Succulents are great plants to have in your home. Not only do they fit any style of room decoration, but they are also easy to care for as they don’t require frequent watering.
The great one is so-called The Snake Plant (Sansevieria plant), with other names that can be heard worldwide, such as viper’s bowstring hemp or mother-in-law’s tongue. The Sansevieria plant can be found in tropical areas, originally coming from West Africa. Some of these succulents have long sword-like leaves while others have round ones with pointed edges. They don’t require special and everyday maintenance and can survive in low-lit or dry environments. They are also good for people’s health because they absorb toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. In this text, we will present to you several types of snake plans and ways of maintaining them. If you want to buy snake plants, read on for more information.
About Sansevieria Plants
Sansevieria trifasciata, in the botanical world known as Dracaena trifasciata from 2017, belongs to the family Asparagaceae, genus Dracaena.
The specification of the species – trifasciata – means ‘three bundles’. This group counts over 70 different types, the most popular of which I will present in the following sections.
Most types of Snake Plants are native to the tropical lands of West Africa, mostly between Nigeria to Congo, but a number of them come from the other parts of Subsaharan Africa. Being from this part of the world brings some specific features to this plant. It is an evergreen perennial plant with a basal rosette from which pointed succulent leaves grow vertically. It can grow both above and under the ground.
Related: Introducing 70+ Colorful Succulents
The majority of the varieties have dark green leaves with bright yellow edges, which give this beautiful plant an elegant look. They usually grow to be about 80 cm (2.5 ft) long and 5 cm (2.0 in) wide. When the conditions are optimal, a plant can reach 2 m (6 ft) in height.
Indoors, Snake Plants rarely bloom and when they do, it is usually when they are stressed and overgrown. Outdoors, it’s more likely to produce flowers.
A Snake Plant survives even in drought. What helps this are its microscopic pores that open only during nights when the outside temperature falls. The function of these pores (stomata) is for the plant to exchange gases. When they are closed, evaporation is disabled, and that prevents the plant to go dry during the hot part of the day.
Interesting fact: the Snake Plant is found in northern Australia and is generally considered to be weed there.
The Sansevieria Trifasciata, or its variations, can be found in the literature by other names. Let us take a sneak peek at the most common ones:
- The Saint George’s sword or mother-in-law’s tongue – because the shape of their leaves reminds of the body and tip of the sword, or sharp human tongue.
- Viper’s bowstring hemp – was called that way because in some cultures they are used to make bowstrings for archers.
The use of the Snake Plant Sansevieria is mostly ornamental: outdoors in warm climates and indoors in cooler climates. The simple maintenance makes these plants a good recommendation for beginners.
The Sansevieria trifasciata ‘laurentii’ has the potential to clean air in closed spaces, removing 4 out of 5 main toxins (benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene/toluene; not ammonia), according to the scientists in the NASA air pollution study program. However, it is not very efficient as the process is very slow.
These plants are mildly toxic for pets if they are consumed. They may cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Snake Plant Care
A Snake Plant is very easy to care for. In this section, I will present the basic needs of all Snake Plant Sansevieria varieties. To learn about individual differences in care, read about the particular variety in the sections below.
- It is important to find a good place where your Snake Plant thrives. The basic conditions should be: bright to medium light (indirect), minimal variation in temperature, away from pets and children as it is mildly toxic.
- The best light for this plant is indirect, medium sunlight. Some varieties may stand a short amount of time in direct (but not too bright) sunlight without leaf burns.
- When it comes to temperature, the best range for Snake Plants is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius (70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). If it is colder than 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), the plant may not survive.
- When choosing a pot for your Sansevieria Snake Plant, you ought to pay attention to drainage holes. Since the plant will not thrive in moist soil, it needs a pot with good drainage. A terracotta pot is an excellent choice. Also, since these plants grow slowly, you will not need too big a pot.
- If you want to use a soil mix, a blend for succulents is the right choice because it provides enough drainage, just like these plants need. If you want to make your own mix, don’t miss out on sand, perlite, or peat moss for enabling excess water to go through the soil. For this reason, when you plant your Sansevieria, you should avoid packing too much soil in a pot.
- The pH level is not of huge importance, as Snake Plants may thrive in different kind of soil that ranges between slightly alkaline and slightly acidic.
- Watering shouldn’t be done too often because of root rot. Saturate your snake plant moderately when the soil lacks moisture. In wintertime, this is done even more rarely. Also, misting the plant is not necessary.
- Fertilization is done occasionally , but only during spring and summer months of the year.
- Propagation of a plant is done by leaf-cuttings or dividing its rhizome (root).
