Sansevaria repotting help

marricgardensJanuary 11, 2013

My sansevaria is starting to outgrow the pot its in, it was cracking the pot, so I had to repot it. I haven't done anything with it for 6 years so it was time to replenish the soil to. Would I be better off dividing it and planting in smaller pots? I had to pull it apart and pull off some of the dried matter inside the plant. I now have 7 plants. There are several larger clumps and I'm wondering if I should plant them together in a larger pot? Some of the leaves on the interior of the clump were paler, I'm assuming that is because of the lack of light? The 'soil' mix I'm using has bark, perlite and a course grit medium in it. Is that alright? I did read not to add peat moss. I've attached some pics so you can see what's what. Thanks. Marg

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

To give you an idea of how fast those can grow if they have the room, I took this pic on 6/6/12.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Here's the same plant just now.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Another plant on 6/6/12.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

This is the last plant as of today, already has outgrown a 5-gallon bucket.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:26PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Marg,

Nice plants. I think it's a question of personal preference if you pot them back up all together, or separate them into a few different pots. I'm guessing either way, they'll look quite nice.

The interior growth you mention as being lighter in color may be a function of the leaves being young, it's likely they'll darken up as they age.

The mix you mention sounds fine; it's great that you've already learned not to add peat to this. I'd pot up however you decide & then wait 2-3 days before watering, just to let any bits of broken roots heal before watering.

You sound like you're already on the right track w/ these; good luck & enjoy!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:44PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

those look healthy. i wish my plant would make babies. mines is stubborn. i dont want to take leaf cutting due to the lost of the golden edging

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:48PM
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marricgardens

Thanks pirate_girl! Good to know I'm on the right track. Teengardener, it took mine 2 years to really start growing. Patience is not my strong virtue!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:55PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Your sansie(s) look great. The lighter leaves look to be all new, and in the interior of the plant, as you suspected - all good. Your mix sounds good, too. As for how you repot, it's up to what you want to see. Do you want a bunch of plants? They can look really neat in a row, in matching containers; or in a group, like under the bathroom sink. Or would you like to see 1 or 2 big plants - then put your pieces together into a couple of BIG pots, and keep on doing what you've been doing; the longer they grow, the taller the leaves get.

Just a little story, take it for what you will. One of my customers had a sanseveria on his office desk, not by a window or anything, just the office illumination, but it was the most beautiful sansie I ever saw, all dark green, about 4' tall. Did he have a secret? He said all he did was give it a cup of black coffee every couple of weeks. Not recommending anything, just sayin'.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 3:19PM
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marricgardens

I have a friend who gives her plants leftover coffee, not sure what it's supposed to do. My sans is already 4' tall, wonder how tall it would get if I fed it coffee? As long as it doesn't get jittery on me! Marg

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 3:55PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Yeah, well, they sit around all quiet and nice during the day, but do you know what they're up to at night???????

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Ha!! Too funny!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 10:29AM
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petrushka

marric, you must've planted yours already, so this is for next time: when you pull all the stems out - you'll see that some of them are connected. the younger offshoots are usually connected to mother plant. and then as they grow, they make their own offshots. if you leave several in a cluster connected, they will bloom for you sooner. of course, the bloom is not that special (a little fragrant and sticky! when it fades) - but some people like to see their sansi bloom. when you split all the stolons (i think that's what they are called)- that will set back the flowering considerably. i usually nest a few clusters together: some doubles and triples.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:58PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Petrushka - I'd avoid giving my plants either leftover coffee or tea. They're not a tonic, as is commonly suggested, and I'd avoid including spent coffee grinds as a soil amendment or a fraction of my container soils. Something I wrote a while back about coffee/tea:

Forum discussions frequently center on the question of adding dilute coffee/tea or grounds to plants as a 'tonic', but Arabica (coffee) and Camellia (tea) are known for their toxic alkaloid (caffeine) content and their allelopathic affect on plants as well as autotoxic (poison to their own seedlings) effects on future generations. Caffeine interferes with root development by impairing protein metabolism. This affects activity of an important bio-compound (PPO) and lignification (the process of becoming woody), crucial steps for root formation.

