Starfish snake plant care


What Is A Starfish Sansevieria: Information About Starfish Sansevieria Care

If you like succulents, try growing starfish sansevieria. What’s a starfish sansevieria? Starfish sansevieria plants, as their name suggests, are starfish-shaped succulents. The following article contains Sansevieria cylindrica info about growing starfish sansevieria and their care.

What is a Starfish Sansevieria?

Starfish Sansevieria ‘Boncel’ plants are rare but worth searching for. They are a more compact hybrid of Sansevieria cylindrica, or snake plant, a more common succulent. The plant has fan-shaped light green foliage with dark green concentric circles from the top to the bottom of the leaf. Young “pups” spring from the base of the plant and can be easily transplanted to propagate new plants.

Sansevieria cylindrica Info

Sansevieria cylindrica is a succulent plant that is native to Angola. It is a common and revered houseplant in China where it is said to embody the eight virtues of the Eight Gods. It is an extremely hardy plant with striped, smooth, elongated gray/green leaves. They can get to about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) across and grow as long as 7 feet (2 m.).

It grows in a fan shape with its stiff leaves arising from a basal rosette. It has subcylindrical leaves, tubular rather than strap-like. It is drought tolerant, needing water only about once every other week.

It can grow in bright sun to partial sun but if allowed full sun, the plant will bloom with inch-long greenish-white tubular blossoms that are tinged with pink.

Starfish Sansevieria Care

Growing and caring for starfish sansevieria is just like caring for the common snake plant above. Also easy to care for, it prefers bright light but will tolerate lower levels. Plant starfish in regular succulent potting mix. Generally a houseplant, starfish sansevieria is hardy to USDA zones 10b-11.

Water starfish sansevieria only when it is completely dry. As a succulent, it collects water in its leaves so overwatering may cause the plant to rot.

Place starfish sansevieria in a room with an average home temperature and protect it from drafts or cooler temps below 50 F. (10 C.). Feed the plant once every three weeks with a general all-purpose houseplant food diluted by half.

Plant Primer | Starfish Snake Plant

Starfish snake plant

Light: Bright indirect light

Height: 6 to 10 inches

Spread: 6 to 10 inches

USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 11b

Origin: Hybrid form, of an Angola native

A charming little succulent is the starfish snake plant (Sansevieria cylindrica var. patula ‘Boncel’).

This succulent has chubby, stout, cylindrical, light-green leaves with dark-green rings. The leaves spread out from a central point and radiate like a fan. They are smooth to touch, but tough.

On a mature starfish snake plant, a long, 3-foot-tall flower spike might appear. The flower bud is pink and produces white flowers.

Like other snake plants, these are relatively low-maintenance, needing watered only when the soil is dry to the touch. The starfish snake plant produces pups on rhizomes and should be divided yearly or when the plant becomes root-bound.

Starfish snake plants make a nice house-party gift. Grow as an individual potted plant or as a part of a larger succulent and cactus container.

See the starfish snake plants growing happily in the Desert Biome at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

— Barbara Arnold

Franklin Park Conservatory

Sansevieria cylindrica – African Spear

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Sansevieria cylindrica is also known as African Spear and cylindrical snake plant, and less commonly as Elephant’s toothpick and Skyline Spear sansevieria.

All of these are apt names for this unique, robust plant.

Table of Contents

Sansevieria Cylindrica, or African Spear

Cylindrica is a succulent indigenous to Angola. The plant spreads horizontally via an underground rhizome (a kind of stem modified to act as a root). It is a very hardy plant – able to endure all but the most extreme neglect.

It is perennial and evergreen, so you can expect it to stick around for a long time. Cylindrica has impressive “leaves.” They can grow to be as tall as 6 feet! The tubular leaf is often an inch thick at maturity, which is necessary to support such height.

A common practice among the more involved gardeners is to braid the stalks together and secure them with a rope or band at the top. Such controlled growth creates an elegant form of a normally-rowdy plant.

This method is best employed while the stalks are still short and young; you would have a lot of trouble convincing mature leaves to contort themselves in that way.

