It is known scientifically as Sansevieria trifasciata, although in home gardening it is also called the sword of Saint George, clearly due to the pointed and semi-sharp shape of its edges. This plant has gained popularity because it is very easy to care for, slow growing and has an exotic appearance which is of great interest for growing as a houseplant.
In fact, this plant adapts to all types of environments, including the outdoor garden, since a very wide range of temperatures and soil conditions, although always in hot environments and areas with low rainfall. In this article we tell you the main features of the so-called Sansevieria trifasciatawhere we have already told you that the term “trifasciata” comes from the yellow border that its leaves present, offering 3 colors (trifasciata), two identical, in each “sword”.
Characteristics of Sansevieria trifasciata (sword of Saint George)
Sansevieria trifasciata is classified as semi-succulent plant, suitable both for growing in pots indoors and in rocky or xerophytic gardens (low water consumption). The great attraction of the sword of Saint George is its leaves, pointed, lanceolate, pointed and very rigid to the touch, with an average length of 60 cm but which can exceed a meter in height with relative ease.
Of course, we are talking about a slow-growing plant, where you can find different sub-varieties to make very attractive combinations in the garden or random combinations in pots. Although it produces inflorescences and seeds (a small orange-looking berry), these are not ornamentally significant.
every kind Sansevieria it is very resistant to drought and, in fact, it is common to find it in very hot, almost desert environments. This is because it has a highly optimized oxygen and CO2 exchange system, known as CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism), while the leaf walls are extremely strong and rigid, preventing water loss through evaporation. .
All this awaits you some information regarding plant water supply. We are already anticipating very little of this.
Origin: native to tropical Africa west to Nigeria and east to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Common names: St. George’s Sword, Tiger’s Tongue (Colombia), Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Latin America), Serpent’s Tail (Argentina), Sanseviera, Chucho, Serpentaria, Donkey’s Ears (Mexico).
An air purification plant according to NASA
An interesting part that we did not want to miss in this article on Sansevieria trifasciata it was its air-purifying power. NASA carried out a very interesting study many years ago on the properties of plants to filter and purify the air in completely sealed environments (ships and space stations).
This study, in collaboration with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), found in this plant great properties to reduce the concentration of elements toxic to humans, such as benzene, tricolethylene, formaldehyde, xylenes, toluene and ammonia. Only for the latter compound did the plant exert a purifying effect, according to the NASA Clean Air Study.
The results can be checked through the following table:
|Factory||Benzene||Formaldehyde||trichlorethylene||xylene and toluene||Ammonia|
|Sansevieria trifasciata||Yes (1196 µg/h)||Yes 1304 (µg/h)||Yes (405 µg/h)||Yeah||No|
Fountain: NASA Air Quality Study.
Of course, in a well-ventilated home, it is extremely rare for these compounds to accumulate to the point of becoming toxic to humans and pets, but it is good to have this plant for ornamental purposes and to also have this property.
NOTE: in 2017, thanks to a molecular study of its phylogeny, it was introduced into the genus Dracaenaso it can also be found as Dracaena trifasciata.
subspecies of Sansevieria trifasciata
In Sansevieria trifasciata we find several very interesting sub-varieties to combine with each other, since the appearance of its leaf can be completely different.
Some of the most interesting are:
- “Bantel Sensation”
- ‘Golden Hahni’
- ‘Silver Hahnii’
read more: Care guide Sansevieria masoniana
Variety Sansevieria trifasciata var. laurentii It is one of the great performing plants and the most common plant.
grow guide Sansevieria
We are fully getting acquainted with the growing conditions of this plant, which already at the beginning of the article we pointed out its ease of cultivation. You can almost forget about it and give it some love once a month. Sansevieria It is one of the least maintained essences that we can have at home, very easy to maintain and offers an exotic profile to our house which gains in visual quality. In addition, we also mentioned its ability to filter the air.
Location and weather
Temperature: Sansevieria trifasciata It is relatively sensitive to cold, so its ideal environment is a warm one. The minimum temperature so that the sword of Saint George does not stop its development is 10 ºC. An ideal range is between 18 and 32 ºC, although with higher temperatures the plant behaves perfectly.