We also know that the tannins in both coffee and tea are known allelopaths (growth inhibitors). There are ongoing experiments to develop herbicides using extracts from both coffee and tea that cause me to want to say they might serve better as a nonselective herbicide than as a tonic. I would not use either (stale coffee or tea) by applying directly to my plants - especially containerized plants; nor would I add tea bags/coffee grinds to my container soils.

This post was edited by tapla on Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 16:03

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 4:02PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Al -
I'm sure all that you say is true - it's science, after all, right? And I can personally attest to caffeine's interference with root formation, my hair started going gray when I was in my 30's. Har-har, just joshin' wit' ya Al. But seriously, how then do you account for all the admittedly anecdotal evidence of folks' success with watering with tea or coffee? I personally remember an aunt who had windows full of beautiful African Violets, and she watered them with tea poured into the saucers under the plants. One thing that occurred to me is that the toxic elements might be affected by varying the dilution involved. I don't use coffee or tea in my plants either, although I do put tea bags and coffee grounds into my compost,but do you think all the people who've used the stuff, like my aunt, were mistaken, or what?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:40PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The world abounds with anecdotes that have no basis in reality. It wasn't that long ago that we were exorcising demons to cure diseases. In many cases, people believe that if something can't be seen to be a bane, it must then be a benefaction. Goodness knows there is a plethora of horticultural products known by science to be the equivalent of snake oil that still enjoy brisk sales. I guess I would say that if someone uses coffee or tea, thinking it's some sort of tonic, and has lovely plants - the plants are far more likely to be lovely in spite of the infusion than because of it.

I just talked about lost potential over on the container forum today. In many cases, we can have what appears to be a perfectly healthy plant in which we can detect no sign of lost potential. I used the example of having made a batch of 5:1:1 mix using CHCs in lieu of pine bark. I grew several different plants in the mix, and grew examples of the same genetic material in the mix I normally use with pine bark in it. The plants in the CHC mix were somewhere around half the size of the plants in the bark mix. In those plants that appeared healthy in the CHC mix, I would have had no idea that there was lost potential, other than what I knew to expect from experience or by comparing the plants in the CHCs to the plants in bark.

If you do some sleuthing, you'll discover the reasons why this occurred. Possibilities are a high salt content, a very high inherent K content, a high starting pH ..... There are many people growing in CHCs and coir who will heartily recommend those products to others, even though study after study turns up these unfavorable issues. Perhaps the reason goes back to what I mentioned in the opening paragraph. If it isn't an obvious bane, then it must be a benefaction ..... but all banes are not immediately obvious, the results of less than ideal practices isn't always correctly attributed to the practice, and lost potential isn't always easily measurable.

Al

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:50PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Small question...what is (are)CHCs?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:11PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I confess, I'm guilty of giving plants tea too, (never tried coffee, I always finish that "to the last drop.") I may be way off base, but suspect the effects could be vastly different when considering what mix is in a pot to begin with, and if there are any benefits, they would be almost exclusively confined to mixes with a predominance of organic ingredients. And FWIW, I make tea with very little sugar compared to what most southerners would call "sweet tea" (which would most often be more accurately described as syrup by me.) But the point is a question, does the sugar come into play? If so, is it speeding the decomposition process?

When it doesn't look as green as it should, tea made/makes my parlor palm much more dark green. I suspect it's because my home-made soil mix can vary a lot, (with some mulch and compost from yard pile, a little yard dirt or bagged topsoil if I think it will need help holding water) and may sometimes still be decomposing and doing that nitrogen-robbing thing, causing chlorosis. I suspect this because when it happens, it seems to be on plants that were recently repotted, about 1-2 months before. Or maybe tea helps alter a wrong PH? I think what I make has a tendency to be too high PH. Maybe it's something to do with battling the effects of tap water while inside vs. mostly rain water while outside.

