Fernwood Snake Plant: Mikado & ‘Punk’ Care / Growing Guide

You’re probably familiar with the common snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue), but have you met its exotic cousin, the Fernwood Snake Plant?

This striking succulent from South Africa is a star in houseplants. Its unique snakeskin patterned leaves and hardy nature make it an irresistible addition to any indoor garden.

Imagine a plant that thrives on neglect, is happy in the brightest or dimmest corners of your home, and even purifies your air! It’s no wonder it is a firm favorite among plant enthusiasts.

Key Points

  • Sansevieria Fernwood is a hardy, evergreen succulent plant with elongated leaves and a snakeskin pattern.
  • It prefers bright indirect sunlight and can adapt to artificial light.
  • Watering should be done when the soil is dry to avoid over-watering and root rot.
  • If ingested, Sansevieria Fernwood is mildly toxic and should be kept away from pets and small children.

Background of This Unique Houseplant

Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado
Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado

This unique houseplant is a hardy, evergreen succulent with a striking tiger-striped pattern on its leaves, making it a standout addition to your indoor garden.

It has a fascinating background, being a hybrid of Sansevieria parva and Sansevieria suffruticosa

One notable variant of this plant is the Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado. This cultivar sports a beautiful combination of light and dark green leaves adorned with vertical grooves and a tiger-striped pattern. 

Another variant is the fernwood punk snake plant. This is shorter, and has spikes going in all directions.

There is also the fernwood Musica which is a bit more compact and spread-out than Mikado snake plant. This PDF has images of all three cultivars next to each other.

The plant hails from Madagascar and Southern Asia, where it has thrived in varying conditions, making it a robust choice for your home, even if you don’t have a green thumb.

Understanding Its Botanical Characteristics

Sansevieria Fernwood punk

Its elongated leaves, reminiscent of a snake’s skin, are its main attraction, giving it a distinct and dramatic appearance.

  • Distinctive Look: Its tiger-striped leaves, a characteristic inherited from Sansevieria suffruticosa, will undoubtedly make a statement in your home.
  • Versatile Growth: Whether the regular Fernwood or the compact Fernwood Punk, each variant has charm.
  • Low-Maintenance: Snake plants are known for their resilience, and Fernwood is no exception. It thrives even with minimal care.
  • Air-Purifying: Like its parent plant, Fernwood is an excellent air purifier, working tirelessly to cleanse your indoor air.

Fernwood Snake Plant Care Guide

Sansevieria Bacularis micado fernwood succulent

Ideal Indoor Location

Let’s find the perfect spot for your Sansevieria Fernwood in your home, shall we? This hardy succulent adapts well to various lighting conditions, making it an ideal choice for many indoor locations. 

It thrives in indirect sunlight, making it perfect for a spot near a window where the light is filtered through a curtain. This ensures it gets plenty of light without the risk of sunburn.

If your home doesn’t have much natural light, don’t worry. Your plant adapts to artificial light too. 

This makes it a terrific addition to rooms with minimal exposure to natural light, such as your office or hallway. The tiger-striped pattern on the leaves would certainly add a unique touch to these spaces.

It will survive even in low light conditions, although you may notice your snake plant is not growing. Remember, though, while it’s a hardy plant, it shouldn’t be left in complete darkness. We’ll cover more about lighting requirements below.

Watering Guidelines

Watering your snake plant isn’t rocket science, but there are vital tips to remember. 

Being drought-tolerant, it can handle periods of dryness quite well. However, it still needs some hydration.

Here are three critical watering guidelines:

  1. Avoid excessive watering: Overwatering is a common mistake, leading to root rot. Instead, let the soil dry out completely between watering sessions.
  2. Check for drainage holes: Ensure your plant pot has drainage holes. These holes allow excess water to escape, preventing soggy soil conditions your plant dislikes.
  3. Monitor the humidity: Although your Fernwood tolerates a wide range of humidity levels, it prefers dry to average household humidity. High humidity can lead to fungal issues.

Remember, your Fernwood Snake Plant is more tolerant of under-watering than over-watering. So, when in doubt, hold off on the water. 

Fertilizing

When it comes to fertilizing your snake plant, less is more. This hardy succulent isn’t fussy about its feeding and fertilizing methods. 

It’s more important to ensure it’s potted with sandy soil or a commercial cactus mix and has access to bright, indirect light. This provides a well-draining base that allows your plant to thrive. 

Fertilizing is a rare necessity for this plant. Most of the time, the nutrients in a quality cactus mix will be enough. However, during the warmer months, when it is actively growing, you can give it a boost. 

Use a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once a month. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can cause more harm than good.

