Tuesday, March 21, 2017
SANSEVIERIA (Sansevieria trifasciata)
I have mixed feelings about the plant that is my topic this month. I can always be grateful for a tough plant that will grow in dry, sandy areas. On the other hand, Sansevieria can get a little out of hand in the garden and start spreading too far or get rather messy looking. Good strong borders such as a cement path can help keep it in check. The good attribute that won me over is that Sansevieria is a fabulous indoor plant. In fact it is usually rated as the easiest indoor plant to care for. Besides that, it is a very good oxygen provider for enclosed spaces. It can become a win-win solution if you keep the outside plants trimmed back and pot up the trimmings for inside the house.
Sansevieria is native to tropical West Africa. It has thick succulent leaves and sometimes it will give out small greenish white flowers on stalks in summer. There are lots of varieties although most people will recognize the tall lance like leaves of the "Mother-in-law's tongue. I have a green and a yellow leaf form of this. I also have a green dwarf rosette type or "Bird nest" Be aware that the leaves are poisonous to animals. Sansevieria needs good drainage so go easy on watering your indoor plant.
To get Sansevieria cuttings for potting is is easy to see new baby plants growing out from the mother plant on fat finger size stolons. Cut off a few of these, making sure that you have some root attached. Usually I will let the cutting scar dry off for a day before I pot them up. Three arranged together in a pot looks nicely balanced. After growing for several months, a potted plant can get very root bound or the strong roots will even break the pot. You may need to just throw away the plant if it gets too rambunctious and start a new one or severely chop back the roots and repot.