The leafy Mishima plant is a darling among houseplant lovers. Its thriving green foliage and geometric-shaped leaves are visually stunning.
Above all, the large plant grows six feet or more, easily transforming flat spaces.
The best part is that Mishima plant care is fairly easy. Below we explain everything you need to know to take the best care of petite and large Mishima plants.
What’s Mishima Plant?
The Mishima plant, known by many names like Sansevieria Trifasciata, Mishima Baikomo, Star Power, Snake Plant, and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is a hardy tolerant plant native to the tropical region of West Africa, from Congo to Nigeria.
It’s highly adapted to arid environments, using Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis to minimize water loss.
In CAM photosynthesis, the plant opens its stomata (the leaf pores through which the plant breathes) at night, allowing CO2 to diffuse into the leaf with Phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), a CO2 acceptor, forming malate (an organic acid).
The plant then stores malate acid in central vacuoles until daytime, when it is released for glucose synthesis.
Plant lovers like it for many reasons. First, the Mishima plant does equally well indoors and outdoors.
For instance, you can bring the plant indoors during the winter weather. But it thrives outdoors for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, indoor plants blossom through the cold season without any issues.
In addition, Mishima plants are low-maintenance houseplants adaptable to partial shade and low-light conditions.
They also grow in fluorescent lighting, making them ideal for most settings within the home and office. Their low watering requirements further endear them to plant lovers.
The high-foliage plants come in multiple subspecies with beautiful contrasting colors and attractive flowers.
Large Mishima vs Petite Mishima Plants
Size is the main difference between petite and large Mishima plants. Petite Mishima plants are shorter than regular plants, with smaller leaves and shorter vines.
Besides size, petite Mishima plants have a brighter green tint. Additionally, the petite species is more drought tolerant than large Mishima plants.
It was once voted the “most tolerant” of unfavorable growing conditions and neglect.
The larger plants naturally require more sunshine and watering. Also, they have more extensive roots and branches.
So, they can lose a few leaves without succumbing to stress, whereas petite Mishima plants cannot.
The following are care tips for large and petite Mishima plants to ensure healthily, thriving plants with dark green leaves and beautiful white flowers.
Petite Mishima Plant Care
Petite Mishima Baikomo plants are easier to care for than the larger varieties. For Instance, they require less water and pruning and can go for days without sunlight.
Here’s how to care for your petite Mishima plant.
The soil moisture level is one of the most important factors when caring for petite Mishima Baikomo plants.
This plant requires consistent moisture in the potting mix without watering too frequently. Therefore, you should water once or twice a month.
The long interval between watering times keeps the soil dry at the top but sufficiently moist at the bottom – the perfect conditions for petite Mishima plant growth.
The delicate stems are delicate to overwatering. So, you should direct the water to the potting soil.
Besides watering, petite Mishima plants have specific lighting requirements. First, avoid direct sunlight.
Instead, the plant prefers indirect sunlight. Although it can survive direct light for a few hours, overexposure causes burned foliage that is characterized by scorching or bleaching on the leaves and flowers.
But beware that there are three basic levels of indirect sunlight – bright, medium, and low. Petite Mishima plants require bright indirect light (over 500 FTC).
One FTC is approximately the amount of light given off by a candle one foot away.
Mishima plants are sensitive to extreme temperatures, performing equally poorly in extra hot and cold conditions.
So, although it’s well adapted to the warm conditions in Japan, it’s best to ensure moderate temperatures, between 50 F and 60 F.
Hot conditions cause dehydration, drooping, and the loss of foliage. Meanwhile, extremely cold conditions stunt the plant’s growth and may cause the delicate leaves to curl inwards.
The plants benefit from moderate to high humidity environments and may suffer in low humidity settings.
So, you must keep an eye on the humidity levels. One way to do this is by using a humidifier.
Place the plant next to a humidifier and set the humidistat to 60% to 70% RH to promote fast and healthy Mishima growth.
