Sansevieria is an ornamental herbaceous plant of the Asparagus family. In nature, it grows in subtropical and tropical forests of Southeast Asia, North America, and Africa. Due to its dense fleshy leaves with a flat glossy surface, it is very popular among designers. In common speech it is known under the name “mother-in-law’s tongue”, “devil’s tongue”, “leopard lily”.
Sansevieria is an evergreen perennial grown at home. It is unpretentious in care, calmly tolerates drought, a change of location and a long absence of owners. It is often used for interior decoration, both as an independent decor element and as part of prefabricated flower arrangements.
All varieties can be conditionally divided into two main categories: long narrow leaves of a vertical shape and short foliage, collected in symmetrical rosettes. The edging of the leaves is usually highlighted in some other color than green: brown, burgundy red, yellowish, etc. The surface of the leaf plate is smooth, covered with a dense skin that prevents excessive evaporation of moisture. A number of varieties have a contrasting pattern over the entire area of the “tongues” – as a rule, these are horizontal risks of wavy or zigzag geometry.
The fibrous root system has a compact size. The leaves grow directly from the ground, less often they are collected around a dense pillar, surrounding it from all sides. They rush clearly up or slightly deviate from the center on the sides. Tapering at the ends, the pointed tops can be traumatic, so it is not recommended to take them with bare hands. If the tip is pinched off, the plant will begin to slow down in growth. Every year the socket is updated with 2-3 sheets.
During the flowering period of sansevieria, several vertical peduncles with lush inflorescences will be driven out. The shape of the flowers is cylindrical, the petals themselves are narrow with long fragrant stamens. The aroma is similar to sweet vanilla. The buds open in the dark, in the evening or at night. Ripe fruits contain several seeds, usually 1-3 seeds.
Types of sansevieria
In total, there are about 60 plant species, each of which differs not only in the configuration of the leaves and color, but also in the intensity of growth. Fast-growing varieties are able to expel 3-4 new leaves, while slow-growing ones can boast only one “tongue”.
Most often on home and office window sills you can find the following types:
- Sansevieria three-lane. One of the most popular favorites among indoor flower growers. It was he who was nicknamed “pike tail” and “mother-in-law’s tongue” because of the long subulate-pointed leaves. The leaf plate itself is flat, oval in shape, tapering towards the bottom and sharpening at the top. The average length is 20-30 cm, width is 3-10 cm. The color is variegated – transverse light stripes are clearly outlined on a dark green background.
The most common varieties: “Laurentii” (Laurenti), “Hahnii” (Hanni), “Laurentii Compacta” (Laurenti Compacta), “Zeylanica” (Zelanika).
- Sansevieria Cylindrical. The plant is distinguished by a thick rhizome, reaching a diameter of 3-4 cm. The leaves are long tubes, gradually tapering and pointed at the top. Since the sharp ends can be severely injured, they are often put on special cork or plastic caps. The length of the leaves reaches up to 70-100 cm. The color is rich green, diluted with transverse silvery and yellow strokes of uneven shape. The leaves form into a rosette, which during the flowering period is decorated with an inflorescence of white-cream stars.
- Sansevieria Hyacinthus. Belongs to the category of undersized varieties. The height of an adult flower is a maximum of 0.5 m. Leaf tongues are collected in bunches of 3-4 pieces, the length of which varies between 15-50 cm. The dark green plates are cut with zigzag strokes of a lighter shade. To the touch dense, smooth. The edge of the leaves is painted in a brown or whitish tone. The leaves have the widest diameter in the middle, progressively tapering towards the base.
- Sansevieria Kirki. In the list of the most beautiful species, unanimously recognized by flower growers. The plant rests on a short but thick rhizome, thoroughly leaving in the ground. The rosette consists of several leaves (usually 2-3) stretching upwards. The length of the plates can reach up to 2 meters. Their color is predominantly bluish-green in color with longitudinal “scratches” on all surfaces. The edges are clearly visible red-brown edging. The shape of the leaves remotely resembles lace. The inflorescences have a capitate configuration, are painted white, smell pleasant.
- Sansevieria Large. A large plant with thick, fleshy leaves forming separate rosettes. In one rosette, 2-4 leaves can develop, the length of which is 25-60 cm, width – 10-15 cm. On a dark green glossy surface, short stripes of a malachite shade are “drawn”, as well as small light spots. There is a reddish-brown border around the edges. The peduncle looks like an erect brush strewn with greenish buds, which then open with narrow petals.
- Sansevieria Duneri. It is a voluminous sheet rosette, consisting of 15-20 flat “feathers”. Their width varies within 2-3 cm, the length is about 35-40 cm. The color of the upper leaves is more saturated, grassy, the color becomes darker towards the bottom. On a green background, a wavy swamp-green pattern is visible.
Transplantation is done as needed. Young bushes are recommended to be transplanted about 1 time in 1.5-2 years, adults – 1 time in 3 years. In any case, the process should be puzzled when roots appear from the holes on the bottom of the pot. This means that the root system has already completely “mastered” the earth, and it has become cramped.
