From the Sperry Garden – October, 2007
I’ve been fond of cacti and succulents for almost all of my life. Almost 20 years ago I took a tour of Southern California nurseries and greenhouses that specialized in them and brought home several hundred plants (mostly haworthias and aloes). However, I also found several sources of really unusual sansevierias. Many were the by-products of research at the U.S.D.A. in World War II as they sought plants with strong fiber. Since I’d always known sansevierias to be almost undefeatable, I started collecting them, too. At one point I had more than 50 different species and varieties, but I’ve pared that down now to about 35 of the best.
Every summer for the past 7 or 8 years, these plants have made the transition from my greenhouse out into the landscape. I have a spot beneath a large eastern redcedar where no flowering plant would ever have done much, so I decided to plug the sansevierias into action. You’ll notice that they’re submerged into the soil about halfway up their pots. That’s simply because the plants are so heavy that they would topple without the support.
It’s been a win-win for us all, since they love the environment and since I like their good looks and durability. They’re completely forgiving if I forget to water them for a day or two, even in July. They just get better and better. I have used the same technique for many other foliage plants. I’ll show you those another time here.