Friday, February 01, 2008

Sansevieria

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Have you ever seen Sansevieria blooming? Well I have...

It is amazing to me that this plant knows where it came from. It is summertime in Africa now, and my Sanseviera knows this...so they bloom. They send up their 20' long spike full of flowers and buds.....their heavy perfume fills the house each night. The scent is unusual, unique, and there are times I find it rather obnoxious in a paperwhite/hyacinth sort of way....or maybe even a rotten bananna. The fragrance is said to include approximately 69 compounds.

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You might know this plant by it's common name....mother-in-law's tongue. I've read that it is called this because of the paralyzing effect that it can have on ones vocal chords...I would not recommend trying it....

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These plants have been with me a long time. They are very tolerant of neglect, and poor memory. As you can see they need to be repotted. I don't want to invest in the cost of new pots. And after I repot them, they will not fit on my windowsill anymore. I will have to find a new spot for them to live. We have been having this discussion since last fall (you talk to your plants, right?). They have not informed me of their choice of a new location yet...excuse me, that is not entirely true. They did suggest that they would be quite happy to sit on the stone hearth beside the fireplace where they would enjoy sufficent light and space to grow even larger. There is just one problem, my Great Wheel lives there, and it doesn't have any intention of moving out anytime soon.

The Sanseviera are pressuring me to get busy and pay attention to them. They threaten me that their roots will break the clay pots like they did last time, forcing me to deal with the situation. The latest effort to coerce me? See for yourself....

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16 comments:

judy said...

Funny thing about theses plants. They have long been a plantscapers staple, but are just now coming into favor again. So many low light situations that these simple plants can inhabit. Yet, I have seen them, time after time as a hedgerow, in full sun and temperatures that make me want to dive for shade.

Stasia said...

My grandparents had those plants - I never knew what they were called, nor have I ever seen them bloom. Neat! Thanks for sharing.

We can't have any houseplants because of the new(ish) rescue kittens... they destroyed my last African violet and I gave up trying to move the pots to new locations. Oh well!

Have a great day. :)

Cathy said...

I have sans which belonged to my grandmother (she died in 1960). Mine need to be separated and repotted again - I no longer have room, either. I suppose I should go peer in each of the dozen pots to see if any stalks are emerging.

elizabeth said...

I've heard they are called mother-in-law's tongue because their leaves have sharp edges! Interesting. I've never seen one so large!

Sue said...

The one my mom had when I was growing up used to bloom every year, too. Did you know that another name for the plant is Bowstring Hemp? You can harvest the long fibers in the leaves and spin them! There was an article in Spin-Off, "A Survey of the Leaf and Stem Fibers," Fall 1986, p. 24-31. I've never tried it, but it sounded neat.

Donna B said...

I hope you all can come to an agreement that does not involve kicking the poor Great Wheel out of its cosy spot!

cyndy said...

I did read that the plant is sometimes called Bowstring Hemp...but had no idea about the article in Spin-Off! Thank you for the reference...I shall inform my Sansevieria of this, perhaps they will behave themselves...least they wind up as "yarn" ;-)

Pat K said...

All I could think was, the plant that ate the riverrim. Kind of like kudzu down south. Good luck with the jungle.

vi said...

i've never seen them bloom
i've grown them
my mom grew them
i have never ever seen them bloon!!!!
i grow aloe in a window box indoors
it started with one little plant, and now it fills the entire window box
i remember to water it occationally

for years it was in a window over the heat duct....it seemed happy
it seems happy now with the wood stove

go figure

vi

Judy said...

Mom had some, she called them snake plants but her's never bloomed. Me....I underwatered a cactus so I stick to outdoor plants!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow Cyndy, I have never seen a Sans as tall as yours or have a bloom. The bloom sounds delightful. I wish I could smell it.

I have a short stocky sans that I don't know the name of. Same family but it grows different. I have had it in the same pot for years. Not as long as yours but say 5 years.

I love the idea of yarn from your plants. I wonder what they would think of this. tee hee... Thell them they can't have your wheel's spot. Maybe you can divide and conquer.

Dawn said...

My Mom had one of these. I didn't know the name of it though, nor did it ever bloom. And yes, I talk to my plants ...... doesn't everyone? {gg}

Joanne said...

We have an enormous shiffleura (sp?) that I was given as a freshman in college. So, that makes it...17 years old! I've repotted and the professor repotted. It has been neglected, brought inside and outside, and moved around the country. The pot is now so big that I cannot lift it. Harry the dog dug into the pot'sdirt to bury his bones as a puppy. (no kidding.) It now lives on a chair...and will probably live with us forever. So yes, I talk to my plant...and I totally know how you feel about trying to accomodate it like a member of the household!

Leigh said...

Wow, you have an indoor privacy hedge!

mr_subjunctive said...

Dieffenbachia spp. are the plants that will make you mute, though they don't do it by paralyzing vocal cords, they do it by irritating your throat and making it swell up to the point where you can't get air through anymore. Very dangerous. Not recommended. Also supposed to be quite painful.

Sansevieria trifasciata doesn't have sharp edges and won't make you mute, though it can be toxic to cats (yes, even though it's on some sites' "not toxic to pets" list). I think the name just comes from the long, pointed shape of the leaf. In a perfect world, these would be called "Gene Simmons' tongue," but alas.

cyndy said...

Thank you, mr_subjunctive...for the information you provided. I stand corrected...

My source-
I had read on(davesgardendotcom) that when mixed with a certain liquid, the concoction would paralyze the vocal chord.

I appreciate your insight, and the fact that you took the time to comment!

Thank goodness, mother-in-law's everywhere can rest easy when they look at Sanseveria now!

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