Alternatively, grow your petite Mishima in naturally high-moisture rooms, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
Another option is growing several plants together to prevent moisture loss. Remember to mist the stems regularly to keep them supple.
Fertilization is critical for the healthy growth of petite Mishima plants. But the right fertilizer is even more important.
We strongly recommend balanced fertilizers, like 20-20-20 NPK products, for all-around plant health.
However, unbalanced fertilizers are fine to supplement vital nutrients in the potting mix.
Organic plant food is the best as it releases critical nutrients slowly but for a long time.
However, inorganic fertilizers are great for struggling plants as they readily provide nutrients. Plant food spikes are particularly effective
Many plant lovers wonder whether you can prune small Mishima plants. It depends on the conditions.
The average petite Mishima grows fast, producing new leaves every week or so during the growing season. So, you’ll notice several yellow, dry, or dead leaves at the base.
Unfortunately, weak, yellow leaves attract pests and diseases more easily. Also, they’re unsightly.
So, pick up pruning shears and chop them off. Then clear the fallen dead and dry leaves too.
7. Potting and repotting
Petite Mishima plants do well in medium-sized pots, though large pots work equally well, given the plant’s vigorous foliage.
Consider highly breathable clay pots to encourage drainage and air circulation.
You must also prepare for repotting, given the plant grows quickly. Consider a slightly larger pot for repotting.
The best time to repot is when the roots extend beyond the drainage hole. Again, breathable pots provide the right soil moisture level to prevent pests and fungal infections.
8. Soil drainage and aeration
You can use any potting mix for Mishima plants. The plant also does well with regular soils from local stores and nurseries.
However, sand, perlite, and moss loosen the soil slightly. Looser soil encourages drainage for healthier roots.
Soil aeration is just as important. Fortunately, adding rougher elements to the soil boosts aeration.
But don’t stop there. For instance, the right pot improves soil aeration dramatically.
9. Growth rate
As we’ve seen, Mishima Baikomo plants grow pretty fast, typically by several inches every month. Fortunately, it’s a short plant that often doesn’t exceed two feet.
Consider training the vines using support sticks to help them reach the maximum height.
Moss poles are some of the best support structures for climbing plants. But a simple wire trellis is sufficient for smaller plants.
Petite Mishima plants are non-toxic, a big reprieve for your pets. This also means you can leave your kids around the plants and even let them play with them without the risk of allergies or illnesses.
However, that’s not a license to ingest the plant or its flowers. Doing so can cause digestive issues or severe illness.
Call your doctor immediately if you or a loved one accidentally ingests Mishima plants.
There are two ways to grow new petite Mishima plants. The first option is sourcing the seeds from a reliable seller or nursery.
Soak the seeds in water for 2-3 days, then transfer them to a plant or sow them outdoors. Always plant seeds an inch deep in the soil and sprinkle them with water.
Alternatively, you can grow new plants from stem cuttings if you don’t want to start from seeds.
Take stem cuttings from a mature plant and clean them. Then apply rooting hormone for faster growth and plant the stems in a pot or outside.
Once the stem or seeds sprout, care for the young plant like any other Mishima plant.
Common Problems with Petite Mishima Plant
Petite Mishimas are extremely hardy plants that resist most pests and diseases. For instance, the plants easily resist spider mites common among other house planets.
Maintaining healthy and strong plants helps ward off other pests. Meanwhile, regular watering, proper nutrition, and hygiene keep most diseases like yellow leaves and root rot at bay.
If you notice insects or pests, apply natural oils to force them off the plant. Soapy water also removes existing pests.
Petite Mishima Plant Benefits
Petite Mishima plants have many benefits, including multiple health and wellness benefits.
For instance, the plant removes toxins from the air to improve air quality. Enhanced indoor air quality means fewer allergens and disease-causing microorganisms in your air, resulting in fewer illnesses.
