Strong hardy and with air-purifying qualities, sansevieria francisii are one of the most rewarding plants you can grow. Otherwise known as a snake plant, it’s easy to keep and its attractive appearance can make it a signature piece in any indoor setting.
But like all plants, a new sansevieria francisii needs proper care to achieve its full potential. And if you’re a new parent of a growing snake plant, no doubt you’re keen to take proper care of it.
I’m here today to show you how easy and practical it is to keep your sansevieria francisii in pristine condition and help you when things don’t go exactly to plan.
Sansevieria Francisii is a hardy plant that requires small pockets of affection, making them an ideal indoor houseplant for dedicated and forgetful gardeners alike. Keep a watchful eye for pests and signs of disease, and don’t love it too much with water, to keep your new plant in pristine condition.
Why keep a Sansevieria Francisii?
I find that one of the most impressive features of a sansevieria francisii is its air-purifying and allergy-reducing qualities. You’ll have a healthier airflow throughout your entire home, thanks to these plants.
How? A world-famous study by NASA in 1989 found these plants help detoxify air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene around your home. (Source: NASA)
Additionally, they reduce airborne allergens. They’re also one of the few plants that convert CO2 into oxygen both during the day and at nighttime, making them ideal plants in bedrooms. (Source:
Another reason to own a sansevieria francisii is their beautiful, striking appearance. As perennial, they have vibrant, green, angular leaves that are packed closely together. They sprout vertical, white flowers that are lightly scented and look very delicate.
Lastly, sansevieria are one of the few plants that can be happily ignored for long periods with little negatives! They’re hardy, drought-tolerant, and are very easy to propagate with. One plant can easily turn into several with the right care and techniques.
All these plants require is a watchful eye from time to time, enough water, and enough alone time.
Sansevieria Francisii Care Details
|Scientific Name||Dracaena trifasciata|
|Common Name||Snake plant|
|Max Growth (approx)||Slow growing – up to 30cm every year. Indirect sunlight may increase to 45cm or more.|
|Watering Needs||Requires low amounts of watering, ideally once every other week. Avoid tap water as this may have harsh chemicals.|
|Light Requirements||Bright spaces with indirect sunlight.|
|Humidity||Average room humidity ranging from 30-50%|
|Soil||Sandy, slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 4.5 – 7.0.|
|Fertilizer||Typically not needed, but can be used sparingly in spring and early summer.|
|Season||The growing season is from spring to summer.|
|Temperature||60-80°F (16-27°C). Very vulnerable to cold and extreme changes.|
|Pests||Generally resilient to pests, but mealybugs and spider mites can cause potential problems.|
|Diseases||Most common diseases stem from root rot (from overwatering), or fungus/bacteria in the soil.|
|Propagation||Propagate in 3 ways – by leaf-cutting, plant division, or by rhizomes.|
|Pruning||Minor pruning during the growing season if required.|
|Re-potting||Doesn’t mind being root-bound.|
|Toxicity||Mildly toxic to humans, more so to cats and dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.|
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zone||USDA Zone 9-11|
First Steps After Purchase
Although sansevieria francisii are one of the easiest plants to take care of, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Consider these tips:
- Pest & disease check – Since sansevieria francisii have very compact leaves, it can be difficult to diagnosis their health. Look along leaf edges and between nodules for signs of stress or damage from pests, including bite marks from mealybugs and spider mites.
- Healthy roots? – Check the root system of your new plant. Sansevieria have very thin, brown thread-like roots known as rhizomes. Don’t panic if they are tightly wrapped around each other, as these plants often are root-bound and don’t suffer from it too much. Ensure soil is well-drained and never soggy.
- Repot – Place your plant in a new container with fresh soil. Sandy soil works best because of its improved drainage. Slightly acidic soil with a pH of 4.5-7 is optimal.
- Room Conditions – I strongly suggest placing your new sansevieria in a bright space with indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can scorch and dehydrate the plant.
- Bedroom? Living room? Kitchen? Because these plants convert CO2 into oxygen both during the day and at night, you can place them in bedrooms as well as living areas and kitchens. They enjoy room temperature and average humidity.
How to Care for Sansevieria Francisii
By following the above steps, you’ve already set your plant up for success. But there are several other areas you should consider, too. Once these foundations are established, it’s plain sailing for you and your sansevieria francisii.
How to Water Sansevieria Francisii
Sansevieria francisii are drought-tolerant plants, which don’t require much watering. The big challenge for you is trying to balance giving it enough water, and not overwatering it.
Many new owners kill their plants with kindness, and it’s best to observe your plant closely. Generally speaking, you should water your sansevieria when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dried.
- Use distilled water: Your sansevieria is vulnerable to both fluorides and chlorine, which are commonly found in tap water. I highly recommend you use distilled, filtered water.
- Slow and steady technique: Because sansevieria francisii enjoy arid conditions, your soil may become very dry and baked. When watering, pour a little at first and give time for the soil to soak up the water.
- Drainage: Ensure your pot/container has adequate holes at the bottom to allow for excess water to run out. Always remember to tip this extra water out of your pot/container or dish when finished watering.