Ideal Soil Composition

Choosing the perfect soil for your snake plant can be a game-changer, making your green friend’s roots feel right at home. 

The best soil composition for Sansevierias, like the Fernwood Snake Plant, is one that is well-draining, prevents water logging, and provides enough aeration for the roots.

Here’s a list for creating the perfect soil mix:

  • Use a succulent/cacti mix: These blends are specially designed to provide the fast-draining environment that Sansevierias love. They usually contain coarse sand, perlite, or pumice, which help prevent root rot by allowing excess water to drain away swiftly.
  • Add organic material: Add some compost or well-rotted manure to supply essential nutrients. However, keep it minimal, as too much organic matter can hold water and lead to root rot.
  • Lighten up with perlite or pumice: These light, airy substances improve soil drainage and aeration, making them perfect for Sansevieria’s root health.

Light Preferences

snake plant fernwood lighting

Every plant has its own specific needs when it comes to sunlight, and the Fernwood Snake Plant is no exception.

Sunlight TypeEffectsIdeal For Fernwood
Direct SunlightCan cause sunburn and yellowing of leavesNo
Bright, Indirect SunlightPromotes growth and maintains vibrant colorYes
Artificial LightCan be adapted to, but not idealYes, but not preferred

Although the Fernwood Snake Plant can survive in any light condition, it prefers bright, indirect sunlight.

Although they can survive in almost any light condition, these plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. 

Direct sunlight can be too harsh and may cause sunburn on the leaves, affecting their beautiful tiger-striped pattern. Moreover, too much direct sunlight can lead to a loss of the vibrant green color that makes this succulent such a standout.

On the other hand, they are great for areas with minimal exposure to natural light as they can adapt to artificial light. This trait, coupled with its ability to emit oxygen and filter toxins like benzene from the air, makes it an excellent choice for office spaces or rooms with less natural light. 

Temperature Needs

Just like you, your plant has its own comfort zone regarding temperature and does best in warmer conditions. This isn’t too surprising when you remember that it’s native to the warm climates of Africa.

Here’s a quick guide to its temperature needs:

  • Ideal Range: The perfect temperature range for your Fernwood Snake Plant is between 21C and 32C (70F and 90F). It will thrive in this warm but not too hot environment.
  • Low-Temperature Tolerance: While it’s a tough plant, it’s not a fan of the cold. Temperatures below 10C (50F) can harm your plant, so keep it away from cold drafts in winter.
  • High-Temperature Tolerance: It can withstand heat, although temperatures above 35C (95F) can cause stress. Keep it out of full sun in the summertime to avoid overheating.

Humidity Considerations

Contrary to what you might think, this succulent doesn’t require extra humidity. It’s content in dry conditions, just like in its native African environment. This makes it an excellent choice for indoor gardening, even in areas with dry air conditions.

When considering humidity, you should also know its potential for attracting pests. The plant can become a magnet for spider mites and mealybugs in overly humid conditions. 

These pests thrive in warm, humid conditions and can cause damage to your precious plant. Therefore, maintaining a balanced humidity level is crucial for your plant’s health.

Remember, while your plant can tolerate many conditions, it’s always seeking balance. It doesn’t need a tropical rainforest, nor does it want a desert. 

So, give your plant a comfortable home with moderate humidity, and it’ll reward you with its vibrant, air-purifying presence for years to come.

Repotting Tips

Repotting is not just about giving your plant a new home but also a chance to encourage growth.

While it can seem daunting, repotting a snake plant becomes a simple and rewarding process with the right tips. 

Here are five nuggets of wisdom to guide you:

  • Always choose a pot with good drainage. This prevents waterlogging and protects your plant from root rot.
  • Consider a slightly larger pot. This gives your plant room to grow and thrive.
  • Use well-draining soil. This allows your plant to receive just the right amount of moisture.
  • Be gentle. Avoid damaging the roots during the process to keep your plant healthy.
  • Monitor your plant post-repotting. Keep an eye out for pests or signs of distress.

A ceramic pot with drainage holes is a great option when choosing a pot. It provides excellent drainage, but its weight can prevent your tall snake plant ‘Fernwood’ from toppling over.

Fernwood Snake Plant Propagation Techniques

After successfully repotted, you might be interested in multiplying your green family using different propagation techniques for your resilient snake plant

The three most common methods of propagating a Fernwood Snake Plant are division, leaf cutting, and rooting in water. 

Let’s explore each of these in detail.

