This classic houseplant is the easiest of all easy plants. Though just about all of us would recognize it, it remains shrouded in mystery and confusion. The genus continues to be moved from one plant family to another and back again and species are named, unnamed, renamed and argued over endlessly. Regardless of the controversial specifics, Sansevieria is a wonderful and widely varied genus.
Though it is most often selected because of its ability to adapt to dismally dark, cold, drafty and dry conditions, with a bit more love the Sansevieria is really a thing of beauty. With medium light levels and proper soil, the intricate bandings and variegations become far more pronounced and the leaves will be thick and full of vitality. With just a tiny bit of care, Sansevierias produce offsets freely via stout underground rhizomes. These baby plants can then be left in the same pot or detached and shared with friends! Occasionally you may even be rewarded with a tall and dainty sweet-smelling flower stalk in light pink or white.
The range of species can be dizzying. Widely available cultivars include silvery-green non-variegated plants as well of dark green, nearly black banded ones. There are always the dramatic bright yellow banded forms as well as cylindrical and miniature “bird’s nest” forms. Whatever your aesthetics, there is bound to be a gorgeous, air-purifying Sansevieria that’s perfect for you!
Sansevieria cylind.is a more rarely grown variety of the group of houseplants commonly referred to as Snake plant and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. It is just as tough, requiring the same easy care, only slower growing.
Sansevierias have a long history of popularity due to how they are believed to symbolize characteristics of health and longevity. For centuries they were grown because they are believed to share the same eight virtues as Taoist deities, the Eight Immortals.
These virtues are: Strength, beauty, prosperity, good health, long life, poetry, art, and intelligence. Using Feng Shui principles, the Sansevieria is used to bring good fortune into the home, while warding off evil spirits.
Family: Depending on what you read and who you believe, Sansevieria are either in the Ruscaceae, Agavaceae, Dracaenaceae, or Liliaceae family. Confusing isn’t it?
Common Name: Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law tongue.
Origin: Again, a bit cloudy here. Generally tropical and sub-tropical regions of the old world. More specifically, many originate in Africa and tropical areas of Asia.
Characteristics: Succulent, leathery leaves most often in rosette form. Sizes can range anywhere from a couple of inches to four feet and larger!
Water Needs: Well-drained compost is the key to healthy watering. In the spring and summer they can be watered regularly as long as the soil does not remain water-logged. In the autumn and winter they are best left dry.Never allow water to sit in the crown or center of the plant.
Soil: I always use half potting soil and half pumice. It works great and makes happy plants.
Light: Sansevierias will live for many years in poor conditions but they do appreciate good light to grow vigorously and produce good leaf shape and coloration. Direct sun is too much and will burn the plant
Temperature: Sansevierias can tolerate drafty conditions but cold will damage them. Temperatures under 55 degrees will cause ugly and permanent scarring to the leaves. The drier the plant is kept during the winter, the lower the temperatures it will handle.
Humidity: One of the great things about Sansevierias is that dry air is not really an issue for them. Misting is not necessary and the dryness of house heating isn’t a problem.