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Sansevieria Fernwood Care ― Best Kept Secrets!

Sansevieria Fernwood Care ― Best Kept Secrets!

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The Sansevieria Fernwood is commonly known as the Snake Plant or Mother-in-law’s Tongue. It is a hardy, evergreen succulent of the genus Sansevieria.

This particular Snake Plant is a hybrid of the Sansevieria parva and the Sansevieria suffruticosa. There are many other types of Sansevieria plants and hybrids.

Sansevieria Fernwood is native to Southern Asia, Africa, and Madagascar. Its cylindrical, cone-type leaves boast a tiger-striped pattern with colors ranging between light and dark green as well as yellow and sometimes white.

These leaves form from one base, known as the plant body, and grow vertically to a point. 

It is best to keep this plant out of the reach of pets and children as it is mildly toxic if ingested.

Sansevieria Fernwood Care


The Snake Plant prefers loose and well drainable, sandy soil. A good cactus mix would be ideal for this water-retaining plant. Soggy or damp soil is a big no-no as, like most other plants, it prefers not to have its roots in soaked soil for too long.

Root rot is the number one killer of the Sansevieria Fernwood which is caused by over-watering and poor soil drainage. 


This is a well adapting little plant that can survive in practically any lighting situation. From full sun to very low light the Sansevieria Fernwood will adjust accordingly.

However, it is recommended that you avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Given the choice, a Snake Plant’s ideal lighting would be bright, indirect sunlight.

Snake Plants are also capable of adjusting between the two light types, provided it is given time to adapt. It is also not fussy when it comes to what type of light it is exposed to and will survive in artificial light.

This makes it a sure winner when choosing decorative plants for restaurants, office spaces, and other areas with minimal exposure to natural light. 

Avoid placing your Snake Plant in direct sunlight. The leaves of your plant can become sunburnt and the coloring can turn yellowish and scar with sunburn spots. Leaves may also go crispy from exposure to too much direct sunlight.


Snake Plants are drought-tolerant and require minimal amounts of water. Watering will only need to be done once the soil is dry, usually once a week. When watering, be sure to pour water directly onto the soil and not the leaves. Pouring water directly onto the leaf clusters can cause rot if it sits there for too long.

Although hardy, they are very sensitive to over-watering. These plants would rather go without water for a day or two than be swimming in a pool of water. If the soil drainage for your Sansevieria Fernwood is bad, reduce the amount of water you use.

Always check your Snake Plants soil before watering it. Soil that is still moist to the touch should be left another few days and then checked again.


Sansevieria Fernwood prefers warm temperatures. Although not fussy, its ideal temperature range is between 21°C and 32°C (70°F and 90°F). 


The Snake Plant doesn’t require any extra humidity. It is most comfortable in dry conditions. High moisture levels could lead to root rot or fungus. Although it can handle a wide range of levels, the ideal environment for the Snake Plant is average household humidity. 


There’s no need to go overboard when fertilizing the easy-going Sansevieria Fernwood. Extra nutrients are only required during the warmer months and feeding should stop altogether during the Winter and Autumn seasons. 

This is a light feeding plant that will do well on a decent domestic or general-purpose fertilizer. A cactus food that is low in nitrogen is also a good option.

Be careful not to overfeed it. Too much fertilizer can cause your Snake Plant to get droopy leaves. 


The most fool-proof method of propagation for the Sansevieria Fernwood is to root it in water. This is ironic as too much water for an adult plant could kill it. 

Other methods to propagate the Snake Plant are leaf-cutting, division, through bulbs, rhizomes, and even corns. Left to grow for 2 to 3 years, multiple new plants will appear from rhizomes. Simply split these and you will have new plants.  


This mighty plant is fairly slow-growing. The Snake Plant can take many months and even years to reach its mature height. This is due to it only actively growing in the Spring to Summer months. 

The Sansevieria Fernwood ranges in heights between 0.6 meters to 2 meters or 2 feet to 6 feet. It is possible to increase the growth rate of this plant by keeping it in its ideal situation. Setting the Snake Plant in a moderate amount of light, including artificial light, can cause a more rapid growth rate. 

Once a year, during the Summer blooming season, you might encounter your Snake Plant flowering. This is a rare occasion and should be cherished. Flowers bloom white and grow on a spike.

This plant is capable of being both an outdoor plant and a house plant. Care and growth methods and procedures are equal and the only occurring difference in the plant is the size it may mature too. More space means a larger plant. 


When choosing a pot for the Sansevieria Fernwood, it is best to choose a heavier one. Because of its top-heavy nature, terracotta or other clay pots with draining holes are recommended. Be sure to remove any standing water from the pot’s saucer. 

