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Sansevieria Masoniana, also known as the whale fin snake plant (sometimes shark fin snake plant instead) and Mason’s Congo, is a beautiful, statement-making species of snake plant.
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about caring for the Sansevieria Masoniana, plus, how to propagate it!
Is Sansevieria Masoniana a succulent?
Sansevieria Masoniana is a snake plant and snake plants are succulents! It stores water in its large leaves, just like other succulents (important to remember when watering this plant, which we’ll discuss soon!).
Where can I buy a Sansevieria Masoniana?
You can find a Sansevieria Masoniana for sale on Etsy. Check out this gorgeous whale fin plant from one of my favorite Etsy shops!
Is Sansevieria Masoniana easy to care for?
Although it’s a very slow grower, Sansevieria Masoniana is an easy-to-care-for plant. It’s great for those who want a low-maintenance plant!
The one caveat here is that it is easy to overwater snake plants since they don’t need to be watered often, so if you want something you’ll need to tend to regularly, this is probably not the plant for you.
How do you care for a Sansevieria Masoniana?
The basic care requirements are:
- Provide with bright to medium, indirect light
- Water when almost dry
- Use a cacti/succulent potting mix
Read on for a full care and propagation guide!
How much light does Sansevieria Masoniana need?
Sansevieria Masoniana prefers bright to medium, indirect light. A small amount of direct light is OK, but too much direct light could cause damage to your whale fin.
Now on the opposite end, if you don’t think your plant is receiving enough light, don’t worry! You can always use grow lights (which are a SERIOUS game-changer!).
This is one of my favorite grow lights, below. I find the clip and the adjustable necks to be very convenient, and most important—my plants are very happy under them!
How often should you water a whale fin plant?
Water when the potting mix is almost completely dry. When you do water, make sure you are giving it a good, long soaking (a.k.a. the “soak and dry” method that is used for succulents).
Watering on a set schedule is a recipe for disaster, especially for succulents, which don’t like to sit in soggy pots.
This means you should always feel the potting mix with your finger first to determine if it’s dry enough to water again.
And remember, Sansevieria Masoniana stores water in its giant leaves so they really do not need to be watered often!
Does Sansevieria Masoniana like humidity?
The whale fin plant does not require any additional humidity to thrive, so nothing to worry about here.
Native to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sansevieria Masoniana prefers warmer temperatures, but it’ll still be OK in normal household temperatures.
Just try not to expose it to temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (about 16 degrees Celcius). For example, you’ll need to move it off of cold windowsills or away from drafty areas in the winter.
What kind of potting mix does Sansevieria Masoniana need?
Sansevieria Masoniana must be potted in a well-draining potting mix so that it doesn’t stay wet and soggy. A cacti/succulent mix will work well for this plant!
When should you repot a Sansevieria Masoniana?
You won’t need to repot the whale fin plant often since they grow so slowly. Every two to three years is recommended, but you can also gauge this by just observing your plant and whether it looks like it’s outgrowing its current pot.
Of course, this will all depend on how fast your plant grows, but they don’t mind being somewhat rootbound so there’s no need to rush.
Repot your plant in the next size up from its current pot and make sure it has good drainage. Try to save repotting for the growing season, if possible (spring and summer).
Fertilizing the Sansevieria Masoniana is not necessary, but if you want to, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer, or a cacti/succulent fertilizer, diluted by half, once a month during the growing season (spring and summer).
But ultimately, you do not want to overdo it on the fertilizer.
Pruning Sansevieria Masoniana is not needed since it’s such a slow grower. Also, it’s often only sold as one single leaf, so there’s really nothing to prune!
Cleaning the leaves
Now and then, gently wipe the leaf or leaves down with a damp cloth. Removing any layers of dust and grime will help your plant photosynthesize better.
This is not something to worry about doing religiously, just when your plant looks like it could use a cleaning.
Foliage and Flowers
The whale fin sansevieria is sold with either a few or only one large fin-like leaf. The leaves have a dark-and-light green speckled pattern.
They do produce a sweet-smelling white and green flower spike, but this is very rare.
How tall does Sansevieria Masoniana grow?
In optimal conditions, Sansevieria Masoniana can grow to be as high as three to four feet (imagine how incredible that would look!). The unfortunate part is that they take a LONG time to grow this tall, even when they grow in the wild.
How fast does Sansevieria Masoniana grow?
There’s no way around it—Sansevieria Masoniana is a very slow-growing plant. You can speed this up by providing it with optimal conditions, but “speeding it up” in this case would be going from very slow to moderately slow.
