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When it comes to snake plants, any plant enthusiast will know that there are so many to choose from.
The Whale Fin Snake Plant (or Sansevieria Masoniana if you want to get all technical) certainly has the WOW-factor. It is relatively difficult to come by as the plant is rare.
A plant this rare and this majestic warrants the best care your hands can give it. You may think that given its scarcity it will be difficult to look after. However, this could not be further from the truth!
This wonderful Whale Fin Snake Plant (also known as Mason’s Congo Sansevieria) is just as easy to look after as all of your other favorite plants. What’s more, it is even relatively straightforward to propagate.
Keep on reading for our full guide and top tips on how to look after and propagate this majestic three-named plant!
What is the whale fin snake plant?
The whale fin snake plant is so-called because the shape of it resembles that of a whale’s fin. It is broad and reaches a point at the end. Typically they have only one or two leaves on the whale plant.
However, when you see how big these leaves can be you will begin to understand that this is all that is needed.
The plant is aesthetically pleasing and easy to care for, making it a popular (if a little rare) plant for the home. Its rise in popularity can be attributed to the social media surge of people collecting houseplants and posting about them on social media sites like Instagram.
A quick term search on Instagram for the hashtag ‘whale fin snake plant’ will lead you to 100s, if not 1000s of posts of this beautiful plant.
The plant originates from central Africa and is known for its air purifying properties. The appearance of it is not only striking because of its shape, but also due to its color.
The leaves are a mottled forest green color, and the outer edges on the tip look almost pink in certain light.
How to water your whale fin snake plant
Your whale fin snake plant originates from Central Africa. This means that it is accustomed to dryness and heat.
That being said, as with all plants, it needs water to survive. Thoroughly water it, ensuring that it has adequate time to dry out between each watering.
This will ensure that the root system remains as healthy as possible. You need to ensure that the soil is able to be soaked right through.
You also need to make it a priority to ensure that there is adequate drainage for the water to seep out from such as rocks and holes in the bottom of the pot. This will eradicate the risk of root rot and other diseases associated with standing water.
You should discard any excess water right after watering to prevent root rot. Root rot can wreak havoc on your whale fin snake. In fact, it can actually be very difficult to recover a plant once it has been affected by root rot in this way.
Underwatering and overwatering
When you are letting your plant get dry it is important that you want until at least the top area of the soil has dried out.
The best way of testing this is simply by inserting your finger into the soil to check for moisture.
Your whale fin snake plant can handle a small amount of neglect, and so if you leave it a little too long between watering it will likely be fine. However, you should not wait a very long time, just to ensure the plant remains healthy.
With this in mind, it will be far easier to avoid overwatering. If you always have in mind that the plant needs adequate time to dry out between watering, you will be less likely to drown it.
Overwatering, whilst it may seem like a good idea – especially if the plant is looking particularly dried out – can be even worse than not watering at all.
This is because it can lead directly to root rot. Root rot happens when the water has been left at the bottom of the plant for too long or there is not adequate draining.
Even the most well draining plant with holes in the pot and rocks is at risk of becoming waterlogged if you give it too much water then it knows what to do with.
How much light does a whale fin snake plant need?
Whale fin snake plants should be near a window with as much access to light as possible. This does not mean that they need to be directly in the path of the sun, by any means.
However, what you do need to ensure is that they have adequate levels of light for as much of the day as possible.
For this reason, if you have a south facing window this can be a good spot for your whale fin snake plant. If the sun is particularly bright, you may want to consider filtering it a little, or at least moving it directly out of the path of the sun.
Eastern and western facing windows are also perfect choices for these plants as they will get a good level of natural sunlight there without it being too harsh. A north facing window might be a little more difficult but it could still work.
You may even want to consider moving it around your house based on where the sun is at different times of the day. The choice is totally yours. As long as it gets at least some natural light each day then you will have a happy plant!
Soil, potting mix, and pots
The main thing you need to keep in mind is drainage – and lots of it!
Drainage is important to ensure that you do not get the issues that we discussed in the previous section such as root rot and other diseases and problems associated with overwatering.
Good drainage works in tandem with adequate watering to ensure the overall health of your plant.
The drainage will come from a mixture of the right pot and the right soil or potting mix. Sansevieria plants (all kinds) like sharp soil.
For this reason, it is a good idea to use one normal potting mix suitable for cacti and succulents alongside something a little more grainy and sharp like pumice. In this case, you would use 2 parts potting mix and 1 part pumice.
If you do not have pumice to hand you could use perlite. However, bear in mind that perlite doesn’t allow for drying times to be as quick as they would be with pumice.
Under the soil, you may want to add in some rocks or pebbles to increase the drainage capabilities. It may also be a good idea to add sand if you see fit. Another important aspect of the potting setup is the actual pot.
Sure, a decorative pot looks nice, but it is hard to find one that also has excellent drainage.
For this reason, it is not uncommon for plant enthusiasts to get a thin plastic plant pilot with excellent drainage as their man pot and then a ceramic pot for decoration.
The plastic pot should have holes at the bottom and a lip to ensure the best drainage possible.
Does a whale fin snake plant need fertilizer?
If your plant needs fertilizing (which, whilst not essential, you may want to do at some point) then you should ensure that you use the best quality fertilizer you can find that is suitable for your whale fin snake plant.
Bear in mind that they are super light feeders, and will only need a small amount of fertilizer in their growing season. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer.
You should also keep in mind that fertilizer doesn’t mean anything if the growing conditions are bad. Fertilizer is not essential unless you really want to encourage growth a little bit more.
One of the most exciting aspects of getting a new plant is when you are finally able to propagate it. This is where you can take a part of your plant and grow it into a new little plant.
Sort of like having lots of little plant babies all over your house. Now, when it comes to propagating the whale fin snake plant, the methods are much the same as those used for other plants.
One way of propagating your whale fin snake plant is to divide it at the roots.
This can only happen if your plant has more than one leaf so it is not suited to all types of whale fin snake plants, but if you are lucky enough to have one with two leaves this is by far the easiest method.
Simply divide it carefully at the roots and repot the second leaf in well draining soil and an amply sized pot.
Water propagation method
With this method, all you need to do is cut a leaf from our plant (gain, this works best if you have a plant with two leaves).
Prop the leaf up with a chopstick or popsicle stick and submerge it in water, ensuring there is room for roots to grow.
Soil propagation method
Similar to the water propagation method, the soil propagation method is where you cut off leaves from the plant and plant them into the soil so that they eventually sprout roots.
Bear in mind that the whale fin snake plant is notoriously slow growing and so patience is required!
Is the whale fin snake plant toxic?
Yes! The whale fin snake plant is thought to be toxic to animals, especially cats and dogs.
If you have pets and are considering getting a whale fin snake plant you should take extreme care to ensure your pet cannot access the plant.
There you have it! Out guide and top tips on how to care for your whale fin snake plant. This rare plant is certainly a show stopper, and as it is so easy to care for, we are sure that you will love having one!
We hope you have found this guide helpful. Thanks for reading!