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Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii – How to grow and care for the snake plant

Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii is an evergreen perennial and probably the most popular variety of Snake plant. It is widely known by names like “Variegated snake plant” or “Striped mother in law’s tongue” due to distinct yellow margins on the leaves. This hardy, beautiful plant has sword-shaped fleshy leaves. Much like Sansevieria Cylindrica, Sansevieria Trifasciata and other snake plant types, this species is a great choice for indoors as well as outdoors. Although this rough and tough plant is relatively easy to maintain, there can be some challenges while raising it away from its native home environment. So, let’s see how to grow and care for a Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii plant.

Benefits and Uses

  • As an indoor plant, the sansevieria Laurentii makes a great ornamental decor.
  • Apart from the stunning looks, it is a very hardy and tolerant plant. It can sustain temperature fluctuations and low light conditions. It’s generally a hard-to-kill plant which is great for beginners and lazy gardeners.
  • In addition to these benefits, Sansevieria Laurentii has the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night time. This amazing feature makes this plant a perfect pick for bedrooms.
  • Like most Sansevieria, it also decreases the impact of airborne allergens by absorbing harmful toxins from the air.
  • Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii is believed to be a lucky plant as per Feng Shui.

Plant size and Growth

Under ideal growing conditions, Sansevieria Laurentii can grow up to 3 to 4 feet tall. This plant has stiff, upright and pointy leaves that don’t spread out too much. It has slightly wavy edges and beautiful yellow margins on the leaves. Bright light conditions and a gentle sun a few hours a day seems to promote growth and flowering in snake plants. However, to maintain the size of a potted plant, you may have to prune or divide the plant. In general, the variegated snake plant exhibits a slow to moderate growth rate.

Like many snake plants, you can keep Sansevieria Laurentii as an indoor ornamental plant. However, it will thrive in the outdoor garden as well. If your plants are rooted in the ground, they will multiply faster by creating new shoots through the rhizomes. Rhizomes are underground stems that grow horizontally and help the plant spread.

The mother in law’s tongue plants actively grow in the warmer spring and summer seasons. Late winter- Spring is the blooming time for mature plants. During cold winters, these plants are in a resting dormant state.

indoor snake plant, Sansevieria Laurentii

Ideal Soil Mix

Being tropical plants, all Sansevieria prefer warm weather and dry roots. Standing in wet and water-logged soil can rot their roots, and make the leaves droopy, yellow and mushy. To avoid this, choosing a loose, fast-draining and gritty soil is really essential. Sansevieria Laurentii can adapt to a variety of soil types as long as it can drain freely. Loose soil greatly reduces the chances of overwatering the plant.

You can make a soil mix by adding perlite, coco coir, pumice or gravel into a regular or garden soil. These additives will increase the draining capacity of soil. Click here for some soil mix proportions for snake plants. A potting mix designed for tropical plants, or succulents and cacti also works great for the snake plant. Be sure to replace the soil whenever it gets too old and compressed. You should also discard the soil in case of root rot or fungal infections.

Pot or Container

Sansevieria Laurentii has a unique and gorgeous foliage that makes it stand out from other houseplants. A good pot will not just look nice but also accentuate the beauty of your plant. Terracotta, ceramic or plastic are some popular pot material options. And the containers come in different shapes and sizes. Wooden planters or concrete pots also look nice for snake plants. Depending on your decor, you can also choose unique materials like metal, bamboo or glass.

The most important thing to look for in a pot is a proper way to drain off water. If possible, make some holes at the bottom of your container, if it doesn’t have them already. Else, you can use a double potting method and place your plant in a smaller container inside a bigger ornamental pot. The pot should also be proportional to the size of the snake plant, not too big and not too small. Here’s a guide to find a perfect pot for your snake plant.

Watering Schedule

Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii is a drought-tolerant species, which means it can live without daily watering. The frequency of watering depends on many factors like size of the plant, season and other environmental conditions. For instance, in the warmer months your plants need more water, probably once a week. If your plants are in a low light area, they may need water less frequently.

During colder winters, snake plants consume very less to no water. You can water them once a month or after every couple of months. Try to water the plants in the morning, so the extra water can easily evaporate throughout the day. Never water your plants on extremely cold winter nights. For more information, check out this watering guide for snake plants. Here are some basic tips:

  • The best way to decide if your Sansevieria needs water is to check the dampness of the top soil layer. Stick your finger in the soil 1-2 inches (almost two knuckles) deep. It should feel dry to touch. If the soil is still moist, wait for a couple of days.
  • While watering, pour the water around the pot edges and close to the soil surface. Make sure to fully soak the soil until water starts dripping through the drainage holes. For in-ground plants, water slowly and deeply to a depth of at least 4-5 inches.
  • In case of potted plants, let all the water drain away freely. Wait for 20-30 minutes, then discard the drained water. Do not allow the plant to sit in standing water.

Light Requirements

Sansevieria Laurentii can tolerate almost anything from the bright sunlight to low light conditions. But do not suddenly change the lighting condition of your plants. If you wish to move your plants to a brightly lit place from a shadowy area, do it gradually over a period of a few weeks. Ideally bright but indirect sunlight seems to be best for snake plants. Harsh direct sunlight all year round may be too much. So, it’s better to keep them in a partial or full shade if kept outside. Intense sunlight or deep shade may slightly change the foliage color.