Common Problems and Pests
Below are a few common whale fin plant problems and some of their common causes:
- Why is my whale fin sansevieria curling?
- If your sansevieria is curling inward, it’s too dry! Time to water your plant!
- Why are my sansevieria’s leaves wrinkly?
- If your sansevieria has wrinkly leaves, it’s parched! Time to water your plant!
- Yellow leaves
- Yellow leaves are a common symptom of overwatering. Ease up on the watering!
- Root rot
- You have overwatered your plant too consistently! It’s important to only water when the potting mix is almost completely dry. This means you’ll need to account for environmental factors like light levels, too, i.e., the lower the light, the longer your plant will take to dry out.
- If you’re having difficulty determining how dry your plant is before you water it, in addition to sticking your finger down into the potting mix to feel for moisture, you can also pick up the pot to see if it feels light. A dry plant will feel very light whereas a very wet plant will be heavy. You’ll get to know how your plants feel the more time you spend caring for them.
How to propagate Sansevieria Masoniana
Sansevieria Masoniana propagation is not too difficult, BUT if you’re in a hurry for a new plant, you should just purchase one. Propagating this plant involves a lot of waiting and patience (which I do not have when propagating plants).
Propagating Sansevieria Masoniana by Division
If you have a mature plant with plantlets (babies), you can simply remove the babies to make more.
- Remove the plant from its pot and locate the rhizome (a thick, white modified portion of the stem that grows under the soil)
- If you have a plantlet, it’ll be growing from the rhizome of the mother plant. Using a pair of clean, sharp pruning shears, cut the rhizome to divide the plant. Make sure each side still has some rhizome left!
- Pot the plantlet into its own appropriately sized pot. You don’t want to pot it up in a pot that’s too large because all the excess soil will stay wet longer and cause root rot.
- Water the plant and start caring for it how you normally would. Keep in mind it might experience a period of shock before it adjusts to its new living situation.
Note that sometimes multiple plants are potted together to create a “larger” plant.
If this is the case with yours, you won’t have to worry about dividing any rhizomes, since the plants are not connected. Just gently separate their root systems and repot the plants into different pots.
Propagating Sansevieria Masoniana with Leaf Cuttings
Be warned—this method will take even longer and require more patience!
- Using a pair of clean, sharp pruning shears, cut a healthy-looking leaf away from your Sansevieria Masoniana plant at the base.
- Cut the leaf into about two-inch sections.
- Let the sections callus over for a few days before planting them. (Keep track of the bottom parts on each section!)
- After a few days, plant the cuttings into potting mix with the bottom parts down. The cuttings should be sticking up out of the potting mix, kind of like miniature plants.
- Water them and care for them as you would with a full-size plant.
Propagating Sansevieria Masoniana Using a Whole Leaf
Instead of leaf cuttings, you can root a whole leaf. This method will also take a VERY LONG time.
- Using pair of clean, sharp pruning shears, cut a healthy-looking leaf away from your Sansevieria Masoniana plant at the base.
- Place this in a jar that is large enough to support the whole leaf, but only fill it an inch or two with water. Only the base of the leaf needs to be in water.
- Place this in bright to medium, indirect light and replace the water when it gets grimy, once a week or so.
- Once the roots are a few inches long, pot up the leaf, water it, and care for it how you normally would with this plant.
Again, propagating a snake plant is not a quick process. If you need a second snake plant soon, you’ll have to buy one!
Are whale fin sansevieria rare?
Sansevieria Masoniana, or whale fin sansevieria, is considered rare.
Small plants are relatively easy to find online, but if you want a plant that’s already large in size, you’re going to have to pay more for it.
Sansevieria masoniana variegata is the variegated cultivar. There are variegated masonianas that have more yellow variegation and ones that have more white variegation.
The variegation is in the form of yellow or white stripes that look like they’ve been painted down from the top of the leaf—almost watermelon-esque?
Variegated white or yellow Sansevieria masonianas are rarer and you’ll definitely be paying a premium for them!
Is the Sansevieria Masoniana toxic?
Yes, sansevierias are toxic so be sure to keep them away from pets and kids!
Sansevieria Masoniana Care Summary
- Provide with bright to medium, indirect light
- Water when almost dry
- Use a cacti/succulent potting mix
- Provide with warm temperatures, but no additional humidity is required
- Repot every two to three years
- Fertilizer is not necessary, but you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer, or a cacti/succulent fertilizer, diluted by half, once a month during the growing season
- Use a damp cloth every so open to gently wipe dust and grime off of the leaves