Humidity: prefers dry environments, without drafts. Home humidity, between 40-60% (except coastal environments) is optimal. However, there are no problems if grown, even in the garden, in coastal areas with sea breezes and annual humidity much higher than a continental area.
Lightning: it adapts very well to all kinds of light environments, even very dark rooms (250 lux on average). However, where it shows its full growth potential and leaf color is in well-lit areas. In fact, the ‘laurentii’ sub-variety can lose its characteristic yellow edges on newly formed leaves if light conditions are not sufficient, although this does not really affect the well-being of the Sansevieria.
Best substrate for Sansevieria trifasciata
When preparing a mixture of substrates and soils, it should be kept in mind that this plant lives in dry soil conditions and needs very high drainage to avoid excessive accumulation of water.
Therefore, it is common to use components such as sand and very loose coir. It is not recommended to use only a universal substrate and the drainage capacity of the support must be increased with this type of substrate.
how to water
Irrigation is one of the main enemies of the plant. Or rather, the bad watering. The water needs of Sansevieria trifasciata they are very low and with a very low frequency as well. This species is very drought tolerant, making it perfect for indoor growing.
As a general rule, it is necessary allow moisture to dry out between wateringsand provide a very small amount of water compared to other non-succulent plants.
A recommended irrigation profile for St. George’s Sword would be:
- Watering in autumn-winter: once a month
- Watering in spring-summer: once every 15 days.
The amount of water should be very low. Typically one tenth (1/10) of the volume of the pot. That is, if the container has a capacity of 5 liters, we recommend watering with 0.5 liters of water with the aforementioned frequency.
Excessive accumulation of water will lead to rotting of the roots, loss of the original rigidity and color of its leaves and wilting which will kill the plant in a few days. If the leaves turn a soft yellow (especially at the base), this is typically a sign of overwatering.
When to pay and how
Sansevieria trifasciata It is a slow growing plant in spring and summer and practically non-existent in winter, so fertilizer recommendations are very low, recommending applying liquid or solid fertilizer only in spring and summer.
For this plant, it is quite comfortable to bring a little granular fertilizer (a tablespoon of coffee per pot, well distributed throughout the substrate, without burying). Ambient humidity and spaced irrigation slowly release nutrients. This species is demanding in nitrogen, potassium and iron. A recommended formula for this herb would be:
Blue Universal Fertilizer – 4kg bag
- Azul Batlle Universal Fertilizer is a complex granular fertilizer that contains all the nutrients from each grain of fertilizer
- Particularly indicated for outdoor plants, it provides the nutrients necessary for the optimal development of horticultural species, fruit trees and all kinds of ornamental plants, trees, shrubs and flowers.
- Its composition, low in chlorides, rich in micronutrients and very soluble, gives it optimal qualities for plant nutrition.
- Composition: EC fertilizer. NPK 10-12-18 + 2MgO fertilizer with trace elements
- Dosage: Apply by spreading evenly at a rate of 40g/m2
In situations where it is seen that there are a lot of leaves on this plant, they pile up and do not give way to the light for the smaller ones, it is time to divide the plant and reduce its size. the transplant takes place in early springby cleaning the root substrate well and dividing the plant with a sharp knife from the roots, with great patience and care.
If you divide the plant into 2 or 3 parts, you can continue to use the original pot, renewing the substrate with draining materials that guarantee good drainage of irrigation water.
The Sansevierias They spread very easily by plant division. The new small leaves can be transplanted when they reach a height of 5 cm in another pot, emitting roots from the month of life.
The easiest way is to divide the plants, mentioned in the previous point, which also guarantees better plant health if the leaves are not crowded in the same pot.
Possible pests and diseases
It is very rare that Sansevieria trifasciata suffer from insect attacks inside the house, the most common being the ribbed mealybug and cottony mealybug. Both are easy to remove with a damp cloth, lightly rubbing over the leaves until completely clean.
In terms of diseases, any situation of excess humidity in the substrate will lead to the appearance of fungi that attack the conductive vessels of the plant from the base and quickly kill the plant. Hence the importance of properly controlling the risks.
Top image: blacksmith