Whale Fin Sansevieria – Important Care And Propagation Tips

Snake plants are a lot like Pokémon. Once you start collecting these gorgeous easy-to-care-for plants, you will soon want to get more. No collection of snake plants is complete without a Whale Fin! These wide-leaved beauties are not the easiest variety to find, but they will be a dramatic addition to your plant collection. The distinctive mottling and wide minimalist vertical leaves make them an ideal showpiece in small spaces.

Whale Fin Sansevieria is also commonly referred to as Sansevieria Masoniana, Mason Congo Snake Plant, or Shark Fin Sansevieria. It features massive, wide leaves that are reminiscent of the shape of a whale fin. In the right conditions, this slow-growing plant can reach 4 feet in height. 

If you have managed to find a Whale Fin Snake Plant, taking good care of it will be a top priority. With just some basic care and the right environment, the plant can reach impressive proportions. Some Whale Fins are almost a foot across and 4 feet tall. They provide a dramatic and upscale twist on the common Mother-In-Laws-Tongue snake plant variety, popular in office settings.

Whale Fin Sansevieria

Sansevieria Masoniana

Sansevieria Masoniana is commonly called the Whale Fin Snake Plant. Its curious shape, which features a huge base and flat vertical face, is a bold addition to any group of plants or a centerpiece in an office or home setting.

The Whale Fin originates in the Congo region of Central Africa. It is technically not a succulent, but it should be treated much the same as if it were. The unusually broad leaves are stiff and have a rubbery feel.

One of the problems that plant owners often experience when keeping a Whale Fin is that everyone wants to touch the fascinating leaves. Overhandling can damage the giant paddle-shaped leaves. While the textured surface usually has silver-grey markings, there is also a variegated variety available with bold green and yellow vertical stripes on the leaves.

Like all snake plants, Whale Fin Sansevieria is an evergreen perennial. Its beauty is in its erect green vertical leaves. If it does bloom, which is extremely rare, the flowers are greeny-white and form in clusters. The beauty of this rare plant is in the unusual textured pattern and shape of its massive leaves.

The leaves of all snake plants are toxic to humans and animals, so it is not a good houseplant choice if you have small children or pets.

Although this variety of Sansevieria is distinctly different in appearance from the more common Trifasciata variety, it does share similarities in terms of care. They are hardy plants that don’t require a lot of fuss, so long as they are kept in the correct environment.  Your majestic Whale Fin snake plant will become an impressive feature in your home or office if the basics are in place.

Users Also Read: Snake Plant Benefits: Important Facts To Know

Whale Fin Sansevieria Light Requirements

One of the most common misconceptions about snake plants is that they don’t mind low light conditions. While it may be true that they are more tolerant of low light conditions than many other plant types, they certainly won’t thrive if they are kept in low light.

When considering any plant’s lighting and temperature requirements, the most accurate method is usually to mimic conditions in the area where the plant species originated. The huge leaves of the Whale Fin grow naturally in the shaded areas below large trees in West Africa. The light they adapted to is bright.

Whale Fin Sansevieria should be placed in bright rooms that receive plenty of bright light. While it is recommended to screen the plant from being burned by harsh direct sunlight, Whale Fin thrives if it receives a few hours of direct sunlight each day.

Western and eastern-facing windows are good options for Whale Fin Sansevieria. If you want to place it in a brighter room, filter the light it receives with a blind or curtain.

Temperature Requirements For Whale Fin Sansevieria

Whale Fin Sansevieria is not cold tolerant. The ideal temperature range for this snake plant is between 65F – 75F. They need to be kept in temperatures above 55F at all times, so if you keep your Whale Fin outside, be sure to bring it in as soon as nighttime temperatures begin to fall.

Humidity Requirements For Whale Fin Sansevieria

The Whale Fin Sansevieria is not sensitive to humidity. So long as the light and temperature conditions are met, Whale Fin will thrive.

Do not mist the plant either to increase humidity or to clean the giant leaves. It will not appreciate being damp. If the leaves are dusty, use a damp paper towel and gently wipe them.

Soil Requirements For Whale Fin Sansevieria

Soil mixture

The soil that sustains your precious Whale Fin Sansevieria must be free-draining. Water needs to move through the pot and drain from the bottom quickly. Nothing will kill your plant faster than letting water build up around its roots.

Use a succulent mix and pumice or perlite to further increase its ability to drain water quickly. Avoid any organic or manure additives. These will hold water, and that can be fatal for the plant.

The pot that you select for your Sansevieria Whale Fin needs to have open drainage holes at the base. The planter also needs to be big enough to remain stable as the large leaves develop and grow. The plant is extremely slow-growing, but it tends to become top-heavy over time, so select a planter that will hold the enormous ‘fin’ securely.