You should note that the tips of the leaves are protected by a tough point, hence the “spear” name. Take care not to damage the spear tip! If broken, it effectively ends growth for that spear.

Cylindrica is also mildly toxic, so it should be kept away from infants and pets. On the bright side, a healthy cylindrica will bloom sporadically even while young. While the flowers aren’t particularly impressive, they have a pleasing aroma.

Sansevieria Cylindrica Care

As with all succulents, the most important aspect of care is soil drainage! It is imperative that the soil drains quickly and the pot does not hold water. Use a soil specifically for succulents (here’s a guide on how to make your own).

If the cylindrica has one weakness, it is overwatering. During the growing season, water it about once every two weeks. Be sure to water the soil and not the leaves.

If the base of the stalks becomes yellow or swollen, it means you have overwatered. Water enough that the soil is all moist, but it drains completely before your next watering.

Cylindrica thrive in direct light! This promotes taller, straighter leaves. They are drought-resistant as well.

The sum of these traits means that cylindrica is a great outdoor plant, but can tolerate indoors if it has enough bright light. If it lacks light, you can expect its growth to stagnate (though it will probably survive).

Related Content: Rose Succulent Care, is it actually a succulent?

African spear Propagation

As with many plants that utilize rhizomes, they often send off “runners” or offshoots. These can be untangled and separated with a sharp blade to separate mature plants that have grown together.

Wait until the stalks of your cylindrica are about 6 inches tall before separating them. Bear in mind, this plant is not averse to crowded, tangled conditions. Separate only if you want to propagate or move it into a larger pot.

African Spear can also be propagated via leaf cuttings, albeit slowly. Take a stalk and cut it into sections about 3 inches long. After leaving them out to callus, plant them in soil with the right side up.

It’s important that they maintain the same orientation as before they were cut. Plants don’t grow upside-down very well.

New roots should sprout, eventually. Try the rooting hormone if you’re not having any success.

Scientific Name

Sansevieria patens N.E.Br.

Common Names

Snake Plant


Acyntha patens, Sansevieria ‘Ed Eby’

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Crassuloideae
Genus: Sansevieria


Sansevieria patens is an attractive, succulent plant with subterranean, branching rhizomes up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. It forms large rosettes composed of short, arching, cylindrical, longitudinally grooved leaves that spread in various orientations. The leaves are up to 3 feet (90 cm) long, up to 1.8 inch (45 cm) thick, somewhat indistinctly marked with dark green and paler green transverse bands, becoming bluish green with age and longitudinally marked with numerous blackish-green lines, several of them continuous to the apex. The flowers are grey-white and spaced out in clusters.

Photo via


USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Place Sansevierias in moderately bright or filtered light. Good locations include a spot in front of a north-facing window or in front of a bright, sunny window covered by a sheer curtain. Although the plant tolerates low light, bright light brings out the colors in the leaves. However, intense light may cause the edges of the leaves to turn yellow.

Allow the soil to dry completely before watering and then water deeply until water drips through the drainage hole. Allow the pot to drain and then discard water that remains in the saucer. Never allow the soil to become soggy and never let the pot stand in water. Water sparingly throughout the winter. Like most succulent plants that store water in their leaves, Sansevieria rots quickly in excessively wet soil.

Place Sansevieria in average room temperatures. Protect the plant from drafts and cold temperatures as it is damaged at temperatures below 50 °F (10 °C).

Feed the plant once every 3 weeks throughout the summer. Use a general-purpose fertilizer for houseplants diluted to one-half the strength suggested on the container. Sansevieria is a light feeder and too much fertilizer makes the leaves fall over… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Sansevieria


Sansevieria patens was described by N. E. Brown in 1915 with a comment “Origin unknown, but probably British East Africa (Kenya)”.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

  • Sansevieria patens f. variegata


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The Most Popular Types Of Sansevieria

Sansevieria plants make a great ornamental, low-maintenance house or office plants, even though they might not seem as appealing as other plants. The best thing about the Sansevieria, however, is the fact that you can choose from a variety of about 70 or so species as well as multiple cultivar varieties. Here are some popular types of sansevieria:

Sansevieria Trifasciata

The common name for the Sansevieria trifasciata is the snake plant because of the snake-like appearance of the leaves. It is also referred to as the Viper’s Bowstring Hemp or Mother-in-law’s tongue plant.

