Sansevieria Care

 

Otherwise known as Snake plants or Mother-in-law's tongue, Sansevieria are an extremely forgiving and beginner-friendly houseplant. Hailing from the arid tropics of West Africa, they are commonly found in relatively dry and infertile soil. This is what makes them so forgiving: forgetting to water for weeks or not fertilizing for years is just about as close to its natural habitat that this plant can get!


In addition to thriving on neglect, these plants don't require much light at all (although they will certainly tolerate brighter - even direct - light!). This means they'll spice up the dark corner on your office desk just as nicely as they will your sunny windowsill at home.


Well-draining soil is important, and Sansevieria will appreciate a lot of pumice, sand, or similar chunky media added to the soil to prevent root rot. They don't need particularly large pots, and large varieties such as whale fins can create a great accent when potted in smaller decorative pots.


Thanks to all these traits, humans have been cultivating Sansevieria for hundreds of years. In Africa it was traditionally collected and used to create twines and bowstrings, and in the 1700s a Swedish botanist named the genus and began cultivating different varieties in Europe. From here various botanists and hobbyists have named hundreds of varieties with growth forms ranging from chopstick-like spikes to massive, broad leaves known as whale fins and everything in between.


An occasional shower under cool water will help keep leaves free of dust and pests, although in general Sansevieria are very resilient to all pests.