Botanical Name — Sansevieria masoniana
Common Name — Whale Fin, Whale Fin Snake Plant
Plant Family — Asparagaceae
Sansevieria masoniana is a popular rare snake plant native to The Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. Prized for its wide, spear-like leaves and ease of care, it adds variety to a bright-indirect plant collection. In its native subtropical environment, this unique plant often grows clustered alongside low-lying palms and other underbrush.
- Sansevieria masoniana is an extremely tolerant and adaptable plant. It thrives in bright indirect light or dappled sun, and can even acclimate to a few hours of direct sun. Morning or evening sun is best, as intense afternoon sun can burn or bleach the leaves.
- Though snake plants will grow best in bright light, they are quite tolerant to low light. Because of this they are commonly found in offices and other spaces where there is not an abundance of light.
- Snake plants prefer warm temperatures. Between 70 and 90 ºF is ideal. They will decline in consistent temperatures below 50 ºF.
- Hailing from a tropical environment, Sansevieria masoniana can tolerate a moderate amount of humidity, though they do not require it. Plants that are given plenty of humidity will need less frequent watering.
- Snake plants are extremely drought tolerant plants. They prefer to be watered thoroughly but infrequently. When you water your snake plant, fully saturate the soil and be sure to let it dry out entirely in-between waterings. If you are ever unsure whether or not your snake plant soil has dried out, wait a few days before watering. These plants thrive on neglect, and overwatering is the easiest way to kill them. If you are forgetful or a frequent traveler and away from home for long periods of time, snake plants are a great plant for you!
- These plants grow best in a loose, sharply draining mix. A good quality cactus or succulent mix is perfect. You can also use regular potting soil, but bear in mind this type of soil is more moisture retentive so you’ll want to adjust your watering schedule depending on how well your soil holds moisture.
- Pumice stone, perlite, and orchid bark are excellent amendments to improve soil drainage and can be added up to 50%.
- Snake plants are flowering plants, though they rarely bloom when they are grown indoors. The inflorescence is a long stalk that bears several small, greenish-white, sweet-smelling flowers.
- Sansevierias do not require much fertilization. They will benefit from a light boost of nutrients during the spring and summer when they are actively growing. Feed them with a balanced fertilizer diluted at a quarter to half strength.
- Sansevieria masoniana will grow 'pups' from rhizome roots that can be removed by division and propagated to grow on their own.
- Sansevieria reproduce asexually via underground rhizomes that send up offsets. These offsets, or pups, can be separated using a clean knife or garden spade and potted into their own container. If dividing a snake plant, allow the rhizome to callous over for a few days before potting into fresh potting medium. Keep the soil lightly moist or provide a humid environment to encourage rooting.
- Snake plants are very robust plants and rarely fall victim to diseases or pests. The most common infestations experienced by these plants are scale. Scale can be an aggressive pest, but it can be controlled effectively by treating the plant with a diluted neem oil solution two to three times a week until the scale is eradicated. For small-scale infestations of scale pests can be physically removed using a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.
- Leaf spot is another issue that can plague snake plants. This disease is typically brought on by a fungus and sometimes by bacteria. It manifests as brown-colored spots along the stem that can be soft or mushy. Affected leaves should be removed to prevent the spread of the disease.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Very little maintenance is required to keep these plants happy and thriving. They prefer to be root-bound and so can live in their pot for several years before repotting. As a rule of thumb, these plants should be repotted in a container that is 2”-3” wider in diameter, once every two to three years.
- All parts of the plant are toxic to humans and pets. If ingested, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can occur. Keep this plant out of reach of small children and pets.
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