Whats wrong with my mother in law's tongue ?

gw0xMarch 26, 2010


The plants are slanting away from sunlight, and the leaves are curved. Thanks in advance

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Seems to be leaning towards the light, try turning it from time to time. You may need to stake it for a while to keep it upright while turned in the opposite direction.

Your mix looks too peaty (tho' you didn't ask). The plant would probably benefit from different mix or adding about one third perlite or pumice to that mix. Looks kind of dense for plants whose roots really need to breathe.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:38PM
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Thanks pirate girl. What do you mean by peaty ? I put Scotts Miracle Grow Palm and Citrus potting mix and a thin layer of sand on the top. Should I add perlite ? How do I know what mix is good for the roots.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 5:07AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Sorry, but it's neither palm nor citrus, so not sure what the thinking was there. Sans. can grow in almost any kind of mix, what's most important is that it be fast draining & well aerated.

I'm telling you what's good for the roots, faster draining & more airy.

Peat is a problem 'cause it holds water too long, then tends to dry out to rock hard & become impossible to wet or re-wet.

Sand can be a nightmare; it hardens & clogs air spaces, generally used by folks who just haven't learned better.

Maybe about a month or two (further into Spring), unpot it, brush off the roots, get some Cactus & Succulent soil, mix about 1/3 perlite into it & repot.

Go on over to the Cactus & Succulent forum (next door) & read about mixes (you'll see many of us avoid both peat & sand). Lots of info. here to read. There's also a Sansevieria Forum nearby (the botanical name for mother in law's tongue), tho' that's extremely slow moving.

Hi Norma,

If I missed anything, pls. add whatever you feel needed.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:41AM
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I am sorry, I was not clear. I was using Cactus soil. Scotts Palm and Citrus is also the same for cactus.

What confuses me is that the instructions on the bag never said to mix perlite. I will give it a try, thanks for your reply.

I have been using the same mix above for all my plants. (others are not palm, citrus or cactus, but I used them anyway). Is there a potting mix that can be used for all plants instead of specific ones for each plant ?


    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 12:40PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You absolutely do NOT need a specific kind of potting medium for each kind of plant. A fast draining, porous mix is fine for just about anything, no matter what the label says on the packaging.

You'll learn, if you read up on some past threads regarding potting mediums, that many (of not most) of us either blend our own from scratch, or add some favorite amendments to what comes in the bag. Adding perlite is rarely a problem, and almost always a benefit.

I agree that sand almost always has a negative influence on the quality of a potting medium, unless the sand happens to be of a very large size.

It looks to me like your Sansevieria needs some better light. In a rapidly draining medium, these plants can be watered a lot more than people think. In my experience, they grow fatter and faster because of it. But the soil consistency is KEY!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:39PM
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