Whale Fin Snake Plant: Top Sansevieria Masoniana Care Tips

There are many unusual houseplants that have their own kind of novelty, and if you like snake plants, you’re in for a treat with the whale fin snake plant, with its humongous leaves that look like the fins of a whale! 

This snake plant isn’t always easy to source, but the good news is that it is very easy to care for.

When you do see them for sale, they usually only have a single leaf, but they will eventually grow more with enough time and the right type of care.

Here’s how to care for these fabulous plants.

How To Grow A Whale Fin Snake Plant

The whale fin sansevieria is not a difficult plant to care for by any means, but there are some things worth knowing so that you can get the absolute best out of this plant, and really show off its beauty.

Sunlight And Position

Many growers and sellers alike will tell you that snake plants don’t need a lot of light, and this is often a ‘selling point’ for these lovely plants.

Well, it’s not quite true. While snake plants will put up with lower light levels if they have to, their health will eventually suffer if it is too dark for them.

They will withstand low light levels for a time, but it is important to note that this won’t do your plants any good over a longer period of time if that’s all they have.

Sansevieria plants actually like higher light levels, either in a bright, indirect position, or even in a sunny spot for part of the day.

Like most succulent plants, if you place a whale fin sansevieria as close to the light coming from your windows as possible, it will be much healthier than if you place it further away.

Remember, the closer to the window means the plant gets more light, and as the sunlight that comes through windows is much weaker than outside, the closer, the better for these plants.

If you only have a North-facing window, that will be fine for a whale fin sansevieria (preferably one that isn’t covered by a sheer curtain or anything blocking the light during the day), but it wouldn’t really do anything for other succulents.

However, these plants tend to fare better in Eastern or even Western-facing windows if you can put them there instead. 

Southern-facing windows are a good choice for plenty of light, but you do have to factor in the direct sunlight that comes streaming through in the afternoon, as it can be a bit too fierce, especially if you live somewhere where you try to avoid direct sun.

In which case, you might want to put a sheer curtain over this particular window, or position the whale fin sansevieria, so it’s not too near the window.

When Should You Water A Whale Fin Snake Plant?

How often you should water a whale fin sansevieria depends on the growing conditions, as temperature, light levels, and size of the pot vs the root ball does affect how long moisture stays in the soil.

For any plant, it’s best to try and mimic their natural growing conditions. What this means for snake plants is that you should let the pot dry out completely in between watering.

For any kind of succulent, it’s a good idea to water them thoroughly, as it encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil to follow the water.

If you only water your plants a little, they will develop shallow roots, which is not good for the growth or the anchorage of the plants. 

How To Prevent Overwatering

While it’s a good idea to give your whale fin sansevieria a good drink every time you water it, soaking the soil, you need to make sure that the plant does not sit in water, as this will mean root rot and plant death.

The easiest way to avoid this is to take your plant and put it over the sink or the bath when you water it, so that the water can drain from the pot without letting the plant sit in water for too long.

If you have lots of plants, this can get time-consuming, and you may prefer to water the plant in its usual place.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but you have to check the decorative pot or saucer that catches all the water, and make sure that you discard any water that pools here. 

Always allow a whale fin sansevieria to dry out completely before watering again. 

Don’t forget that snake plants can tolerate dry spells thanks to its succulent leaves, but try not to wait too long in between watering, just long enough to let the soil dry out.

How To Check If The Soil Is Dry Enough To Water Again

There are several ways to do this, and it all depends on your preferences. Some people like to check the weight of the pot to see if the plant needs water. 

If the whole pot feels very light, the soil will have dried out enough – and this is something that gets better with practice.

Another good way of checking if your whale fin sansevieria needs watering is putting your finger inside the drainage hole and seeing if the bottom of the soil is dry or not. If it is, it’s time to water.

Getting The Soil Right

One big part of making sure you aren’t overwatering your whale fin sansevieria is to get the soil right in the beginning. This makes everything much easier, and your plant will also be healthier for it.

While a commercial cacti and succulent compost mix is fine on its own, you can make it better by mixing in one part pumice or horticultural grit or sand to improve the drainage.

It also helps if you can use a terracotta pot instead of a plastic one, as the material is so porous that the water will drain really quickly.

When To Feed A Whale Fin Sansevieria

Like many succulent plants, a whale fin sansevieria doesn’t need feeding on a regular basis. 

But to give a sansevieria a boost, you can use a specially formulated cactus fertilizer, which will give the plant the nutrients it needs without overdoing it. 

Feed your whale fin snake plant every couple of waters through the growing season, making sure that you at least alternate it, so that the feed doesn’t build up in the soil and cause problems.

Remember that fertilizer is not a magic fix, and treating it as such can do much more harm than good. 

If your plant looks stressed in any way, you should try and fix the cause of stress before you feed it, whether that’s giving it a different amount of water, light, or soil.

Once it’s healthier, you can then feed your plant, avoiding any shock. 

Can You Propagate A Whale Fin Sansevieria?

Yes, you can propagate a whale fin snake plant. If you have tried to propagate snake plants before, you probably know that these plants take an age to grow normally, let alone by propagation.

This is particularly true of the whale fin sansevieria, which is very slow growing. It can take months for new growth to appear, so don’t give up on this beautiful plant when it looks like it isn’t doing anything.

While you can propagate using soil, it is a very slow method, and you will see better results if you divide the plant or propagate cuttings in water.

If you want to propagate using soil anyway, cut a leaf into segments (keeping them the same way up that they were on the plant), and pop them into fresh potting soil.

Let’s take a look at the other two options when it comes to propagation.

Division Vs Water Propagation

If you’re wanting results from propagating snake plants in as little time as possible, division is the method to go for.

However, this method only works when you have more than one leaf or growth point.

Simply take the plant out of the pot, and separate the two leaves, leaving roots on both leaves. Pot them up separately, and you will eventually see new growth.

If you prefer to propagate through a cutting rather than separating the plant at the roots (which is always a little nerve-wracking), you can do this too, but it does tend to be a little slower.

Ensure that the container is big enough for the cutting, and when roots do form, that they don’t break at the bottom of the glass. To prevent this, you can clip the cutting to the mouth of the glass so that it’s partially suspended.

Make sure that you change the water every few days or so, and be patient.

A Note On Toxicity

It’s worth noting that snake plants are considered toxic to pets, and it is important to keep these beautiful plants out of reach of children, too. The plants contain dangerous saponins, so it really is not worth the risk.

Final Thoughts

The whale fin sansevieria is a beautiful plant with giant leaves, but there are a few things to keep in mind when growing it. 

You will need to be patient growing any sansevieria, but especially so with the whale fin, as it is a very slow growing plant. 

There are other varieties to consider if this isn’t for you, but it is a gorgeous plant in its own right, and you can always grow other, faster-growing plants at the same time.

Leave a Comment

Be the first to join our brand NEW PLANTS & FLOWERS DISCUSSION GROUP on Facebook.Click Here