Complete Care Guide for Black Jack Sansevieria for Beginners
Witness one of the latest cultivars in the snake plant genus, the Black Jack Sansevieria. With distinctive dark colorations and variegated patterns, be one of the first to own these magnificent houseplants.
Black Jack Snake Plant
- a new and beautiful snake plant that is gaining in popularity due to the distinct darker colors and variegation on both sides
- drought tolerant, they are hardy plants that thrive on neglect from their owners, making them perfect for all levels of gardening expertise
- easy to propagate from the division of rhizomes
Black Jack Snake Plant Care Summary
|Watering||Allow soil to dry between watering|
|Lighting||Position in a space that receives plenty of bright indirect light|
|Temperature||65-85° Fahrenheit (18-29° Celsius)|
|Humidity||Relative humidity levels at 30-50%|
|Feeding||All-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring|
|Soil||Loamy well-draining soil|
Getting to Know Black Jack Sansevieria
We strongly believe that to be a proud plant parent of the Black Jack, and you should get to know your plant, inside and out.
Understanding where they come from is the first step to providing the best care possible. Once we know the environment they thrive in, we can attempt to emulate the conditions in our homes.
Let’s get up close and personal with the Black Jack Sansevieria.
Scientific Name: Dracaena Trifasciata Black Jack (reclassified from Sansevieria)
Common Name(s): Black Jack, snake plant
This new variety of snake plants is a mutation from the more renowned variety, Black Gold Superba.
It was discovered by Marvin Gonzalez Villegas in Costa Rica in 2004. Villegas cultivated several generations of the Black Jack cultivar to ensure it was not a once-off development. And officially patented the new variety in 2005 after many successful reproductions.
We can now use this information to help us identify the likely conditions that the Black Jack Sansevieria will thrive under by assuming the native habitat of the Black Gold snake plant.
With that in mind, we can assume the Black Jack will thrive in a well-draining and loamy substrate. Like other snake plants, it can store water in its leaves and rhizomes (underground stems).
Appearance & Flowers
We can see why Marvin Gonzalez Villegas was keen to patent this beautiful new species of snake plant. It is a spectacular specimen.
In structure and growth patterns, the Black Jack is similar to a typical Sansevieria Trifasciata, only smaller. The leaves typically grow to around 1 foot (30-40 cm) in height. They grow in small clusters on the ground, usually spreading from rhizomes that develop from the root system.
With darker than usual colors on the leaves (hence the ‘black’ name), the dark green produces a striking contrast against the unique light-green variegated patterns running along the length of the foliage. Unlike Black Gold, the lighter color is closer to a white-green color versus the standard yellow-gold we are accustomed to seeing on Black Gold.
Like the Black Gold, we assume that the Black Jack can produce flowers. However, there is no evidence of a published photo of any flowers.
Snake plant flowers do not necessarily develop annually. It can be many years between each bloom.
When they do flower, we expect they look similar to other snake plant flowers. You can see some examples HERE.
Check out this YouTube video shot by Mita Bishnoi of her Black Jack Snake Plant.
Black Jack Sansevieria Care Instructions
Allow the soil to dry before adding more water to your Black Jack Snake Plant.
Although this sounds straightforward, it can be more challenging to determine when the soil is dry.
The easiest way to determine when the soil is dry is to use a finger soil moisture test or a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online at Amazon.
The longer you care for your Black Jack Snake Plant, the easier it will be to understand its water needs. Especially since the watering frequency changes as the weather changes.
We’ve put together a guide on water frequencies in different seasons to make things easier. Check out our article HERE.
Black Jack Snake Plant require plenty of bright light to thrive.
Indoor Black Jack Snake Plants prefer bright indirect light but can tolerate direct sunlight. However, only in short doses. If you expose your Black Jack Snake Plant to direct sunlight, ensure it is only dappled sunlight in the early morning or late evening. Midday and afternoon sun is too intense for indoor snake plants and will quickly dehydrate the leaves, causing leaf burn.
When grown outdoors, the Black Jack Snake Plant becomes hardened to the weather elements and has higher tolerances for direct sunlight.
Read more HERE for tips on lighting conditions for snake plants.
