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Sansevieria, commonly known as 'Snake Plants' and 'Mother-in-Law's Tongue' are a staple houseplant and have also become quite collectable over the last few years. Hybridization and cultivation of new and exotic varieties has added intrigue to these low maintenance, easy to care for plants.
Sansevieria are now included in the genus Dracaena.
NASA has ranked Sansevieria high on their list of plants capable of purifying the air by removing some pollutants such as formaldehyde and others. It is also believed that because the leaves grow in an upright fashion, the plants can be used for Feng shui purposes. Some people place Sansevieria near their toilet tank to counter the drain-down effect, and others believe that having Sansevieria around children helps to reduce coarseness. Use caution, though, as the leaves of Sansevieria can be toxic to children and pets if ingested in large quantities.
Sansevieria are very popular as houseplants, as they tolerate low light and sparse watering well. While most varieties can acclimate to lots of direct sun, they all do well in low light applications and are wonderful for just about every room in your home or office.
Optimal light for your Sansevieria would be bright, indirect, to a few hours of direct, morning sun. If you can not offer that, your Sansevieria will still do fine in a lower lit corner, or shaded room with little to no direct light.
While they can tolerate longer periods of drought, Sansevieria prefer and do best when they are kept moderately moist at all times. If they go too long without water, you will notice the tips of the leaves will brown and shrivel. You can snip the tips off and the plant will be just fine. An evenly moist soil is best, and a planter with drainage is a great option so that excess water does not pool at the the bottom of the pot, causing root issues. Check the soil every 5-7 days and water as needed. If the top inch or so of the soil is dry, your Dracaena could most likely use a drink. We find it best to check with your finger, as opposed to relying on a moisture meter. They can often times be quite inaccurate.
While it is not completely necessary, you can use a general purpose, high quality fertilizer from Spring through Fall. We recommend diluting the fertilizer to about 50% strength. Fish Head Farms soil conditioner is a great option to use year round to provide essential nutrients and promote strong, healthy growth.
A loose, well draining soil or soilless mix is ideal. A peat based mixture with lots of perlite, vermiculite or sand will do the trick. For a pre-mixed formula, we find that a Cactus/Succulent blend is perfect!
Sansevieria are pretty slow growers and do not need, or want, to be repotted very often. We recommend repotting every 2 or 3 years, and only if they are noticeably pot bound. Even then, you only want to move up 2" or so in pot sizes to reduce stress. This should be done in the Spring or early Summer months. If you have just recently purchased your plant, do not repot it for at least 6 months.
Sansevieria do not typically have any issues with pests, however, It is always best practice to isolate any new plants you bring in to your home for a few weeks to watch for little pests. For help and tips on prevention and treatment of pests, see our At Home Pest Recipes here!
If you have any more questions, or need further assistance, please feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email!