Depending on how large you want your Snake Plant to grow will determine what size pot you use, large and deep or smaller and shallow. Options viable for the plant aren’t limited to pots, the Sanverieria Fernwood also will fair well in planters, flowerpots, containers, and even baskets.

Be sure not to cramp your Snake Plant too much. A pot that is too small for your plant could lead to unhealthy foliage and poor growth.  

Sansevieria Fernwood Propagation 

The fastest way to get a new Snake Plant is to divide one. As it gets older, the rhizomes from which the plant grows mass together and multiply. But there is more than just this one way to expand your collection. 

To propagate your Sansevieria Fernwood by leaf-cutting is as simple as cutting a few mature leaves in two using a sharp knife. Place these halves in sphagnum moss or some moist soil. Be sure to cover the bottom quarter of the cutting and place it in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. 

It is also possible to root leaf pieces of your Snake Plant in water. Mineral water works well but tap water can be used too. 

In the case of tap water being used, be sure to allow it a night’s rest in a jar. This will allow the chlorine and other toxins in the water to settle to the bottom and not cause disruption to the plant’s growth. 

Dip the cut end and one-quarter of the leaf piece under the water. The water should be kept fresh and changed weekly or when it gets murky.

The easiest method of propagating the Sansevieria Fernwood is by potting offsets or pups. Patience is key as you will need to wait for the plant’s production of offsets.

Simply cut the puppies from the parent plant using a sharp knife and gently remove them from the soil. Using moist substrate, plant your baby Snake Plant and place it in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight. 

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Common problems with Sansevieria Fernwood

These plants are popular not just for their striking looks, but for their extreme resilience. Snake Plants are rather free from hassles such as diseases and insects.

The most common problem with this plant is over-watering. The Snake Plant’s worst enemy is wet heavy soil. 

Keeping their leaves clean and dust-free avoids the settling of spider mites and mealybugs on your plant.

Be sure, however, not to use any chemicals or detergents when cleaning your Snake Plant. You could harm your plant and cause rusty coloring by using leaf-shining products. 

A simple, damp cloth is recommended when cleaning your plant and will do the trick. Keeping your plant’s leaves dust-free allows it to soak up more light.

Tips to keep Sansevieria Fernwood problem-free

The Sansevieria Fernwood is a super low-maintenance plant and is one of the easiest to take care of.

Watering is only required when the soil has dried and because these succulents are drought-tolerant, they can even be left without water for a few daysand not droop a leaf. 

Keep your Snake Plant out of direct sunlight, because just like us, they can get sunburnt too! Too much direct sunlight can cause your plant to lose its natural vibrant green colors and instead develop sunspots. 

Only prune the leaves of your Sansevieria Fernwood when necessary.

The tips of the plant’s leaves should not be cut or pruned when turning brown. The Snake Plant is easily scarred and it usually the case that trying to remove browning tips can do more harm than good.

Brown tips of your Snake Plant is a sign of over or inconsistent watering. 

Leaves that droop or fall over should not be staked back up but rather pruned as they are likely bent or damaged. Old or dead leaves or parts of can be pruned and should be done so just below the dead part, about 1cm or half an inch. 

Sansevieria Fernwood Varieties

There are quite a few varieties of Sansevieria Fernwood snake plants. The Mikado is the most common, however, as Fernwood is a genus, there are other cultivars. 

The following is a run-through of some of the more common varieties of Sansevieria Fernwoods…

The Sansevieria Fernwood Natural

The Sansevieria Fernwood Natural is similar to the Sansevieria Cylindrica “Straight”.

The “straight” gives away the growing nature of the plant. Being a Cylindrica variety, it has the cylinder-shaped leaves… Wide at the base, growing upwards, narrowing as it does, then forming at a tip at the top.

The Fernwood natural has light green leaves with each having a slight groove that runs vertically on each leave. Each of the leaves on this plant grows upright and does not arch like other varieties.

The Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado

The Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado is among the most popular varieties of Sansevieria owing it to its light and dark green leaves with vertical grooves running down the center.

The leaves have rounded tips and although quite stiff, they do bend slightly to form an interesting arch shape.

They are slow growers making them excellent choices for a compact indoor succulent that makes a statement.

These are a type of Cylindrica variety, but only in terms of their wider base and pointy tips. The unique feature of the Fernwood Mikado is the two-tone greenery – the tiger-like stripes that transverse the leaves.

Although the Fernwood Mikado grows upright, the taller it grows, the more the leaves arch.

If you are looking to add one of these to your Snake Plant collection, you will likely notice different names being used, one of which looks strikingly similar is the Fernwood Punk.

