Sansevieria Fernwood (aka Mikado) – Beginners Care Guide

Introducing the Sansevieria Fernwood indoor plant. It is a beautiful specimen from the dracaena family with its unique take on being a snake plant. Rather than the vertical sword-shaped leaves we are used to from typical snake plants (like the sansevieria trifasciata), the Fernwood produces long thin foliage that arches out like a spikey rosette.

Even though they have their own unique take, they still retain the good parts of being a snake plant, such as the ability to clean air and drought tolerance. They are one of the few indoor plants that thrive on neglect, making them perfect for busy individuals.

Speaking of too little time, we’ve summarized Sansevieria Fernwood’s care requirements in the table below for those who don’t have time to read our detailed care guide.

Sansevieria Fernwood Care Summary

WateringOnly water when soil is dry
LightingA position that receives plenty of bright indirect light
Temperature70-90° Fahrenheit (21-31° Celsius)
HumidityMedium to Low Humidity
FeedingAll-purpose houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of Spring
SoilLoamy well-draining soil

Images of Sansevieria Fernwood

Getting to Know Sansevieria Fernwood

Sansevieria Fernwood

To become a dedicated snake plant owner, we believe you must familiarize yourself with their origins. Understanding their natural habitat helps you to form an appreciation for the conditions they thrive in and how to replicate them in your home.


Scientific Name: Sansevieria Fernwood

Common Names: Fernwood snake plant, Sansevieria Fernwood Mikado, mother-in-law’s tongue, mini snake plant

The story behind this particular snake plant’s name is an interesting one. It is a hybrid between two other varieties of snake plants (suffruticosa and parva) that Rogers Weld developed from the Fernwood Nursery in California (hence the name).



As we just discovered, the Sansevieria Fernwood snake plant was created by an enthusiast from an American nursery. As such, it was cultivated rather than adopted from any origins.

With some logical reasoning, it is safe to assume that other snake plants originate from Africa. It makes sense that those conditions would also apply to the Fernwood hybrid.

The climate in Africa consists of dry, arid conditions with sporadic rainfall. As succulents, snake plants have had to adapt their water requirements to suit their natural environments. As a result, they have developed water stores in their thick fleshy leaves to draw down upon when required. They also developed underground reserves called rhizomes, which have enough energy to last them through a natural disaster.


As we described at the beginning of the article, the Sansevieria Fernwood is a small version of a snake plant with narrow leaves. The leaves curl inwards, like the sansevieria cylindrica. However, unlike the cylindrical, they do not entirely close to form a cylinder, and they grow from a central rosette. Rather than individual leaves from rhizomes under the soil.

Their green shades are the typical colors we are used to seeing in other snake plants. It can vary from dark green to a light glass bottle green shade. The foliage is marked with beautiful horizontal variegated patterns of light green color.

Sansevieria Fernwood Flowers

As with other snake plants, the Fernwood can produce beautiful dainty blooms. However, it is not common, and conditions must be perfect for them to bloom.

The flowers look like fireworks in suspended animation and develop on stalks that grow from the central base of the Sansevieria Fernwood. The flowers can range from cream color to off-white, sometimes with a pinkish hue.

Sansevieria Fernwood Detailed Care Instructions

Sansevieria Fernwood Quick Care Guide

Okay, now that we know a little bit more about the Sansevieria Fernwood, let’s get into the detail of how to care for them in your home.

Water Requirements

Watering snake plants are easy in theory but hard in practice.

The overarching guidance is to water the Sansevieria Fernwood when the soil is completely dry.

We mentioned earlier that the Fernwood could endure dry periods, so a few days of bone-dry soil will be fine. However, they still require regular water top-ups. The frequency changes each season, so we’ve created a seasonal guide HERE to make things easier.

The best way to determine when the soil is dry is to use the finger soil moisture test or a soil moisture meter from your nursery or online at Amazon.

Lighting Requirements

When grown indoors, provide your Sansevieria Fernwood with plenty of bright indirect light.

They can tolerate early morning or late evening direct sunlight. However, midday and afternoon sun is too intense for indoor snake plants and will quickly dehydrate the leaves, causing leaf burn.

Outdoor Sansevieria Fernwood snake plants are hardened to the weather elements and have higher tolerances for sunlight.

Read more HERE for tips on lighting conditions for snake plants.

Temperature Requirements

Sansevieria Fernwood thrives in warmer temperatures between 70-90° Fahrenheit (21-32° Celsius).