For indoor mother in law’s tongue plants, a sunny window is a good choice. Place them near a window behind a sheer curtain, so that they receive bright light but not too much sun. Few hours of mild direct sun is good for the plant, especially in the morning or evening. If you don’t have lots of sunlight pouring in, bright artificial lighting is also fine. Click here to read more about optimal light conditions for snake plants.

Temperature

Sansevieria Laurentii is able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The plant is happy anywhere between 60-75°F (15-24°C). It may survive high temperatures as long as it isn’t exposed to scorching sun. However, snake plants are not cold hardy. For ideal conditions, keep the plant protected from extreme hot and cold climates. 

Snake plants become dormant in cold weather and their growth is stunted. If exposed to temperatures below 50°F, the leaves are likely to get damaged. Wet soil combined with extreme cold can even kill a plant. So, it’s advised to keep your snake plants indoors during the winter season. If it’s not possible to bring the plants inside, you can cover the outdoor plants with a heavy cloth. This will help to retain some warmth and possibly prevent frost.

Feeding the Plant

Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii is a light feeder that doesn’t need much supplements. In fact, the roots can get damaged with too much fertilizing. A single slow-release granular feeding in the year works great for this plant. When using liquid fertilizers, a half-strength dose monthly during the growth period is more than enough. Spring to late summer is usually a good time to do the feeding.

While picking up a fertilizer for your snake plants, choose a balanced general-purpose mix. Liquid and slow-release granular fertilizers are great options. Organic fertilizers like cow dung, manure, worm compost can also be applied, but use them sparingly. Check out this post for more information on fertilizing.

Now there are some situations when you shouldn’t feed the snake plants.

  • Never fertilize your plant in the winter. Plants are resting during this time and need minimal water and nutrients.
  • Avoid feeding young plants with tender roots, especially those propagated through leaf cuttings.
  • Don’t fertilize a plant right after dividing or repotting. Wait for at least one month after it is transplanted in the new container. Small plants that are just bought from a nursery also need some time to get accustomed to their environment.

Pests and Diseases

Being tough and hardy, most Sansevieria are not very prone to pests and diseases. However, occasionally they may get attacked by mealybugs or spider mites. These two kinds of insects are the most common enemies of a Sansevieria Laurentii. They suck the juices from the plant leaves and make them weak and susceptible to more diseases. If you suspect a pest attack, try to remedy it as early as possible.

Unfortunately, snake plants can easily get overwatered and suffer from diseases. Fungal infestations and root rot can be an outcome of too frequent watering or poorly draining soil. To avoid fungal infections, you can mix in some fungicide in the soil. Plant diseases can be prevented by keeping the leaves and roots clean and on the drier side.

Grooming and Maintenance

Sansevieria Laurentii is a hardy and low maintenance plant. This means that it can grow well even with minimal care and doesn’t require regular pruning or tidying up. Trim the plant only if necessary to remove dead or damaged leaves.

If the leaves are severely injured by cold, they can not be revived. Sometimes leaves on the outer side may fall over due to natural aging. They can also fall as the pot becomes crowded. In such cases, cut off the leaves with a sterilized cutting tool to maintain a healthy look of your plant. Wipe the leaves once in a while to remove dirt and keep them clean.

Propagation

Propagating a Sansevieria Laurentii plant is easy and straightforward like most of the snake plants. Dividing the root-ball or planting the rhizomes in soil are reliable methods to create new snake plants. Here’s how you can quickly propagate a variegated snake plant by dividing the roots.

  • First of all, make sure that your plant is old enough and has a mature root structure. Then, gently remove the plant from its container.
  • Inspect the roots and rhizomes to see where they can be naturally pulled apart. Remove any dark or mushy parts of the root.
  • Using a sharp and sterilized knife, cut the plant in half. For a bigger root structure, you can make more than two plants. Just make sure that each portion has some healthy leaves and roots.
  • Repot all the sections in separate containers. Water them thoroughly.

Using parts of a single healthy leaf is also a popular method for creating snake plants. However, the major disadvantage is this method may revert the new plant from a specific cultivated form to their parent type. In other words, the new plant might lose the leaf variegation if you propagate the plant by using just the leaves.

Repotting

Although snake plants like to get slightly root bound, they can overgrow their containers and require transplanting. Sansevieria Laurentii is a bigger snake plant that needs repotting every 2-3 years. Repotting a plant will make it look tidier. It also allows the plant to receive enough water and nutrients, ultimately helping it grow stronger and resilient. For a step-by-step guide on transplanting Sansevieria, check out this post. Here are some basic steps to do the same:

  • Get a container that is proportional to the plant size. It should be 1 to 1.5 inches wider in diameter than the current pot.
  • Then add a thin layer of pebbles or rocks at the bottom to cover drainage holes. Put a sufficiently thick layer of soil over that.
  • Carefully separate your plant from its old pot and lightly remove sticky soil from the roots with your fingertips.
  • Place the plant in its new pot at the same depth. Then fill the rest of the container with your fresh potting mix.
  • Finally, water the snake plant thoroughly and let the excess water flow out.

Pets and kids safety

Like most snake plants, Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii is mildly toxic when eaten. It is considered toxic for cats and dogs. Although consuming a little part of the plant is not likely to be fatal, it’s better to take precautions and avoid this from happening. The toxins can also affect humans. So if you have children or pets, be cautious to keep the plant out of their reach.

All parts of Sansevieria contain a toxic chemical Saponin which can cause mouth and stomach irritations when ingested. Common symptoms of the plant poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, drooling etc. Touching the leaf juices can also result in rashes or dermatitis in some people. So, use gloves whenever you are trimming, propagating or repotting this plant.

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