Sansevieria or mother-in-law for every household
Sansevieria is a genus of perennial succulent plants that belong to the asparagus family. They come from Africa, the first recognized specimens were also found in Madagascar, South Asia, India and Sri Lanka. Its hard-to-pronounce botanical name (But don't worry! Pronounce it clearly SAN-SE-VI-É-RIA) is said to commemorate the Italian nobleman Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, who lived in the 18th century. In addition to his hobby of growing indoor and greenhouse plants, he is known as an inventor, writer, soldier and alchemist.
In Czech, these plants are sometimes referred to as tenura , popularly mother-in-law's tongue (probably because of its indestructibility, once you get it, you can't get rid of it :-) ). In English it is called snake plant (snake plant, because of its drawing on the leaves) or snake tongue or mother-in-law tongue .
Today, the genus Sansevieria already includes around 80 species. That is why many lovers of maids are content with only a collection of these diverse species. You can find some of them in our e-shop . Individual species differ in size, shape and color variants. But they have one thing in common. They look opulent, dramatic and at the same time perfectly minimalistic. Perhaps this is also the reason for their enormous popularity for several centuries. They act as a great decoration in modern minimalist interiors, but they can really be used anywhere. You won't find such an undemanding plant that is also beneficial to health.
Whoever you ask, we bet they'll all know what mother-in-law's language is. Because of their unpretentiousness, they are popular with beginners and experienced growers.
Do you remember the school corridors? Doctor's waiting rooms? Offices in offices? You have certainly seen typical representatives of sansevieria everywhere. Does it say something about this plant? Yes! Indeed, it can adapt to almost any environment , it survives even in difficult conditions, it does not suffer from pests and, what's more, it will still look good. In fact, it will be happy if you almost forget about it and water it about once a month.
Some people don't like it precisely because the "mother-in-laws" were omnipresent and no one took care of them in common areas, they weren't transplanted for many years, their long leaves didn't stay upright because of that, they were all dusty... Please don't let it get to this point at home dimensions, these grateful beauties deserve at least minimal care!
How to take care of her?
Sansevieria are often referred to as plants for dark rooms with a minimum of light. They have a special gift to survive in these conditions and still look good. It won't bother them in any extreme way. But that doesn't mean you have to grow them this way at all costs. If they could choose for themselves, they would definitely choose medium-light to bright spaces . They will even be happy on a windowsill with direct sunlight. Also, the more light they get, the faster they grow .
One fundamental rule applies to ansevieria - every time you want to water them, put the kettle down, let go of your compulsive need to care for the plant and wait a few more days. After about a week, look at the plant again, try to stick your finger in the substrate and if it is not completely dry , wait again. Few things kill these plants (or part of them) as reliably as the shell and the subsequent rotting of the roots and leaves.
They retain water in their leaves, so you really don't have to treat them to frequent watering. Dry soil suits them and you can only water after a few weeks - thoroughly, let the substrate soak and then leave it alone for another 3-4 weeks. This has proven to be the best way to their satisfaction. Here we would recommend growing with ansevieria in terracotta pots . They are porous and 'breathe'. The substrate in them dries out faster and it rarely happens that the plant rots.
Pay even more attention to excessive watering in winter and in places where they receive little sunlight.
You can occasionally fertilize them in the watering during the growing season (spring-autumn).
We have already mentioned that sansevierias prefer a drier substrate , but we will repeat it here once again, because this is really important for them. If you want your plant to be happy, plant it in a well- draining substrate . You can achieve this by adding a large proportion of perlite or pine bark , which aerates the substrate. You can also use a special substrate for succulents , but in this case you will have to water a little more often than mentioned, because the water flows through this substrate very quickly and is only minimally trapped in it. Or add a proportion of peat or coconut fiber to this mix, which have the ability to retain water. When planting a sansevieria in a light substrate, such as a substrate for succulents without the above-mentioned additives, it is possible that it will not be well attached there and will wobble. They are long-lived plants and can grow up to two meters in size. Do not forget about good drainage from expanded clay .
Transplantation and propagation
These plants grow relatively slowly, so they do not need to be transplanted very often. They will grow faster if they have enough light and you transplant them more often into a slightly larger pot. But then it also happens that they can be unnecessarily elongated and the leaves fall over. That's why you don't have to worry about it unnecessarily and just leave them in one pot for quite a few years and wait until the roots start to grow through the drainage holes of the pot.
When you want to propagate your sansevieria, the easiest way to do it is to divide its clumps . Don't be afraid and go for it. Really tear up the individual bunches and plant them. It tolerates such multiplication very well.
Another method of propagation is to let the cut leaves root in water. Although it will take some time for them to grow roots, a few of these upright sword-like leaves look very decorative in a vase of water. When you remember, change their water, even several times a week. The whole process is accelerated if you add a drop of lignohumate to the water , because it stimulates the formation of the root system . But this is a process that does not always end in 100% success. Unfortunately, sometimes not all leaves will root, even if they receive the same care. Sometimes it helps to cut an inverted V shape in the leaves so that there are two longer sections at the bottom. This will increase the area where the roots should form. This procedure is also recommended for more colorful species, e.g. Sansevieria laurentii with yellow bordered edges, as this increases the chance that the new shoots will be the same color as the mother plant.
