This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



July 3, 2017

Sansevierias in your desert tropical garden


I like the look of a Tropical Paradise, but my garden is in the Phoenix, Arizona area, not Hawaii, so I have more challenges. It gets really hot here in the summer, and it can get to below freezing in the dead of winter, so a lot of tropical plants can't survive here, and even the ones that can survive can look pretty bad, holding on for dear life, which looks kinda sad. So I keep experimenting, and I'm happy with what I've recently discovered: sansevierias.

I had never heard of sansevierias until a friend of mine gave me some cuttings last year. I recognized one type as "Mother-In-Law's Tongue", although I guess you're not supposed to call it that anymore, now the common name is snake plant. But that's just one type. As you can see, I have two types that are doing fine here. I wish I could tell you the name of the other one, but I just call it sansevieria. I've never seen it for sale at a nursery, but I probably haven't looked hard enough. If you show this pic to the people at the nursery, they'll recognize it.

By the way, I just experimented with the cuttings by planting them all over the garden. I have learned that they dry out too fast to look good in full sun, no matter how much water they get, and they look their best with dappled shade and being close to a misting head. They do seem to like a lot of water, so I do additional hand-watering in the summer, and I've noticed that the leaves tend to fold together when it's too dry, and spread out nicely when the water is just right.

By the way, I just added the cycad that you see there at about center. Behind it is an aloe, and behind that is another cycad. These plants are doing fine in the 100+ temperatures, with regular daily water, the misters, and dappled shade from my tree. It's not Hawaii, but it sure beats just dirt, rocks, and cactus!
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