They are generally tolerant of temperatures outside the above range. However, temperatures below 50° Fahrenheit will risk your Fernwood with temperature shock.

Keep your Sansevieria Fernwood away from freezing conditions. Water expands when frozen. And because your Sansevieria stores water in its leaves, it can cause irreparable damage to the leaf cells.

If your area is susceptible to frost or freezing temperatures in winter, we recommend bringing any snake plants inside the house where the temperatures will remain at acceptable levels.

Humidity Requirements

To keep your Sansevieria Fernwood happy, keep them in between 30 and 50% relative humidity.

Humidity can be challenging to control. However, it shouldn’t be ignored.

Incorrect humidity levels will adversely impact your Fernwood’s internal processes, such as transpiration. When there is not enough moisture in the air (low humidity), it accelerates transpiration, which quickly dehydrates your plant and causes water stress.

We have written an in-depth article discussing how humidity affects snake plants.

Soil & Fertilizer Requirements

One thing we always do when we introduce a new snake plant to our collection is to repot them into fresh homemade soil.

Choosing the best soil for your Sansevieria Fernwood can significantly impact your plant parent experience. The proper 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:

  • well-draining,
  • a loamy 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.

When mixing your snake plant soil, don’t forget to mix in a quality slow-releasing pot plant fertilizer that contains all the base ingredients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Pest and Diseases

Root rot is the primary disease you should concern yourself for your Sansevieria Fernwood.

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 can infect your Fernwood, such as mildew and leaf spot. We explore these diseases and (more importantly) treatments HERE.

Regarding pests, 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 Sansevieria Fernwood and manually remove any pests you see. The key is not letting their population get out of hand, becoming an infestation.

You can read more about symptoms of pest infestation HERE.

Pot Size

Unlike other indoor plants, careful container selection is critical to growing a healthy Fernwood snake plant.

Like other snake plants, Sansevieria Fernwood requires a tight root system to support the fleshy, long 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 moist soil rots your Sansevieria Fernwood’s root system.

Sansevieria Fernwood Propagation Techniques

For the Sansevieria Fernwood, we like to use the water propagation technique.

This is because the main attraction of this unique plant is its uniquely shaped leaves and growth patterns. Propagating cuttings with water will ensure rapid growth. Plus, you can propagate multiple cuttings at once.

To propagate by plant cutting, follow these steps:

  1. Identify and Cut Leaf – Choose a leaf that looks healthy and vibrant with no visible signs of pests or disease. Selecting the right leaf will give it the best opportunity for success. Cut the leaf towards the base with a sterilized pair of garden scissors (or a sharp knife). We like to use an upside-down V cut (or an arrowhead-shaped cut) for snake plants, as it will naturally prop the cutting up in your container, which will help to prevent rot from setting in. It also helps to prevent new roots from growing at unhelpful angles (usually with straight cuts).
  2. Air Dry Your Cutting – Allow your cutting to dry for 2-4 days in a safe place so that it doesn’t accidentally get knocked to the ground. Air drying your cutting allows the wound to form a callous, which helps to prevent any rot or disease from developing.
  3. Find a Container – find a tall and thin container to support your snake plant leaf cutting. We like to use glass containers like mason jars or small vases. The glass allows you to examine your cutting without disturbing it (such as lifting it out of the water to see if roots are growing).
  4. Begin the Rooting Process – The final step is to piece everything together. Place your cutting in the container and fill it with distilled water so the bottom third of the cutting is submerged. It is essential to ensure the calloused wound is beneath the water line to encourage root growth.

We strongly recommend using filtered or distilled water for the propagation process. Where you live, tap water may have chemicals that inhibit the propagation process.

Common Questions about Sansevieria Fernwood

Is the Sansevieria Fernwood a succulent?

Yes – the Sansevieria Fernwood is classified as a succulent. Although the leaves are not as fleshy as other succulents or snake plants, they can still store water in their leaves. They also possess traits similar to succulents, such as drought and sunlight tolerance.

How often should I water a Sansevieria Fernwood?

Sansevieria Fernwood snake plants should only be watered when their soil is completely dry. Constant wet and soggy soil will encourage diseases, like root rot, to grow and jeopardize your plant’s health.

How fast do Sansevieria Fernwood grow?

Like other snake plants, Sansevieria Fernwood is considered a slow-growing indoor plant. Depending on conditions. During their growing seasons (spring and summer), they can grow anywhere between 2-6 feet a year.