The Sansevieria Fernwood Punk

The Fernwood Punk is a compact hybrid of the Mikado. It is a smaller succulent that retains the same two-tone tiger stripe of the Mikado. The shorter variety means the leaves will begin to arch when they are much shorter.

Of all the Fernwood varieties, the Punk is the easiest to tell apart. The leaves have no particular growing direction. The leaves are short and curved rather than arched.

The Sansevieria Bacularis Mikado

In Latin terms, the word baculum means stick or rod. The Sansevieria Bacularis varieties are snake plants with rod-like leaves. Narrow. The Mikado part refers to the arching nature.

They grow upwards and then arch forming something akin to a fan-like shape..

This also has two-tone greenery on the leaves. A combination of light and dark green. The Bacularis in the name just means the leaves will be thinner than the standard Sansevieria Fernwood.

The Bacularis have purple sheaths at the base of the leaves, which is something other Sansevieria plants do not have.

Some Fernwood Mikado plants have purple sheaths at the base of the stems, while others do not.

If it has been hybridized from a Sansevieria Bacularis, it will have a purple sheath around the base. A standard Sansevieria Fernwood is a hybrid of S. Parva x S. Suffruticosa so those do not have the purple sheaths.

How to tell the difference between this and a Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado is by looking at the purple sheath at the base of each leaf. Only Bacularis varieties have this.

Sansevieria Fernwood vs. Sansevieria Cylindrica

The name Cylindrica often comes up when looking at different varieties of Sansevieria Fernwood snake plants. The only similarity is the cylindrical shape of the leaves.

In reality, the two are hugely different plants.

The S. Cylindrical grows taller and is more of a lime green all over.

Hybrids of S. Cylindrica are available and will grow just as tall, but they will also be much paler.

Any variety of Sansevieria Fernwood will always have a variegation of light and dark green; more dark green than there is light green.

Grown indoors, the S. Cylindrica will grow vertically without any arching.

Sansevieria Fernwood leaves are thinner, and therefore, arch slightly. The taller they grow, the more they bend.

Cylindrica are upright growers without an arch owing to their thicker stems that help them grow vertically and remain upright.

Frequently asked questions about Sansevieria Fernwood

How do you know your Snake Plant needs water? 

Minimal effort is required when caring for this flashy plant. To keep your Snake Plant in its tip-top shape, only water the soil once it drys out. 

The best way to tell when your plant needs watering is simply to feel the soil. If the first inch of soil feels dry, it’s time for a refreshing splash of water! Should the soil not feel dry, wait a few more days and then check again. This touch test can be performed weekly. 

What does an over-watered Snake Plant look like?

A sure sign you are drowning your Snake Plant is soft and pulpy looking leaves. Yellowing of the leaves also occurs and shriveling may even pop up in some places. This is a slow process, leaves will begin to look patchy with yellowish-green coloring and even complete yellowing. 

Although the yellowing of Snake Plant leaves can be for many reasons, the consistency and look of them coupled with this color fading will give you your answer that you are over-watering it. 

Do Sansevieria Fernwood plants clean the air?

The Snake Plant is the best choice for a bedroom plant. Not only does this plant produce pure oxygen and continue to do so at night while other plants release carbon dioxide, but it is also one of the best air-purifying plants. 

What benefits does the Snake Plant have?

This small but mighty plant cleans the air better than most other types of indoor plants. The Sansevieria Fernwood possesses the ability to absorb excessive amounts of carbon monoxide through its leaves. It also filters other toxins such as xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from the air. 

Do Snake Plants help you sleep?

The Sansevieria Fernwood is a natural air-purifying plant. Unlike other plant types, it emits oxygen during the night which helps you to sleep better. 

Is the Sansevieria Fernwood dangerous?

The Snake Plant is only poisonous or mildly toxic if ingested. Consumption can lead to gastrointestinal issues. It is toxic to both humans and animals, although more so to animals. It is recommended that you keep this plant away from pets and small children. 

Large doses can result in nausea and vomiting. The poison of the Snake Plant also has a numbing effect that can cause the throat and tongue to swell. Cats and dogs also suffer from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingestion of the Snake Plant takes place. 


These plants are extremely hard to kill and have even been labeled as indestructible. If you are a plant lover that just can’t seem to keep one alive, the Sansevieria Fernwood is the house plant for you!

It is a well rounded and resilient plant. You could leave it for days without water and it would still sport its eye-catching light and dark green patterned vertical leaves. 

Just think, you could have your very own tiger-striped mini air-purifier! Aesthetic and environmentally beneficial!