieria plants are mealybugs and spider mites. They feed off the plant by sucking sap from the leaves. This, in turn, causes wilting and eventual drying of the plant if you don’t control them.
- They also cause injuries to the plant, and this makes them susceptible to diseases and more pests.
- You can control mealybugs by manually handpicking them from the plant and dabbing them with alcohol. You can control spider mites by washing them off the plant using water and increasing the humidity around the plant. Increased humidity derives the spider mites away.