Sansevieria Black Coral (trifasciata), is an ornamental evergreen succulent predominantly grown for the interesting form and vivid colors of its foliage.
Known colloquially as Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Snake Plant, and St George’s Sword, it features a dense growth of long sword-shaped leaves, dark green in color, and bearing distinctive light green markings.
The foliage grows upwards, forming a base at the stem known as a ‘baselle rosette’.
Leaves typically reach a height of around 36 inches (90cm) and can be up to 2.5 inches (7cm) wide.
Sansevieria Black Coral naturally produces clusters of tiny greenish-white, sweet-smelling flowers on its inflorescence in summer.
But, this plant rarely flowers when kept as a houseplant as conditions prevent it from blooming.
Although the flowers do add a touch of elegance when in bloom, even without flowering, this plant earns its place in the home or office.
Sansevieria Black Coral is a semi-tropical plant that naturally occurs in the grasslands and roadsides of West Africa, making it hardy and giving it the ability to withstand harsh conditions. These days it is a very common houseplant.
Sansevierias, like many succulents, are perfect plants for the home as they help purify the air.
In fact, Sansevierias are one of only a small number of plants that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen throughout the night. This makes them ideal for the bedroom as they help to regulate healthy airflow.
Sansevieria Black Coral care
Sansevieria Black Coral is a hardy succulent that requires very little maintenance. It copes well in most situations but will struggle if given too much water or placed in direct sunlight for long periods. It prefers bright indirect sunlight and is tolerant to drought so it’s better to water thoroughly and frequently rather than little and often. Sansevieria Black Coral loves the heat and thrives in temperatures of 70°F to 90°F (21-32°C). It will not like to be exposed to temperatures cooler than 50° (10°C) on a regular basis but will cope with short spells of cold weather. Little is needed by way of fertilization and it will generally cope with humidity and a lack of air circulation. Propagation can be carried out by division. Transplanting pups is a quick and easy way to grow your Sansevieria collection.
Where to grow your Sansevieria Black Coral
Sansevieria Black Coral is a tolerant plant that will adapt to most surroundings.
It favors bright indirect sunlight but will cope with just a few hours of sunshine a day and is a plant that will tolerate low-light areas, making it ideal for those slightly shaded areas of the home or office which many plants don’t like.
It should not be placed where it will receive direct afternoon sun as this can burn the leaves.
If grown outside, a well-drained spot that receives dappled sunlight throughout the day but is shaded from the midday sun will be perfect.
Owing to its natural habitat, Sansevieria Black Coral is extremely tolerant to dry spells.
Tropical West Africa is used to long spells of drought followed by heavy downpours so Sansevieria Black Coral appreciates a thorough, infrequent soaking rather than a light sprinkling on a regular basis.
When you water your Sansevieria Black Coral, make sure you completely soak the soil. You should then allow the soil to dry completely before you water the plant again.
When grown in pots, it typically thrives on infrequent watering through the summer months and barely any water during fall and winter. Planted outside, it will only require watering during sustained dry spells, usually at the height of summer.
Winter is the most common time for Sansevieria Black Coral, which is grown as a houseplant, to suffer from root rot. This is because owners continue to water it when the plant doesn’t require it. Subsequently, water remains in the soil and begins to rot the roots.
This is a hardy plant that will survive neglect but will react badly to excessive amounts of water, so if in doubt, don’t water.
The ideal temperature for your Sansevieria Black Coral is between 70°F and 90°F (21-32°C). It will cope with fluctuating temperatures and the occasional cold snap, but regular exposure to below 50°F (10°C) will see it deteriorate and will necessitate a new location for your plant.
The average temperature within a home is ideal for this plant and it will even thrive in a conservatory or greenhouse provided it has a good amount of shade.
When grown outside in pots, it should be brought inside to protect it from lengthy spells of temperatures lower than 50°F. If your Sansevieria Black Coral is has been planted in the garden, a protective covering can be placed over the soil around it to protect the roots from frost and snow.
Sansevieria Black Coral does not demand high humidity but will generally cope well with it. Around 40% humidity is best for Sansevierias.
If kept in a position where the humidity is above 60%, your plant will require less frequent watering.
Sansevieria Black Coral grows naturally as a weed and will cope without fertilizer if grown outside.
When grown inside in a pot, a nutrient boost in spring will prepare it for the growing season and should encourage faster growth and more vivid colors.
Any good, balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to between a quarter and half will be fine.
Sansevieria Black Coral is the ideal house or office plant as it tolerates the stale air often associated with the home and workplace.
As a general guide, it will cope with poor airflow.
But in humid areas or if the foliage becomes damp due to rainfall or watering, you will need to ensure there is no standing water on the leaves or in the crevices at the base of the plant as too much moisture can lead to mold and fungal infections.
