Sansevieria stuckyi is an increasingly popular snake plant among houseplant enthusiasts.
Low maintenance and forgiving, it can make a great gift for green-fingered beginners, while its stunning appearance makes it a hit with the pros as well.
In this care guide, our gardening experts reveal their top care and propagation tips.
What Is Sansevieria Stuckyi?
Sansevieria stuckyi, also known as the elephant tusks plant, is a succulent plant native to Kenya, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. It is a variety of snake plant with long, cylindrical leaf-like stems, and it’s popular in the houseplant trade due to its low maintenance and long life.
The Sansevieria stuckyi takes its name after Mr. Stucky, a plant collector who first collected it in Mozambique in 1901. In 1903, it was officially described by French botanist Alexandre Godefroy-Lebeuf. It is also listed under the name of Sansevieria stuckyi God.-Leb to honor him.
The elephant tusks plant is a truly majestic specimen to have in your home. It can grow up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall and over 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter. Its vertical growth habit makes it one of the best indoor plants to keep in your home if you don’t have a lot of space.
Sansevieria stuckyi leaves aren’t actually leaves but stems. When the plant is young, they are dark green, with a few pale green horizontal stripes, then gradually takes on a lighter shade as the plant matures.
They are succulent, firm to the touch, with a leathery texture and a sharp, pointy tip. In the wild, this sansevieria produces a tall inflorescence with small, white blooms that give off a pleasant fragrance. However, it will rarely flower indoors.
Is It a Dracaena or a Sansevieria?
The Sansevieria genus has gone through a few changes since botanists first started studying it. It was originally named Sanseverinia in 1787, and then the name was changed to Sansevieria in 1794.
Following genetic analysis, the genus went through further changes as new information came to light, and a few years ago, several Sansevieria species were included in the Dracaena genus.
The Sansevieria stuckyi was one of them. Nowadays, the correct botanical name for this plant is Dracaena stuckyi. However, the succulent plants community remains fond of the name ‘sansevieria,’ which is why you’ll continue to find this plant listed under its old taxonomic denominator instead of ‘dracaena.’
Is Sansevieria Stuckyi Toxic?
Sansevieria stuckyi leaves are mildly toxic. If ingested in large quantities, they can cause nausea, drooling, diarrhea, and mouth pain. The leaves are also sharp at the tip and can cause minor injuries if you’re not careful.
Our recommendation is to keep this plant in a room where pets and kids don’t have access to it.
Sansevieria Stuckyi Care Guide
Sansevieria stuckyi will feel right at home in any room. This plant can grow in a wide range of light conditions, and it can tolerate the diffuse, indirect light of a room with northern exposure and the direct sun coming from a south-facing window.
It’s best to note that, although Sansevieria stuckyi can grow in partial shade, it will not thrive. All plants need light for photosynthesis, and the less light they get, the weaker and more vulnerable to pests they become.
In this plant’s case, we recommend a minimum of bright indirect light for healthy growth, but full sun exposure would be perfect.
The elephant tusks plant is not too fussy when it comes to temperature. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 45 F (7 C) and as high as 86 F (30 C). This makes it easy to grow in homes and offices, but also outdoors. You can plant it in your garden if you live in USDA zones 10b to 11.
Our recommendation is to avoid exposing it to temperatures below 41 F (5 C). Although sansevieria plants can tolerate a mild frost, long exposure to freezing temperatures can result in permanent tissue damage, and the leaves will never recover from the shock.
Your Sansevieria stuckyi will need light but regular waterings. Its thick, waxy leaves help protect it from losing water through transpiration, which allows it to resist droughts. Also, its shallow root system makes it very sensitive to overwatering, which can result in rot.
On average, you will need to water Sansevieria stuckyi once every 10 to 14 days during its growing season. In winter, you can reduce your watering schedule to twice a month. When in doubt, it’s always best to under-water this plant.
Check the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil with your finger, and if it doesn’t feel completely dry to the touch, wait a couple more days before watering.
Sansevieria stuckyi is happy growing in the average room humidity levels. This tough plant is used to dry, arid environments, so your home should feel very comfortable in comparison.
Plant your Sansevieria stuckyi in a soil mix that is loose, aerated, and very well-draining. All succulent plants have a shallow root system, which has adapted to low soil humidity. This makes them very sensitive to root rot, which is caused by the amount of water as well as a soil mix that stays soaked.
Cactus soil can often be too dense for Sansevieria stuckyi, so the best solution is making your own potting mix. Here’s a great combo we recommend trying:
- 2 parts garden loam
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part coir
- 1 part horticultural sand
Very little feeding is required to keep your Sansevieria stuckyi growing. Once a year, preferably in spring, you can use a balanced fertilizer designed for cacti, diluted to half strength.