Fertilizing Whale Fin Sansevieria

The use of fertilizers for Sansevieria Whale Fin is not recommended. The plants generally react poorly to being over-fertilized, or leaf growth is stimulated, which is not reflected in the roots. The plant eventually becomes so top-heavy that, in time, its small roots cannot sustain it.

If you want to fertilize your precious plant, use a succulent fertilizer diluted to a quarter of the recommended strength. Never fertilize more than once a month, even during the growing season.

Watering The Whale Fin Sansevieria

This is one type of ‘whale’ that does not need a lot of water. Your Whale Fin Sansevieria must not be overwatered. Root rot is the biggest problem these plants face, and it can be easily avoided.

The soil should be allowed to dry out completely before the plant is watered. When it does receive water, which should only be applied to the soil around the roots and not to the massive leaves, it must drain through the pot quickly.

Generally, the plant will not need to be watered more than once a week during the summer months and around every three weeks during the dormant months. Before you water, insert your index finger into the soil, and you detect any hint of dampness, hold off on watering for another few days. It is far better to dry the plant out and then drench it than keep the roots in moist soil.

Some growers have found that watering with lukewarm water works well. Avoid shocking the roots by watering with cold water.

Ensure that the water-catching saucer under the pot is kept free of water so that the soil around the roots is draining effectively.

Propagation Of Whale Fin Sansevieria

The Sansevieria Whale Fin is an extremely slow-growing plant. You may purchase it with two leaves, and a year later, it might still only have the original leaves. The extremely slow growth rate means that you won’t be able to propagate new plants very often.

Two methods can be used to propagate new Whale Fin plants. There are:

  • Rhizome Division
  • Leaf Cutting

Propagation of Sansevieria Whale Fin By Rhizome Division

Snake plants are creeping rhizomes. The plants send out roots below the ground and push out leaves next to the parent plant.

If you notice new growth emerging beside your original plant, you will be able to detach it to grow a new plant.

  • Carefully remove some soil between the parent plant and the pup so that you can see the rhizome that is attaching the two.
  • Then using a sharp knife, cut the rhizome between the two. Ensure that there is as much of the rhizome as possible with the new small plant.
  • Leave the new cutting in a cool, dry area for at least 24 hours so that the cut can dry.
  • Prepare a small pot with the correct potting mixture and plant the cut end of the pup in the dry soil.
  • Water very lightly and allow the soil to dry out before you water each time.
  • Patience is required as the plant grows very slowly, and it may take more than a year before you observe any significant growth.

Propagation of Sansevieria Whale Fin Using A Leaf Cutting

Whale Fin Sansevieria propagation

Since your Whale Fin plant may take more than two years to develop a new leaf, you probably won’t want to cut it off. Propagation by rhizome division is the safest method, but some growers have also had success using leaf cutting.

  • Wait until your mature plant has at least three leaves before removing one.
  • Use a sterile knife to carefully cut a leaf from the base of the plant.
  • Leave the leaf in a cool dark place for at least 24 hours so the cut can dry.
  • Suspend the leaf in a vase of water so that it hangs just below the bottom. It may be quite heavy, so clip it to a chopstick or a cocktail skewer to keep it steady.
  • Change the water weekly.
  • Roots may take a long time to form.
  • Once you observe roots, the plant should be transferred to suitable soil.

Propagating a leaf-cutting directly into soil is not recommended. It is not often successful.

Related: Snake Plant Humidity: #1 Important Care Tips

Diseases and Pests of Whale Fin Sansevieria

Overwatering your Whale Fin is the most common problem that can cause several issues:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Wilting, drooping leaves
  • Mushy leaves or stems

In all these cases, either immediately stop watering the plant and let it dry out completely or remove it from its current pot and move it into clean potting mix. If the plant has developed root rot, it may not be savable, but you could try to propagate a new plant using a leaf if it hasn’t spread.

Although it is rare, the plant can also suffer if it does not receive sufficient water. If the giant leaves become dull or shriveled, check that the soil has not become too dry for an extended period. The soil may dry out more quickly during warmer weather, so you may need to water more regularly.

Mealybugs and spider mites may occasionally affect the plant. Aphids or thrips are less common pests. Wiping the leaves with a neem oil mixture is a good way to prevent and remove any insects.

Conclusion

Whale Fin Sansevieria is a rare and unique addition to any snake plant collection. It has gigantic, speckled green leaves with a broad base that rises up like the fin of a whale from the soil. Although the plant is hardy and tolerant of some neglect, getting the environment right will make it grow to impressive proportions.

References

https://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/foliage/folnotes/sansevie.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracaena_masoniana