The sleek foliage of the Whale Fin Snake Plant is like a minimalist art installation. Retailers often sell this plant as a single leaf, which makes a strong visual impact. Once considered rare, it is much easier to find this plant now, although you may have to search. In case you’re looking, local plant stores are often a good place to find hard-to-locate plants. This charming and somewhat whimsical plant hails from the Congo region of Central Africa. The Whale Fin Sansevieria is drought-tolerant and incredibly easy to grow. Here is what you need to know about Whale Fin Snake Plant care.
Call Me Ishmael
Most people call this Whale Fin Snake Plant, but it is also known as the Shark Fin Snake Plant or Mason Congo Sansevieria. This plant is often called Sansevieria masoniana, although it was reclassified as Dracaena masoniana in 2017. Despite this plant being part of the Dracaena family, it is still commonly called a Sansevieria or Snake Plant. I use the names Sansevieria and Snake Plant in this article since that is what most people continue to use, even though Dracaena is the correct name.
Leafy Good Looks
A narrow stem emerges from the soil and expands into a thick, broad, paddle-like leaf resembling a whale fin. The leaves are a mottled mix of light and dark green, and the edges often feature a reddish-pink border. The variegation looks like random splotches of light green over a dark green base. The entire leaf is an ovate shape and narrows to a gentle point.
The Whale Fin Sansevieria is slow-growing, but it reaches an impressively large size with time. Mature plants can reach several feet tall, and leaves can measure 10 to 18 inches wide.
Whale Fin Snake Plant Light Needs
Place the Whale Fin in bright indirect sunlight. Snake Plants can handle direct sunlight in limited quantities, but slowly introduce your plant to direct light to avoid burning the foliage. The Sansevieria Whale Fin can live in low or medium light, but the amount of light the plant receives directly impacts its growth rate. Plants that receive less light grow slowly, and the Whale Fin is a slower grower under the best conditions. Placing a Whale Fin in low light can result in growth at a glacial pace. Near a sunny south-facing window is a good spot, with an east- or west-facing window being good alternate spots.
How Often to Water Whale Fin Plants
Snake Plants need to dry out between watering. These plants are succulents and store water in their rhizome root system. Sansevierias can sustain themselves without more water for quite a while. Let the soil completely dry out before watering. Drench the soil when it’s time to water until excess moisture drains through the soil and the pot.
Always check the soil before watering, but most Whale Fin plants need water every two weeks during the growing season and monthly when dormant. Sunlight, humidity, and temperature impact how often a plant needs water, so your plant may need water every 10 or 12 days. Monitor the plant to ensure it is not over- or under-watered.
Consider watering the plant in a sink and rinse the foliage to remove dust buildup. Cleaning the foliage makes the variegation stand out, and it helps the plant soak up as much sunlight as possible.
Snake Plants grow best in lightweight, well-draining soil. Potting mixes intended for succulents are a good fit or amend regular potting mix with sand or perlite to improve the drainage.
Temperature for Whale Fin Snake Plant
Like most aspects of care, Whale Fin Snake Plants are not fussy about temperature. These plants like warm conditions, but if you’re comfortable, the plant will be too. Temperatures between 65° and 70° F support the plant. Anything colder than 55° F can be damaging, so be careful if you move the plant to an outdoor area in the summer.
Whale Fin Sansevieria Humidity Needs
Average humidity and even low humidity are fine with the Whale Fin Sanevieria. This plant prefers dry conditions, so keep it away from naturally humid areas like a bathroom.
Whale Fin Snake Plant Fertilizer Tips
In keeping with their low-maintenance reputation, Whale Fin Snake Plants do not require much, if any, fertilizer. An annual dose of balanced fertilizer in the spring will support the plant for the entire year. Water a Snake Plant before fertilizing to avoid fertilizer burn.
Does the Whale Fin Snake Plant Bloom?
The Whale Fin Sansevieria can bloom, but it’s rare for houseplants to set flowers. Blooming plants feature clusters of greenish-white flowers on top of tall stalks. Flowering is lovely, but it marks the end of the plant actively growing. Whale Fin Snake Plants that bloom will not grow new foliage but will start to grow offshoots or pups.
When to Repot Whale Fin Snake Plant
Years can pass before a Whale Fin Snake Plant needs to be repotted. The telltale signs your Whale Fin needs a new pot include roots growing through the holes in the pot or even slower growth. Plan to repot every two to three years.
Whale Fin Snake Plant Propagation
Snake Plants can be propagated in several ways, but most Whale Fin Snake Plants have limited propagation options. Most retailers sell the plant as one leaf with one rhizome, so you likely don’t want to cut up the one leaf to create cuttings, and division isn’t an option until the plant grows and decides it’s time to send out pups.
A healthy plant that receives proper Sansevieria care will grow pups or new plants. These new baby plants grow from the rhizomes, and they can be removed, transplanted, and grown as separate plants when they reach a few inches in height.
If your plant has multiple leaves, then you have more propagation options. You can remove one leaf to propagate into a new plant or cut that leaf into multiple cuttings. Think things through before you make any cuts because when you trim a leaf into several cuttings, the resulting plants will not have the whale fin shape this beauty is known for. New growth will have a rounded, fin-like form, but this is a slow-growing plant, so it can take years before your new Whale Fin has leaves that look like a whale fin.
Is Whale Fin Snake Plant Pet Safe?
The Whale Fin Snake Plant is not pet safe. The foliage contains saponins which cause vomiting and diarrhea if eaten. All parts of the Whale Fin Sansevieria are harmful if ingested by pets and humans.
Whale Fin Snake Plant Styling Tips
The Whale Fin Snake Plant can grow multiple leaves, but most plant owners feature this beauty as a single leaf in a pot. The single-leaf look stands out and gives this plant a sophisticated look, but if your plant grows multiple leaves and you like that look, let it be. The Whale Fin looks amazing as one leaf or multiple. A large Whale Fin looks stunning in a plant stand next to a console table or in a sunny corner.
Whale Fin Snake Plant Care Tips
The Whale Fin Snake Plant is a charming plant that often features one leaf, but that one leaf makes a big impact. Like all Sansevieria, the Whale Fin is easy to grow and does well with a little neglect.