We don’t believe anyone’s really black-fingered, but for the especially wary amongst you, we have just thing. Though the Sansevieria genus is wide-ranging, each variety is known for its hardiness.
Unlike many other succulents, Sansevierias adapt well to indoor environments. As desert-plants, most succulents become ‘etiolated’ when brought inside. Etiolation occurs when plants are in environments with insufficient light, resulting in a weak, elongated stems as your plant stretches upwards, seeking more.
Happily, Sansevierias can endure in low light conditions without suffering. So if you’re looking to introduce plants into a workspace or studio which lacks natural light, this is a great one to consider. However, it’s important to note that while Snake Plants can be relied upon to endure low-light environments, as natives to the West African plains, these bad boys love light! And if you have the option of placing a Sansevieria in view of a window – regardless of whether South, East, West or North facing – it will reward you with a much quicker growth rate. Your snake plant's fronds can get scorched if they’re overexposed to direct sun, resulting in a loss of brilliance in terms of colour and texture.
As plants which thrive on neglect, Sansevierias will only need watering once every 14 days or so in Summer, and as little as once every 6 weeks in Winter. Succulents hold water in their thick fronds, as well as their roots, so their soil should have entirely dried out between waterings. When you do water, don’t be afraid of giving your snake plants a good drink; just make sure it doesn’t sit in the excess. Regardless of variety, when you water a houseplant, remove it from its ceramic pot and do not return it until you're sure water isn’t going to come out of the growing pot holes.
Another reason we love these sturdy succulents is because of their air-purifying capabilities. The Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sanseveria Trifasciata) was one of twelve plants to be put through rigorous testing by scientists from NASA in their landmark clean air study. The report indicated that plants help to absorb household pollutants and carbon dioxide, whilst recirculating cleaner oxygen.
Knowing your Laurentis from your Zeylanicas
'Snake Plant' and 'Mother-in-Law’s Tongue' are applied to different species and different varieties (subsets of species) fairly interchangeably. Here’s what you need to know to be able to tell them apart.
We call Sansevieria Laurentii and Sansevieria Zeylanicas 'Mother-in-Law's Tongue,' for their long thin, curling fronds, which rise into a sharp point - not something you'd want to be on the wrong side of.
Another of our favourites (not always easy to get hold of) is the Sansevieria masonia 'Victoria,' or the Shark Fin.
In the wild, these plants can clump together, but once in a pot you're more likely to get a single, sculptural wave.
Last but not least, the classic Snake Plant, the Sansevieria cylindrica, with its dense, rounded fronds, this one really is snakey.