Sansevieria Francisii Light Requirements
Since snake plants are drought-tolerant and look almost tropical, many people assume they enjoy direct sunlight.
But this can dehydrate your plant, and wither/scorch its leaves. The best places will be bright with indirect sunlight. Don’t worry – snake plants can grow perfectly well in shaded areas.
One thing of the challenges with low light is that too low a light can in turn cause some issues with your plant, too. It may grow much slower and elongated, with leaves thinning and growing towards the light source. Leaves may also begin to yellow. If this happens, your plant is in too dark a space.
Sansevieria francisii enjoy average room temperatures, ranging from 60-80°F (16-27°C). This makes them an ideal plant for living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.
Low temperature – your plant is vulnerable to extreme cold. I would advise that as wintertime approaches, you should move your plant away from doorways, windows, and drafty spaces.
If you’re using fertilizer, consider one which has temperature-resistant qualities that can help bolster your plant’s natural defenses.
High temperature – similarly, too high a temperature will stress your plant out too. Thin leaves and yellow leaves which fall off quickly are sure signs your plant is too hot.
Another concern with hot temperatures is it affects your plant’s watering as your plant can become dehydrated quicker.
Move your plant into a cooler room or beside ventilation. Avoid dark, plastic pots which hold on to heat – instead pick light-colored, neutral pots made of terracotta or ceramic.
Although they originate from Africa and have an exotic appearance, snake plants actually will thrive better when in average room humidity of 30-50%.
Because they have a low to medium humidity threshold, I strongly advise against misting snake plants. It’s a plant that enjoys being dry at all times.
Misting your plant can only lead to more problems, including overwatering it, promoting fungus, disease, and attracting pests.
Sansevieria Francisii Soil
I highly recommend using well-drained, loose, sandy soil for your new sansevieria francisii. Sandy soils contain large particles, making it easier for water to shift down through them.
The soil doesn’t retain much moisture, either. Sansevieria francisii enjoy slightly acidic soil ranging from a pH of 4.5 – 7.
Fertilizing Sansevieria Francisii
Whilst everyone loves a little boost now and again, your sansevieria won’t require much fertilizing. Once or twice a year during spring or summer will do nicely.
Fertilizers that contain ammonium nitrate are recommended as this can help keep the soil slightly acidic.
Propagating Sansevieria Francisii
If you’re feeling like a confident snake plant owner now, and fancy growing more of them, you’ll be happy to know that propagation is very straightforward.
There are 2 methods which I am going to talk you through.
Propagating in Water
I know I’ve spent much of this article telling you how sansevieria francisii don’t appreciate too much water. But with propagation, the opposite can be true.
Propagation by water is an easy method that is ideal for beginners.
- First, find a selection of healthy leaves near the base of your sansevieria francisii. Cut at least 3-4 inches of leaf, starting from the node with a pair of sharp scissors or shears.
- Place your cutting in a suitable container, glass, or vase, and fill it with distilled water.
- Only submerge ¼ of your leaf cutting, with the cut surface facing downwards.
- Next, place the container in a shaded area with indirect sunlight.
- Replace the water once a week to replenish nutrients and oxygen present.
- It may take up to 5 weeks for roots to develop. After roots appear, wait a further 2 weeks before repotting in soil.
There are several benefits to propagating by water. You don’t require any tools or special chemicals, and with sterile, distilled water, there is minimal chance of fungus and bacteria from interfering.
Propagating in Soil
Propagating by soil essentially skips the nursing stage of water, and instead goes directly to planting cuttings into a suitable container.
- Again, find a selection of healthy leaves near the base. Cutting 3-4 inches from the node is optimal.
- Fill a suitable container with moist, well-draining soil, sand, or perlite. Ensure there are drainage holes at the bottom.
- Make an indent with your finger a few inches down to create space for the cutting.
- Place the cutting down and fill with additional soil. Part gently down to secure the cutting in an upright position.
- Place the container in a shaded area with indirect sunlight.
- Roots will begin to develop and you can repot your propagated plant in 4-5 weeks.
One of the major benefits of using soil to propagate plants is that when cuttings develop, roots are often stronger, thicker, and more secure.
That being said, observe the quality of soil and keep a watchful eye on fungi/bacteria present.
Now, If you need a step-by-step guide to propagating a snake plant, read my other article here.
How to Repot Sansevieria Francisii
Sansevieria francisii can deal well with being root-bound. But if roots are beginning to travel through drainage holes, or you want to grow your plant even bigger, it’s high time to repot it.
Here’s my advice on doing so:
- The best time to repot your sansevieria francisii is outside its growing season, that being wintertime and early spring.
- Gently remove your plant from its container. Be patient – snake plant’s root systems often grow to maximum capacity and will be very compact.
- Evaluate the roots and carefully cut off any dead, dry, or rotted matter with sharp, clean shears.
- Fill a new container with fresh, well-drained soil or sand. Ensure it has drainage holes.
- Place your snake plant in the center, and fill the empty spaces around with soil. Gently pat down to secure it.
- Water the plant gently, waiting until water runs off the bottom. Remember to remove any excess water.
