Seeking Sansevierias

Having to give away my collection of croton cultivars during Brisbane’s ongoing drought made sense at the time. But I do enjoy collecting plants, so I’ve decided to collect drought-resistant Sansevieria instead.

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Pictured is Sansevieria suffruticosa subsp. longituba from Kenya, which grows 15 – 20cm high.
This plant produces flowers on spikes up to 30cm tall in either autumn or spring, sometimes both in good conditions.
A bowl of this succulent scents the house almost as well as Gardenia.

I’m aware that Sansevieria trifasciata has gained a reputation for being a bushland weed in warm parts of coastal eastern Australia, but this isn’t mostly the fault of gardeners. The main culprits are not gardeners, they’re often contractors responsible for fly tipping. As a weed, these shallow-rooted plants are easily lifted, and after being solarised or drowned make decent compost.

There are numerous cultivars of the commonly grown S. trifasciata, but it’s the slightly less commonly grown cultivars and species that most interest me.

Like most gardeners, I’ve never grown this genus from seed before, so I collected and germinated seed of S. ehrenbergii. The seedlings emerge slowly as rosettes with flat leaves which are unlike the adult form. S. ehrenbergii has antiseptic sap, traditionally used in bandaging wounds.

So far I’ve got cuttings of:

Sansevieria suffruticosa subsp. longituba;
S. trifasciata;
S.trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’;
S. trifasciata ‘Moonlight’;
S.trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, Bird’s nest Sansevieria;
S. cylindrica, African Spear;
S. masoniana, Congo Paddle;
S.hyacinthoides, Bowstring Hemp;
S. arborescens. Very slow growing shrub-like species resembling a Dracaena.
S. kirkii, Zimbabwe;

If anyone is willing to send me cuttings, I’d be most interested in expanding my collection, please email me through this site.

Jerry Coleby-Williams
4th May 2010