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Did you know that Sansevieria can flower? Now reclassified into the Dracaena genus, Snake Plants or Mother-in-Law’s tongue, do in fact flower! Although it is much less common indoors, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience it and document it with photos. I’ll take you through my experience, and also discuss why Sansevieria flowers occur and when these plants bloom.
I have several snake plants but the only one that has flowered for me has been my Dracaena trifasciata (previously known as Sansevieria trifasciata).
HOW TO GET SANSEVIERIA FLOWERS
I can’t guarantee that yours will flower too, but I will discuss my experiences and with a little luck, maybe yours can too!
In general, the only thing that can make a plant bloom is having enough light. These plants are often abused and placed in dark corners which is probably why most of them don’t bloom. This is #1!
Secondly, once you can provide enough light (which includes direct sun indoors), a little bit of neglect can go a long way.
Many plants will bloom when they are mildly stressed, including allowing your potting mix to dry out completely in between watering, and keeping your plant somewhat pot-bound.
Now let me get into some timing issues and show you some photos of my own plant.
This is when I first noticed a flower stalk starting to form.
About 11 days later, this is how the plant looked. It ended up growing two flower stalks and they grew fairly rapidly.
About a week later, they continued to grow. You can see that the plant is getting some direct sun in this large, eastern exposure window. The photo below was taken at the very end of June (early summer for where I live).
About a month from when I first noticed a small flower spike forming, the first flowers opened at the base of the flower stalk.
After the first flowers started to open, they continued to open over the next two weeks or so.
Here are some other observations I made:
- The flowers have a fragrance at night. I’ve heard some people tell me that they love the fragrance, but I found it to have a grassy scent which didn’t quite appeal to me! It didn’t offend me, but I wouldn’t write home about it.
- The flowers will also produce a sticky nectar so if yours blooms, be careful of your surrounding areas.
- There has been some debate over whether Sansevieria plants (now Dracaena) are monocarpic or not. Monocarpic means that the plant will die after blooming. According to a past chairman and editor of the International Sansevieria Society (ISS), they are not monocarpic in the traditional sense. After flowering, individual growths will not grow anymore leaves.
- The ISS also states that after a few years, that rosette of leaves that flowered may die off, but it will not happen immediately. Offsets will continue to be produced so the plant will keep on growing. (I’ve since placed the plant into a bigger pot and 3 years later, none of the leaves have died so this seems to be in line with what the ISS stated.). I’d be curious to see if that rosette eventually dies off.
- I occasionally did fertilize my plant, but most of the time I took it to the sink, gave it a thorough watering with plain tap water, and placed it back by the window. Remember that fertilizer will NOT make a plant bloom. Only having enough light can do that (and sometimes in combination with mildly stressing your plant). Fertilizer will only enhance your floral show.
It’s funny how sometimes people will react by saying “oh your plant must be stressed” as if wishing ill-will on my plant. Ha! Just because a plant is stressed doesn’t mean it’s about to die (though in some cases this can be true!)
Stress-induced flowering can be caused by a number of reasons. The reason that the plant can produce flowers when stressed is so that it can proceed to produce seeds and continue to reproduce. It’s basically a last ditch effort for the species to continue surviving.
My plant was (and is) very healthy, but there were a couple stress factors. Namely, being pot bound and kept pretty dry (even though these weren’t life-threatening).
To summarize, I attribute blooming to 3 factors:
- Having enough light in my Eastern facing window.
- The plant was quite pot bound in a shallow pot.
- The potting mix dried out completed in between watering and often went 1-3 weeks in between watering. It was also fertilized pretty sparingly.
That’s all folks! Have you ever had your snake plant other mother-in-law’s tongue plant bloom for you? Have you observed anything different from me? Did you enjoy the fragrance?
Obsessed with snake plants? Be sure not to miss my other blog posts on these remarkable plants:
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