Sansevieria Black Coral can be propagated from cuttings or by division.
If you want to propagate from a cutting, remove a portion of the leaf from low down on the plant using a sharp knife or pair of secateurs. Ensure you make a clean cut to make the healing process quick and prevent the likelihood of infection.
Your cutting will need to be left to dry for a few days. It is ready to be planted once the wound has been completely calloused over.
Place the callous end of the cutting into the soil (or a soilless growing medium) and make sure you keep it lightly moist.
Sansevierias grow slowly so you may have to wait weeks or months to see signs of growth in your new plant. Patience is key. Don’t become frustrated and start uprooting your cutting to see what is going on.
A quicker method of propagating Sansevieria Black Coral is by division.
Sansevieria Black Coral produces pups that can be removed from the parent plant and transplanted in the same way that you might do with Aloe Vera.
Just like when propagating from a cutting, you will need to allow the pup to callous over once you have removed it from its parent plant. From here on, follow the same planting and care instructions that you would with a cutting, but expect to see faster results.
Common problems with Sansevieria Black Coral
Sansevieria is a robust plant that is far less susceptible to many common diseases than many others. However, its ability to store water makes it prone to infestations of scale.
If your plant is infested with scale, you will see small droplets of sugary substance on the leaves. If you look on the underside of the leaves you will see tiny insects, often covered in a sticky substance too.
Large scale infestations will require the removal of heavily infected parts of the plant. Smaller infestations can be treated by using rubbing alcohol on the leaves.
To prevent scale infestations, apply neem oil to the leaves as part of your regular care routine. This acts as a deterrent as insects don’t like it and should keep your plants free from scale and other infestations.
Sansevieria Black Coral is also susceptible to infestations of spider mites.
If you notice a spider mite infestation, all affected plants should immediately be isolated. The leaves and stems should be washed in warm soapy water to remove all spider mites, and then dried fully.
To avoid spider mite infestations, examine the underside of the leaves as part of your routine maintenance and dust them to prevent microscopic build-ups.
Spider mites love dry conditions so you may want to consider increasing humidity levels around your plant.
This can be done by placing a tray of pebbles nearby or by purchasing a humidifier. Regular misting is another option, but if you choose to do this you must ensure your plant is dried afterward to prevent mold or fungal growth.
Particularly bad or repeated spider mite infestations or can be dealt with by using a spider mite treatment available from any garden center.
Leaf spot can affect Sansevieria Black Coral too. If your plant is suffering from leaf spot, you will see brown spots appear on the stem. Often these will be mushy and look rotten.
Any affected leaves will need to be removed immediately to prevent the disease from spreading further.
Leaf spot can be a sign of bacterial or fungal infection. Mild leaf spot infestations can be treated with a mild solution using ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) of bicarbonate of soda to 1 gallon (4.5 liters) of water.
If that doesn’t get rid of it or if your plant has a significant infestation, a fungicide may be necessary.
Following any type of fungal infection, you should check to make sure your plant is sufficiently wee drained.
Frequently asked questions about Sansevieria Black Coral
Why are the tips of Sansevieria Black Coral leaves turning brown?
This is most likely due to your plant being dehydrated. Try placing the pot in a bucket of water for a couple of hours to allow the soil to become saturated, then place it back in its usual position and ensure the water is allowed to drain. If that doesn’t work, your plant is stressed and you will need to look at each aspect of its care to determine why.
My Sansevieria Black Coral smells bad. What is wrong with it?
It is most likely suffering from root rot due to overwatering. Remove the plant from its pot and shake off any excess soil. Then remove any black mushy roots and destroy them. Once only healthy roots are left on the plant, replant it in fresh soil.
Why is my Sansevieria Black Coral drooping?
There can be various reasons for Sansevieria leaves to droop but all of them are environmental. You will need to check the location, temperature, humidity, and soil to identify and fix the problem.
Sansevieria Black Coral is a strikingly modern statement plant with an edgy appearance. It’s often seen in offices where its sharp, sleek leaves look perfectly at home. With very little maintenance required, it adds a nice touch of color and texture to a workplace without demanding too much attention from the staff.
It is also the ideal houseplant for people who travel a lot for work or pleasure, or who are worried they don’t have the time or knowledge to look after plants. It is incredibly hardy and will tolerate most conditions. When problems do appear, it is robust enough to allow even the most inexperienced plant owner to find and fix most problems before any lasting damage is done.
It’s been proven time and time again that greenery in the home and office is good for mental wellbeing and this little has color and form in abundance.
Its ability to purify the air also makes it a good plant for anyone with allergies. You may have heard that it also has the ability to prevent serious diseases such as cancer, and while this may be an exaggeration, Sansevieria Black Coral does remove harmful toxins from the air and can help prevent the spread of airborne illnesses.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.