We also love petite Mishima plants because they’re low-maintenance. For instance, you only need to water the plant once a month, unlike other houseplants that you must water daily.
This means you don’t have to worry about short trips away from home. The plant will be fine for up to four weeks.
Finally, petite Mishima plants are beautiful plants that easily transform spaces at home and in the office.
The heart or lance-shaped leaves are lush green, often with silvery hearts and green chartreuse, blue, or variegated patterns.
So, it adds valuable color and texture to your rooms while freshening up the air.
Large Mishima Plant Care
Caring for large Mishima plants is similar to caring for petite Mishimas, with a few differences. Here’s what you need to know;
Large Mishima plants are big, with large leaves and vigorous foliage. Therefore they require a lot more water than petite Mishima plants.
More importantly, you want to keep the soil moist all the time. So, regularly stick your finger in the potting mix to gauge the moisture level and water the plant whenever the top soil feels dry.
At the same time, it hates waterlogging. So, filling the pot with water every few days is a no-no.
Instead, water moderately only when the soil feels dry. Also, ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.
Like petite Mishima plants, large snake plants loathe direct bright light. Bright light burns the leaves and may cause wilting. So, you should place it in an environment with indirect sunlight.
For instance, it thrives a few inches from the window where the window pane filters the sunlight entering the room. About 12 hours of low light are sufficient.
However, it doesn’t tolerate shadowy conditions like the petite. So, don’t place it where another object blocks the sunshine.
Mother in Law’s tongue is a warm-temperature plant. So, it does best in a warm environment.
At the same time, it’s susceptible to hot conditions. So, you must protect it from scorching temperatures.
For this reason, we recommend temperatures between 55 F (13 C) and 95 F (35 C) or, ideally, 60 F to 85 F. This range is recommended for most houseplants, including pothos and monstera temperature limit.
You should be prepared to use the winter thermostat to cater to the plant’s needs. At the same time, you must be prepared to move it to a cooler environment when temperatures soar beyond 100 F.
Like petite snake plants, a large Mishima Baikomo loves humid conditions and feels threatened in dry environments.
So, prepare adequately. One of the best strategies is keeping a humidifier on hand to ensure the right humidity levels. Set the humidistat at 50% to 60% relative humidity.
Alternatively, you can mist the plants every morning before 9.00 am. “Spray” the leaves and stems thoroughly to prevent drying during the day.
Wrapping the stems in polythene paper helps prevent drying during hot weather.
First, fertilization is a must to keep your plants healthy and strong. But more importantly, you must select the right fertilizers and apply them at the right time and rate.
Otherwise, the plants may exhibit poor health.
Large Mishima Baikamo plants benefit the most from fertilizers high in nitrogen and phosphorus for thriving foliage and vigorous root growth.
However, introduce potassium-rich fertilizers later for flower development. Apply fertilizers to the soil mix every month and water immediately to dissolve the nutrients for plant uptake.
Large snake plants have greater pruning requirements than petite species because of the fuller foliage and more vigorous growth. However, the pruning practices are the same.
Remove yellow, dry, or dead leaves at the base of the plant, as they often harbor pests and insects.
Additionally, watch out for wild vines and trim them using garden shears. You can also trim the foliage to maintain a desired plant shape.
7. Potting and repotting
You need large planters for large snake plants. But you must also consider the material and plant stage.
For instance, starting with smaller pots (under six inches) for the first few months is natural.
However, mature, large Mishima plants require extra-large pots up to two feet in diameter. Also, the deep roots call for deep planters.
The best time to repot is when the plant overpowers its container or the roots extend past the drainage hole.
8. Soil drainage and aeration
An important consideration when potting or repotting your plants is the soil quality.
Unfortunately, the large Mishima plants are highly selective of soils, requiring specific potting mix conditions to thrive. Otherwise, you’ll notice stunted growth and poor foliage.
So, start with a nutrient-rich potting mix. The best idea is to get your potting mix from the store.
