African Spear Plant Complete Guide To Grow And Care

The African spear plant, sometimes referred to as the cylindrical snake plant, is a type of succulent houseplant with gray-green, subtle-striped leaves that resemble spears and have sharp tips. African spear plants thrive best in hot, arid regions with sandy, well-draining soil; they also like temperatures above fifty degrees Fahrenheit and morning light over afternoon sun.

African Spear Plant Overview

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Common Names African spear plant, cylindrical snake plant, spear sansevieria
Botanical Name Dracaena angolensis (formerly Sansevieria cylindrical)
Family Dracaena
Plant Type Succulent
Mature Size 4–6 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral
Bloom Time Sporadic
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 10–11 (USDA)
Native Area Africa
Toxicity Toxic to pets

African Spear Plant Care

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The following are the primary maintenance needs for cultivating an African spear plant:

  • Thrives in its root system

     

  • Little water and fertilizer are required.

     

  • Prefers to be ignored in the winter

     

  • Requires sandy soil that drains nicely.

     

  • Avoid the strong afternoon light by exposing yourself to the morning sun.

Light Requirements

Although these plants may withstand relatively low light levels, they really like strong, filtered light or full sunlight. These plants love the morning sun outside, but they should be shielded from the intense afternoon heat. They prefer a light window facing north when indoors. Insufficient light can lead to poor leaf growth, while much light can cause the edges of the leaves to turn yellow.

Soil & Potting

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These plants, like the majority of succulents, like sandy soil that drains well and doesn’t hold water. The best potting mix is one designed specifically for cacti and succulents.

Watering

Prolonged droughts can be tolerated by African spear plants. The roots will rot if they are left in wet soil or standing water for an extended period of time. Water the plant deeply after letting the soil dry up in between applications. It’s usually sufficient to water once a week or once every other week.

If your plant is being grown in a container, make sure to drain any extra water that seeps through the drainage holes in the saucer.

Temperature and Environment

These succulents are adapted to hot, arid regions; they are susceptible to harm from cold or even death. Ensure that they are kept in temperatures more than fifty degrees Fahrenheit. This involves shielding them from chilly drafts, including those produced by air conditioners. As long as the soil isn’t saturated, humidity normally isn’t a problem.

Fertilization

African spear plants don’t need much fertilizer and can survive on thin soil. From spring to fall, feed them once a month with a succulent fertilizer that has been diluted to half strength.

Types of African Spear Plant

African spear plants have the ability to produce a long flower spike filled with tiny, delicate white blooms from their core when grown in conditions similar to those of their native Angola. Only a few types of African spear plants are obtainable, such as:

  • Dracaena cylindrica ‘Spaghetti’: This cultivar features especially thin leaves.
  • Dracaena cylindrica ‘Skyline’: This cultivar sports large, erect leaves.
  • Dracaena cylindrica ‘Patula’: This plant’s leaves grow outward and bend down more than most other varieties.

Pruning

For cosmetic reasons, you can remove any leaves that have turned yellow or discolored, but trimming this plant is usually not necessary. Trim them with sterile pruning shears at their base. This plant’s long, spear-like leaves can also be braided for a beautiful appearance.

Propagating African Spear Plant

African spear plants may be multiplied by sowing seeds, dividing them, or transplanting the “pups,” or offshoots, as soon as they split off from the parent plant. The optimum time to plant them is in the spring, right before the growing season begins. They form thick clusters in the wild and disperse by underground rhizomes. Here’s how to split spear plants native to Africa:

  1. Two pots with clean, well-draining potting mix are required.

     

  2. Take the plant out of its pot.

     

  3. Carefully pry a cluster of stems off the primary rootball.

     

  4. Repot both clusters using fresh compost that doesn’t contain peat in containers. Fill the pot’s bottom with at least one inch of new dirt. Position the newly formed root segment in the center of the pot and cover the surrounding area with soil.

     

  5. As water is added, observe how it exits the drain holes. Wait until the earth is completely dry before giving it another drink.