It's not something that affects a lot of my plants, and since I don't do any measuring, and often don't have the exact same stuff around, there are probably vast differences in what is in the various pots... There's probably something else I could use to help plants that aren't as green as I think they should be, but from what I can see, an occasional dose of very diluted tea is doing something positive (and I love the price.) Would a fertilizer that was 0-something-0 be an appropriate treatment?

I quit doing it after being encouraged to do so on here, but admit I've given some too-yellow looking plants some heavily diluted tea occasionally while plants have been inside this winter. It really helped a recently propagated Dracaena fragrans top look so much better. I thought the lower 5-6 leaves were going to be lost from turning yellow but they're back to green. The parlor palms are flowering more heavily than ever before.

This may be controversial, but I'm sitting here wondering what I prefer if a choice must be made. That my plants possibly grow faster by spending more money on store-bought ingredients, soil tests, fertilizers, or to continue with my currently very satisfied (and very inexpensive) conditions? If I was trying to harvest a food crop, it would be a major hardship if the plants didn't reach their potential at the correct time. But as long as potted ornamentals are healthy, flowering if they're supposed to, are pleasing me, get complimented on their fantastic appearance, the fastest possible growth isn't a priority for me. I know I could start with a confidently better...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:31AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Tiff - sugar is a hydrocarbon chain made up of C, H, and O, all elements the plant normally gets fro water and the air surrounding the plant. Indirectly, sugar would feed the organisms that live in soil and add the potential of increasing their numbers (if cultural conditions allow), which in turn would increase the rate at which the hydrocarbon chains making up the soil particles would be broken down. The question then becomes, 'Is this something I want?' On it's face, it sounds like a good idea to make more nutrients available for uptake, but that's what fertilizers are for. The downside is, it comes at the expense of soil breakdown that occurs as a result in the increased in soil organisms. Certainly too, if you wanted to add sugar to your soil for some reason, you could do that w/o it being in a coffee/tea solution; but when you think about it in light of the fact that sugar has the same effect on plant roots as salts, adding to the TDS/EC of the soil solution just the same as fertilizers do, only w/o adding anything in the way of usable nutrition.

Finally, if you do some research on the negative effects of alkaloids and tannin on plant growth, you'll see that neither coffee or tea, even with sugar added, would have anything to offer that would even mitigate the potential downside. Unless there is something in coffee or tea that plants actually NEED, there is no way they can be a plus.

**********************************************************

CHCs and coir are products derived from coconut husks. The CHC's are chunky, like pine bark, and coir is sold processed to roughly the same size as sphagnum peat.

Al

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hey Al, thanks! I mentioned the sugar because I don't make tea without it, so it's a factor when there's tea - for me. Your point that if I wouldn't create a weird issue in the first place... is valid.

I wouldn't recommend this tea thing to anyone, the one time I mentioned it regarding this same palm clump, the info you provided convinced me to stop doing it and I have referred other people to that post, until those 2 plants I mentioned above. I don't even recommend my soil thing, it's too complicated, you're in no danger of vicariously recommending anything unorthodox. Just wondering what I'm doing that's causing a couple plants to respond well to this, haven't seen any cause to include any other plants in tea treatment.

There are tons of oak leaves in my compost, probably not all fully composted, and often new ones blow into the baby pool where I mix stuff up, which I'm not real anal about removing, so I probably have tannin issues anyway, and definite organic activity from the organic ingredients.

With stuff like this in pots, it definitely does break down quickly, and it's been a bit of an issue inside with about 15 saucer-less hanging plants around the house, sediment comes out of the holes. The roots really seem to like it though, as long as I repot before it completely becomes mud. I'll take a lot more roots pics when I start repotting soon.

It may sound strange, but I have a blast doing all of this...! I started messing with getting away from bagged potting soil about a decade ago, and this is where the journey has led, thus far... Knowing more about why something goes kind of wonky sometimes is cool, even if I go do what I was doing again anyway...

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:36AM
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