It can grow in conditions of low light and with little amount of water and it is a low maintenance plant. The plant is a great air purifier, which helps clean the air in your house or office of toxins. There are many varieties to choose from including Black Gold Superba, Hahnii, Silver Queen, Whitney, Laurentii. It is also mildly toxic to house pets such as cats and dogs if ingested.

Sansevieria Robusta

Commonly referred to as the Robusta snake plant, it has short, stiff, variegated leaves with dark and light green color variance lines cutting across horizontally. It grows best in the shade and can survive well with sporadic watering.

Sansevieria ‘Fernwood’ Mikado

The Sansevieria mikado is almost indestructible and suitable for people who love separate modern forms. Small in stature with bundles of unique dark, cylindrical leaves that look like spikes.

Sansevieria Metallica

A very rare Sansieveria. Very interesting marbled silver variegation adorn the long swordlike leaves. The leaves have a tall, slender and metallic appearance, from where it derives its name. It can grow in low light and with low watering but does not survive well in extremely low temperature.

Sansevieria ‘Ayo Crown’

The most noticeable thing about Sansevieria ‘Ayo Crown’ is that the leaves have a red edge to them and they are all growing in a perfect clockwise spiral. It has about 4 or 5 leaves that grow around each other in an open, crown-like appearance. It can reach height of up to 50 cm.

Sansevieria zeylanica

Sansevieria zeylanica is one of the tallest species with more of a light silver-green with darker cross bands or mottling of the leaf. It’s low maintenance and should be watered about once a month in winter.

Sansevieria Aubrytiana

“Father-in-law Tongue” – Large tall glossy gray green strap leaf blades held in close clumps to emphasize their pale bands of spots and blotches. Intolerant of any chill. It is a low maintenance ornamental plant with a fairly strong and quite distinct scent.

Sansevieria Bacularis

It is a perennial stemless succulent plant with one, sometimes two thin cylindrical upstanding slender leaves up to 1.7 metres tall, but only 12 mm in diameter, and quite stiff in good light conditions. New growth has a purple sheath at the base. Very slow-growing and tolerates a wide range of conditions. A great container plant that needs little care.

Sansevieria cylindrica

Sansevieria cylindrica is a very striking succulent with striped, round leaves. They are smooth and green-gray in color. A single leaf is up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter and grows up to 7 feet (2.1 m) tall.

This plant grows fan-shaped, with its stiff leaves growing from a basal rosette. If grown in bright light it can produce a up to 3 feet (90 cm) spike-like raceme of pink-budded, white flowers.

The Sansevieria pronounced (san-se-vi-ee’-ri-ah) or snake plant – is a genus of perennial herbs with stiff, very thick leaves, often mottled with white, and clustered flowers on slender stalks.

A member of the Asparagaceae Family, popularly goes by other common names. The very “politically correct” Mother-in-Law’s tongue, snake tongue, mothers plant, and Viper’s Bowstring-hemp.

The Viper’s bowsting hemp plant makes an excellent potted plant indoors as a houseplant or outdoors.

What is a snake plant?

Sansevieria is undoubtedly one of the most easily recognized plants in the world.

Honestly, “Who, doesn’t know about snake plants?” I soon discovered, surprisingly enough, except for a few academic papers, very little has been published about this group of plants.

Sansevieria – Snake Plant Quick Growing Guide:

Family: Asparagaceae
Origin: Africa, Madagascar and southern Asia

Common Names: snake plant, mother-in-law plant, viper’s bowstring hemp, devil’s tongue, jinn’s tongue, snake tongue

Uses: Excellent as a houseplant, will grow in both bright light and low indirect light areas. Used in the landscape as a potted plant or directly planted in the ground.

