Welcome to a new series on HPH – PLANT STORIES. After sharing my 30 year old Aspidistra story with you all, I got such a good response, I thought it would be interesting to turn things around and ask YOU about some of your plant stories. For this first round of stories, I wanted to focus on the oldest plants in your collections – that have maybe been in your family for a long time (like my aspidistra), or perhaps the first plant you bought, that sparked an unrelenting enthusiasm for house plants in general. Caring for and nurturing a plant over a number of years offers a counterpoint to the lightning-fast pace of todays society. As a durational experience, it encourages those engaged in this process to appreciate the little moments of every day activity, rather than always being caught up in the maelstrom that is modern culture.
Plant Stories #1 : Sansevieria Masoniana
Today’s post features a beautiful 20 year old Sansevieria Masoniana, also called ‘Beaver Tail’ or ‘Mason’s Congo’ Sansevieria that belongs to Sarah from ‘@BrooklynSayrah’ on Instagram. It seems particularly apt to be sharing this today, seeing as its #sansevieriasunday!
When this photograph first popped up on my IG Stories, I knew straight away I wanted to feature it …I have a soft spot for Sansevieria and this variety is one I’ve rarely seen in the UK. As the photograph above shows, it has a beautiful red edging around the leaf margins, that look similar in shape to a beaver’s tail. As the leaves are wider and more ‘paddle’ shaped than other more common varieties, such as the Sansevieria Trifasciata var. Laurentii (photograph of mine below left), this seems to further enhance the beautifully sculptural undulating curves of the upright leaves.
Sarah collects Sansevieria and ‘took over care’ of this one in May 2017 from the owner at Noble Plants in New York. Seeing as this round of stories concerns old plants, I thought this would be a good one to start things off, 20 years is quite a time to nurture a plant! I like the idea of ‘adopting’ plants too – acknowledging that the majority have had a life before you have managed to get your hands on them!
I’ve included a map below for you New York based plant lovers:
I just wanted to add that Sarah has also got the most beautiful Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Moonshine’ variety which is probably my all-time favourite Sansevieria variety! I couldn’t help but share a photograph of it below (…go check out her page to see some new leaves from it in a very interesting pot by @grouppartner !) I always love seeing what new sansevieria Sarah manages to get her hands on!
As you can see from the photograph above – Sarah split the smaller growth and repotted it in July this year. The two newest leaves have now been moved into a smaller terracotta pot – these miniature pots hold such promise! I have a crassula ovata (jade plant) cutting in one like this, and, when seen next to the larger plant, it really does remind you of the sometimes slow but extremely rewarding process of growing plants.
Finally, some care advice for these beautiful plants – Sarah’s Brooklyn apartment has quite high levels of humidity as it doesn’t have air conditioning, and all her plants seem to love this! They really do all look in tip-top condition due to good light levels and a good amount of moisture. In terms of watering, she fills her watering can and leaves the water settle overnight before watering… I also do this and think it does help to leave the water ‘settle’ for a number of hours.
I would say that the number one rule with Sansevieria concerns watering – or more to the point, the importance of not overwatering, especially in winter! Depending on it’s location, during the colder months, you can wait between six weeks to two months between watering this plant. It is very susceptible to root rot if the soil becomes saturated so this is something to look out for.
Another tip I have is to water around the edge of the pot so as not to wet the ‘heart’ of the plant, as this can cause damage if it gets over saturated. I currently have all my sansevieria in plastic pots sitting within ceramic plant pots, which means I can water mine from the bottom using tepid water on a saucer.
If you have any questions, or want to send me something for Plant Stories, my IG handle is @_houseplanthouse
Thanks for reading, and thank you Sarah letting me share your lovely plant (…her nickname for it is Barbra Streisand by the way)!