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Vintage Snake Plant - House Plant Journal

Vintage Snake Plant - House Plant Journal

I call this a vintage snake plant because I got it from an elderly lady who had received it as a propagation from her grandmother.  So it is essentially a clone from the early 1900's.

October 18, 2015 - a nice elderly lady was moving and had several of these shorty snake plants to spare - this was one of at least a dozen!  They grew happily in her south-facing windowsill getting some sun but blocked by a large bush part of the day.  As you can see, they are exploding out of this tiny 3.5" pot (nursery pot inside a ceramic cachepot).

October 18, 2015 - a nice elderly lady was moving and had several of these shorty snake plants to spare - this was one of at least a dozen!  They grew happily in her south-facing windowsill getting some sun but blocked by a large bush part of the day.  As you can see, they are exploding out of this tiny 3.5" pot (nursery pot inside a ceramic cachepot).

October 31, 2015 - the weather was still nice enough to repot outside.  I had some extra 5" nursery pots to use - the plant will recover faster from repotting when it is moved to a slightly bigger pot instead of a significantly larger one.  I like to line the bottom of the pot with landscape fabric to prevent soil runoff as I water the plant - the fabric is cheap and can easily be cut to size.

October 31, 2015 - the weather was still nice enough to repot outside.  I had some extra 5" nursery pots to use - the plant will recover faster from repotting when it is moved to a slightly bigger pot instead of a significantly larger one.  I like to line the bottom of the pot with landscape fabric to prevent soil runoff as I water the plant - the fabric is cheap and can easily be cut to size.

You can see the roots have almost completely taken over the original pot.  Here I'm hosing down the entire plant in case there are any pests that may have stowed away under the leaves - I did notice some webbing on the other plants at the lady's house so I had to be cautious.

You can see the roots have almost completely taken over the original pot.  Here I'm hosing down the entire plant in case there are any pests that may have stowed away under the leaves - I did notice some webbing on the other plants at the lady's house so I had to be cautious.

Inevitably, there were some leaf casualties.  For potting soil - I used a mix of 2 parts sphagnum peat moss and 1 part coarse sand (and a pinch of perlite).  You can also use any soil marked for cacti.

Inevitably, there were some leaf casualties.  For potting soil - I used a mix of 2 parts sphagnum peat moss and 1 part coarse sand (and a pinch of perlite).  You can also use any soil marked for cacti.

And here she is, freshly repotted into the 5" nursery pot, which fit perfectly into my vintage ceramic pot.  To the right, we have the Sansevieria 'japonesa'.

And here she is, freshly repotted into the 5" nursery pot, which fit perfectly into my vintage ceramic pot.  To the right, we have the Sansevieria 'japonesa'.

December 12, 2015 - one time I had to do a studio photoshoot so I naturally used my plants as models to test the lighting.  On the left is S. cylindrica.

December 12, 2015 - one time I had to do a studio photoshoot so I naturally used my plants as models to test the lighting.  On the left is S. cylindrica.

February 2, 2017 - snake plants are slow growers.  After a year, I can only notice a bit more spreading of the rosettes.  Perhaps this year she'll put out some offshoots!

February 2, 2017 - snake plants are slow growers.  After a year, I can only notice a bit more spreading of the rosettes.  Perhaps this year she'll put out some offshoots!

How I care for my snake plants:

Light: whether they get direct sun or just bright indirect light doesn't really matter - they seem happy either way so if you can provide this, read the 'Growth Strategy'.  If your snake plant is sitting in a corner where it cannot see any part of the sky, then skip over to 'Survival Strategy'.


Growth Strategy: compared to other house plants, Sansevieria are considered slow growers even with bright light so if you were hoping to get a lush snake plant from a small starter plant, you'll be waiting a couple years.  Most of the larger snake plants I have put up just 1 or 2 new leaves per year.  My smaller ones appear to grow faster but it's probably just a perception thing because the overall plant is smaller so one leaf makes a big difference.  Snake plants are considered succulents - their thick leaves store lots of water - so you can wait until the soil is bone dry before watering.  At my light levels (about 200 foot-candles at the brightest point of the day), I'm watering these guys once every 2 weeks - but remember, always go according to your light and potting situation; for instance, if you're using clay pots, the soil may dry out sooner.  No matter what type of pot you have, the soil will become compacted so it's best to aerate the soil maybe every other watering but since snake plants live in almost desert environments, they are used to hard soils.


Survival Strategy: the great thing about snake plants is they will look great even when starving but the "snake plant for a dark corner" idea is probably how people started spreading the idea that overwatering is the number one killer of house plants.  Death by overwatering is just a symptom of the true cause, which is not enough light to use up the excess moisture.  If you must put your snake plant where it is basically not growing, then you must also keep the soil as dry as possible.  Perhaps once a month, you could extend its life by giving it a good soaking and then leaving it beside a window for a day or two so it can store up some food for the next round of fasting.  Hopefully after a few times, you'll come to your senses and just leave the snake plant by the window so it can be happy!

House Plant Tour: Elspeth & Blake

House Plant Tour: Elspeth & Blake

Monstera deliciosa - House Plant Journal

Monstera deliciosa - House Plant Journal

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