When you are looking for a tough indoor plant, sanseveria trifasciata (or more commonly called snake plant) is a hardy choice. These sturdy plants are also a good pick for new indoor gardeners who are looking for plants with minimal maintenance.
The sanseveria thrives in low light conditions and is an excellent choice for low-maintenance and high-traffic areas. Their leaves are stiff and sturdy with upright edges speared like swords (though not sharp to the touch).
Sanseverias are found in several colours, including dark green, green with yellow edging, pale green, light green and light yellow.
The common name, snake plant, refers to the thick banding which resembles the skin of some snakes. Sanseverias can be found in all sizes, ranging from 30 centimetres in height to over 100+ centimetres tall.
In the right conditions, these plants will flower with prolific blossoms in shades of lime green to white.
The incredible fragrance is comparable to that of a bouquet of fresh-cut lilacs. The blooms will last for weeks at a time, generally making their mark in the few weeks of summer.
Snake plants are easy to propagate. Start with slicing the stalk on a sharp angle and insert the point tip first, directly into the potting medium.
Cuttings from the sanseveria take a long time to root. In fact, they really never do root. They form a rhizome from the cutting and from that a new leaf emerges. The older leaf will eventually disintegrate.
A common ailment of the sanseveria is the tipping of the leaves syndrome, which is common in the winter months. If your sanseveria leaves start to bend and droop, the plant is getting too much moisture. If your plant is in this stage, take some cuttings from the top 20 centimetres of the plant and insert it into a potting medium of 50-per-cent sand and 50-per-cent peat mixture to allow for the plant to produce new shoots.
During the winter months, the sanseveria plant needs to be watered only once every two months. Spring through autumn the plants thrive on slightly more moisture, however the trick to this plant is to keep it dry. Avoid watering the crown of the plant and allow the plants to hydrate through the root system (water into the saucer below the planter).
If you follow this watering system, the plant will develop a root system so strong it will crack the pot it is contained in. When the plant becomes container bound, simply divide and transplant.
Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer during the summer months only.
Whether you are looking to start fresh with a new houseplant or add to your existing indoor garden, the sanseveria trifasciata, with its tall and erect form, in fascinating shades and snake-like variegations, is a welcomed addition to any garden.