Height: 6″ inches to 42″ inches tall
USDA Hardiness Zones: Grows outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zone 9 – 11
Flowers: greenish-white clustered flowers on slender stalks
Foliage: stiff, very thick leaves, often mottled with white and yellow striping

Snake Plant Care Requirements: As a houseplant, it will grow best in bright light but tolerates low light levels indoors as well. In fact, it is one of the BEST succulents for low light indoors. Outdoors bright direct sun to full sun. Handles dry and poor soil conditions but appreciates good well-drained soil inside or outside. Lightly fertilize with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer 1/2 strength. DO NOT over-water or overpot. Temperatures below 40 may cause damage to leaves. Relatively pest free.
Miscellaneous: Approximately 50 “recognized” species and varieties. Potted plants can be heavy to move. Propagate by division.

On the off-chance that some of you may have just recently returned from a prolonged stay in Tibet, and thus may not be acquainted with sansevierias, let’s start at the beginning.

The Viper’s Bowstring Hemp A Well Known Stranger

The genus was named after the Prince of San Severo born in Naples in 1710.

The primary plant of the genus Sansevieria trifasciata, originates from tropical Africa, Madagascar and Asia. The plant was originally prized for the useful fibers obtained from its leaves.

This is where the common name of “bow string hemp” came from. Where the common name mother in law’s tongue plant came from, I have no idea.

The plants are often called, perhaps only colloquially, “snake plant”, although most people know it by that name, this name is more properly applied to a totally different genus.

The confusion which results from one common name being applied to several unlike plants is one reason why many shy away from using common names.

The snake plant has been in cultivation for over 250 years. But grown in the US foliage trade since the 1920’s.

A tender evergreen perennial with stiff, erect, thick, spearlike leaves with a glossy texture about 2 ft. long. Distinctly marked white-and-green or yellow-and-green foliage.

Sansevieria laurentii is always at the top of any list as being one of the most tolerant (like zz plant care) of all decorative plants. They survive the most unsuitable growing conditions, abuse and neglect a plant could receive.

It’s recommended to and those interested in feng shui and to improve indoor air quality for structures with “sick building syndrome.”

Although this houseplant will stand more neglect than almost any other plant, overwatering is harmful.

Caring for a snake plant comes down to basically this – the plant is easy to care for, you have to work really hard to kill a sansevieria.

Types Of Sansevieria

The genus boast about 70 varieties but roughly 15 varieties find themselves grown commercially.

Snake plants come in basically two types: Tall, upright growers and bird nest type

Upright growing snake plant showing the bloom, rhizomes, and roots

The Upright Snake Plants

The well-known tall, upright snake plant varieties include:

  • Sansevieria trifasciata – grows tall, with bold stiff, glossy, leather-like gray-green leaves with dark green crossbands.
  • Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii – A variegated and much showier cultivar of Sansevieria trifasciata introduced by Emile Laurent. The plant looks just like trifasciata – except for the yellow banding on the outside edges of the leaves.
  • Sansevieria Black Coral – Mature upright leaves develop light gray-green cross-banding over the dark green base color.
  • Sansevieria zeylanica – According to the University of Florida – “Most plants sold as Sansevieria zeylanica are trifasciata. True Sansevieria zeylanica has little appeal as an ornamental.”

… of which you’ll find several forms.

The Bird Nest Trifasciata ‘Hahnii’

Many enjoy the tough, cast-iron qualities of sansevierias but not the stiff upright appearance. To the rescue is the ‘Bird’s Nest Sansevieria Hahnii.”

This appealing little dwarf sansevieria issued a plant patent in 1941, has sword-shaped leaves 6″ inches long, randomly mottled in green and grey. The leaves grow upward from a rhizome, or underground stem, in a funnel-shaped rosette.

These smaller “rosette” varieties carry a more graceful design. These “squashed-down” bird nest varieties hold the same “tough qualities” as the upright types.

Sansevieria golden Hahnii, has two or three broad bands of yellow and several longitudinal yellow stripes.

The bird nest types plants make excellent “dish-garden” and terrarium plants. compact in shape durable.

