They arrived!

melissa_thefarm(NItaly)September 25, 2007

My Sansevierias finally arrived yesterday. These are cuttings from Alan Butler's nursery near Rome. They were sent by overnight shipping, but, this being Italy and SDA being SDA (that's the postal service's package delivery company) they took five days to come, showing up rather battered and wilted, but I think they'll make it. Good thing it was Sansevierias, that can handle that kind of abuse. Anyway, the varieties are

S. metallica

S. aubrytiana

S. sp. 'Horwood'

S. hallii ('Baseball Bat')

S. ballyi (a retry: I killed my last one)

S. trifasciata Hahnii 'Jade Dwarf Marginated'

S. dooneri Dwarf Form

S. sulcata.

The most striking at this point are S. metallica, a tall fan of three brightly leopard-spotted leaves; and S. sulcata, with three very long, narrow, curving leaves. S. ballyi I never know how to fit in a pot: in this case I put the fan with roots in the vase and weighed it down with a cobblestone, letting the other part travel out, but I'll ask Alan Butler if there isn't a better way. I potted them all in a light mixture of potting soil, sand (fine, not coarse as it should be) and puffed clay; watered them, and brought them in last night as they were still damp and the nights are getting cooler. During the day it's still getting up in the nineties, so when the sun's well up I'll take them out again with the other Sans., which are huddled up against the south wall of the house.

A week or two ago I moved my Sansevierias from shadier and more open positions to against the house. In their current position they're protected from wind and rain, get some afternoon sun, and have the house wall that radiates heat out during the nights. I'll be bringing them indoors any day, but I want them to stay outside as long as possible for the light and the heat. I'm still watering them every few days, doing it in the middle of the day so that they can dry out before temperatures drop in the evening. Overall they look good: several have made new growth over the summer and they generally look healthy, although S. aethiopica, one of the first Sans. I bought, refuses to grow. My parva forms are generally happy, growing plants, also the trifasciatas. My desires at this point are still modest: I want my plants not to die, and I want them to grow a little. So far, mostly, so good. All my varieties have a reputation for being easy to grow. And I won't buy expensive forms until I'm fairly sure I can grow them well.


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Congratulations on your new plants!!
How does the S. aubrytiana look? That species sounds interesting, but I have never seen it in person and I have only seen pictures of small plants.
My S. hallii is very slow growing but I like this species a lot. I have a S. parva on order to soon add to my collection.
It is getting cold in NJ, and I am bringing plants inside. They always look much happier outside over the summer.
It is always interesting to see new growth on plants. Sometimes they sit there for months or years, and then a new pup suddenly "expodes" into growth.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Thanks; I'm happy. It's raining today after nearly four weeks of bright, hot, dry weather, and my Sans. are outside, protected from rain, with the air moist and the temperature around 55F. I think the dampness will help my newly arrived, shrivelled 'Jade Dwarf Marginated' and S. dooneri Dwarf Form recover. The temperature is supposed to stay above 50F during the next several days, so I think I can leave them outside for a little longer. As always when I make these judgement calls I HOPE that I'm right. This winter I plan to install bright flourescent lights in my room where my Sansevierias spend the cold weather. The generous light should be good for me as well as the plants, as I suffer from seasonal depression and lack of light seems to be one its causes. We're just below the Forty-fifth Parallel here, and winters are truly dark. I would like to find better ways to overwinter my Sansevierias, considering how much of their lives they spend in the house. Mine too look much happier in the period when they stay outdoors.

My S. aubrytiana arrived as a cutting with one robust leaf. The leaf is about 16" long, narrow at the base and widening further up, leathery, soft-tipped. It's one of the jungly Sansevierias and looks something like S. masoniana ('Mason Congo'), but narrower and a little paler, with dark and dull light green markings between striped and mottled. The base of the leaf is rolled and then flattens out as it widens. I hope this is helpful.

S. parva has been perhaps my best-growing Sansevieria, and all its forms have been good. My guess is that it will do well for you: it's a happy plant.

My Sansevierias did fairly well this summer and I'm glad about that, but I suspect there's plenty of room for improvement. I think many of them don't like our dry summer air. I'm thinking about putting them in the 'Conservatory'. This is a garage my husband enclosed for me last year: it has lots of windows, a closed (not greenhouse) roof, and no insulation, and it's anything but airtight. The 'Conservatory' is useless in the winter: cold, dark, and drafty; but I've been wondering if it might not be just right for Sansevierias and potted cuttings in the summertime, allowing in adequate light and air, while holding in some humidity and keeping vulnerable plants out of direct sun and drying winds. We had a very dry, hot summer this year and my baby plants in pots took a beating.

Where do you keep your plants in the winter? in the summer? How does it work?


    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 9:50AM
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The flourescent lights will help you as well as the plants. Regular cool white bulbs work fine for the plants, put them as close as possible to the actual bulb without touching it.
In NJ, we have cold winters and warm/humid summers. I don't really have good places for plants in my home. I pile as many smaller pots as I can into a small "garden window" on the south side of my house. Some large pots get stashed here and there in darker corners, and some of my plants go into my office. A few of the variegates and other select plants go under a fluorescent light at work, where it is warm. They like it there, although still grow slower than in summer.
I have always grown plants, but I have really only become interested (and aware!) of all the Sans during the last two years. Consequently, most of my plants are young. For example the S. hallli I got as a small, leaf-cutting grown plant two years ago. It now has one offset, slightly larger than the original. However, I have seen old S. halli that really live up to the name of "baseball bat"!
As long as the soil does not waterlog, I am under the impression that Sans can take a fair amount of watering when WARM and ACTIVELY GROWING. We had an unually large amount of rain this summer, but it was warm, and the plants did very well. Likewise when I first got my Sans, I was worried about rot and kept them too dry, which I realized as they began to shrivel. Of course, cool dark conditions plus dampness will be catastrophic.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 3:00PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

They should not have arrived battered. They can go 6 months in a closed box and look like new. With your care they will look beautiful in a week. You are going to get many happy years with these plants. I have this group, oh how I wish I could send plants to you. Norma

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 11:13PM
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Norma, I wish you could too! You'll just have to share with people who are lucky to be closer to you.

The two battered plants were the ones that had a good deal of fine roots attached: they're already cheering up, their leaves becoming more turgid. The others were okay.

woodnative, We water our Sans. generously in the summer, as the weather is hot and dry, and they thrive with it. The only time I've lost a plant was last spring, when I had the plants still in the house, it was warming up and I had begun watering them more generously than in the winter, but we had stopped heating the house. It was too cool for that amount of water for my S. ballyi, which keeled over. So I learned something. My Sansevierias pass the winter in my room, which adjoins our living room and enjoys the heat from the wood stove. I have a five-light chandelier in there, and intend to replace the current bulbs with 12-watt fluorescent ones. We have them in the living room, and they make the room bright. We've been switching over to fluorescent recently to save energy and money, but they do give a lot more light for the power they consume, and I've become quite a fan of them. If they aren't enough in my room, in time I might add a light to go immediately over the plants. Some of the more delicate Sansevierias go in our southfacing kitchen window.

I also got interested in Sansevierias just a couple of years ago, so all my plants are young, too. My primary interest is hardy plants that grow in the ground, old roses in particular, but I have a weakness for non-spiny succulents and for agaves. And I have other potted plants--it's a weakness, they're so cheery in the summertime--almost all of which winter outside in a cool greenhouse. The Sans. are almost the only ones that have to come in in the wintertime.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2007 at 3:31AM
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