Plant-o-Pedia: Sansevieria

Sansevieria CollectionSansevieria zeylanica, patens, trifasciata 'moonshine', and parva. Photo by Danae Horst

With a propensity to survive with little water, and even in low light, Sansevierias are at the top of our easy-to-grow plant list, but with over 70 species, they also make beautiful and fascinating additions to any plant collection. Even better? They're one of the plants from NASA's clean air study that were shown to help remove toxic agents from the air, so having a few around can make your home healthier too! If you're looking for a place to start with indoor plants, a Sansevieria is a great choice!

Sansevieria BookshelvesSansevieria trifasciata laurentii. Photo by Danae Horst for The Jungalow

GET THE GREEN:  Snake Plant/Mother In Law's Tongue, etc (Sansevieria, 70+ different species)

WATER: Exceptionally drought tolerant. Allow soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering is the easiest way to kill these, so when in doubt, wait another week to water. If living outside, protect from too much rain or dump excess water out of the pot after each rain.

SUNLIGHT: Bright to medium indirect light, though they will tolerate low light as well. Brighter light may bring out more color in the leaves. Avoid direct sun.

PLACEMENT: Because they are so easy-going, most Sansevierias work well in rooms other plants don't- great for a space with just a little natural light. With so much variety in form between them, ideal placement will depend on the species you have. Commonly available trifasciata species make great sculptural plants and can grow to be quite tall, so they look nice mixed in with smaller plants, or displayed as a collection, with other Sansevieria species. Some species will send out offsets (like a spider plant), and work well in hanging baskets.

EXTRA CREDIT: Many species are fast growing and seem to produce flowers best when root bound. However, you may need to repot occasionally so they don't burst out of their pots.

WORD OF CAUTION: According to the ASPCA, Sansevierias are toxic to cats and dogs.

Is there a plant you want to learn more about? Leave a comment and you may find it in a future Plant-o-Pedia!

-Danae



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