The Sansevieria plant is a tough and resilient houseplant that can survive in low light conditions. This hardy plant can grow from 4 to 6 feet tall with leaves up to 3 inches wide. The Sansevieria has long been popular as an indoor plant because of its ability to thrive without much care or attention. In fact, it’s so easy to care for that it is often given as a gift during the winter holidays. With just basic care every few weeks, this lovely perennial will provide years of enjoyment and satisfaction. We take a look at how to care for Sansevieria plant.
How do you care for sansevierias? For the plant to thrive, you need to use a well-draining succulent soil mix. Sansevieria does not like wet soil, so avoid overwatering. It can adapt to light changes so you can put it anywhere there is light. To accelerate growth, it is best to put it where there is ample sunlight until it reaches four inches. During winter, you might need to put your sansevieria in a warm room then bring it out when it gets warmer.
According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, sansevieria is one of the few plants that can be used to remove toxins from the air naturally. This guide will help you understand everything you need to care for the plant keep it healthy longer.
Sansevieria Plant Varieties
Sansevierias are native to Southern Asia and Africa but can be found in most parts of the world. The five types of sansevierias have their unique features listed below:
- Dracaena trifasciata “Hahnii” – Also called bird’s nest snake plant, it only grows to six inches and the leaves look like a bird’s nest.
- Dracaena trifasciata “Laurentii” – Its margins have a creamy yellow color. This type has to be divided when propagated.
- Dracaena trifasciata “Twisted Sister” – Its leaves are twisted and have horizontal stripes with yellow edges. This type grows up to 14 inches tall.
- Dracaena pearsoniiis – Commonly known as rhino grass, it grows to 12 inches tall and its leaves are succulent and tinted red.
- Dracaena trifasciata “Bantel’s Sensation – This variety grows up to three feet tall and its narrow leaves have white vertical stripes.
How to Care for Your Sansevieria Plant
Sansevieria is easy to care for. All you need to do is follow the simple instructions listed below and you are good to go.
Sansevierias are highly adaptable and can thrive in different kinds of light. It prefers bright or medium indirect light but can grow well under low lights and direct sunlight.
Only water your plant when the soil is completely dry. Water until you see the liquid flowing down the drainage hole and ensure that no water remains in the saucer.
The plant thrives in warmer temperatures ranging between 55-85 degrees. Avoid keeping the plant under temperatures of under 50 degrees.
Sansevierias grow well in dry environments so there is no need to increase the humidity levels.
Use liquid fertilizer to feed the plant at least once every six months. You can also use mild cactus fertilizer that you dilute to half strength. Do not fertilize the plant during winter.
Planting and repotting
The best time to plant and repot sansevieria is during spring. When potting sansevierias, ensure that you use a durable pot as weak pots can break due to the strong roots. The plant is a slow grower and rarely needs to be repotted. If exposed to ample sunshine, it might experience a growth spurt that makes it necessary to repot.
Sansevieria is toxic to humans and pets. Ingesting the plant can irritate the mouth and stomach and, can lead to vomiting.
Sansevierias prefer well-draining soils as they are succulent plants. You can use cactus potting soil to plant it.
When pruning sansevierias, ensure you use sterile scissors, shears, or knives. Remove the leaves at the soil line as well as any mature or damaged leaves to encourage the growth of new leaves. Control the height of the plant by pruning the tallest leaves.
Pruning is best done during the growing season; spring. When done during the off-season, the plant can get stressed, and this can affect its health.
Common issues with sansevieria
Although largely believed to be a resistant plant, sansevieria are also susceptible to pests and diseases. These may range from the leaves curling to the plant turning yellow or root rot.
Here is why it happens and how to prevent it.
Blades curling on your sansevieria
Sansevieria can go for weeks without being watered, and it is common to put too much water. When the plant is overwatered, the leaves fold. However, they curl when the plant is left dry for too long. The plant also droops and can start turning brown. You can prevent the plant from being completely dry by ensuring that you water it when you notice it is 50% dry.
If you find your plant was dry for too long, give it a soak, and here is how you do it:
- Put your plant in the tub or sink and fill it with water. The water should be 3-4” high.
- Let your plant soak up the water through the drainage hole for about 45 minutes.
- Feel the top part of the soil and see if the water has reached the top 2 or 3 inches. If not, you can lightly water to speed up saturation.
- When the soil is damp, drain the sink and let the plant rest while it continues draining. Afterward, place the plant on the saucer and put it in its original spot.
Sansevieria turning yellow
There are different reasons why your plant might be turning yellow including the following:
Proper soil moisture is important when it comes to the care of sansevierias. The main reason the leaves turn yellow is the plant being overwatered. Sansevierias do not need too much water to thrive as the roots can rot and die. To prevent this, ensure the plant drains well and avoid using too much water.
You can stress the plant by inconsistency in your watering, and this can lead to the plant developing yellow leaves. To prevent this, have specific times for watering and not wait until the plant is too dry.
When sansevieria becomes weak, it is likely to get infested with insects. Spider mites can drain moisture from the plant, making it turn yellow. These and other bugs are commonly found in house plants and can spread to the leaves and blades of the plant. The pests can make your plant suffer from serious nutrient deficiency that accelerates the yellowing.
If you notice a rotting smell from your plant, it likely has root rot. Root rot occurs when the roots are exposed to a lot of water. You can avoid it by ensuring that the soil is well-drained at all times.
Droopy or falling leaves
When sansevierias are healthy, the leaves are erect and grow upwards. The plant will appear droopy if there is too much water or the light is not enough. To prevent this from happening, you can reduce the watering frequency, change the soil to one that drains better, and put the plant in a location with better lighting.
Care during winter
Sansevierias can die when exposed to low temperatures (under 50 degrees) for too long. During winter, you can bring the plant indoors and keep it in a warm place. It is best to keep the soil on the drier side as the plant goes into a state of dormancy. Water the plant every six weeks or when you notice the soil is more than 50% dry.
How to grow snake plants using seeds
While it is faster and easier to propagate sansevieria plants, they can also be grown using seeds. However, the seeds have low germination, and it takes between three and six weeks for a seedling to sprout.
To grow snake plants using seeds, fill a three-inch pot with potting mix or seed starting soil. Sprinkle the snake plant seeds on the soil and put them in a warm and sunny place. Cover the pot with plastic wrap to retain humidity and warmth. Once a seedling sprouts, you can remove the wrap and ensure the soil remains moist and not wet. You can report the plant once it is about four inches tall.
Final Thoughts on Sansevieria
It is no surprise that this resilient succulent has remained popular for so long. Thanks to its unique and exotic appearance, the Sansevieria plant has been a favorite of indoor gardeners for many years. You do not need to be a green thumb to grow this houseplant, but you may need to learn how to care for Sansevieria plant as a beginner. The above tips and tricks will help you to do just that. Get the most out of your Sansevieria plant by following these foolproof guidelines for how to care for the Sansevieria.