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Sansevieria Flowers: 1 Secret to Get Snake Plants to Bloom

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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.

sansevieria-flowers

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.

sansevieria-flowers

About 11 days later, this is how the plant looked. It ended up growing two flower stalks and they grew fairly rapidly.

getting-snake-plant-to-bloom

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).

getting-snake-plant-to-bloom

About a month from when I first noticed a small flower spike forming, the first flowers opened at the base of the flower stalk.

vipers-tongue-plant-flower

After the first flowers started to open, they continued to open over the next two weeks or so.

snake-plant-blooming

Looking to purchase a special type of Sansevieria? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Sansevieria selection (link to Etsy) today!

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:

  1. Having enough light in my Eastern facing window.
  2. The plant was quite pot bound in a shallow pot.
  3. The potting mix dried out completed in between watering and often went 1-3 weeks in between watering. It was also fertilized pretty sparingly.

Looking to purchase a special type of Sansevieria? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Sansevieria selection (link to Etsy) today!

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?

sansevieria-flowers

Obsessed with snake plants? Be sure not to miss my other blog posts on these remarkable plants:

Snake Plant Care

Whale Fin Snake Plant Care

How to Propagate Snake Plant in Water

How to Propagate Snake Plant in Soil With Cuttings

24 Snake Plant Problems & Questions With Answers

13 Varieties of Snake Plants to Grow

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

Twan

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Mine has two stalks covered in buds and nectar drops. This comes after noticing a month of unexpected, new vertical shriveling/wrinkling in several leaves. I always let it dry out between watering, water every few weeks, have it in an east facing room with mostly windows, and have had it in the same spacious pot for over 3 years. I do cut leaves from it occasionally when they grow sideways in our walking path. I root those in water to get new plants. Any suggestion for the cause of recent vertical shriveling?

Raffaele

Saturday 5th of February 2022

Hi Twan! Did you perhaps let the soil stay dry longer than normal? Letting them dry out is perfectly fine, but even these plants, when they stay dry for too long, will dehydrate. Let me know if this resonates with you...otherwise it may be due to another issue, and at that point, I would need to see a photo to further help.

Charlene

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

I came across this article looking for something else and just have to comment. I started a snake plant from a cutting at the Como Conservtory in St. Paul, MN in the mid '70's. They had propigation classes for kids back then. In the late '80s it bloomed, several times over the next years! Most of my plant friends did not believe me and digital pictures and the internet were not around. Fast forward, the plant died about 10 years later when my house was robbbed on a New Years Eve. All the doors were left standing open, we were out of town and all my beloved plants and goldfish froze to death! Your article brought the memory back of the unbelief that these plants bloom. The blossoms reminded me of celery curls and I seem to recall the scent being heavy sweet if that makes sense. What a treat!

Raffaele

Friday 31st of December 2021

Hi Charlene, thanks for sharing your story! Even given the unfortunate circumstances, I'm glad it brought back some memories for you :-). And how wonderful to have propagation classes for kids! I wonder if such a thing exists anywhere today... Thanks again for sharing.

Sophie

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

Mine has bloomed two years in a row, usually in late summer. This year, weirdly, even though the flower stalks are dried out now, there are still droplets of nectar along them! I think this is very strange. As I've read that blooming may be due to stress, I'm planning on repotting the crowded guy into a larger living space, even if it means no more blooms for a while. But the nectar droplets - why now, I wonder, and how, without flowers???

Sophie

Sunday 16th of January 2022

@Raffaele,

Hi, Raffaele -- I'm sorry, I was not clear. I believe my plant did produce nectar when it was blooming, but the nectar never evaporated, so even though the flowers dried up, the nectar droplets stayed. I tasted some, it's very sweet!

Raffaele

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

Hi Sophie! Wow, that's very interesting! One of my plants only bloomed once, and after it was done, I just cut the entire flower stalk off. That's interesting that yours produced nectar without any flowers present. It was still a treat to see it bloom indoors! Good luck with your plant :-)

Antonia Goodland-Clark

Sunday 5th of December 2021

Can’t believe that mine is blooming in the early stages. I had no idea that they could do this! I’m very excited! I’d send you a photo but it is exactly the same as yours. I’d say that mine is stressed. It’s an old plant on a balcony in all weathers and thrives on neglect. Not only is it flowering but it has lots of new leaves popping up as well! It’s spring here now. Antonia in New Zealand.

Raffaele

Sunday 5th of December 2021

It's always a pleasant surprise to see flowers on those plants! :-)

Pam

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

It is October 22nd and my snake plant is growing bloom spikes. I have had the plant 20 years and this is a first. It is definitely root bound, outside and dry, wa-la. Thanks for the info.

Raffaele

Sunday 24th of October 2021

You're very welcome Pam! Enjoy the blooms!