Remember to add adequate organic matter to improve soil aeration. A breathable planter goes a long way too.
9. Growth rate
As expected, large Mishima plants grow faster and bigger than their petite cousins. Mature plants grow to 6-10 feet tall, with others taller. Also, the leaves are bigger.
For this reason, plant support is a must. A wire trellis works best as Mishima plants lack aerial roots.
Install the support structures when repotting (once every 1-2 years) for minimal soil and root disturbance. If required, use threads to secure the vines to the support framework.
Large Mishima plants are non-toxic to humans and pets. Indeed, the plant has a few digestive benefits for cats and dogs. So, don’t be surprised to find the cat chewing the leaves.
That said, gastrointestinal upset is common if you accidentally ingest the Mishima plant.
Drink plenty of water and call your doctor for further advice if this happens. But you can relax knowing it’s not life-threatening.
If you desire a few extra Mishima Baikomo plants to beautify your home or office, the easiest way to propagate the plant is through stem cuttings.
Use a sharp knife to cut a small stem from fresh pants, ensuring the stem has at least two nodes.
Then stick the stem in a separate planter with a nutrient-filled potting mix. It takes about two weeks for the shoots to develop.
Alternatively, you can propagate large Mishima plants by seed. However, this is a delicate process best left to nurseries and experts.
Common Problems with Large Mishima Plant
The large snake plant is relatively easy to care for compared to delicate houseplants like the Boston Fern and Fiddle Leaf Fig. However, it’s not without a few challenges.
The biggest stumbling block is its strict sunlight requirements. The plant reacts to any slight hint of too little or too much light.
So, you must watch the conditions at all times. Some people bring it outdoors in the summer and return it indoors in winter to ensure optimal lighting. But that’s rarely enough.
Watering is the other major challenge. Unfortunately, a fixed watering schedule doesn’t work for large Mishima plants.
Instead, you must water it whenever the potting soil is dry. This can mean watering every few days or after a few weeks.
The two issues – lighting and watering – are responsible for most pest and disease problems.
For instance, low light invites mites that chew the leaves. Meanwhile, irregular watering can lead to yellow leaves and root rot.
We strongly advise against harsh pesticides. Instead, consider removing the affected parts if you notice diseases or pests.
Next, hand-pick large pests such as earwigs, caterpillars, millipedes, and slugs. Then, spray the plant with soapy water to kill the remaining pests.
Meanwhile, the most effective way to prevent diseases is through plant hygiene.
Large Mishima Plant Benefits
Like petite Mishimas, the large snake plant has endless benefits. First, the Mishima plant boasts many health benefits.
It purifies the air, uplifts mood, and lowers stress and anxiety. So, it’s a great plant in bedrooms and living areas.
Also, the plant removes toxins from the air. For instance, it removes formaldehyde, a toxic chemical in most paints and engineered wood products.
Formaldehyde is associated with various health issues, from cancer to lung disease. Large Mishima plants break down the hydrocarbon, saving us from its toxic traits.
In addition, Mishima plants remove allergens from the air, reducing the risk of the common cold, asthma, and similar illnesses.
It does so by “pumping” oxygen into indoor air while absorbing carbon dioxide. So, you breathe cleaner air with fewer disease-causing microorganisms.
Finally, besides its health benefits, many homeowners use large Mishima plants for decor.
For instance, positioning one strategically in the living room improves mood and relaxation while providing a focal point for decoration.
It also adds texture, color, and natural touch to your indoors. Also, you can plant large Mishimas outdoors for enhanced curb appeal.
Mishima is a great choice for houseplant lovers, whether you’re a novice or an expert. It’s a relatively low-maintenance plant that is easier to care for than most other plants.
But at the same time, it’s a stunningly beautiful plant with multiple health benefits. However, you must take good care of it, or it quickly deteriorates.
Watering, lighting, and temperature are the most important factors during Mishima plant care.