Skip to content

Growing & caring for whale fin plant (sansevieria)

whale fin plant

Where are whale fin plants from?

Whale fin cactus, native to the deserts of Mexico, are an eye-catching succulent that quite literally look like a whale’s fin. Their grey-green tone and sharp ridges give them an elegant, striking look, and many find these plants delightful to keep in their homes or gardens. Despite its fiercer appearance due to its long spines, whale fin cacti are actually much easier to cultivate than other species.

How do I care for whale fin plants? Are they difficult to grow?

Whale fin plants need direct sunlight and humid environments, so they should be placed in a bright, sunny spot such as near a window. They thrive best with moderate light levels and temperatures between 65˚-75˚F. Occasionally spraying the plant with tepid water will help to further raise humidity and keep it looking healthy.

Whale fin plants enjoy plenty of water but also need breaks between watering so they should be watered deeply until the soil is moist, but not soggy; then allowed to dry out before re-watering again. They are sensitive to soluble salts so make sure their soil is well-draining, or use distilled water when irrigating them. With minimal effort, your whale fin plant can add a truly distinctive and exotic character to any home decor!

Check out this useful care video on whale fin plants:

How do you prepare whale fin plants for winter?

When winter comes, it’s important to properly prepare whale fin plants for the cold weather. To help the plant survive, we should gradually expose it to cooler temperatures before the winter begins. Doing this can help strengthen the plant in order to tolerate lower temperatures once winter is here.

You should also reduce watering significantly in the late fall and make sure not to fertilize after mid-summer. Additionally, we can convert whale fin plants’ containers into decorative pot covers that have drainage holes. By providing extra insulation using straw or evergreen boughs and burlap sacks, we can prevent significant drops in temperature near the roots which could otherwise kill the plant. Properly preparing whale fin plants for winter can ensure they stay healthy until warmer weather arrives.

How do you fertilize whale fin plants?

Fertilizing whale fin plants is simple but requires a few steps. First, use a liquid fertilizer mixed with water according to the instructions on the fertilizer package. Secondly, limit the amount of fertilizer you use as too much can create nutrient burn to the plant. Thirdly, be sure not to water the plant directly after fertilizing as this could leave residue on both leaves and stems.

How much should you water whale fin plants?

Watering your whale fin plants is obviously imperative for their success; however, it’s important not to over water them. Too much and they risk becoming root-bound or even succumbing to root rot. Instead, adding water only when the surface of the soil becomes dry is ideal. It’s also beneficial to make sure the water temperature is comparable to room temperature when watering your plant. If you find yourself doubting how much water your whale fin plants need, a good rule of thumb is usually about once every two weeks in summer and once every four weeks in winter.

How much light do whale fin plants need?

Whale Fin plants need at least six hours of bright, direct sunlight each day. Otherwise there can be a negative effect on their growth and health. While these plants do not require full sun all day long, lifting their pot to a south-facing window is recommended for the optimal amount of light for growth. In the dark months of winter, special lighting may be necessary to supplement natural light in order for your Whale Fins to flourish. Whale Fins do best in climates with hot summers as they prefer daytime temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you live in a colder climate make sure to slowly acclimate your plant to help it adjust and keep it out of direct drafts from intense cold or hot air.

How do I propagate whale fin plants?

You will want to start by finding two healthy, mature plants with well-developed rhizomes. Once you have your plants, it’s time to use a sharp knife or garden shears to prune each of the rhizomes into several sections before replanting them in new soil. When re-planting the rhizome cuttings, be sure to keep them slightly covered with soil as this will help shielded them against damage and encourage root development. After replanting, give the cuttings plenty of water and wait for them to take root before experimenting with different fertilizing methods and light exposures.

When do whale fin plants flower?

While whale fin plants plants are known for their attractive and interesting foliage, they also produce stunning fragrant blooms when the conditions are right. Generally, under optimal conditions and proper care, these plants will bloom in late spring or early summer. In order to set buds, the plants require a long period of darkness.

Additionally, they should be grown in bright, indirect light throughout the growing season and need warm temperatures between 18-26 °C (65-80 °F). Once in bloom, the flowers have a pleasant scent that serves to attract pollinators like moths and bees and linger in the air throughout the night. Taking good care of your whale fin plant is beneficial — not just stylish foliage — but you get fragrant flowers as a bonus.

How big do whale fin plants get?

Whale fin plants can grow up to a whopping 10 feet in height! This makes the whale fin plant the tallest known species of its type. Its incredible size and ability to thrive in wet conditions makes it an easy target for gardeners who are looking for some vertical interest in their outdoor spaces. Though it looks delicate, the versatile plant is hardy and can even survive short-term flooding. In addition to providing an interesting texture when planted throughout a garden, whale fin plants also have striking leaf coloration that varies from bright green or red-purple.

Was this article helpful?