- Repotting is not often necessary. It is time for a bigger pot if the roots start to grow through the drainage holes or if the plant becomes root-bound. The best time for repotting is in spring, before the growth season.
Best Snake Plant Varieties- 20+ Types
1. Sansevieria Laurentii – Variegated Snake Plant
The variegated Snake Plant, also known as Sansevieria laurentii, is characterized by green leaves with a marble-like ornamental patterns and bright yellow edges. The coloration of its sword-shaped leaves is what makes this popular variety specific and recognizable.
It seldom has flowers, but when it does, they are greenish-white in color.
This variety was used in NASA’s Clean Air Study and proved to reduce 80% of the tested air toxins. It also received the Award of Garden Merit given by the Royal Horticultural Society.
This plant prefers indirect sunlight and can grow in shade. It needs only occasional watering.
Its growth is slow but can reach 100 cm (3.5 ft) in height.
2. Sansevieria Trifasciata – Mother-In-Law’s Tongue
Sansevieria Trifasciata Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is the original in this group. All other Snake Plant variations were developed from this one. The coloration is dark green with lemon-like rims.
Its flowers bloom in summer or autumn and they are pale green in color.
This is the Snake Plant variety that is known as Saint George’s Sword Sansevieria. It is native to West Africa.
The optimal conditions in which this plant can reach the height of 250 cm (8 ft) are indirect light, occasional saturation, and temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). It can tolerate low-lit spaces as well, though it cannot grow to its maximum height in those conditions.
3. Sansevieria Cleopatra
Sansevieria Cleopatra is a new variety of the Snake Plant. It has a garden origin, meaning that it grew different from the parent plant and was continued to be propagated in the new form.
The coloration of their leaves, is light green, with dark green bands and pink rims that are curved. The plant can reach 30 cm (1 ft) in height, making this another dwarf variety.
This variety is still hard to find in stores.
4. Sansevieria Zeylanica – Ceylon Bowstring Hemp
Sansevieria Zeylanica: Ceylon Bowstring Hemp or Indian Bowstring Hemp has light green, marble-patterned leaves with slight dark green tones. Its uniqueness is in the lack of lemon color edges Sansevieria trifasciata is famous for.
As the name says, it is native to Sri Lanka.
The maintenance of this type of Snake Plant is similar to any other: medium to bright, indirect sunlight, shaded places are acceptable as well; watering needs are scarce and overwatering may lead to root rot.
Sansevieria Zeylanica is a slow-growing plant and its maximum height can reach 100 cm (3.5 ft). Its pale green flowers can grow to reach two-thirds of the plant’s overall height. It is another great choice for a beginner gardener.
5. Sansevieria ‘Moonshine’ Snake Plant – Mother-In-Law’s Tongue
The Sansevieria ‘Moonshine’ Snake Plant: Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is characterized by silvery-green leaves. Different than most Snake Plants, it doesn’t have a marbled ornamental pattern nor lemon color leaf edges.
The basic leaf coloration is pale and the name ‘Moonshine’ comes from it. However, if the plant is grown in a darker environment, it’s possible for its leaves to change into a dark green hue.
Indirect light is optimal for this plant, as well as ever so often soil saturation. When kept indoors, It can grow over half a meter (2 ft) tall. It can also grow small white flowers when kept in appropriate conditions.
6. Sansevieria Hyacinthoides – African Bowstring Hemp
Sansevieria Hyacinthoides is known as African Bowstring Hemp because this variety is one of those used to make bowstrings. It is native to South Africa.
Green and flat leaves are characteristic of this Snake Plant, with silvery ornaments. In optimal conditions, it produces white flowers and small orange fruit.
The best lighting is medium to bright and indirect, though shady spots are also acceptable. The best temperature range is 15 to 30 degrees Celsius (60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). It grows in the warm part of the year and may reach up to 120 cm (4 ft) in height.
7. Sansevieria Bacularis – Mikado
The Sansevieria Bacularis, or Mikado, is a cylindrical Snake Plant. The patterns on Its dark green leaves are light green and the leaves are cylindrical, not flat as the others. Its flowers are whitish-pink.
The native land of this variety is Central Africa, or more closely, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.
The maintenance of this plant is typical of any Snake Plant variety: medium indirect sunlight, warm environment, soil watering ever so often. It is another slow-growing plant. It takes up to ten years for it to grow to its maximum height. The height is 2.5 m or 8 ft and it is typically reached in nature, whereas a plant grown in a home is shorter.
8. Sansevieria Cylindrica – African Spear Plant
The Spear Sansevieria is another variety from the tropical parts of southern Africa. The Latin name Sansevieria Cylindrica was chosen because of what its leaves are like – they are strong, sturdy, and cylindrical in shape, resembling spears.