For more check out our article on the Bird’s Nest Sansevieria Hahnii including it’s “discovery” in a New Orleans nursery.

Potting & Repotting The Mother In Law Plant

Dividing snake plants at any time during the year, however, spring is the best.

The plants are easily increased by division; since most sansevierias sucker freely from the base of the plant, this is usually the preferred method of propagation. They may also be increased by cutting the leaves into three-inch lengths, and inserting the lower third of these in damp sand.

With this method, however, the yellow banding or marginal stripes may be lost, with the new plants reverting to type.

How to repot snake plant and whats the best soil for snake plant?

Remove the plant from of the pot. Using a knife or sharp clippers cut it up as much as you want. Plant each piece along with their roots in a container with a well-drained soil like this at Amazon.

Note: When repotting plants such as sansevieria, it is not always necessary to transfer them to a larger pot, unless you want to increase the size of the plant.

The plants grow actively during the summer, dividing in spring will produce the quickest results. Each division will soon grow and produce a nice plant.

Snake plants do well in a good potting soil as they are not very demanding. Sansevierias are very “succulent“; “heavy plants” which hold lots of water in their leaves. It is often recommended to create a “heavy soil” by amending the potting mix with some sand.

How Often Should You Water In Sansevieria Care?

Be cautious when snake plant watering, especially during the winter. The wintertime is when most people experience root rot.

TIPS: Better to err on the dry side. Watering is usually a matter of personal judgment. I water my snake plants whenever they seem to need it, about every 2-3 weeks. I always allow the plant root area and soil dry between watering, before watering again.

Few plants should be kept constantly wet, fewer should ever be allowed to suffer from lack of moisture.

The Snake – One Tough Indoor Plant

Plants as with fashion seem to come and go and come back again. Over the last few years Sansevieria started to make somewhat of a comeback.

No discussion on hardy houseplants would be complete without some comments on the Sansevieria or viper’s bowstring hemp.

This well-known genus has many friends and some enemies.

The critics call attention to the snake plant’s stiff, upright growth habit, and they are apt to name it mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant. Devoted friends, on the other hand, praise its hardy constitution and ability to thrive under exceedingly difficult conditions.

Others approve the modernistic form of the plant and select it for backgrounds calling for vertical line.

The viper’s bowstring hemp makes a great houseplant due to their versatility in both size, use and growing conditions.

You’ll find Sansevieria used in small dish gardens all the way up into 14″ containers 42″ inches in height. They handle full sun, look great on a patio during the spring and summer, but also can go inside into very low light.

In fact, the toughness of this low-light makes the snake plant one of the Best Bathroom Plants for low or no light areas.

This plant can hang with the best of all low light plants. However, the plant will do best in bright light.

The Mother’s Tongue plant, the spider plant and others were Top plants NASA tested and found for absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen at night.

Sansevieria does this through the crassulacean acid metabolism process.

Temperatures below 45 degrees for extended periods is one climatic condition it will not tolerate. When the plants become damaged it can show up slowly over a 1- 4 week period.

One Downside To Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

Everything seems to have a downside and the Sansevieria is no different. Their downside – weight.

Because of their relationship to the succulent family they hold a lot of water.

As plants reach 10″ and larger in pot size the weight goes up dramatically. I’ve seen 10″ plants that weight 25 pounds or more.

If You Want A Houseplant That:

  • Is tough indoors
  • Can be placed just about anywhere
  • Takes up little space
  • Goes a long time between watering
  • A good starter plant for the house
  • Can start outside in spring and move inside
  • Has no real pests problems. Spider mites even have a difficult time with their succulent plant leaves.

Take a look at the Sansevieria.

Propagation – Dividing & Leaf Cuttings

In south Florida, stock plants grow in beds out in full sun. One very unusual production method of this crop; growers actually mow down the tops of the plants forcing them to produce new growth.

Details on Snake Plant Propagation

Sansevierias propagate easily by division; since most varieties sucker freely producing rhizomes, this is usually the preferred method of propagation. Snake plants propagate from leaf cuttings, clumps or rhizome cuttings.

