With so many varieties of snake plants, the Whale Fin Snake Plant, or Sansevieria Masoniana, definitely stands out with its giant leaves! Even though it may be more difficult to find than other Sansevieria varieties, it is nonetheless an extremely desirable houseplant.
This snake plant, also known as Mason’s Congo Sansevieria, is an easy care choice that can provide great results. Here are a few care and propagation tips you can try out.
You can often form friendships with other houseplant crazies such as myself on Instagram and ship each other plants when you are active in the houseplant community!
In most cases, when these plants are offered for sale, they normally only have one leaf or maybe two.
Whale Fin Sansevieria Care
This plant will need the same care as snake plants. There is a myth about Sansevieria that needs to be debunked.
The label indicates that these require low light, but some proven benefits cannot be achieved if the plant is confined to a dark corner of your home.
Neither does it indicate that they need low light; it just indicates that they can tolerate low light! Eventually, your plant will slowly decline in good light if it is not provided with good light.
The truth is, Sansevieria can grow in moderate amounts of direct sunlight. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Africa and have seen Sansevieria plants growing in partially-shaded areas under trees, as well as some in full sun.
Pretty much the opposite of “low light!” Since it was originally collected in the Congo in Africa, Whale Fin Sansevieria is sometimes labeled as the ‘Mason Congo’ cultivar.
In any case, make sure there is some direct sunlight inside the house for your plants, at the very least. This is why you should position your plant as near to a window as possible.
These plants thrive in eastern or western exposure windows. I’m not discounting the value of North windows, especially if they are large and unobstructed. Some direct sunlight is preferred, however.
Alternatively, you could also use windows on the south side, which are the brightest! If you live in areas with very strong sun, you may want to filter the direct sunlight a bit.
For best results, place the plants right next to a window, as they grow and flourish best under bright light. However, a brighter window means the pot mix will dry out faster, so you should consider placing them near a window if you want to maximize their growth.
Water thoroughly. This goes for any plant, even ones that need to dry out between waterings. Sure, plants need to dry out between waterings, but it is good practice to water thoroughly for a healthy root system!
It is critical that the soil be thoroughly soaked to the point where water starts to leak from the drainage hole. Remove any excess water and never allow your whale fin to sit in water because this will encourage root rot. You can do this easily by taking the plant to the sink to water.
You may want to be careful when watering your plant in a decorative cache pot, especially if the plant is growing in a pot with drainage holes. If the plant is slipping into a pot with drainage holes, be sure to check for excess water at the bottom of the pot. If it has, discard the excess water.
It is important to allow the soil to dry completely after watering, or as close as possible, and then water again. Although it can take a considerable amount of neglect and long periods between waterings, make sure not to wait terribly long between waterings.
The best soil for your Whale Fin to grow in is one that dries out rather rapidly in between watering. You should be able to avoid this problem if you place your plant in good light, use a well-drained potting mix, and use good indoor temperatures!
I prefer to use a finger to check the soil moisture. You can also pick up the pot to feel for changes in weight. Whichever plants you choose, you’ll find that they”re very tolerant of drought and wont whine and whimper like some others.
I strongly advise against using moisture meters for watering. The next step in growing this plant is to use the correct soil mix.
Soil Mix and Pots
Sansevieria masoniana likes a soil mix that drains quickly. I use about 2 parts succulent/cactus potting soil and add about 1 part pumice to all of my Sansevierias.
The Sansevieria plant, which requires sharp drainage and a quick drying out process, needs plumice most, but I prefer perlite when I don’t have pumice on hand.
Sansevierias can grow in just about any type of pot, so long as there is a drainage hole! I prefer terra cotta pots because they dry out faster, and also because they look nicer.
Plants like these are light feeders, so you can skip a few applications throughout the growing season, and your plants will thank you for it.
Remember that fertilization is not a solution for poor soil! It should be used as a supplement to supplement your plants’ growth. So first make sure they have enough light, water, and other essentials before you think about adding fertilizer.
You can’t substitute proper growing conditions!
I have to warn you…these plants grow rather slowly! You will need to wait quite a while before you notice any growth. My own plant took approximately a year and a half to sprout a new leaf. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I saw it.
Propagation can be done by division at the roots. This is by FAR the fastest method. If you have a terracotta pot with multiple leaves, you should use this method.
Alternatively, you can also propagate a leaf cutting by putting it in water with a chopstick. This was cleverly done with the Whale Fin leaf cutting, which was propped up in a glass of water with a chopstick, so it would have room to grow roots!
It is possible to propagate Whale Fins by means of soil. All you need to do is cut leaf segments and put them in soil.
As a result of saponins in Sansevieria, cats and dogs can be harmed, according to the ASPCA.