Regarding the maintenance practices, it is important to note that The Spear Snake Plant cannot stand in direct sunlight. The maximum height it can reach is 1.8 m (6 ft), though it grows very slowly.
The Sansevieria Cylindrica includes many cultivars, for example, Sansevieria Cylindrica ‘Spaghetti’ and Sansevieria Cylindrica ‘Patula’.
9. Sansevieria Francisii
Sansevieria Francisii has a physical aspect that does not match that of the other types of Snake Plants. The dark green leaves of this plant spread in a different way: instead of just going straight upward, they are in spiral rows that form a spiral. The appearance of the whole plant is full and elegant.
Sansevieria Francisii got its name from the botanist Francis K. Horwood. It is found natively in parts of Kenya.
In addition to the regular maintenance guide of any of the Sansevieria species (mild temperature, watering the plant infrequently, indirect sunlight), it may be noted that this plant can withstand shady spaces as well as a limited amount of full sunlight.
10. Sansevieria Parva – Kenya Hyacinth
The Sansevieria Parva/Kenya Hyacinth is another instance of uncommon types of Snake Plants. As its name states, it is found in Kenya naturally.
Its leaves (6 to 12 of them per plant) show the color of light green and pale green transverse bands are visible across the leaves. They also have bright, lemony edges. They grow from a central rosette and face outward in all directions. So, this plant is a great choice for hanging baskets. The white flowers have a scent that may be confused with the scent of the hyacinth flower. Hence the name of this plant.
A good place for this plant is near a sunny window, where the light is bright but not direct. is it highly recommended to avoid temperatures lower than degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).
11. Sansevieria Kirkii
The Sansevieria Kirkii comes from Tanzania and Malawi. It is in the group of the rarest Snake Plants. It is the best choice for decontaminating the air inside a room.
This one has a unique look, which includes green leaves interspersed with dark green lines and bordered in pink. They look like they were drawn! And they don’t grow vertically but rather spread around the stem.
The plant may bloom and get light greenish flowers.
To avoid root rot, fast-draining soil and a pot with holes are best for it.
It can grow well in both well- and badly-lit environments. Blooms appear when the plant is exposed to direct sunlight for short amounts of time.
12. Sansevieria Patens
The Sansevieria Patens is probably the best demonstration of the name Snake Plant. It has plump leaves that spread all around from the central rosette and so the plant really mirrors a cluster of snakes.
It is not clear where the Sansevieria Patens originates. Scientists mention Kenya or the region around it as a possible location.
The Sansevieria Patens variety doesn’t stand temperatures lower than 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). All the regular maintenance that is required by the types of Snake Plants ought to be followed for it, too.
13. Sansevieria Masoniana – Whale Fin Snake Plant
The Sansevieria Masoniana is not a full succulent, but a semi-succulent plant. Its leaves are wider and shorter compared to other Snake Plants. They are dark green, their stripes are yellow, and there are usually only two leaves in a pot.
Its flowers are held in clusters that grow from the central part of the plant.
This striped Snake Plant originates in Central Africa but is usually grown at homes all over the world.
In its natural environment, it can grow up to 1.2 m (4 ft). Indoors, it is smaller. It is a slow grower. The maintenance advice is the same as for all Snake Plants Sansevieria: watering ever so often, indirect light, and warm room.
14. Sansevieria Eillensis Chahin
This dwarf Snake Plant variation grows natively in Somalia. It has cylindrical, bluish-green leaves and its stripes are horizontal. The flowers grow taller than the plant itself.
The plant grows to about 15 cm (5-6 inches).
For this plant, regular soil or potting mix can be enough. A restricted shade and soil saturation when it is dry are other requirements for the best growth.
15. Sansevieria Whitney
This instance of the Sansevieria varieties is smaller than the others, so it is appropriate to be put on a table or a desk.
Its leaves are dark green with slightly variegated edges in lighter tones. It is a slow-grower and its maximum expected height is about 30 cm (1 ft).
It tolerates darker places, though its best conditions include indirect light of medium brightness. The soil shouldn’t be saturated too much and it has to drain well.
16. Sansevieria Trifasciata – Twisted Sister
The Twisted Sister Snake Plant is a pretty instance of the Sansevieria species. Its dark green, marble-patterned, lemony-edged leaves are not flat but rather twisted around one another. The sight is beautiful.
The shape of its leaves is the reason for calling it Sansevieria trifasciata
‘Twist’ or Twisted Sister.
This Snake Plant grows very slowly to the maximum height of around 30 cm (1 ft).
