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The Whale fin is a member of the Agavaceae family and a succulent originating from the tropical regions of Central Africa and Congo. The plant grows a single dark green leaf with a leathery texture ranging from 2 to 4 feet in height and 4 to 5 inches in width.
Caring for your Whale Fin
With proper care, the Whale Fin plant can thrive in any household setting, both indoors and outdoors. Due to its large leaves, the plant loves water and needs dry soil throughout the year. The plant is relatively low-maintenance and highly drought-resistant, making it an ideal option if you have a busy schedule.
The Whale Fin requires sufficient light to thrive, though it can tolerate lower light. However, too much shade can slow down its growth and impact its shine, so providing the plant with direct but filtered sunlight is essential. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can damage the foliage.
Place your plant pot in a room with an east-facing window, as this will allow them to receive the morning sunlight. At noon, the plant will get bright but less intense sunlight. If you live in a sunny region, use a light cloth or curtain to filter out the harsh rays of the afternoon sun.
The whale fin is a slow-growing plant that requires a succulent potting mix of citrus and cactus potting soil. If you wish to make your customized mixture, you can sand, gravel, perlite, and pumice. This combination of soils will mostly remain dry, provided that it receives proper aeration and drainage.
The ideal pH value of the soil is around 5.5 to 5.7, which is alkaline to neutral.
Being semi-succulent, the whale fin Snake plant must be watered once every month. Since they are drought-tolerant, they can survive long hours without water. However, in areas with very high temperatures, their water requirements increase.
Avoid overwatering, as that can make the soil waterlogged and increase the risk of root rot. The whale fin roots do poorly in soggy soil, which can result in a buildup of dangerous fungi. Before watering, check the soil’s moisture level to be sure it is almost fully dry.
You can use a moisture meter or your finger to detect the soil’s feel. If it feels parched, proceed to add water. You may sometimes need to lift the pot; if it feels heavy, it has extra moisture and shouldn’t be watered. Always use chlorine-free, clean and tepid water.
Humidity and Temperature
The whale fin is a sturdy plant that can withstand most humidity and temperature requirements. However, the ideal temperature range is between 65 to 75 degrees F. Keep your pots away from cold areas and frost during wintertime.
The whale fin plant requires no fertilizer and can grow fine without them. Fertilizing them can bring more harm than good. If your plant feels dull and lifeless, consider adding a lower nitrogen fertilizer, such as Schultz 2-7-7 Cactus Plus, during the growing season only.
The whale fin is generally resistant to pests and diseases but can be susceptible to frequent ailments.
Scale insects and mealybugs are common culprits found in the whale fin plant. You can use an old credit card to scrape off tiny scale insects or use neem oil, insecticide soap, or horticultural oil to suffocate these microscopic pests.
Mealybugs can be identified by their white “fluff.” Use a cotton pad soaked with rubbing alcohol to wipe the whale fin leaf. You can also use a solution of water mixed with neem oil and liquid soap and apply it once a month to the plant to prevent the growth of harmful insects.
The whale fin may experience the browning of its leaves due to insufficient water, both from its roots or the air. Timely water your plant and ensure the humidity level is consistent with its requirements. On the other hand, improper drainage and overwatering can result in root rot, so maintain dry soil and water only when needed.
Healthy whale fin snake plants do not require pruning. You should only prune diseased or dead parts of the leaf to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the plant.
The whale fin is a slow-growing plant, so you will have to wait quite a while before you can propagate. The best method is soil propagation, where you cut the leaf into segments and root them in the soil.
Choose a terracotta or ceramic container of regular size for planting the Whale Fin. The plant grows surprisingly quickly and may become top-heavy as it reaches maturity. Having at least one drainage hole is crucial to allow proper moisture flow. However, be mindful of soggy soil, which could harm the plant in the long run.
For repotting, move the Whale Fin to a bigger container to allow its roots more space to grow. Repot it once every year or two. When filling the new pot, replace the old nutrient-lacking soil with a fresh batch of citrus and cactus potting soil.