All About Sansevieria with @cj.grows
The Instagram plant community are a friendly bunch but few are as helpful and supportive as Chris who uses the handle @cj.grows. Chris has a substantial collection of both cacti and sansevieria. In this blog, Chris advises us on the often overlooked sansevieria and explains how we can get the most out of the stalwarts of the plant world.
What is it about Sansevieria that appeals to you?
To start with it was just how easy they are to look after, surviving almost complete neglect in less than ideal conditions in glaring sunshine and sweltering heat on a south facing windowsill, getting hardly any water and still throwing out dozens of baby plants.
Once I joined the Instagram plant community, I saw there were a lot of different varieties out there and they all looked so good. Tall, colourful, patterned, shapely and still so robust and easy to grow.
What’s one thing that you wish people knew or would remember about Sansevieria?
They are far from boring.
Whilst they can be slow growers with not a great deal of care or plant parenting needed, treated right they are quite rewarding. Sansevieria flowers are totally unique and a good indicator you’re doing something right when they appear.
What are your top tips for Sansevieria?
-Keep it dry. They can take being completely dried out much better than they can take being overwatered.
-Grow them in your bedroom and office space. They are one of the best plants for improving air quality and greenery in the workspace is proven to boost productivity. Also, they emit their oxygen at night-time, perfect for a good night’s sleep.
-Keep them slightly pot bound. Growing them in a pot slightly too tight will encourage the plant to grow little babies which will often be a more pristine copy of the parent. Once removed the babies can be used to grow your own collection, for plant swapping and gifting to friends.
-They can be propagated in a variety of ways, splitting the rhizome or cutting the leaves for example, and the parent plant will hardly be fazed at all.
Sansevieria consistently appear on lists of beginner plants, what do you think it is about this plant that makes it so good for beginners?
Sansevieria are excellent beginner plants because they are almost indestructible. Being a succulent type plant, they can go surprisingly long periods of time with little or no water. I know this from experience!
They don’t seem, in my experience, to get any pests. Cacti and other succulents are prone to mealy bugs, Calathea and other leafy plants get spider mites but Sansevieria don’t attract or sustain any.
They can handle almost any light level, from bright direct light, to almost none. A very forgiving plant for somebody just beginning with house plants.
The taller varieties like “laurentii” and “zeylanica” create an instant statement in a room making them an excellent housewarming gift. They still appear in so many home styling magazines and if you keep an eye out, they’re the house plant of choice in films going back as far as the early 80s.
There are more varieties of Sansevieria appearing on the market lately. Which variety are you desperate to add to your collection? Is there one that you think will be the next big thing?
There are now so many varieties available, they are in a resurgence of popularity because of that they are no longer just the neglected office plant you pour the dregs of your coffee into.
I’m quite keen to add a “francisii” to my collection for its incredibly unique shape and the “golden flame” for its striking colours.
The “moonshine” and “masoniana” were the most popular last year, this year seems to be “metallica” so I hope that “bantels sensation” will be the next big thing because true to their name, they are sensational.
If you had to pick just one, which Sansevieria in your collection would you save in a fire?
For me this is an easy one.
The first Sansevieria I bought for myself was a Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii from Wilko’s, reduced to £1.89. It had been severely over watered and was not looking too well. Two of the three stems in the pot had already developed a bit of root rot. It was in considerable need of a bit of emergency surgery to remove the damage and a re-pot into terracotta (porous and breathable for the roots) with free draining compost and it started to recover. In fact, it recovered so well that it split the pot.
It has become quite the hefty plant now after being split and shared with friends, an office move and neglect over summer holidays to overcome. It is still bright and colourful with lovely healthy foliage. Definitely my plant to save.