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Sunday, September 14, 2014

What to Do with Huge Sansevieria in the House

Q. We have a monster Sansevieria plant we have kept for many years.   It’s in excellent health, but threatening to take over the entire room.   It has become so big and heavy that we don’t know what to do with it now. We believe it should probably be re-potted, but an even bigger pot is going to be impossible to move. As it is, we are going to have a rough time getting it out of the house to re-pot. What suggestions might you have as to how to handle, or what to do, with this guy?  It now sits on a table in front of a west-facing window with solar screens.
Sansevieria, Snake plant or Mother in law tongue. This is a huge indoor specimen.
A. You do have a monster plant. It looks like a variety that gets fairly big but if this plant had more direct sunlight it would probably be slightly smaller. However, it's a beautiful specimen. You might have to find a place for it on the floor rather than on a table. It has nice verticality.
The choices you have are to divide it and repot it or to take leaf cuttings and start the plant all over again. As you know you can't really cut it back and still have it look good. I searched online for a video that you could watch on how to divide this plant. Dividing the plant will result in a much smaller plant in diameter but will not do much about the height unless you focus on parts of the plant that you repot that are smaller. I would suggest that you try to get it into a place with more light which should help keep it smaller.
This video should help you in figuring out how to divide it. I am sorry it is in the Czech language but the video is easy to follow without the words.
Notice how he breaks it apart with his hands. You can do that or you can take a sterilized knife and cut it apart into smaller clumps. This plant spreads underground by rhizomes or underground stems. Cutting or severing the rhizome results in separate clumps that you can repot. I would just the cut ends with a fungicide such as Thiram or just let them heal over in a safe place inside the house for about 24 hours. Then you can safely replant them without a lot of fear of disease entering the cut wounds. You can replant as many of the clumps as you want to to fill in the container. You can select the clumps that fit your need and dispose of the others or give them to a friend.
You can propagate this plant very easily with cuttings from the leaves. This video will show you how to take leaf cuttings.


  1. This comment is posted for a reader who sent me this email.
    Were you being funny in referring to the Czech video on how to divide a sansevieria? There are several in English on YouTube.

  2. My response to the reader:
    I wasn't trying to be funny but sometimes things become funny when I don't intend them to be that way. I get dozens of email questions every week. If I'm not comfortable with the answers I can give with my experiences I do a quick look on the Internet for some help. I looked at several videos that were in English that focused on Sansevieria and I didn't really like them very much. Even though I could not understand the language I thought the visual was the best I could find in a quick search. I felt that the visual was more important for demonstrating how to divide this plant rather than the words. So if the person read my words and looked at the video I felt comfortable they could do a decent job at home.

    I post comments to my postings on my blog. I wish you would feel comfortable to post your comment directly on the blog. Sometimes these comments can be a bit rough but I still post them. As long as comments are educational or promotes a discussion of the topic I will go ahead and post any and all comments. However, I never reveal peoples names with their comments. I am going to post yours, of course without your name, because there may be other people who share your views. And if you find some videos that you feel are better that deal with this topic please feel free to post them. As long as they are not commercial in nature and not trying to sell a product, I will approve them.