  • For division, you’ll need to gently remove the plant from its pot and separate the roots to divide it into different sections. Each section should have a healthy root system and at least one or two leaves. The divisions can then be potted in fresh, well-draining soil.
  • Leaf-cutting involves slicing off a healthy leaf, allowing it to callus over for a day or two, and then planting it in a well-draining succulent mix. Remember to keep the orientation of the leaf cuttings the same as it was on the mother plant, or it won’t root.
  • Rooting in water is a fun and easy way to propagate, but be careful not to let the leaf cuttings sit in water for too long, as this can cause root rot.

Whatever method you choose, patience is critical. Snake plant propagation can take time, but seeing tiny new leaves sprouting will be worth the wait.

Dealing with Common Pests

Now, it’s time to tackle a less pleasant topic – dealing with common pests. Even the hardy Sansevieria Fernwood isn’t immune to a few pesky intruders that can threaten its health and vibrancy.

  • Mealybugs: These tiny, cotton-like bugs can be a severe nuisance. They suck the sap out of your plant, causing it to yellow and wilt. Regularly check your plant, and if you spot them, remove them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
  • Spider mites: These minuscule mites create thin webs all over your plant and cause discoloration. Shower your plant with water to get rid of the mites and their webs, then consider a miticide if the problem persists.
  • Thrips: These tiny insects can cause significant damage to your plant by sucking out its juices, leading to discolored and mottled leaves. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can help control them.
  • Scale: These pests appear as small brown or white bumps on the leaves. Scrape them off gently with a soft toothbrush and apply a horticultural oil for control.

Remember, the best defense against pests is a healthy plant. Regularly inspect your Sansevieria, ensure it’s getting the right amount of water, light, and nutrients, and it’ll be well-equipped to fend off these uninvited guests.

Recognizing & Treating Diseases

Just as you’ve become adept at identifying and dealing with pests, it’s equally important to recognize common diseases that can affect your plant and learn how to treat them. 

Diseases can sneak up, but knowing the signs and symptoms can save your plant from irreversible damage.

Here’s a handy table that illustrates some common diseases, their symptoms, and how to treat them:

DiseaseSymptomsTreatment
Root RotYellow, mushy leaves; foul-smelling rootsCut off affected roots, let dry, repot in dry soil
Leaf SpotBrown or black spots on leavesRemove diseased leaves, apply fungicide
Fungal DiseasePowdery mildew on leavesApply fungicidal spray
Bacterial Soft RotWet, slimy leaves; foul smellRemove affected parts, dry plant, repot

If you spot anything unusual, act quickly and treat it appropriately. 

Benefits for Indoor Air Quality

Did you know that all snake plant varieties are also a powerful tool for purifying indoor air?

This hardy succulent is a natural air purifier that can significantly improve your indoor air quality. It’s renowned (ever since a NASA study) for its ability to filter out toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide, commonly found in the home environment.

The Fernwood Snake Plant is especially beneficial if you live in a busy city or near a major road, where the air quality can be poor. It’s also a fantastic addition to your living space if you spend a lot of time indoors, whether it’s because you work from home or live in a region with harsh weather conditions.

What’s more, this remarkable plant releases oxygen at night. That makes it an excellent choice for your bedroom, helping you enjoy a night of restful sleep. 

Creative Styling Ideas for Your Home

Looking to add a touch of elegance to your living space? You’re in luck! Its striking tiger-striped pattern and unique foliage can become a statement piece in your home decor.

Place it in a stylish ceramic or terracotta pot with a bold color or interesting pattern to accentuate its features. Or, position it in a minimalist room to add a dash of greenery and life or in a crowded space to bring a sense of tranquility and balance.

You can also group it with other succulents to create a mini indoor garden on your coffee table or bookshelf. 

FAQs

What are the main differences between Sansevieria Fernwood and other common types of Snake Plants?

Sansevieria Fernwood stands out with its thin, arching leaves and tiger-striped pattern. Unlike Sansevieria Cylindrica, its leaves are narrower. Fernwood also needs less water than most Snake Plants and thrives in low-light conditions.

How can I tell if my plant is getting too much sunlight?

If your Sansevieria Fernwood’s leaves are yellowing or showing signs of sunburn, like browning or wilting, it’s getting too much sunlight. Move it to a location with bright, indirect light to protect its vibrant color.

What are some non-toxic alternatives to Fernwood snake plants that are safe for pets and children?”

Consider Areca Palm, Spider Plant, or Boston Fern if you’re seeking non-toxic alternatives to Sansevieria Fernwood. These plants are safe for pets and kids, easy to care for, and equally beautiful.

Can I keep my plant outside during the summer, or does it strictly need to be an indoor plant?

You can certainly keep your Sansevieria Fernwood outside during the summer! Ensure it’s in a shady spot, as intense direct sunlight can cause sunburn. Remember, it thrives in temperatures between 70F and 90F.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.