Pruning and Trimming
Gardeners prune and trim a plant to reduce its size, restore shape or remove damaged or diseased parts. Think of it as a healthy haircut!
The good news is that your sansevieria francisii won’t demand a new hairstyle every week. They’re slow-growing after all. However, leaves are tightly compacted and spikey, so cutting them confidently can be a challenge. Here are some tips:
- Firstly, only ever use a sterile knife or shears when pruning.
- Preselect leaves you want to remove. If you want to reduce its size, prioritize cutting leaves at the outside.
- Follow them down to the base of the plant, and with your knife, cut cleanly and remove leaves.
- The best time to prune or trim in early spring or summer. You will want any new growth from the plant to be well established and resilient before the cold winter.
It’s worth remembering that if leaves are healthy, you can propagate from them to make brand new plants!
How to Solve Common Sansevieria Francisii Problems
Pests can play havoc with your snake plant if left unchecked for too long. There are two main culprits you should keep an eye open for – mealybugs and spider bites.
- Mealybugs have a white-cotton appearance and bite into plants to feed on their juices, particularly on new growth.
- Spider mites look like a sprinkling of white dust on foliage. They too feed on new growth and thrive in arid, dry pot containers.
The good news is you can get rid of both pests quickly and effectively using the same method. Apply either soapy water or rubbing alcohol to your plant’s stem and leaves with a cotton bud. Let it sit for a few hours before washing clean off.
Although your snake plant is resilient, it can suffer from some common, avoidable diseases. Pay close attention to the following in particular:
- Root rot – if your plant has brown, mushy, and foul-smelling roots, this is a sure sign of root rot. To fix, remove your plant from the pot and turn it on its side. Carefully cut any infected roots off with a sterile knife and re-pot in a new potting mixture.
- Fungus – snake plants can fall victim to fungus which shows up as white, furry spots in the soil. Fungus in turn can cause diseases. There are two common diseases to look out for:
- Red leaf spot – small irregular red/brown spots on leaves, which act like lesions on your plant. Remove affected leaves and apply a fungicide to remedy the situation.
- Southern Blight – if the base of your snake plant always looks wet and soaked despite not watering it, and it has thread-like growths, then it most likely is suffering from southern blight. To remedy this, apply a fungicide to your plant. If the blight damage is substantial, consider removing affected parts from the plant and repot.
Black Spots on Leaves
Blackish spots on leaves can be a sign of a bacterial or fungal infection in your plant. The cause of this may be down to overwatering because roots have been starved of oxygen and nutrients and are beginning to fail.
An immediate solution can be to repot your plant with a new mixture, in a new container. You can also treat affected areas with a homemade fungicide made of water and baking soda.
Sansevieria Francisii leaves Falling off
If leaves are falling off or becoming limp, this is a sure sign you are overwatering your sansevieria francisii. These plants thrive in drought-prone conditions, and whilst watering is welcomed, you must only do so sparingly. Only water your plant when the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry.
Brown spots on Sansevieria Francisii leaves
Brown spots or tips on fronds are a sign of stress in plants. In sansevieria francisii plants, this can be a result of colder temperatures or excessive sunlight (which can dehydrate or scorch leaves). It could also be a build-up of harsh chemicals such as chlorine if you’re watering with tap water.
To help alleviate the problem, move your plant to a more shaded part of your home and ensure it’s kept at a moderate temperature. You should also start watering with distilled, filtered water.
Sansevieria Francisii Leaves Curling
Snake plants excelling in drought-like conditions! If leaves are beginning to curl, this is a tell-tale sign the plant is trying to conserve its water supply.
My advice is simple – always check that the first 2 inches of soil are dry before watering. Ensure soil is well-drained and that water can travel to the bottom of your pot. Remember to remove any excess water from the bottom to prevent root rot.
Toxicity – Is Sansevieria Safe?
When ingested, sansevieria are mildly toxic to humans. Symptoms include swelling, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Is Sansevieria Francisii Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
The effects of ingesting sansevieria are more extreme for our four-legged friends, cats, and dogs, who are more likely to take a bite or two from the leaves.
Symptoms include more severe cases of nausea, vomiting, and swelling in the tongue and throat. If your pet is showing signs of discomfort, bring them to your vet immediately.
General Sansevieria Francisii Care Tips
- Your sansevieria francisii will thrive at average room temperature, in a bright space with indirect sunlight.
- Keep humidity in around 30-50%, and avoid misting leaves.
- It’s vulnerable to cold temperatures, so move to a consistently warm room during winter
- Water your plant with filtered, distilled water, to avoid harsh chemicals.
- Water sparingly, only when the top inch is dry.
- Ensure excess water can run out of your pot. Remember to tip this out to avoid root rot.
- Only propagate during the growing season, spring and summer.
- Pay close attention to spider mites and mealybugs – bite marks are a sure sign of infestation.
- Signs of overwatering – limp leaves with brown spots, and white fuzz growing on the top layer of soil.
- Signs of underwatering – leaves curling inwards, new leaves are withered, reduced growth and soil is rough to touch.