Sansevieria can also be propagated using leaf cuttings in soil (in water, in perlite). Cut one leaf and cut it into 3 to 10 cm segments. But be careful to still be able to recognize the direction of growth - which side was closer to the roots and which side was closer to the tip of the leaf. Then stick these cells into a mixture of peat and sand (even before that, you can soak the lower part, which was closer to the roots, in a growth stimulator) and water it. Cover the bowl or pot in which you planted with plastic so that the substrate remains slightly moist. Place this breeding station in a bright and sufficiently warm place, try to uncover the plastic every day and 'air' the plants and keep the substrate from drying out. This style of propagation is somewhat worse with colorful species, e.g. Sansevieria laurentii , propagate here by dividing the bunches and preferably in the spring. It happens that the new plants do not have the same coloring as the mother plant, but only remain green with a pattern.
Many indoor plants will welcome a shower once in a while, which refreshes them and cleans them of dust. You can treat your sansevieria to a shower once a year, but due to their dry-loving nature, these plants will rather be wiped with a damp cloth . Do not use gloss on the leaves, they do not like it very much and their interesting drawing on the leaves is beautiful even without it.
They say that if you take care of your 'mother-in-law' with love, she will reward you with a flower. Here it is half as true. It produces flowers unpredictably, but mostly in the summer. They are very decorative with an intoxicating sweet scent. The flower begins to grow as a small pale green stem with many stamens, which later unfurl and roll up to reveal several pale green to yellow anthers. Unfortunately, this beautiful spectacle, often accompanied by the oozing of sweet nectar, lasts only a few days and you can cut the flower after it has completely dried. Hopefully it will be successful again soon with another leaf rosette!
Diseases and pests
These plants are also really great when it comes to diseases. They rarely suffer from diseases and pests avoid them relatively. At most, you can encounter brown dry spots on the edges or in the middle of the leaves, which are an indicator of overwatering . When you see a leaf damaged in this way, cut it off mercilessly and get rid of the leaf, so that the rot or fungal disease does not spread to other leaves. Rotting of the base of the leaves or the entire leaf rosette also clearly signals an excess of water. Limit watering to a minimum, or try transplanting into a dry substrate.
The plant can sometimes be bothered by a lack of light, which manifests itself in pale, poorly colored and generally less vital leaves. So move it to a more suitable place and give it enough time to regenerate.
Is she really that perfect?
Yes! And it even has a few more cool abilities. According to NASA, which studied air-purifying plants , sansevieria are great helpers in an environment polluted by chemical substances . It can largely remove formaldehyde, benzene, trichlorethylene, xylene and toluene from the air. Formaldehyde is highly toxic and carcinogenic, yet it is one of the most widespread poisons in our homes. It is released from the adhesive components of carpets and plywood, foam insulation and is also used in wood preservation.
In addition, they can even create oxygen not only during the day like most plants, but even at night! They thus become an ideal plant for the bedroom , where they also help break down carbon dioxide and thus filter the air even during the night. The amount of carbon dioxide has a great influence on the quality of sleep - the lower the CO 2 concentration , the higher the quality of sleep. If something as simple as buying a sansevieria can help us sleep better, it's easy to try, what do you say?
But in order not only to praise sansevieria here, there is one thing that is not so positive. And that is the fact that it contains certain chemical compounds that can cause irritation of the digestive tract after ingestion . So place it safely out of the reach of pets and try to explain to your little one that there are better things to nibble on than just beautiful sansevieria leaves.
In addition to all that sansevieria does for our health, they are also a beautiful aesthetic addition. Judge for yourself. In addition to common and relatively well-known species such as Sansevieria trifasciata or Sansevieria laurentii , rare species such as the beautiful Sansevieria trifasciata Gray stripe and the delicately colored Sansevieria moonshine are also available (also in our e-shop) . This genus also includes the interesting Sansevieria cylindrica , which has cylindrical leaves, and Sansevieria masoniana , which is grown in the form of one planted leaf, which is why we can find it under the names of whale or shark's fin (in English, whale/shark's fin plant ).
Even my very first plant was S ansevieria trifasciata . In the first grade (at the age of 6!) in work activities, we were given the task of cutting one of its stems, letting it take root and growing a new plant. My 'tongue', as I affectionately call the plant, did very well, blooming several times during my childhood and producing countless 'babies'. And the pearl at the end - I still grow his offspring at home (even after more than 25 years), I gave them to my sister and mother and they still look great. With this, I salute teacher Glajc, thanks to whom my love for plants was born! :-)
Author: Alžběta Lacinová
Plants in our offer
Péče o pokojovky