As with dividing the plant, you may also take and replant pups or offshoots that emerge from the base of the parent plant into a new container. Cut these tiny plants off from the mother plant and plant them individually only after they are at least 6 inches tall.

How to Grow African Spear Plants From Seeds?

Due in large part to their scarcity and poor germination rate, seeds are more difficult to propagate than to divide. If germination happens at all, it may take up to six weeks. This is how African spear plants are grown from seeds:

  1. Soak seeds for three to five days in water at room temperature to get them ready for planting.

     

  2. Moisten the substrate by adding seed starting mix to a tiny container.

     

  3. Over the mixture, scatter the seeds.

     

  4. Apply a thin layer of mixture on top.

     

  5. Put the pot in a warm location (68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) with bright, indirect light, or on a warming mat.

     

  6. To make the environment inside the pot feel like a greenhouse, cover it with wrap or a plastic bag.

     

  7. Open the plastic cover once a day to allow the plant to receive fresh air for approximately one hour.

     

  8. When growth appears, take out the plastic completely.

Potting and Repotting African Spear Plant

Root-bound African spear plants are quite fine in a pot. As soon as the roots of your container-grown plant begin to clearly protrude beyond the pot, you probably won’t need to repot it more frequently than once every few years.

Just go up in container size; its roots will still like a little bit of wriggle room. The ideal container is a large, shallow, wide pot that is sturdy enough to support the weight of the leaves; if not, your plant may topple over easily. Make sure the pot has enough drainage holes as well.

Common Pest & Plant Diseases

These are hardy plants that usually don’t have insect or disease issues. The fungus that causes root rot, which affects plants that dislike damp soil, is their most prevalent disease. Planting African spear plants in fast-draining soil, watering them only when the soil is completely dry, and making sure the container has enough drainage holes to prevent the plant from sitting in standing water are the best ways to prevent this disease.

Although mealybugs and spider mites are rare pests that plague African spear plants, they can occasionally become infested. on eradicate and destroy the insects, use an insecticidal soap on its leaves.

Overwintering

In the winter, African spear plants become dormant. You should wait longer between waterings in the winter than you did in the growing season. Watering around once a month ought to be sufficient. During the winter, you should also avoid using fertilizer.

How to Get African Spear Plant to Bloom

In a container, African spear plants will sporadically to seldom bloom.

Bloom Months

Blooming on African spear plants happens irregularly; it is not timed to coincide with a specific month and can happen in the winter before the spring growth season.

How Long Does African Spear Plant Bloom?

African spear plants flower for around two weeks if they do. They may not bloom again the next year, and there is never a guarantee that they will.

What Do African Spear Plants Flowers Look and Smell Like?

An African spear plant produces a flower stalk that emerges from the base when it blooms. It resembles a single, unbranched, two to three-foot-long stem that is covered in many tiny, one-inch-long white flowers. They smell delicious, like vanilla or jasmine, but they don’t seem particularly special or noteworthy.

How to Encourage More Blooms

Consider using a fertilizer high in phosphorus to promote blooms. Nitrogen promotes increased leaf formation, whereas phosphorus encourages plants to create blooms and fruits. There is no benefit to deadheading this plant.

Common Problems With African Spear Plants

In general, African spear plants don’t require much care and aren’t very particular about their growth environment. These succulents grow slowly, so even if you neglect to give them food or water, they will persevere.

Leaves Turning Yellow

When leaves receive too much water, too little or too much light, or extremely cold conditions, they become yellow. Only water the soil when it is dry to avoid these circumstances. Maintain the plant in an area that receives indirect light and stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Plant Topples Over

Because African spear plants are typically kept in small pots with dry soil, have thick leaves, and can become top-heavy. Usually, moist grounds make pots heavier, but this plant dislikes soggy soil.

Plant the plant in a heavier container, such as a clay or terra-cotta pot, to keep it from toppling over. Moreover, you can use rocks or a heavier sandy base to weigh down the pot.

Also Read: Pineapple Lily Complete Guide To Grow And Care

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