A flowerpot is best selected from clay or materials with thick walls. Roots can break thin-walled containers, or heavy foliage will outweigh to one side, and the plant will fall on its side. The new pot should be a maximum of 1.5-2 cm wider than the previous one, since the roots of sansevieria do not like a lot of free space.
For transplantation, ready-made soil mixture for cacti and succulents, bought in a store, is used. It may include perlite and fine gravel. Approximate soil proportions: sheet and sod land, plus sand – 1:2:1. If the soil is prepared on its own, then it is advisable to pre-steam or ignite it in the oven. Ideally, it should be light, absorb water quickly and dry out. A layer of expanded clay, small pebbles or any other drainage is laid at the bottom of the tank.
At home, sansevieria is propagated in two main ways:
- The division of the bush. Transplantation is done in the spring. A large bush is carefully dug out of the soil, the earth is well shaken off the roots. With a sharp knife, cuts are made in the rhizome in such a way that at least one growth point and several leaves are present on each individual part. The divided shares are planted in sandy-peat soil in individual pots. Watering is limited, as the earth dries up. The temperature of the content is 23-25 ° С. The method is equally suitable for varieties with green and variegated foliage.
- Leaf cuttings. The leaf plate is cut into segments 4-6 cm long, after which it is dried for some time in the open air. Cuttings are planted in rows in the sand mixture at an angle of 45 degrees. Wide, but low containers are suitable for landing. The blanks are covered with a transparent cap (jar, plastic container, bottle), airing in the evening or in the morning for several hours. Watering is carried out not from above, but through the pan.
After about 1.5-2 months, buds and roots appear on the cuttings, then leaves begin to develop. After the root system is strong, the leaves are transplanted into permanent pots with adult soil. With this method, children, even from variegated leaves, are uniformly green.
To get plants with striped foliage, you can try cutting off the edges of the cutting in a wedge shape and rooting only the variegated edges.
Sansevieria is unpretentious in care and grows well in both natural and artificial light. The main thing is that it does not fall under drafts and precipitation, if it is in the fresh air. In the spring and summer months, it is recommended to put the pot on a balcony, veranda or any other open space. And it does not matter whether this place will be actively illuminated by the sun or be constantly in the shade. On hot days, it is still better to play it safe and shade the plant so that the leaves do not suffer from sunburn.
Variegated varieties need special lighting. So that the variegated leaves with yellowness do not “reborn” into green, the flower needs to pick up darker places. But if there is too little light, then the growth of the plant will be too slow. Ideally, find an intermediate position for a window with oblique sunlight.
The optimal temperature regime for keeping the “mother-in-law’s tongue” is + 18-25 ° C during the day and + 14-16 ° C at night. In winter, the temperature can be reduced to + 11-13 ° C, but already below +10 ° C, the plant will begin to react to a cold snap, and there is a risk of losing it. If the flower has been standing in a cool place for a long time, then it must be protected from drafts, and the frequency of watering should also be reduced. In the summer heat, it is recommended to ventilate the room frequently.
The plant does not require additional air humidification. For a comfortable content, ordinary home conditions are enough for him. No spraying, no humidifier installations required. The pot can stand on the windowsill, under which there is a battery or heater. The only element of care is periodically wiping the leaves with a damp cloth or bathing in the shower to remove the accumulated dust. The water should be at room temperature and soft to avoid limescale halos.
Sansevieria tolerates prolonged drought better than abundant watering. Since the plant belongs to the category of succulents, it practically does not feel a lack of water. But when the soil is flooded, the root system may rot and, as a result, the death of the entire leaf crown. You need to water the flower so that water does not fall into the center of the outlets, and only if the earth is completely dry.
In the autumn-winter period, the amount of watering should be reduced. The main principle: the colder the room, the less moistening of the substrate in the pot. To measure the level of humidity, you can purchase a special indicator. Water should be rain or distilled. In urban conditions, ordinary tap water is suitable, but well-settled, and always at room temperature.
Active feeding is carried out from May to September. To maintain active growth, it is enough to fertilize the plant twice a month. The rest of the time, the range expands to once a month. If the winter is cold, then top dressing can be abandoned altogether.
Fertilizers are used classic – mineral compositions focused on cacti and succulents. As an option, you can take universal liquid solutions for decorative and deciduous crops. Half the dose recommended by the manufacturer is enough to feed the flower in spring and summer, and in the winter months you can limit yourself to 1/3 of the nutrient mixture.
With a high concentration of fertilizer, variegated types of sansevieria can change colors, acquiring a monophonic texture.
Mother-in-law’s tongue is resistant to various diseases, which is of great interest to lovers of indoor plants. Only with excessive watering and low maintenance temperatures can a flower be affected by powdery mildew or rot. Insect pests on sansevieria do not take root, even if they are adjacent to infected plants.