The maintenance practices are those that stand for all the Snake Plants: infrequent watering, indirect light, and well-draining soil.
17. Sansevieria Trifasciata Golden Hahnii – Golden Bird’s Nest Sansevieria
This variety comes has a garden origin. Between 6 and 12 dark green leaves grow from it and they have lemon-colored stripes near the rims.
The pink flowers come in the transitional period between winter and spring and they smell very nice.
It can stand the usually-used soil, so the one for succulents isn’t necessary. However, it is important not to overwater it. Fertilization shouldn’t be done more often than 3-4 weeks in warm months.
18. Sansevieria Trifasciata Hahnii – Bird’s Nest Sansevieria
The Bird’s Nest Sansevieria has an appearance comparable to the Golden Hahnii Snake Plant. It grows naturally in West Africa. Unlike the golden variety, this one doesn’t have light bands along the rims of its leaves.
This is yet another dwarf variety, rarely reaching 1 meter (3 ft) in height. In summer and fall, this plant gets aromatic greenish flowers.
The regular Snake Plant care routine applies to the Bird’s Nest, with the difference that the regular potting soil mix is acceptable.
19. Sansevieria Ehrenbergii – Blue Sansevieria
The Blue Sansevieria succulent is found in nature all around northeastern Africa and even on the Arabian peninsula. It is also known as the East African Wild Sisal.
The Blue Sansevieria isn’t actually blue, just the hue of green that resembles blue at first sight.
What is physically specific for this Snake Plant variety is its foliage whose individual parts grow in opposite directions from one another. The leaves may reach a height of 1.5 m (5 ft). The blooms are gray-white or gray-green.
This plant prefers soil for succulents. It doesn’t stand hot and direct sunlight and low temperatures.
20. Sansevieria Ballyi
The Sansevieria Ballyi is a variety with dark green leaves and pale green transverse bands. The many flat upright leaves that rise around each other are the reason why this Snake Plant is visually very pretty.
Its location of origin is Kenya.
It is also known as the Dwarf Sansevieria because it reaches only 15 cm (6 inches) in height. It can get greenish flowers the same height as the leaves.
Besides all the regular Snake Plant maintenance practices, it is important to mention that this one may wither from too much fertilizer.
It likes light, but too much direct and hot sunlight may result in burned foliage.
21. Sansevieria Trifasciata Black Gold – Viper’s Bowstring Hemp
The Black Gold is another cultivar created from the Trifasciata Snake Plant. It has long leaves resembling the blade of a sword and they are of dark green color bordering on black.
Yellow rims create a contrast and add to the beauty of this plant.
Outdoors, this plant can reach up to one meter (3 ft) in height. Indoors, it is usually somewhat shorter.
There are no special maintenance needs. The plant needs moderation in everything: light, soil saturation, and fertilization. It is slightly toxic, so it should be kept out of reach of pets and children.
22. Sansevieria Trifasciata Futura Superba
The Sansevieria Trifasciata Futura Superba has the aspect of a small-scale Black Gold Snake Plant. This is one of the dwarf Sansevieria varieties.
It is equipped with bright green leaves with yellow edges. It is not as tall as most Snake Plants but it is just as easy to care for as any.
The necessary conditions include indirect light, watering practices ever so often, well-draining soil, and warm temperatures. It is another great option for beginner gardeners.
23. Sansevieria Trifasciata Futura Robusta
This cultivar of the Sansevieria plants has foliage in gray-green color and with lighter bands. They are lower in height than the usual Snake Plants Sansevieria, growing to about 60 cm (2 ft) at its maximum.
The plant is a little clump of densely grown foliage that twirl around each other.
The regular, moderate conditions are sufficient to help this type of Snake Plants grow.
24. Sansevieria Cylindrica ‘Boncel’ – Starfish Sansevieria
The Starfish Sansevieria is unique among the Sansevieria varieties. It has lengthy, circular, fleshy leaves that open up like a fan, thus resembling a starfish.
It is a big plant, reaching 2 meters (7 ft).
Another special feature of this instance of the cylindrical Snake Plants Sansevieria Boncel belongs to the blooms. A stem rises high from the plant and gets a lot of tiny whitish flowers all over it.
If you are thinking about getting started with caring for a plant in your home or you are looking to add a new floral ornament – growing Snake Plants is just the choice for you.
A Snake Plant has few needs and doesn’t require a lot of attention. Despite that, the varieties are numerous and you can choose the look that matches the style of your living room.
I have presented to you the most popular types of Snake Plants, both regular-sized and dwarf Sansevieria. You could also read about what kind of care these plants need and where they come from.