Propagate by cutting the leaves by cutting leaves into three-inch lengths, and inserting the lower third of these in damp sand. With this method, however, the yellow banding or marginal stripes may be lost, with the new plants reverting to type.

snake plant propagation cutting in a bowl of water. image: via madaise

This video from Nell provides lots of details on repotting snake plant.

Sansevieria Cylindrica – The Popular Oddball

Sansevieria cylindrica the snake plant with cigar like leaves.

One odd sort you may discover when searching for a “different” or rare sansevieria species is Sansevieria cylindrica. The plant has dark green leaves marked with faint light green bands.

A native to Angola, sometimes called the African spear, Cylindrical Snake Plant, Spear Sansevieria, used as an ornamental plant because of its unique features.

The difference? The leaves are cylindrical instead of being flat or concave. This somewhat fan shape plant is also found in Sansevieria Ehrenbergi, a much more colorful plant with red and white pencil stripes on the upper margins of its bluish leaves.

Another unusual type I’ve become mildly fond of is Sansevieria arborescens, a sort of tree-like plant wholly unlike the customary stemless varieties. This, by the way, has white edges on dull green leaves.

It is a fan shape plant but some gardeners and growers have experimented with braiding.

Braided Sansevieria cylindrical at Whole Food, Winter Park Florida 2014

Sansevieria cylindrica is a low-maintenance houseplant, versatile and drought-tolerant. In fact, it seems to thrive best with little water.

Almost like the ZZ plant or cast-iron plant and other of the best indoor houseplants they do fine when watered once or twice a month or less when if used indoors as a houseplant.

Uses For The “Snake”

The durability of Sansevieria makes it an excellent choice for apartment dwellers who often have limited success with houseplants due to lighting issues. They should take a good look the bowstring hemp plant.

Sansevierias adapt to almost any temperature and light conditions. True, the plants will freeze if it gets too cold, and sunburn if it is too hot, and no plant will grow in absolute darkness.

But they will tolerate very dim light for long periods, and can be used in many places where other houseplants would scarcely survive a week.

Sansevieria aka Mother in Law’s Tongue – three 10 inch pots planted in one large decorative planter Volusia Mall, Daytona Beach, Florida May 2018

Display Them Attractively

Too many people lose half the beauty of their houseplants (not only sansevierias, but others, too) by not displaying them properly. Some varieties of sansevieria, notably those whose silhouettes are unusual, deserving to be grown as individual specimens; others look better when used in group plantings.

‘Snakes’ displayed in rustic planters

An attractive pottery container greatly enhances the appearance of these plants.

Admittedly Sansevierias plants are not the most very graceful plant. The compact bird’s nest species Sansevieria Hahni are more interesting in their smaller size and also tolerant of dry hot rooms and poor light.

The bird nest varieties are perhaps of the greatest value to the window gardener, with their amiable disposition, which allows them to persist under the most adverse conditions.

Keep leaves clean and free from dust and grease. Other care consists of keeping the soil moist but not wet, and feeding occasionally.

Sansevieria Hahni with short leaves arranged in a rosette. Hahni makes and excellent low plant for use on a coffee table where little light may be available.

3 Sansevieria Hahnii bird nest snake plants displayed in attractive decorative planters

Q&A: How To Care For Snake Plants

Does Sansevieria Bloom or Flower?

Primarily used as foliage plants but when conditions suit them Sansevierias will burst suddenly and unexpectedly into glorious bloom. The psychological reaction for most sansevieria owners is comparable to finding a peacock on their front lawn!

A friend describes the plants as “inelegant” either never saw one in bloom or else needs new glasses.

Granted, individually snake plant flowers do not look like much, but borne in racemes on tall, foot long, stout scapes, making a lovely display. The blossoms usually white or cream, sometimes greenish (those of Sansevieria cylindrica have a pinkish color), are often fragrant.

By now you probably know how tough and durable qualities of the “Mother-in-law plant.” If you’re looking for other tough houseplants to keep indoors also consider the ZZ plant (zamioculcas), Cast-Iron plant, and Aglaonemas.

