What Did I Do Wrong?

moineau(z5QUE)February 3, 2005

When I started working in a new office four years ago there was a potted sansevieria on the shelf. This winter before going on vacation, I brought it home and re-potted it. When I got back, I was surprised to find that the s. did not look happy. This was especially disappointing because I had seen many happy sansevieria plants growing in the Caribbean and had a new appreciation for this type of plant. Many of the leaf tips were yellow and shrivelled. I must have put it in the wrong soil mix: 1/3 peat, 1/3 sand, 1/3 regular soil. Or maybe it got chilled when I brought it home from the office. Or maybe I had overwatered it. Can anyone tell me what kind of soil they like? Thanks.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

They'll grow in almost anything, my personal opinion for them is the crappier the soil, the better. These are the only plants for which I recycle soil as they simple do not care.

Having said that, peat is not a good mix for them, holds water too darn long, & won't let the plant dry out. A Cactus & Succulent mix would be good w/ added perlite or pumice. Did you use beach sand, if so that can be a problem.

I'd suggest you change the mix in Spring, & maybe use a pot w/ only one inch more space around than the size of the rootball. They'll do better in too small a pot than in too large a pot where they're at risk of rotting.

Yes, it could have been chilled in Canadian winter. Can't say if you overwatered, as you didn't say how often you're watering. I grow abt 12 diff. kinds of these, mostly in unglazed clay pots, I water them maybe once every other wk in winter, once a wk in summer. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 4:13PM
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Dear Pirate_Girl,

Thanks for the advice. Will definitely re-pot to crappier soil in the spring! Don't know about pot size; there are two varieties in the same pot..I think the second one is some type of sedum or a jade plant. I am hoping to find a soil type and pot size that will lead to optimal growth for both of them. I don't want to separate them because they look nice together--one grows up and the other droops down.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 5:32PM
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grice(z5 Michigan)

I am new to growing indoors but have to agree with pirate girl on this. They seem to grow almost in anything. I purchased one some months ago on a lark and took it home expecting the worst. After three weeks I repoted it using left over soil from a failed attempt at a prior plant(which was just standard potting mix) placed it in front of the window and forgot about it. I water it every 10 days or so and it seems happy. Initially I did lose about three stems(guess it had to ajust to new home)but now it is actually growing new stems and I am very pleased. I now list this as one of my favorite houseplants. Just be patient and give it time.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 11:55PM
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Hello grice! I see that you too are new to sansevierias and to Gardenweb. You mentioned that three stems died after you repotted the plant. Did they start to wither at the tips? What happened next? Did you cut them off, or did they just wither away?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 8:38AM
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holly_bc(Zone 7B VanIsle)

Another call for first aid. I would like to transplant my Sans into a larger pot and, at the same time, add another type of Sans to the pot. (Variety unknown at time of writing.) My present plant has quite a bit of new growth and I do not overwater it however it surely doesn't have much of a 'root ball' - acutally just some very small bits of root. I have to support the taller spears with chop sticks or it falls over.

Should the root ball be bigger than it is? There are no long roots, simply a perhaps 1" or so bunch of thready roots.
I'm moving in 6 weeks. Would it stress the plant to repotted and then moved? Should I wait until I've moved to do this instead?
Any other thots?
Thanks for sharing.
Ciao Holly

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 6:30PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Holly,

Why are you wanting to move it to a bigger pot? Just to allow you to add the other plant to it?

It's not necessarily bad that it has small roots, but I would take that as an indication NOT to pot it larger. Small roots in a larger pot are an invitation to root rot (IMO) as additional soil would likely hold more water than the small roots can take up. This is largely how root rot happens & sometimes one can't see it until the plant just collapses.

IME, Sans. plants do not need a lot of room, in fact they like to be tight in the pot (a bit rootbound even). I leave mine in the same pots for a long time.

I DO think potting it larger is a bad idea & doing it before the move equally bad. Moving by itself can stress the plant, this combination is likely to stress it twice as much. If it were mine, I'd leave it be & let it grow enough roots to come close to filling the pot before moving it larger (staking it is OK, not a problem, I have a few staked as well, 'cause of their height). I'd also keep the 2 plants in separate pots.

HTH = hope this helps, good luck w/ yr. move.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 12:03AM
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