As we explained in the Getting to Know the Black Jack Snake Plant section, they originate from Africa. This means they thrive in warm weather.
The recommended indoor temperature for Black Jack Snake Plant is between 65-85° Fahrenheit (18-29° Celsius).
We caution all snake plant owners to be careful of extreme temperatures. At freezing temperatures, water expands when frozen. This means the water reserves in the Black Jack leaves can freeze, causing irreparable damage to the leaf cells.
If your area is susceptible to freezing temperatures during winter, we recommend bringing your snake plants inside the house, where the temperature is acceptable.
Humidity isn’t talked about much when it comes to snake plants. However, it is essential in regulating your snake plant’s internal processes, such as transpiration.
Keep your Black Jack Snake Plant in between 30 and 50% relative humidity.
Not enough moisture in the air (low humidity) accelerates the transpiration process, dehydrates your plant, and causes water stress.
At the other end of the spectrum, too much moisture (high humidity) will prevent transpiration at the other extreme, and your Black Jack Snake Plant will suffocate.
We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.
Soil & Fertilizer Requirements
The properties of the soil you use for your Black Jack Snake Plant can have profound effects on the health of your houseplant.
Choosing the best soil for your Black Jack Snake Plant can significantly impact your plant parent experience. Poor-quality or incorrect soil (like regular potting soil) will lead to rot issues and may even cause your snake plant to become mushy.
Good-quality soil will reduce the frequency of your watering, facilitate the uptake of nutrients by your snake plant, and reduce its susceptibility to pests and disease.
To be effective, your snake plant soil must be:
- a sandy loam consistency (light and airy), and
- contain some organic materials with water absorption properties.
We have devised a recipe for the perfect snake plant potting mix. You can also watch our video on making snake plant soil below.
Pest and Diseases
If there is one disease that you should familiarise yourself with for your Black Jack Snake Plant, it is root rot.
Root rot is a fungal disease that can develop when your snake plant has been sitting in waterlogged soil from being overwatered. The process of eliminating root rot is straightforward. However, it is onerous. You can read our step-by-step guide for removing root rot in snake plants HERE.
Some leaf-borne fungal diseases, such as mildew and leaf spot, can infect your Black Jack. We explore these diseases and (more importantly) treatments HERE.
Snake plants are most susceptible to sap-sucking insects like mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. These pests have the equipment to penetrate the tough outer layer of the foliage and access the nutrient-rich sap.
The best way to detect any signs of pests (or disease, for that matter) is to regularly inspect your potted plants and manually remove any pests you see. The key is not letting their population get out of hand and become an infestation.
You can read more about symptoms of pest infestation HERE.
Like other snake plants, Black Jack Snake Plant requires a tight root system to support its large leaves.
When placed in a container too large for their root system, they will refocus their energy on developing the roots rather than growing new leaves. While they are still growing (under the soil), they will appear to be experiencing stunted growth.
Your snake plant pot should also have adequate drainage with plenty of drainage holes. As we pointed out earlier, constantly wet soil rots your Black Jack root system.
Black Jack Snake Plant Propagation Techniques
To preserve the stunning variegated patterns and colors, we recommend only propagating your Black Jack Snake Plant using the propagation method by plant division or by splitting snake plant pups.
Propagating your Black Jack Snake Plant with a cutting in water or soil risks the new plant reverting to a regular pattern on the foliage, similar to the Sansevieria Trifasciata.
To propagate by plant division, follow these steps:
- Remove the root ball – lift the mother snake plant root ball out of its container.
- Clean and prepare the root ball – rinse your snake plant’s roots under warm water to clear the soil away.
- Identify the rhizome – find the rhizome attached to the baby Black Jack Snake Plant snake pup. Cut the rhizome as close to the main root ball of the mother plant as possible. You want to retain as many thin roots as possible with the rhizome.
- Re-pot your Plants – re-pot your mother snake plant into the original pot with some fresh potting mix. At the same time, fill your propagation containers a third up with a good-quality potting mix (discussed above). Place each pup into the pot and backfill with quality potting mix until the soil level covers the white parts of the rhizome and pups. Give all your plants good watering and ensure all excess water drains out.
You can find step-by-step instructions HERE if you prefer to propagate using cuttings.