When Is The Best Time To Repot or Transplant?

I have a pot of sansevieria that has so many young ones coming up the plants are very crowded. When is the best time to transplant some of these into another container? Kaleigh, Memphis, Tenn.

Divide Sansevierias at any time during the year, and each division will soon grow into a nice plant. Dump the plant out of the pot, break it up as much as you want and plant each. The plants grow actively during the summer, so spring is the best time to divide the plant to obtain quick results.

Is The Mother In Law’s Tongue Plant Poisonous?

The Mother In Law’s Tongue plant is low in toxicity to people but according to the ASPCA – all parts of the snake plant are poisonous or toxic to cats and dogs.

Read our article to learn more about the Snake Plant poisonous properties.

Why Do Snake Plants Leaves Fall Over?

Leaves falling or flopping over is usually caused by several conditions:

  • Overwatering
  • Low lighting issues
  • Incorrect repotting practices

Read our article for details on the Causes and Prevention of Snake Plant leaves falling over.

Can You Root Them In Water?

Can you tell me how to start another viper’s bowstring hemp sansevieria plant? I’ve tried rooting leaves in water, but this method doesn’t seem to work. Nina, Michigan State University

Nina, the common variety of Sansevieria roots readily from cuttings. Cut a leaf into four-inch sections and plant each in sandy soil, one inch deep.

How often to water snake plant?

Firm the soil so that the leaf will not fall over when watered. Water sparingly and keep the cuttings in a warm bright place. Each piece of the leaf will produce a new plant.

The Sansevieria with the yellow margin on the leaf propagates only by division, each piece with roots will soon produce a new one.

If the leaves with yellow margins are used as leaf cuttings, the plant, if it does grow, will revert back to the green leaf and lose its yellow margins. Generally, Sansevieria cuttings in water get too much moisture and decay.

Where Can You Buy Types of Mother In Law’s Tongue Plant?

The “Mothers Plant” is available at most home improvement stores and garden centers. The small birdnest types of viper’s bowstring hemp are often found in dish gardens, the larger varieties are usually available in 4-inch and 6-inch sizes.

Below is a list of 50 species and Sansevieria varieties recognized by The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families at Kew as of August 23, 2017.

Image: Top source

Sansevierias are valued for their interesting appearance and durability. Although the most common variety is known as Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue for its long, pointed leaves that stand straight up in the pot, other varieties grow from compact rosettes and reach mature heights of only about 4 inches (10 cm). Because Sansevierias thrive with minimal care and live for many years, it seems nearly indestructible. Sansevieria is suitable for planting outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b through 11.

Place Sansevierias in moderately bright or filtered light. Good locations include a spot in front of a north-facing window or in front of a bright, sunny window covered by a sheer curtain. Although the plant tolerates low light, bright light brings out the colors in the leaves. However, intense light may cause the edges of the leaves to turn yellow.


Allow the soil to dry completely before watering, and then water deeply until water drips through the drainage hole. Allow the pot to drain and then discard the water that remains in the saucer. Never allow the soil to become soggy and never let the pot stand in water. Water sparingly throughout the winter. Like most succulent plants that store water in their leaves, Sansevieria rots quickly in excessively wet soil.

Photo via


Place Sansevieria in average room temperatures. Protect the plant from drafts and cold temperatures as it is damaged at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).


Feed the plant once every three weeks throughout the summer. Use a general-purpose fertilizer for houseplants diluted to one-half of the strength suggested on the container. Sansevieria is a light feeder and too much fertilizer makes the leaves fall over.

Repot the plant into a container one size larger only when the roots outgrow the pot. Sansevieria thrives — and may produce blooms — when its roots are crowded. Fill the container with a lightweight commercial potting soil. Some people repot plants only when the roots crack the pot.

Remove dust by wiping the leaves with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid commercial leaf-shine products, which may damage the leaves or cause them to take on a rusty appearance. If any leaves are damaged or blemished, cut them off, even with the soil.


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