This plant is a slow grower, and as tempting as it is to give it more fertilizers to make it grow faster, we don’t recommend it. If anything, this will only stress your Sansevieria stuckyi, resulting in discolored leaves, leggy growth, and even roots that are damaged by fertilizer burn. Let the plant grow at its own pace, and you can enjoy it for many years.
Pruning and Maintenance
Sansevieria stuckyi doesn’t typically need pruning. As the leaves grow longer, they may start to lean over the side of the container. This can result in accidents, especially if you have pets or kids who might get scratched by the leaves’ sharp tips.
You can either trim these long, leaning leaves or use a bit of string to tie them to the rest of the plant.
Once a week, we recommend wiping the leaves with a damp cloth. The grooves in the leaf can build up with dust over time, which makes it difficult to spot any pests, such as spider mites or mealybugs.
Repotting Sansevieria Stuckyi
The elephant tusks plant has a slow growth rate and a shallow root system. It also enjoys being a bit pot-bound, which means that you only need to repot it once every two to three years.
Repotting this plant will not only provide the roots with more space to grow, but it’s also a great opportunity to check that the roots are healthy, as well as freshening up the soil.
The ideal time to repot a Sansevieria stuckyi is in spring, when the plant is entering its growing season. Simply move it to a container that’s one size larger, filled with a very well-draining potting mix.
Our recommendation is to use a terracotta pot. This plant can become top-heavy as it grows, and the weight of the pot should provide it with enough stability to prevent it from falling over.
Also, terracotta is an excellent material for all types of succulents, wicking the excess moisture from the soil and keeping the roots aerated.
Sansevieria Stuckyi Propagation Guide
There are four methods you can use to propagate your Sansevieria stuckyi: leaf cuttings, plant division, offset division, and seeds. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
– Sansevieria Stuckyi Leaf Cutting Propagation
- Use a sharp, sterilized blade and cut one of the sansevieria leaves. If the leaf is very long, you can cut it into smaller sections, around 2-3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) in size.
- Keep the cuttings in a dry, well-ventilated room for a few days until they develop a callus.
- Sansevieria stuckyi cuttings can be rooted in either water or soil. Simply stick them upright in the propagation media of your choice, and keep them in a bright, warm room.
Leaf propagation is very slow, and you will start seeing roots after about 4 – 6 weeks. If you’re propagating in water, wait until the roots are at least 2 inches (5 cm) long before transplanting them into the soil.
– Propagating Sansevieria Stuckyi Through Plant Division
This is by far the easiest way to propagate Sansevieria stuckyi. We recommend using it in spring, preferably the same year as you’re repotting the plant. Lift the sansevieria from the pot, remove as much soil as you can, then gently separate the roots and leaves into two or more clumps. Then all you have to do is plant each clump in its own pot. It’s as simple as that!
– Propagating Sansevieria Stuckyi Through Offset Division
A mature Sansevieria stuckyi plant will grow a slender, woody stem called a stolon or a runner. This stolon will also have a smaller version of the plant growing from the tip, called an offset.
Wait until the baby plant starts developing roots that are at least an inch in size. This may take a few months, but when propagating a sansevieria, patience goes a long way. Once the roots are big enough, you can cut the stolon with a sharp, sterilized blade and plant the offset in a well-draining potting mix.
– Sansevieria Stuckyi Seed Propagation
Propagating this plant through seeds is possible but a bit tricky. It very rarely flowers indoors, and as a result, Sansevieria stuckyi seeds are difficult to come by. Not only that, but they also have a short life and should be planted as soon as possible to germinate.
If your Sansevieria stuckyi has flowered, wait until the blooms fall off and the plant starts fruiting. The fruit is small, round, orange, and contains a single seed. Squeeze the seed out of the fruit, wash as much of the pulp as you can, and then dry it with a bit of paper towel.
Fill a pot with a very well-draining soil mix and place the seeds on top. Sprinkle them with a thin layer of soil and water lightly. Keep the pot in a warm spot, where temperatures don’t drop below 70 F (21 C).
After a month or so, your Sansevieria stuckyi seeds should germinate, and you will see small plants come out of the soil. Wait until the plants are at least 2 inches (5 cm) tall before transplanting them to a new container, or keep them together if you’re going for a more bushy look.
Common Pests and Problems
The thick, waxy leaves of the Sansevieria stuckyi make it resistant to most pests. If you provide this plant with plenty of light, avoid overwatering and make sure that the soil is well-draining, it will pretty much look after itself.
By following this care guide, your Sansevieria stuckyi can thrive for many years to come. Let’s recap the basics.
- Sansevieria stuckyi is an African succulent with long, cylindrical leaves.
- It has a very slow growth rate, but it can grow up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) tall.
- This plant needs full sun, light watering, and a well-draining soil mix.
- Plant division is the easiest way to propagate this sansevieria, but you can also use leaf cuttings, seeds, or offsets.
- Unpretentious and very beginner-friendly, this plant is virtually free of pests and problems.
So, now all you need to do is set aside a space for the amazing Sansevieria stuckyi!
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